INTEGRATE AND COLLABORATE
Our curriculum unit “Voice Your Soul” traces the history of America during the turbulent 1960s—The Decade That Shaped a Generation—and 1970s, from a global perspective. The program explores the many social and political issues of the era and how these challenges still resonate today. Using an arts-infused multimedia approach, students listen to and analyze socially-conscious, politically-charged folk, rock, R&B, hip-hop and blues songs from the era — universally regarded as music that changed America—and watch related video clips. Other primary sources include current music & news clips from credible sources on topics such as income inequality, government spending, politics, discrimination, and other social issues to help students make connections between social justice topics and the world outside the classroom. MeMA’s program runs in three phases (see below) for eight weeks, meeting three times weekly for up to an hour each session, and includes a culminating showcase of student-created arts-integrated projects.
Our program runs in three phases listed below:
Direct Instruction: Theory/Analysis
In the first part of the unit students will increase their knowledge of how people have protested injustice in the past and present by analyzing texts—including music, videos, social media, news clips, and other primary and secondary sources—to determine the intended message and meaning, and what makes the words/lyrics uniquely powerful. Songs of the Civil Rights movement will be a mentor text for how music can be more than entertainment, but a platform for social commentary and change.
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. The culminating social justice project will challenge students to integrate what they know and can do in language arts, social studies, media arts and technology 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. MeMA’s music, media, and art professionals work with students on producing their projects.
Social-Justice Student Showcase
Multimedia PSA’s, performances of songs, raps, poetry, and skits are recommended along with proposals of other ideas for presenting students messages of change and voicing their soul on something that is important to them. 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. The student projects are presented en masse as a showcase in the school auditorium, giving students a chance to feel proud of their accomplishments.