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90. Designing a Unit Around the Dobbs v. Jackson Decision

by Lindsay Lyons
October 18th 2022
In today's episode, we are discussing the idea of designing a unit around the Dobbs v. Jackson Decision. 
just a heads up. This episode does contain a content warning for sexual assault, educational justice coach lindsey Lyons and here on the time for teacher ship podcast, we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach. I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings if you're a principal assistant superintendent, curriculum director instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nursing out about co creating curriculum with students. I made this show for you. Here we go recently, I started doing mini curriculum bootcamps. So an hour of free curriculum coaching around a particular topic and the first thing we did is around the Dobbs B Jackson decision by the Supreme Court and the general theme of reproductive justice, bodily autonomy, consent, abortion.

All these things that are intertwined if you didn't catch that very excited to talk to you about it today on the podcast. So here we go. Key principles in any conversation about justice or injustice. It's really important that we have a defined line. We talk a lot about this line as leaders as educators as curriculum designers. How do we quote unquote? Walk the line. I've talked before about how we need to be on the side of justice. It's not negotiable right and I think the best way to describe that is that we need to uphold the dignity for all leaders can get behind that. That is a defensible stance to family members who are enraged that we dare talk about issues of race or gender or sexual orientation or any of the things right. We need to uphold dignity for all people. And so within that, you can get into the details of what that looks like for your district, but that has to be aligned, if not, what are we doing in education, right? We're not really serving students.

So I think the key principle here is getting clear for your district or your school, your classroom even, right? What does it look like to uphold dignity for everyone? The other piece is that justice centered curriculum includes more than just content that addresses an issue, right? It's engaging and relevant content. It is relevant in the sense that it is relevant to our students in the room it represents and affirms intersectional identities. So it doesn't just have a couple authors that are racialized as black and brown, Right? It is affirming of all identities. So that includes the category of race and racial ization, but it also includes gender and sexual orientation, class, nationality, linguistic identity, right? There's all these pieces that intersect and I think the intersections are what makes the ability to have these conversations really truly rich. The other piece of this is current events are always going to be happening, right?

Just by nature of the term current events, how we take that and use the current events unpack them, dig into them. Use them as opportunities to analyze them and apply the frameworks or the content and understandings that are core to our content areas is critical. So a lot of people decided not to attend this mini curriculum coaching session around reproductive justice because they said, well I'm not, you know, a health teacher or I don't teach a feminist class. Right? This is not part of my curriculum. I would argue it should be right. We should have spaces to address large issues and key events that are happening currently that are monumentally impactful to our students and our students, families and our students future lives, right? It is necessary that we have space to unpack this now. It may not directly relate to the content that you've historically taught, but I can guarantee you this topic can be connected to any any content area.

Right? And that's what we'll go through today or that you can kind of brainstorm along with us today. Happy to answer questions on this too. If you want to send me an email message me on any of my social media platforms about this. So the next piece of justice senator curriculum is that its pedagogy is personalized. Sometimes we use the term differentiation, self paced like it's all the things right? It's basically accessible to every student regardless of their readiness of a particular skill. Reading level etcetera. It is accessible to everyone. Everyone can engage it also justice center curriculum also includes an impactful summited assessment. This means there is a purpose beyond the grade eyes and audience members beyond the teacher and the way that it is graded is equitable, right. We have to review the equitable grading policy if it is traditional grading and it is further disadvantaging, students have historically been disadvantaged by the system, we need to unpack that and change that. Finally, Justice centered curriculum includes student voice and ultimately not just student voice is kind of a quick input, a quick reflection on a unit.

Those are important, but a true co creation of what and how they learn, right? I have had previous episodes to talk more about that, but I just wanna remind us those of the key principles. Now, Overall process units signed curriculum boot camp in like 30 seconds, we start with priority standards important to keep them short. 4 to 8 relevant context comes next. What's the current event we're addressing in this case? The Dobbs decision Next, we have a driving question, this must uphold dignity. So a person's rights are not up for debate. The driving question has to enable students to answer in different ways and land on the side of justice, no matter how they answer a summit of project that's ultimately answering the driving question and students can help co create what this actually looks like. Is it a movie, is it a presentation to a school board, is it a policy change, right? Whatever it is from there we say. How do we get there? We backwards design. Here's our unit arc. This is our pattern of purposeful protocols or lesson level activities that we do. We repeat the same few 3 to 5 says E.

