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Taking Action
Article Index
Taking Action
Page 2
Page 3
All Pages

Reflecting on September 11
Fostering Diversity
Taking Action

Overview
Taking Action gives students a step-by-step framework to plan and implement a civic-participation project in response to the events of September 11.
First, students read a story about a group of high school students and teachers who planned and implemented a Middle East teach-in. Second, they brainstorm project ideas and choose a project to work on. Third, they work in small groups to create project plans, compare plans and combine best elements to make a master plan. Finally, they put their master plan to work and evaluate their progress.

Materials & Preparation
Reading: Planning a Teach-In —1 copy for each participant (See page 2)
Making an Action Plan —1 copy for each group (See page 3)
Additional Project Ideas
Brainstorm Tips  (See page 3)

Procedure

A. Focus Discussion
Hold a brief discussion by asking "What positive activities did Americans engage in as a response to the events of September 11?"

B. Reading—Planning a Teach in
  1. Have students read Planning a Teach-In (see below).
  2. Hold a brief discussion using the following questions:
  • What was the problem? What was the goal?
  • How did their goal address the events of September 11?
  • How did they set about achieving their goal?
  • Why did they assign tasks?
  • How did they include the community in their project?

C. Classroom Activity--Project Brainstorm

1. Tell students that--like the students who planned the Middle East Teach-In--they are going to plan a project to address issues arising out of September 11. 
2. Conduct a brief discussion by asking:

  • What is the problem you wish to address? 
  • What is your goal?
  • Will your goal help you reflect on the events of September 11
3. Use Brainstorm Tips to brainstorm a project list by asking "How do you want to reflect on the events of September 11?"  
4. Make a list of project ideas students think are important.
5. Choose a project idea for students to implement with an action plan. 

These Additional Project Ideas may help students create their own project plans.

D. Small-Group Activity—Making an Action Plan

  1. Divide into small groups. Give a copy of Making an Action Plan to each group.
  2. Working in small groups, discuss the questions on the action plan. Write down your answers and be prepared to present your version of the action plan to the other groups.
  3. Present your action plan to the others. Discuss which action plans you like best. Combine the best ideas from each group to make a master plan for a civic participation project.
Important! This is a critical moment. Tell students they will probably want to get busy, get out there, and make some waves. But if you don’t know where you are going, it will be pretty tough to get there. So, before you put it in gear and spin your wheels, construct a strong, workable plan of action.

E. Action Project—Make It Happen!
Have students put their master plan to work.

F. Evaluation—Stop and Think
You are now in the process of making your action project happen. How is it going? Take a minute to write or talk as a group about the following questions:
  1. Does your plan work? Are action steps and tasks being accomplished? Is too much time being spent on some things? Too little time on others?
  2. What obstacles have you encountered? How are you solving them?
  3. What have you learned as an individual?