#ToteChallenge: Young people investigate the problems caused by plastic shopping bags, then propose solutions they can take to address the problems. They brainstorm uses for plastic bags. This lesson gives guidelines to design a reusable shopping tote out of an old T-shirt using engineering, problem-solving, creativity, and communication. They take action for the common good by using and sharing their project and by educating the community about problems and solutions to the plastic bag crisis. 

This book by poet and activist Amanda Gorman sings with optimism for our personal power to make a difference for a better world. It is a celebration of change through grace and vision. In this "children's anthem," Gorman inspires us to act with our personal gifts while collectively being the best we can be. With images of famous people and musical instruments, the artist illustrates the beauty of individuals of diverse backgrounds coming together as one in community. Amanda Gorman is an African American youth poet laureate, born with a speech impediment and sensitivity to sound, who is now speaking eloquently with hope that we can all take action for a better world. 

After a meaningful session or day together, a reflective writing prompt can help young people internalize, sort, or articulate their thoughts and feelings. A great tool for SEL and personal reflection, exit tickets provide a prompt to bring thoughts to a close before moving out the door. Designed to be handed to the facilitator as a "ticket" out the door, they may also be kept private if someone doesn't want to share their thoughts in the moment. 

This project is a simulation meant to guide participants through the process of organizing a protest/demonstration. Participants are asked to identify a problem they want to solve and then plan a nonviolent protest/demonstration while being conscious of safety, resources, community norms, and ethical behavior. The hope is that this activity might inspire the next Greta Thunberg or Malala Yousafzai to take action and create change!

The "Current Event Check-In" is an Everyday SEL practice. It is a culturally responsive version of the daily emotion check-in; it offers youth the opportunity to check-in regarding the current events in their communities. In order to have a social awareness of one’s community, youth must be able to inquire, discuss, and share their thoughts and opinions about the events in their community on a regular basis. 

Many American citizens with a "hyphenated ethnicity, race, or country" experience a double consciousness. In this activity, youth write a narrative essay from the perspective of another person, reflecting upon their own opinions about how the hyphen is used. Hyphen-Stories is inspired by an article by Dena Simmons called, "Why We Can't Afford Whitewashed Social-Emotional Learning." 

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