“I believe Girl Rising has influenced my belief that one of the biggest parts of my job is to give students platforms to speak on, perspectives to learn from, love of learning and a promise that if we take care of each other our collective futures will be brighter.” - Elise Regan
School: Sterling Middle School, Quincy, MA (Public)
Subject: English/Language Arts
Number of Students: 80
Common Core Standards met: Grade 8 RI 1-7, S&L 1-6
How do you use and teach Girl Rising?
Girl Rising is the end of the year unit for 8th grade ELA. This project based learning unit has an emphasis on "real life" writing, they write project proposals, write for the purpose of reflecting on internal beliefs, biases and emotions. Furthermore, during this unit there is an emphasis on public speaking wherein students are explicitly taught how to speak about a project in regard to: what they did, how they did it and why they did it. They must memorize their speeches and present them in a community living museum wherein people from the community (parents, administration etc) come to the school and students showcase their work and express their learning.
My students' final projects are then part of a system wide symposium wherein all of the 5 middle schools in Quincy share their work. All of the schools use some or a lot of the Girl Rising curriculum.
I use this slideshow for the unit. There are links embedded that may need sharing permission so please email for permission.
Which Girl Rising materials did you use?
Full Film (Wadley (Haiti), Suma (Nepal), Senna (Peru), and Ruksana (India)’s chapters)
Girl Rising Young Adult Book
Educator's edition DVD teacher's guide
Content posted on Girl Rising's social media channels
Additional Resources Used:
TEDTalk: A Boat Carrying 500 Refugees Sunk at Sea: The Story of Two Survivors (This TedTalk I showed students to provide additional insight into what refugees go through. It is very intense and I offered students the option to do an additional project if they felt triggered, however they did not. )
Video Clips: On the Way to School
Was there a community action component included as part of the Girl Rising unit?
Yes, we had a community celebration of Girl Rising with themes of public education, local leadership, and global citizenship. The community celebration is 2 hours long. The first hour is in the auditorium of Quincy High School, each of the 5 middle schools contributes with some form of art (dance, spoken word poetry, narrative, singing etc) then students showcase their projects in the cafeteria as part of a living museum.
Some student projects from the showcase:
What do you most want your students to learn from Girl Rising?
What I want them to learn most from this unit is that they have a voice and a say in the world they want to live in. They can use their voice to empower themselves and others about issues they feel are important. They also learn to contextualize the privilege that is a free and public education, which to many students inspires them to be more invested in their learning.
Will you recommend Girl Rising to your teacher colleagues? What will you tell them?
Yes, I recommend Girl Rising to colleagues, I tell them that the kids will come alive with it. They will get excited about it and they will take their learning to very creative places. I also tell them that I love it and can help them navigate using the curriculum. And I also tell them that the staff at Girl Rising is incredibly helpful and resourceful so they can ask them if they have further questions.