Sunday, June 22, 2008

SAC is about empowerment. We provide a free curriculum (powerful lessons, videos, activities, and rubrics) for 6-12th grade teachers who wish to challenge their students by questioning society's power structures and the world at large. We do this through an academic framework so teachers and students can connect creative writing such as slam poetry, speeches, and essays that explore topics of social justice. Use this free site as a guide for teaching voice, compiling student anthologies, and encouraging critical responses from your students. This curriculum issues of social justice and responsibility through a proces of reflection, anlysis , and creation. Our aim is to support you advocate for poetry, action, and change.

SAC gives middle school and high school teachers relevant resources, student samples, and useful links for presenting the Language Arts curriculum in a powerful way. This allows middle school teachers to explore how poetry functions as a vehicle for social change with their students. SAC is proof that poetry moves students to take a deeper look at the issues facing their communities.

The Power of Words Project

Why I Write, Slam Performance
Slam poem performed by Tim Swain

Show this to your students: 3 minute video featuring Tim Swain performing "Why I Write" at Martin Middle School. This is the focal piece of this project.Themes include injustices, struggle, hope through writing, and diversity. Swain’s passionate delivery will inspire you and your students.

Why Do You Write, Documentary
Commentary on Practice and Purpose of Swain's poetry

Show this to your students: 10 minute video on the purpose of Swain's writing highlights the spiritual side of his inspiration. Themes include self-identity through writing, social action, and courage.

Teaching Links

Here are some ideas of how to start community project-based learning!
Check out these sites to inspire and challenge your students:

Help end world hunger Donate rice to hungry people while playing a vocabulary game! Free Rice lets your students earn 20 rice grains at a time. The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good.

Visit the United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending world hunger. Features humanitarian crisis updates, press releases from around the world, photo galleries, and educational video games to teach about the needs of starving nations.

Connect with like-minded educators through The New York Times Learning Network provides news summaries for kids, lesson plans for teachers; all based on national and international current events.

The MAGIC Teacher has links, tutorials, and examples of media training projects around the world that enable children to get involved in media production. Students can read and explore links like Know Your Rights, Have Your Say, and Make Your Way in the Media. This is a goldmine of connections - BBC World Service and UNICEF to name a few.

Teachers Talking About Learning, an educational branch of UNICEF, links you to games around the world and interactive reflections sites. Find chances to explore ideas, discuss issues, and take action with your students. Created in response to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Millenium Development Goals is an incredible UNICEF site which explains poverty, education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, disease, environment, and development. Provides videos, news feeds, articles, and photo galleries to get your students' eyes wide open concerning the state of the world.

New Tools for Digital Learning includes step-by-step instructions on blogs, wikis, podcasting, etc. Empower yourself by learning to use the latest tech tools.

WITNESS is devoted to featuring online technologies that open people's eyes to human rights violations. This powerful international campaign will raise awareness in your students and encourage them to understand and speak out about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Links available to other world-wide human rights projects and organizations.

Safely connect, collaborate, and teach using leading protected email and blog solutions for schools and districts by joining a global community of connected classrooms through ePals.

Voices of Youth allows your students access to games, digital diaries, and international social action discussions. Full of links and resources to inspire and amaze kids.

TED features a great video archive of lectures by some of the world's greatest thinkers. Perfect for teachers needing motivation on social topics. Search engine themes include technology, science, culture, arts, and global issues such as poverty and equity in education. Most talks run about 20 minutes each.

Freedom School is a public middle schoolcreated in the honor of Paulo Freire. With it's focus on social justice and environmental sustainability, every student's differences are honored and celebrated and learning is deep, powerful, and transformative. Be inspired by and collaborate with this powerful community of learners.

Learn about a first grade boy who took interest in a social issue on the continent of Africa, did his research and took action at Ryan's Well Foundation.

Watch and read Texas youth find voice and power through their poetry at the Texas Youth Word Collective.

Get tons of ideas, lessons and inspiration for empowering students to think more critically about media at the Center for Media Literacy.

For free materials, newsletters, k-12 lessons, and plenty of links for kids try

New Technology Foundation, teaching and learning opportunities for folks who's mission is to re-invent teaching and learning for the 21 st Century by offering a proven model and a fully integrated suite of tools designed to facilitate the creation and management of a relevant and engaging 21st Century education.

Social Action Collective Ning
Challenging adolescents to explore and inverstigate their roles, identities, and responsiblities in their communities and in the world.

Lesson Plans

Unit Title:The Power of Language; How Words Change Our World

Lesson Plans:
Level: Grades 6-8

Teacher Objectives:
  • Define and explore transformative literacy
  • Provide critical framework for integrating new and diverse literacies in secondary classrooms
  • Promote community, national, global, digital citizenship
  • Turn the writing over to students
  • Publish/share student writing in an anthology
  • Extend colleague collaboration, connect to other schools/teachers around the country
  • Allow students to share work
Student Objectives:
  • Write expressively and develop unique voice
  • Raise awareness by setting social change in motion
  • Write about problems in school/neighborhood
  • Explore political power of the written word
  • Research topics such as racism, poverty, segregation, and human rights violations
Guiding Question:How does poetry function as a vehicle for social change?

Final Product: Poem & pamphlet

Student Examples


Poems for Students

Lauryn Hill Motives and Thoughts

Assess the importance and value of this poem's theme:

Talib Kweli Hell

Write an adaptation of this poem to create a different tone:

Alicia Keys P.O.W.

Based on what you know about prisoners of war, write an explaination of this poem:



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Teacher Profiles

Who We Are:

What We Believe:

  • maintaining digital dialogues
  • bridging the digital divide
  • promoting community service-based education
  • bringing slam poetry and hip hop into classrooms
Help us challenge adolescents explore and investigate their roles, identities, and responsibilities in their communities and in the world. We want to encourage, transform, relate, and share voices, talent, and creativity. Join us :)