Design a Global Encounters Project: Civil Rights and Discrimination
Related Subjects:
Civics & Citizenship , Global Studies , Historical Understanding , History and Social Science , Thinking and Reasoning , Working With Others
Social Issue:
  Human Rights
Target Grade Level(s):
Grade / Year 10 , Grade / Year 11 , Grade / Year 12 , Grade / Year 9
Future Friendly School Values:
  Global Citizenship
  Student Voice

What social issue will your video conference address? 

In today’s climate, I think it is important to have more conversations about civil rights.  My video conference will address the social issue of civil rights and how we can be more proactive and live in a country that values the rights of all human beings.  

What subject(s) and grade level(s) would be appropriate for students to be involved? 

When I think of civil rights, I think of social studies.  I think social studies is a great subject to talk about civil rights as there are many instances throughout history that can contribute to the discussion.  I think students across several grade levels can be involved in this video conference.  At younger levels you can discuss what civil rights are, how they are important and what we can do as citizens to make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly.  Though this could include many grade levels, I think for this particular project, students at the high school level would be appropriate (9-12) and benefit the most.  At the older levels we can delve deeper into each of the civil rights guaranteed to everyone and how discrimination is also a social issue that stems from civil rights.  When we connect globally we can collaboratively work together with other schools, countries, and/or regions to solve the problems of racial discrimination and make a better world for generations to come.

Who would be your ideal guest speaker? 

Samuel L. Jackson is one of the most quoted and prolific actors of our time.  His acting alone has rewritten African Americans’ place in Hollywood through his unforgettable portrayals of strong intelligent characters.  I think Samuel L. Jackson would be a perfect guest speaker for this Global Encounters Project.  During the 1960s and 70s, he was heavily involved in the civil rights movement as a protester and later became a member of the Black Power Movement.   

Would you seek to involve other schools from your community, across the country, or from particular countries or regions around the world to foster the ideal conversation?  

I think for this project the more the merrier.  It is no secret that discriminaton takes place all over the world.  I think it would be great for students to see that it even happens in different states within the United States.  Partnering with different schools in different states where discrimination and civil rights are questioned would be extremely beneficial.  What are other states doing to ensure that racial discrimination is a matter of the past?  How are our states similar in enforcing laws to end racial discrimination?  What can we learn from other states in regards to racial discrimination? How can we work together to shed light on the struggles that come with racial discrimination?  How can we work collaboratiely with local legislatiures to end racial discrimination?  Connecting with differnt countries and/or regions about racial discrimination is important also.  What does racial discrimination look like in Europe? South Africa? Asia?  Getting our students involved globally will foster worldly mindsets and give students hope that they can make a change.  

What type of activity would students complete before the video conference session that they could share during the conference? 

Students would participate in many activities before the video conference session that could be shared during the conference.  In the classroom, they can research about the civil rights movement and what it aimed to do in the 1960s and 70s.  Who were key role models?  What goals were these activists trying to achieve?  Are activists today still trying to achieve the same goals?  We would discuss what is going on in the world today and how certain races are feeling oppressed.  Before collaboration begins, they would be sent out into their local communities to interview community members about racial discrimination.  What does racial segregation mean to them?  Do they believe racial discrimination is a problem of the past?  A current issue?  They could interview store owners of different races and ask questions about the obstacles they faced opening their own business.  They can learn about times when people felt discriminated against.  They will be asked to critically think of the issues and obstacles that arise because of discrimination and work collaboratively with each other to 1) recognize the problems 2) figure out why racial discrimination is still a problem for many races 3) get involved in trying to make changes to fix the problems of racial discrimination and end it once and for all.   

Would there be a follow-up action that students would take to deepen their learning?

Students can actively collaborate with students from different schools in the community and even in different states.  What did they learn about racial discrimination in talking to members of the community? They can share stories from different members of the community to prove that racial discrimintation is not something of the past but something that is unfortunately very present.  They could write letters to their county officials asking what steps are being taken to end racial discrimination.  They could ask what they can do to actively participate in making changes to ensure that everyone regardless of the color of their skin is treated equally and fairly.  They can go back out into their communities and help organize peaceful protests and inform the community about what they learned from collaborating with students in different parts of the world.  They can help them to understand that this is a global issue.  By doing so, students will become empowered learners that think about and question the world they live in.  

How would you assess their participation?  

Students will be assessed on their ability to connect, collaborate and create.  They will be assessed on the research they performed about civil rights and racial discrimination and how they used that research to drive their thinking and questioning about the world around them.  They will be assessed on their ability to not only collaborate with members of the community (authentic audience) but also to collaborate with their peers inside their classroom and peers from different states.  They will create compositions to their county officials outlining the problems of racial discriminiation and the obstacles people of various races are still facing today.  They will suggest ways to make changes based on their conversations with members of the community and each other.  By being self-directed and empowered learners, they will learn about the world around them in a way that is meaningful and powerful.  They are the change that the world needs and being active participants in this change will teach them life-long skills that they will carry forever.  


Other classrooms can collaborate with us on this project. We are looking to offer authentic, meaningful and powerful conversations about the problems with civil rights and in turn racial discrimination. How can we actively promote our students to seek and demand change in the world they live in? We can connect with several external community organizations that work hard to promote change. The SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committees), CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), and the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Since their inception, these organizations continue to work hard to end racial discrimination in the United States.

Contact Graceann Fallon