These comprehensive units were created by aspiring teachers at Montclair State University. Each multidisciplinary unit integrates social justice and academic disciplined and are aligned with NJ state standards. They are works in progress so please use what works for you. Feedback welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grade: 3rd Grade
Social Justice Skills: Advocacy, Self-determination, Being an upstander
Created by: Catherine Payne
The Be Smart, Don’t Start unit was created in light of the social issue “bullying”. With how predominant this issue has been in our school and schools nationwide, it is essential for students (and teachers alike) to find ways to address, prevent and create proactive action to combat bullying behavior. In this unit, students become aware of the four different types of bullying, learn what to do in a bullying situation, understand bullying prevention and how to show compassion and kindness for others.
View the PDF: Be Smart, Don’t Start
Throughout this unit students will explore what a community is and learn more about their specific community, Newark. We will discuss what defines a community and explore the idea that the students are part of a school and classroom community. As we begin to learn about the students’ community we will work as a class to describe what they know about their community as well as questions they have about their community. We will also learn about the rich history of their community and city and even have visitors from the Newark Museum come in, in order to help contextualize this information with actual artifacts for the students to observe. We will also discuss change students would like to see happen in their community.
View the PDF:Community Pride
In this unit, the students were given a platform to uplift and provide them with enough confidence to motivate them to prepare, propel and equip them with resilience in effort to make sweeping changes in their local communities.
View the PDF: The Fulfillment Project
Created by: Regina Polzella
Throughout the unit students will explore what a community is and learn more about their school community. The unit will focus on how workers within the school community come together to support our school community and bring positive change. The students will understand that there is strength in unity and that together we can accomplish more in our school community
View the PDF:Our Community
In this unit students learned about their classroom, school and neighborhood community through class discussions, read-alouds, shared writings and technology. Students were able to define community and compare and contrast Newark to other cities around the country. They were given the chance to develop an appreciation for their classroom, school and the buildings and places they visit. After the completion of the unit, students were able to understand why it is important to take care of and ultimately try to better the community the have grown to love
View the PDF: We are…Comm-unity
In this unit, students will examine the components of a community, look at how communities can be similar or different, and dissect ways in which external systems or functions may impact a community and the people living in it. The unit focuses on students’ own community and sense of identity, as well as how their own experiences might inform their ideas about community.
View the PDF: Community
In this unit, children will be guided toward an understanding of what it means to be fair. Students will explore and discuss what they believe to be fair and unfair in their daily lives, but will also focus on what make the environment fair and unfair for students with disabilities. Students will engage in discussions, explore different forms of adaptation and assistive technology, and generate solutions for making their classroom/school more accessible to children of all abilities.
View the PDF: Creating a Fair Space
Grade: 2nd grade
Topics: Being the change in our communities
Social Justice Skills: Critical thinking, exploration, community cultural wealth, respect,
Created by: Tatiana Pereyra
This unit is about the students seeing themselves as vehicles for change in their neighborhoods. The unit will begin with the students looking around their individual neighborhoods and taking note of things that stand out to them. We will have discussions around what each students has noticed and what others have noticed in sharing our findings. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about their peers while learning to listen to the preferences and experiences of others respectfully. The goal of the unit is to have students observe what is going on around them in their neighborhoods. Students will have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on things they love communities as well as to find things that they don’t necessarily like and explore and understand reasonings behind our findings.For example, why are there so many empty lots? The social movements/change/action piece will be around how we can organize and collectively get our ideas heard.
View the PDF: Welcome to the Neighborhood
Topics: Environmental Racism
Social Justice Skills: Critical thinking, advocacy, self-determination, letter writing, community service
Created by: Carla Nisbett
Students will develop understanding of environmental awareness by learning about pollution and cleanliness within their immediate environments (classroom, school, neighborhood). Students will ultimately be introduced to environmental racism and how it has affected their neighborhood. They will also come up with some actions that we could all take to fight against environmental racism in the neighborhood.
Download the PDF: This is My City R-E-S-P-E-C-T it!
Grade: 2nd/3rd Grade
Topics: Environment, economy, politics, culture
Social Justice Skills: Critical thinking, advocacy, self-determination, fairness
Created by: Kim Baumann, Diana Mamoor, Mary Sanborn
The Migration unit is comprised of topics such as economic, environmental, and political migration. The issue of migration is a relevant topic in today’s world, as individuals are facing various challenges concerning migration. The goal is to help students understand that at times, it is out of the individual’s hands as they are forced to leave their homes due to economic, environmental, and political factors. While some topics are considered as controversial, students are taught about vital topics such as power, oppression, politics, human rights, freedom, and the environment. In doing so, students become conscious of the diversity in society.
Download the PDF: Migration
Holidays are celebrated by different cultural groups all over the world for different reasons. In the United States, some holidays are nationally recognized, others recognized in schools, and others not represented at all. To develop deeper multicultural understanding and respect for differences, a variety of cultures must be represented and celebrated. This unit explores the different holidays celebrated in our community and the representation of groups in celebration across the school. Students will be challenged to analyze the fairness of the system and recreate a utopia.
Download this PDF: Let’s All Celebrate
Topics: Environmental Justice, Water
Social Justice Skills: Critical thinking, advocacy, protest, fairness, letter writing
Created by: Madeline Della Pesca, Rachel Hartman, Alejandro Hernandez. Nicole Larsen, Hayley Smith
The “Water We Waiting For” unit helps students explore whether clean drinking water is a resource that should be provided by the government as an unalienable right. Students will research the topic and investigate inequality, access to resources, injustice, human rights, and some of the political aspects of the water crisis, as well as the detrimental effects contaminated water has on our health as individuals and as communities. To do so, lessons have been crafted that span a cross curricular approach, through reading and language arts, science, social studies, math, health education, physical education and the arts. The unit will culminate in the cultivation of a protest in which students will explore methods of political expression that can be used not only to advocate for the access to clean drinking water, but also protest tactics that can be used in the face of injustice and oppression anywhere.
Download This Unit: Water Unit Fifth Grade