Listen to the episode by clicking the link to your preferred podcast platform below:
Jason Reagin is the Middle Years Program Coordinator at the Western Academy of Beijing. His teaching background is in 'Design' education. In this episode, we apply a step-by-step unit planning protocol to dream up a new Design unit!
Unit Planning Step 1: Context/Spark
The school and Jason wants to do more with curricula that connects with environmental and organizational sustainability and advances Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice.
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?
Jason wants students to explore different innovation approaches beyond the innovators who are typically studied (i.e., White guys from western contexts from the Industrial Revolution to today).
One way he’s historically done this in class is to trace where a candy bar came from. Students learn 90% of the contributions to get the candy bar in their hands were not from western nations.
Criticality: How will our unit engage students’ thinking about power and equity and the disruption of oppression?
Jason wants students to explore multiple entry points in design conversations. He shared an example of the colors red and green used on a Chinese website being used as having opposite meanings from what Americans typically associate with those colors.
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
Students should experience fulfillment in everything we do. It can be hands-on learning, doing something that’s currently relevant to students.
Unit Planning Step 3: Driving Question
How can I design this package so it meets our triple bottom line rubric?
(Students can co-create the name of their triple bottom line that encompasses identity, criticality, and joy!)
Unit Planning Step 4: Summative Project (Publishing Opportunity and Possible Formats)
Students co-create a “triple bottom line” rubric and name it. Then, design packaging for a product. Ask the target audience to evaluate the design.
Unit Planning Step 5: Unit Arc
Hook: Disassemble and explore packaging of different products. Invite students to bring in a package of their own.
Build the Base: Traditional triple bottom line concept, then design their own class rubric
Project Work Time/Feedback:
You can find Jason on Twitter. (Also, listen to his podcast, Design Cast!)
To help you create your own justice-centered unit, I’m sharing my Curriculum Planner with you for free. And, if you’re looking for more details on the ideas in this blog post, listen to episode 124 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 create my own unit plan with music:
For transcripts of episodes (and the option to search for terms in transcripts), click here!
Time for Teachership is now a proud member of the...
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.