Lesson Plans

Making a Movement

Jihad Ghaban (far right) in 2012. Image by Mo’men Jaabo. Jordan, 2012.

Nujood Ali was 10 when she fled her abusive, much older husband and took a taxi to the courthouse in Sanaa, Yemen. The girl's courageous act -- and the landmark legal battle that ensued -- turned her into an international heroine for women's rights. Image by Stephanie Sinclair. Yemen, 2010.

Jihad Ghaban as a freshman at the University of Jordan. Image by Umm Jihad. Jordan.

Jihad Ghaban (left) and Mo’men Jaabo protest against the Syrian regime at the Syrian embassy in Amman. Image by Mo’men Jaabo. Jordan, 2015.

Graffiti scrawled by Jihad Ghaban in his neighborhood reads, “Why does the king live in a castle while the people die of poverty?” Image by Alice Su. Jordan, 2015.

This lesson is written as a series of notes for the facilitator.

Educator Notes: 


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Making a Movement


Students will (1) discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using social media and other forms of communication to bolster a movement and (2) create and present a text that promotes an issue they feel passionately about.

Essential Question:

How does communication and collaboration serve to galvanize a people and sustain a movement?


Provide students with a topic that is relevant to their lives, such as being allowed to leave the school campus for lunch. Ask students: If you were to try and change our school policy so that juniors and seniors were allowed to go off-campus for lunch, what actions would you take? Who would you talk to? What would you say? How might you communicate your position to a large number of people without spending any money?  Direct students to think for one minute and then pair with a neighbor to share their ideas for two minutes. Call on several student groups to present their ideas to the class.   

Introducing the Lesson:

Tell students that during this lesson, they will be reading two texts and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of starting and sustaining a movement through various forms of communication. After reading and discussing, they will create their own text that inspires people to take action on an issue they feel passionately about.

Introducing Resource 1: “The Boy Named Jihad: From the Ashes of the Arab Spring to the Battlefields of Syria”

1. Instruct students to read “The Boy Named Jihad: From the Ashes of the Arab Spring to the Battlefields of Syria” in small groups of four.

  • One student should take on the role of Summarizer, stopping after every one to two paragraphs to jot main ideas and verbalizing a summary of the whole article at the end of the reading.
  • Another student should take on the role of Questioner, stopping to ask clarifying questions as needed and jotting two to three thought-provoking questions to discuss with the whole class.
  • A third student should take on the role of Word Wizard, looking up unfamiliar words and phrases as needed and informing the group of their likely meanings.
  • The fourth student should take on the role of Quotation Hunter, picking out three to five phrases or sentences that represent key take-aways or thought-provoking information from the article.

2. After student groups have finished reading the article, direct individual students to return to the article and underline or high-light at least five ways that Jihad or others spread their ideas and beliefs through different modes of communication.

  • e.g. Jihad and Jaabo marched through Amman, shouting slogans about freedom and political reform.

  • e.g. Jihad filmed Nusra fighters, spread the footage on social media, and peppered Facebook with increasingly extremist posts.

  • In the margins, or on a separate sheet of paper, direct students to jot notes as they consider the advantages and disadvantages of how the beliefs were communicated.

Introducing Resource 2: “Social Media Experts on Ways to Prevent Violence Against Women”

1. Instruct students to individually read “Social Media Experts on Ways to Prevent Violence Against Women” and annotate for wows (what impresses or stand outs to them) and wonders (questions or concerns that they have about the information).

2. Direct students to share their wows and wonders with a partner.


1. Lead a whole class discussion:

  • Project or write on the board: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media and other forms of communication to bolster a movement?
  • Tell students that they will be discussing this question using information from the two texts read during this lesson and from their own observations and experiences. Tell students that the point of the discussion is to expand their thinking on the topic.
  • Go over guidelines for a whole class discussion, such as speaking in a respectful way, building on each other’s ideas, referring to specific points in the texts, and allowing classmates to challenge each other’s thinking.
  • Invite each student to share a word or phrase from the texts read in this lesson that relates to the question projected/written on the board.  Students should not explain why they chose the word or phrase, but simply speak it aloud.
  • Invite a student leader to explain why s/he chose the word or phrase s/he shared, and then encourage students to build on that student’s and others' ideas. Serve as the facilitator for the discussion, prompting students to share more or refer back to the text, as needed.
  • To conclude the discussion, ask students: How have you seen social media or other forms of communication contribute to positive changes in society?

2. Instruct students to create a text that inspires people to take action on an issue they feel passionately about. Students may work in pairs and complete any of the following options for an audience of their choice:

  • A Facebook or Twitter post with an accompanying image and/or a linked website

  • An Instagram photo

  • A phrase to graffiti and a place for it to appear

  • A diptych

  • An editorial cartoon

  • A protest sign

  • An opinion essay

3. Direct students or student pairs to present their texts to the class. Prompt students to share why they chose to create the text, who the text’s main audience is, and why the text will help galvanize and sustain a movement.

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