MeMA’s partnership role is to support the teacher’s success in delivering high-quality arts-integrated programs that provide equitable educational opportunities for students. Our program is not meant to replace traditional curricula, but to supplement and enrich classroom lessons and allow students to make meaningful connections between subject areas. 

Program Unit

Our main unit, “Voice Your Soul” is custom-designed to fit each school’s needs and to meet State and Common Core standards. MeMA works together with teachers to establish clear instructional goals and outcomes. Our residency consist of 25 sessions, plus a culminating event—a showcase of student-created social justice projects. In addition, visiting professional teaching artists mentor students with their final projects. 


Our unit includes the following resources: Lesson activities and projects, rubrics, graphic organizers and assessments, videos, mp3 songs, song lyrics, additional primary/secondary sources such as historical speeches, news clips, charts/graphs, social media posts, and current event information, and lavalier mics for projects. All we need is a classroom! 

Phase One

Direct Instruction

In the first part of the unit, students increase their knowledge of how people have protested injustice in the past and present by analyzing textssong lyrics, videos, social media posts, news, and other mentor texts—to determine the intended message and meaning, and what makes the content uniquely powerful. Legendary songs of the ’60s-’70s will be a mentor text for how music can be more than entertainment, but a platform for social commentary and change. Other forms of protest—marches, walkouts, sit-ins—will provide students with a broader understanding of how you can peacefully communicate your message about injustice. Students will learn what makes a message powerful and consider how they can craft their own message of change. 

Phase Two

Research and Projects

In the second part of the unit, students will apply what they have learned about social justice issues and protests of the past and present,  and create a social justice project in groups or individually. The culminating project will challenge students to integrate what they know and can do in language arts, social studies, technology, and civics to voice their own position on an issue of their choice, support their position with research-based evidence, and present it in a compelling way that makes others in their school community care and want to get involved. Rigorous standards-based expectations will apply to all projects, while students will also have the freedom to develop a format that draws on their own interests, strengths, and experiences. 

Phase Three

Student Social Justice Showcase

Students create their culminating social justice project using various forms of media such as technology, film, visual art, creative writing—songs, rap, poetry, stories—dramatic skits, and more. The projects are presented en masse as a student showcase in the school auditorium, giving students a chance to feel proud of their accomplishments. Reflections and self-assessment of the effectiveness of their project will increase students’ self-awareness of their strengths and areas of growth within the integrated content areas in the unit.