L. Education is recommended. They have different protocols or purposes. Excuse me. Maybe discussion text analysis, pure feedback, independent learning. And finally as we have those in place, we know the core thing we're teaching. What's most essential in terms of content? How are we doing it? What's the one protocol per lesson now? We resource gathering. We have a strategy for that. What are the texts, the movies, the um you know film clips, the songs, the primary sources, the secondary sources, the news article. The actual literal decision, the text of the Dobbs Decision all of these pieces um a transcript of an interview with a person affected by this podcast, all of the texts that we might want to share. So what I will ask you to do now as you're driving in your car and listening to this as you're running as you're baking as you're doing dishes, whatever it is. Take a moment and map out in your mind or even better if you have paper. I physically love doing this. I do this with students.

Mind map activity. There are also definitely great opportunities to do this in digital formats. If you're on your computer. So jam board, you can do this with some sticky notes in the pen. You can do this? Um, Kagle C O G L E. Is a great one as well to do a digital mind map. But think about all of the related events topics, content standards, texts. And I use texts loosely as I described earlier. Questions what comes to mind when we think about reproductive justice or the Dobbs decision specifically as a tournament take some time here. You can pause this if you need more time. Of course you will. Or you can return to it and think later. But for example, we might say the Dobbs decision conjures up for me ideas of reproductive justice that are, that are quite broad. So what does that mean? Well, that means we have bodily autonomy. Okay, well that means we talk about consent. That means we talk about consent as early as you know, preschool.

It's not okay. It's a hug that child or touch that child. I don't want to be touched. No, you do not have to go kiss Aunt Susie. You can wave goodbye instead. That's your choice. You have bodily autonomy. I can't tell you what to do with your body. Right? So as you think about these things, right? You go deeper and deeper and you have different questions that might arise. Different content standards that might connect reproductive justice also could go to science route. So if I teach science and might be thinking like, okay for sterilization, um experimentation on different bodies that have been racialized as black and brown by doctors by white doctors. Often white male doctors. How do those dynamics play out? Right. How do does our current understanding of biology um come from this manipulation? Um Un consensual, non consensual manipulation of bodies, right? Or coerced sterilization practices, right? Like what what does all of this have to do with the Dobbs decision? Really interesting um connections and opportunities to explore deeper and have a better understanding of all the things that have come to bear on this decision.

Right? So group brainstorm again, you can do this with students as well, but I think it's really powerful to do with colleagues and then get to dive in. Maybe even have an intersectional uh interdisciplinary unit come out of it. That was that is also intersectional. Alright, so Adams we're ready to create some units. I encourage you to first brainstorm some driving questions that uphold dignity, right? Remember any way that students answer, they should be able to answer in a variety of ways has to uphold dignity. So perhaps how can we provide great health care for everyone living in the United States? Right? Or what is pro human health care look like? So just having that discussion, you can land in a lot of ways um that still maintain dignity. What would it look like to effectively balance safety and freedom here, especially if you're a history teacher or you teach a government course and you're really focused on the Supreme Court 2022 Supreme Court decisions. There are a variety of options that you could kind of make connections to and carry these threads of safety and freedom throughout each of those decisions.

And you can kind of compare contrast around identity and who gets to determine safety, who gets to have that freedom. Super, fascinating actually, MS magazine's podcast on the issues with Michelle Goodwin has a Supreme Court in review for 2022 episode. It's about an hour along with an amazing panel um that is available if you want to listen and get some concrete ideas what or what is or has been the most effective social change strategy. I've used this in a lot of history literacy units. So you can kind of think about Supreme Court rulings as agents of change historically, how social movements, how art, how music, how all of these things um protest culture, all the things how they connect and work together to lead to social change. And then you can have students kind of debate or discuss, you know, which one is most effective? Most powerful? Why are how is intersectionality important and the impact of the dob cjackson decision.

So you can actually really focus in on intersectionality and different identities and how they intersect. You could also explore this in parallel. For example, like you T T. L. A. With another text or another situation that is explored in a novel, fictional or otherwise. There's some really cool things I think that you could do as well around the question similar to kind of that idea of looking at all the Supreme Court decisions, you can also determine, you know, who gets to have their rights, right, who gets the right? I think you can workshop that question a little bit better. I just kind of riffing here, but I think that is another key question that is Really interesting to unpack around specifically the Supreme Court's decisions in the year 2022. So after that, you would come up with a project or this is ideally best done with students. So you might want to throw out two or three ideas for students? For example, if you are saying, what would it look like to effectively balance safety and freedom? Perhaps you encourage students to draft their own constitutions, right?

