One way students can delve into a discussion on sensitive issues is by looking at inspirational or important quotes related to the topic. A "Silent Chalk Walk" allows students to take turns quietly reading and reflecting on quotes posted around the classroom. They can add their ideas to a white board or sticky note by the quote before moving on to the next quote.
The teacher should allow time for students to view, reflect and write for each quote (about 3-5 minutes). After five minutes the teacher can give a nonverbal (such as flicking the lights) or verbal signal to rotate.
After each student has viewed and written a comment by each quote, the students can be invited to lead a discussion about the quotes explaining their thoughts. For example, one student could stand by each quote and read off their classmates thoughts and then take comments or questions.
In this culminating activity, students will
Possible quotes to display:
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” – Maya Angelou
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
“The very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being.” – Toni Morrison
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word”. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
“As long as there is racial privilege, racism will never end.” – Wayne Gerard Trotman
“Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike.” – Ban Ki-moon
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” – Ijoema Oluo
“Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.” – John Lewis
“A Rattlesnake, if cornered will become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is -- a biting of oneself. We think we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.” – E. Stanley Jones
“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: Indeed it's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love.” – Martin Luther King, Jr
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Objective: Illustrate a quote that is important to you.
Requirements: Quote, description of its meaning, appropriate illustration
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual