Justice Jots are a powerful tool to focus students’ attention towards the injustices that occur in the world and how they appear in texts. ELA teachers know the importance of annotating and jotting when reading to help students keep track of their thinking. Now more than ever, we need to 1). provide our students with stories which highlight diverse characters, places and topics, 2). create opportunities for students to think about injustices they have encountered or perpetuated 3). facilitate discussions with the aim of challenging personal biases and systemic injustice and 4). share their new insights. The following lessons seek to meet these aims.
This resource can be used with any fictional or informational text but I suggest the following:
“On Friday Morning” by Langston Hughes
“The Scholarship Jacket” by Martha Salinas
“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
“The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin
“Desiree’s Baby” by Kate Chopin
by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
“The 1619 Project” by The New York Times
Lesson 1: Interpreting Symbols
It is important for students to understand the correlation between the symbols and the meaning of the words. Instead of just telling them, allow them to use prior knowledge or research the words to determine how the symbol represents it’s meaning.
Lesson 2: Jotting for Justice
While reading, students will stop and jot whenever they discover examples of injustice, stereotypes, connections or epiphanies about adjustments they need to make in relation to what they are reading.
Lesson 3: Write Long
Students will select one jot and use sentence starters to write long by thinking deeply, reflecting, and supporting their thoughts with textual evidence.
Lesson 4: Adjust and Discuss
Facilitating discussions centered around personal and systemic biases really provide opportunities for the lessons to stick. Students will use all of their previous work to answer questions during a class discussion aimed at providing solutions.
Lesson 5: Share Your Insight
Students will synthesize their jots, long writes and discussions to create a multimedia presentation to share with others