What what does it look like? Show me, tell me, um perhaps it's a multimedia project presentation of sorts. Could be a movie. Could be a podcast or interview where especially if you're you're teaching the school with students who are from different countries or have family members from different countries, interviewing people who have lived in different countries under different government structures and said like, you know, did you have a lot of safety? Do you have a lot of freedom? How does that contrast to the United States model and doing some additional research as well and then just throw it to students. Are you interested in, you know, creating a multimedia project like a podcast or a movie? Are you interested in writing your traditional essay, creating your own constitution? Like what does that look like? As long as you hit all of the standards on the rubric that you're trying to ask your good, Right. Hey, everyone, just a quick reminder that you're free resource for this episode is a collection of all the different links and resources that I'm talking about today. You can grab it at lindsey Beth Lyons dot com slash blog slash 90. Now. Back to the episode. Right. And so again, those go back to our priority standards 4-8 throughout the course.

As long as we're practicing those at each project, we're good. Next. You want to figure out, you know, how do I teach this? So what are my protocols? What is my unit arc? Each monday? Perhaps we want to have a circle where we come back together. We check in just emotionally Right. This is some tough stuff. How are we doing? Perhaps there are uh, you know, ongoing pieces to the current event. There's like an evolution of what's been happening in the last week and we want to check in and get the facts straight. Right? And then we also want to check in again or under motion or energy levels. Create a new list of questions that they're going to explore that week. Right. Maybe we have Tuesdays or another particular protocol. Right? Maybe every friday we have a Socratic seminar or it's very academic discussion, whereas monday's was very personal. Right? Whatever it is, you can have something where monday's repeat the same protocol and each day of the week is a different protocol, but you can also have, you know, for this week we're going to focus on this protocol and every day this week we're going to do this text based text analysis protocol. And then next week we're going to do a bunch of discussions, group discussion, whole class discussion, independent writing.

You know, whatever it is to unpack all the things that we looked at. Finally you're going to want to make sure you have a strategy for resource gathering. My strategy is content resources are curated, you're going to go find them. My hint to myself is abc always be curating. It's very important to not just leave this to the last minute, but as you see something, as you hear about a current event, you listen to podcasts. You see a clip on john Oliver, you know, whatever it is, you're like, well I would like to someday integrate that into my class add that somewhere. Right? Maybe that is a google doc. Maybe that's your notes app on your phone. Maybe it's just your voice notes on your phone. Um find a place, right? It in a physical paper binder. Find a place, right it all in the same place and you can consult it later and kind of curate from there. Also identify I would say have 2 to 3 websites for example facing history and ourselves teaching tolerance. Formerly teaching tolerance. Currently it's learning for justice. Um, there are some wonderful resources there in terms of documents.

So you want to kind of check those out as well to say, hey, I know where to find primary sources. I know where to find an image or a video on this topic. News outlet is also a really great one that can respond to current events and you can also level the text. I also have some key podcasts that I routinely listen to as well. So those are some things that you might want to consider process resources in terms of the worksheets or the physical paper or you know, graphic organizers that students are using during a class. I create those and I create those because I want them to be just right because I'm gonna use them like 20 times a year or 50 times a year. Right? I want them to be perfect. I don't want to grab them from somewhere else. I can tweak them as I need to as we evolve throughout the year. Students can help me with that adjustment and then also I want to have like a google doc template bank or something where students can say, I want to select this graphic organizer for this thing I'm doing because I know all of our templates. We have few and they are mighty and I know how to use them. I don't need to learn something new.

I don't need the teacher to create it for me. And that builds student independence ultimately. So there are a bunch of resources on reproductive justice and consent. Um, I might create a free resource for this particular episode and share with you in the show notes. But just to give you a sense on the issues. As I mentioned, Michelle Goodwin, great podcast from MS magazine. They did a special episode in response to the job Cjackson decision with an amazing panel as well. Things I love about it and mentions a series of essays and abortion essential to democracy. Definitely text that I might use in this particular unit talks about Dr king's acceptance speech for a planned parenthood award in which he actually talks about the importance of abortion access. And he has been quoted as saying, I'm not going to segregate my moral concerns talking about the intersection of various oppressions. So I think that's a very powerful. It reminds me very much of Audrey Lord's quote, right? We don't live single issue lives, which I believe they also reference repeatedly in that episode as well. Um speaking to the importance of intersectionality as we design.

