This week we started our new challenge on Justice. To build our foundational understanding around this Big Idea, we’re using Teaching Tolerance’s “Viva La Causa” film kit, which is an exploration of the grape strike and boycott of the 1960s and 1970s, led by César Chávez.

At this stage, with our freshmen, we’ve found that providing them with the Engage phase of a challenge is important. It gives them the structure that most of them need to do meaningful work. When we leave the Engage phase up to them, it tends to result in very superficial demonstrations of learning.

So our work in this challenge is being guided by the following:

Big Idea = Justice

Essential Question = Whose responsibility is it to fight for those who are being exploited?

Challenge = Seek justice for others

The plan is to work with my ELA colleague, who is exploring heroes through various genres of text, to have this challenge be an interdisciplinary project.

While, ultimately, it’ll be up to students to decide how they’ll ‘seek justice for others’, I could imagine a mashup of our two classes producing a fictional story, told by way of a comic book, where a hero seeks justice for others.

It’s early days, so there are still a lot of unknowns. I plan to chronicle its unfolding here.

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