Listen to the episode by clicking the link to your preferred podcast platform below:
Nancy and Elizabeth Jorgensen are a mother and daughter duo, both teachers and writers. They even worked in the same building for a few years! In this episode, we apply a step-by-step unit planning protocol to dream up a new unit!
Unit Planning Step 1: Context/Spark
Nancy and Elizabeth co-wrote a book about their family member, Gwen Jorgensen, who is an Olympic athlete and the winningest woman in the history of the triathlon.
Unit Planning Step 2: Pursuits (from Dr. Muhammad’s HILL Model)
Identity: How will our unit help students to learn something about themselves and/or about others?
What does it look like to be your best! Tár is a movie about the first female chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.
Criticality: How will our unit engage students’ thinking about power and equity and the disruption of oppression?
Not many middle-grade books and stories about female athletes out there. Title IX. Structures of access. Representation across intersectional identities.
Joy*: How will my unit enable, amplify, and spread joy? [Joy is: beauty, aesthetics, truth, ease, wonder, wellness, solutions to the problems of the world, personal fulfillment, art, music .]
Stories of joy and success and working through or bouncing back from the ache of not achieving success the first time. Student-curated resources (what brings them joy!)
Unit Planning Step 3: Driving Question
What environmental indicators enable us to be our best?
Supporting Question: Who and what do I need?
Unit Planning Step 4: Summative Project (Publishing Opportunity and Possible Formats)
Students write letters to be published in a literary journal OR perform a live artistic/musical piece! Students can discuss what necessary components should be included in selections.
Unit Planning Step 5: Lesson-Level Texts Ideas
Rich Roll’s podcast and YouTube series
Alexi Pappas’s book Bravey
Student-curated resources (e.g., newsletters, music scores)
You can find Elizabeth on www.lizjorgensen.weebly.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find Nancy on www.nancyjorgensen.weebly.com or email her at email@example.com. They are both on Twitter @LyzaJo and @NancyJorgensen
To help you implement a unit like this, Nancy and Elizabeth are sharing their educator guide with you for free. And, if you’re looking for more details on the ideas in this blog post, listen to episode 123 of the Time for Teachership podcast. If you’re unable to listen or you prefer to read the full episode, you can find the transcript here.
If you enjoyed this episode, check out my YouTube channel where I explain what to do when political discussions bring unexpected things:
For transcripts of episodes (and the option to search for terms in transcripts), click here!
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.