Protesting is Uncomfortable. Should It Be Easier?

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Protesting is Uncomfortable. Should it Be Easier? by Lean Donnella


Protest is uncomfortable. This is true for those protesting as well as those in opposition to protest. This fact is not new. Social media however, amplifies the voices, sometimes understanding and empathetic, oftentimes vile, make it difficult for young people in particular to navigate the best ways to stand for their beliefs and/or be agents of change. This Ask Code Switch article, addresses a question from a high school student, trying to find the best way to take a stand.

Genre - Non-fiction
Text Structure -Q & A Article
Themes -protest, controversy, perseverance, history of resistance, compromise

Rings of Culture represented -

Ethnicity: various
Age: intergenerational
Socio-Economic: various
National: USA

Why it’s VABBulous -  

  • This article addresses the topic of protest and resistance in an age appropriate, informative way.

  • The question is from a young adult and the voice/response is responsive to questioning youth.

  • The article focuses on how young people can learn about and navigate protest within the boundaries of the spaces they occupy.

  • The topic is applicable to a variety of reasons for protest, it is non-partisan.

  • The content is rigorous and has many instructional possibilities.

Ideas for CLR -

Set it Off (Into the Text)

Thinking on Your Feet - (click link in title for instructions)

Possible  Prompts -

  • Politics don’t belong in school.
  • Protest is inappropriate at school.

  • Creating change requires being uncomfortable.

  • Minorities/marginalized groups protest will always be seen as wrong by the dominant culture.

  • There is a right way to protest and a wrong way to protest.

  • People should only protest in a way that is agreeable to everyone.

The Get Down  (Through the Text)

Responsive Vocabulary

Word Splash  (Click link in title for instructions)

Possible Vocabulary from Text -

Aberration      allegiance      apathy     persevere    disparities     ritual     compromise
resistance       propaganda

Responsive Read Alouds -

Jump In Reading
1. Have one student begin to read aloud to the group.
2. Another student may choose to jump in and continue reading at any sentence-end punctuation stop.
3. Students should read aloud at least one complete sentence, but not longer than one paragraph (or until someone else jumps in). Students should actively listen for appropriate places to jump in.
4. If no one is jumping in, teacher may jump in until someone is ready.

Train Reading
1.Assign several proficient readers to each of the parts of the article.  1 student will read the title and introduction. Give them an opportunity to review their sections if necessary.
2. Ask them to come to the front of the room( or they have the option to stay at their seats)
3. Proficient readers jump in to read at their assigned section.
4. The rest of the class will follow along.

Discussion Protocol -  Graffiti Talk  (Click Link in title for instructions)

Possible Prompts for Graffiti Talk

  • What are some ways that schools can support student's right to protest while maintaining a safe, welcoming environment for all students?
  • Why should(or shouldn't)  compromise  be considered in protest?

  • What are the best ways for students to negotiate with administrators at their schools to accomodate student protest?

  • What are ways to protest without “ruffling feathers” or making people too uncomfortable?

  • What are ways for protesters to persevere in the midst of protest?

The After Party (Beyond the Text)

A few ideas to extend the lesson - 

1. Debate -

  • Schools are not an appropriate place for protests.

2. Research the protests named in the article and create a multi-media presentation on the history/nature of protest in America.

3. Create a Social Media protest campaign for an issue/injustice that is important to you.

4. Give a 2 minute elevator speech about the importance of protest being uncomfortable.

How would YOU VABB this article?  Share it on Twitter @validateaffirm, or Facebook @validateaffirm

Lydia McClanahan