They also talk more about the cases that actually happened at the same time as row versus wade that were far more intersectional and addressed identity and this issue of abortion access and reproductive justice in a far more robust way. But they weren't picked up by the Supreme Court. So just super interesting things that even as a former teacher of history that I didn't even know about and would be fascinating to dive into with students, um there's also a podcast episode in here that I'm going to recommend good Inside with dr Becky is an episode of parenting and consent. And they talk about how teaching consent actually involves helping kids, particularly young Children, but really Children of any age figure out how to manage frustration when they hear no. And to me that was fascinating, right? When you hear no, you have to be able to accept no, you can be frustrated but you have to handle that frustration without acting out right without without harming another person, I should say. Right? So you have to have healthy ways of feeling managing your frustration.

And we have to model how we manage our frustration when we hear now. And that spans a lot of things right from as a parent saying no to your child and having them manage that frustration to things like can I touch you know, Oh, okay. Like I have to handle that, right? So this again starts young K 12, there's actually a consent stay standards K 12 framework, It's from national sex education standards, core content and skills document produced in 2020. And so you can see the standards for consent, bodily autonomy kind of these things as you move through the years. And so when people say, oh, we can't address that in kindergarten, like of course it's going to look different, but consult things like this that really build a foundation so that in high school teachers are not trying to completely undo all of the inappropriate things and unhealthy things that students have learned because we never talked about it before. And also a note on this and and um dr Goodwin talks about this on the issues podcast. But when people say in elementary school, we shouldn't be talking about the college decision.

There are nine year old Children, 10 year old Children that often as a result of rape have been in a situation where they need to have an abortion, right? Those kids are sitting in our class, they have to know that this is happening, that they have space to talk about it in a productive generative dignity upholding way, right? Like this is affecting our kids and it has the potential to affect our kids, even if it currently isn't or we don't know that it is right. I think that's truly, truly important social justice standards. Learning for justice has a bunch of standards K through 12 there in bands. I believe there's three bands as you can talk about social justice standards in terms of alignment as well.

Um and then I share a bunch of my favorite kind of resources for certain topics consent. There's one consent for kids. There's the tea and consent metaphor video super good. Um, I share a lot about specific Supreme Court references that I've used in high school and college. When I've been talking about this um intersectionality texts um, texts on reproductive justice and websites. There's like a maternal health map, a world abortion laws map. That's interactive and updated uh different statistics and graphs around maternal mortality. So a lot of really interesting things as well as a ton of podcast episodes that are touching on this issue. So with that I am going to leave you with kind of just thinking about all of the things right? All of the things that we've talked about I want you to remember. We center dignity in all that we do. Current events are relevant, engaging and students deserve a place to unpack them. We start I think with you know, once you have your priority standards, you've identified that relevant context of event.

You're driving question. So we start with the driving question. If you spend a bunch of time transforming a great driving question where students can answer in different ways and uphold dignity. You are off to the races. Excellent. Start let me know if you have questions and of course I have a bunch of curriculum bootcamp relevant resources for you. I'll be continuing to hold many curriculum coaching sessions, let me know if you are interested in talking about a particular topic and I will see you next week if you're leaving this episode, wanting more, you're going to love my live coaching intensive curriculum bootcamp. I help one department or grade team create feminist, anti racist curricula that challenges affirms and inspires all students. We leave current events into course content and amplify student voices which skyrockets engagement and academic achievement. It energizes educators feeling burned out and it's just two days plus you can reuse the same process any time you create a new unit, which saves time and money. If you can't wait to bring this to your staff, I'm inviting you to sign up for a 20 minute call with me, grab a spot on my calendar at www dot lindsey beth Lyons dot com slash contact.

Until next time. Leaders continue to think big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the teach, Better podcast network, Better today, Better tomorrow and the podcast to get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better dot com slash podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode

90. Designing a Unit Around the Dobbs v. Jackson Decision
90. Designing a Unit Around the Dobbs v. Jackson Decision
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