Advocacy through English Class

Grades: 
6, 7, 8
Subjects: 

For students to choose a cause to which they have a personal connection and write letters to advocate for change.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
PrintTwo 55-minute class periods
Objectives 

Students will experience the act of standing up for a cause or belief.

Materials 

Computers with Internet access

Teacher Preparation 

Identify a personal example of an issue about which you care and for which you advocated in the past. 

Vocabulary 

Advocacy, letter writing, social change, social issues, privilege, public official, state representative

Reflection 

Discussion provides the best reflection; students are also asked to do a written reflection about what they learned throughout the process.

Bibliography 

“Writing Letters to Elected Officials” lesson from Community Tool Box of the University of Kansas at: https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/advocacy/direct-action/letters-to-elected-officials/main

Instructions

Print
  1. Building on previous presentations, the teacher shares his or her personal example of advocacy.

  2. Teacher poses the following questions for classroom discussion:

    • What is advocacy? What are the different forms that advocacy can take? What are some examples of ways that youth can advocate and use their voice to affect change?
    • What is privilege? What privileges are you afforded simply because you attend our (independent) school?
    • How can you utilize your privilege to advocate for someone who may not have access to the same opportunities and things that you do?
  3. Students begin their English Class Service Learning Project in which they think about whom they want to stand up for and where there’s a need – see steps and resources in the “Student Handout for English Service Learning Letter Writing Project handout.  Students are instructed that the project will encompass the following three general steps:

    • Identify a cause / issue where you have a personal connection and a true passion to affect change or show your support.
    • Write a letter to an organization, public official, state representative or individual outlining your connection to the cause / issue, stating your position, and requesting your desired outcome.
    • Send the letter.
  4. Students use computers to research and then write letters of advocacy to senators, lawmakers, or organizations that can make changes that affect their issue of interest.

Assessment 

Student letters are graded for writing.