Before they listen: Review civil disobedience and the Civil Rights Movement.
(This is assuming that they have already covered this in history class. If not, make sure to go in more depth before this lesson.)
- PPT: Civil Disobedience through Images
- Have students analyze polling data from the 1960s on the Civil Rights Movement
- Optional: compare with modern polling data on the Black Lives Matter Movement
Before they listen: Introduce the Black Lives Matter movement
- In an ideal world, have students read chapters from Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow. This provides an incredible, in-depth look at the criminal justice system that is the focus of the Black Lives Matter movement. She has created study guides and discussion outlines for teachers to use in their classroom.
- If you don’t have time for a book (like most of us!), you can have students look at statistics from the NAACP “Criminal Justice Fact Sheet” and discuss.
- Finally, have students explore the Black Lives Matter website to get an idea of what they stand for and why they believe protest is necessary.
In-Depth: Analyze the writings of Dr. King and Malcolm X
- Have students read and annotate excerpts from Dr. King’s book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. I like to use Prism as a tool to have students digitally highlight as they read (Blue = I agree/like this; Green = I disagree/dislike this; Red = I have questions about this). Discuss as a class.
- Have students listen and read along to parts of Malcolm X’s speech “The Ballot or the Bullet.”
- Discuss the different viewpoints of Dr. King and Malcolm X. Which did you find more compelling and why? Who would Dr. King’s ideas have appealed to? Who would have found Malcolm’s speech more inspiring?
After they listen: Small Group Discussion
- Opening discussion: Should students be required to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school?
- Have students create an individual KWL chart on what they already Know and what they Want to know about the NFL protests. (They will leave the L column blank for now – they can fill in information as they Learn it!) Discuss the K and W columns as a class, making sure to note common questions that students have (then go furiously Google the answers after class!)
- Get students into small groups and go through the PowerPoint: Differing Perspectives on NFL Protests, making sure to emphasize the importance of understanding multiple perspectives on the issue.
- Make sure to have students read the Op-Ed piece by Eric Reid explaining how he and Kaepernick came to the decision to kneel. This is a part of these protests that most students aren’t aware of and find really interesting (that a lot of thought was put into the decision to kneel, instead of sit – and that they consulted a veteran before making their decision.)
- Closing: Have students write their own personal opinion on the appropriateness of the NFL protests, using evidence that they gathered from the episode and the class discussions. If you and the students feel comfortable, have them share their opinion and discuss (NOT a debate! No “winners” – just a productive discussion to better understand everyone’s perspective.)