Writing to Change the World

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What Makes #NeverAgain Different?

Do your students agree? I believe that my generation has the power to change the world more than any group before us. Unlike the generations in decades past, we have more information available to us than ever before. Social media, arguably the most powerful tool of communication in the history of the world, is at our fingertips.

With the click of a button, our words can be shared with millions. All it takes is one tweet, one post on Instagram or Facebook. And a second later, your opinion is broadcasted everywhere. The internet has empowered us to have the ability to change the world, even at the young ages that we are. Another option? At least two school walk-outs around gun violence have been slated for this spring.

On March 14, a month after the Feb. Another walk-out will take place on April 20 , the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre.

Though some districts have threatened to suspend students , in New York City, the mayor has said he supports those who want to participate , and has even promised that the city will provide related lesson plans. How many of your students plan to participate? To help, you might gauge what your students know — or think they know — about their rights. Invite them to work in small groups to brainstorm answers to these questions, perhaps via a KWL chart :.

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If not, how do they differ — and why? If not, what examples can you give? Marches, walkouts and sit-ins are the embodiment of our core freedoms: the right to speak out, to assemble peaceably and petition our government for change. The student voices in the Parkland movement also call to mind the circumstances around the landmark Supreme Court decision Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District , which also involved teens, schools and the freedom to protest.

The new Youth in Front site, a community-created online learning resource, with advice from experienced youth activists and allies. Challenge students to return to the original questions for which they brainstormed answers and correct or add detail to anything they now understand better. How would they summarize their answers? What questions are they left with? Where can they find answers? As a final activity for this part of the unit, students might produce a piece for their school website or newspaper clarifying student rights and responsibilities in the context of student activism on gun violence.

Update, March To introduce it, Matthew Green writes :.

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This is hardly the first time high school students have led the charge in pushing for nationwide reforms. In fact, the nascent Never Again movement follows in a long tradition of middle and high school students who, despite being too young to vote, have helped lead landmark social and political movements. Among the most recent and often overlooked examples include the young people on the front line of the Black Lives Matter movement, Dreamers activists fighting for immigration reform, and the group of American Indian youth who helped spark the Standing Rock movement in South Dakota last winter.

As University of Oklahoma professor Kathryn Schumaker noted in a recent Washington Post commentary , student protesters have long risked disciplinary action or worse to force the nation to have difficult conversations about the future they stand to inherit.

3 Amazing Ways Your Writing Changes the World

Some were successful and others brutally crushed, but even the latter still resonate. Invite students to study the slide show , and read the Times article. What do these movements have in common? How do they differ? Then, invite them to choose one of featured movements and delve into it more deeply.

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