Lesson Plan

Social Justice Poetry

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GRADE LEVEL: Middle School, High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language

SEL STANDARDS*: Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Responsible Decision-Making

Expressions of Justice through Poetry

Throughout our nation’s history, poetry and song have been used to express thoughts and feelings about injustice and to envision a world where freedom, fairness and justice are universal for all. 

Amanda Gorman, Youngest Inaugural Poet

During President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration on January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet at age 22 to present at a Presidential inauguration, reminded America what poetry can do. Amanda Gorman was raised in Los Angeles, where her mother teaches middle school. When she was 16, she was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and years later while in college, she became the National Youth Poet Laureate, becoming the first person to hold the position.

As students consider issues of fairness, bias, discrimination and justice, poetry is a chance for them to articulate their feelings and share them with others.

About the Lesson Plan

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle school students to explore poetry and song about injustice, reflect on what social justice issues are important to them and write their own poems about social justice, using a variety of formats and finding creative ways to share their poetry with others.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will define and reflect upon the meaning of justice, injustice and social justice movements.
  • Students will analyze songs and poetry about social justice.
  • Students will explore what justice issues are important to them and write poems about social justice.

Student Direct Resource

Use our Sutori version of this lesson for direct student learning.