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Grade 12 ELA

Step 1: Recognize Issue

Initiating Incident: Watch one of these videos and create a research question about what actions can be taken to address this issue. Example: How do ordinary citizens take steps to change...

Criminal Justice Reform

Immigrant Rights

Step 2: Network with others invested in change

Go to and copy the template and paste it into a New Google Doc. Title your Google Doc FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME_MIDTERM_NOTES and share it with

Read one of these articles and lift research and type it into your Google Doc. Try to focus your notes on facts and avoid opinions.

Criminal Justice Reform: Cuomo vetoes bill that would have required state to fund legal services for the poor

Immigrant Rights: 600 voicemails and counting…
600 mensajes de voz y contando…

Watch one of these videos and record evidence into your Google Doc. Try to focus your notes on facts and avoid opinions.

Criminal Justice Reform: Protest Group to Demand Police Reforms at City Hall Rally

Immigrant Rights: Immigration rights activisits shut down George Washington Bridge

Listen to a radio program and record evidence into your Google Doc. Try to focus your notes on facts and avoid opinions.

Criminal Justice Reform: WNYC - Public Defender Points To 'Growing Frustration' Over 'Unjust System'

Immigrant Rights: WNYC - Fear and Anxiety Upend Immigrant Lives

Check out an activist organization's website. Record information from the website that connects to your research question into your Google Doc.

For extra credit sign up for their newsletter using your personal email address. Forward welcome email to

Criminal Justice Reform: Just Leadership USA

Immigrant Rights: Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Step 3: Take Action

Open Google Docs and draft an email to one of your elected representatives. Be sure to share draft with

Paragraph 1 (50 word minimum): Introduce yourself. What is your name, age, and address. What issue are you writing about?

I will be looking for professionalism in this introduction. Are you properly spelling and capitalizing proper nouns? Is the information accurate?

Paragraph 2 (150 word minimum): Why is this issue important to you?

Be sure to include a topic sentence and supporting details. Consider both the role of the issue in your own life as well as the impact the issue has on society. This is the "hook" for your letter so make it as engaging is you can!

Paragraph 3 (200 word minimum): What have you learned about this issue?

This paragraph will be as strong as your evidence allows it to be. Be sure to begin with a strong claim and provide context and analysis for supporting evidence. The best paragraphs will share where the information comes from to make it as convincing as possible.

Paragraph 4 (150 word minimum): What do you want your representative to do?

Advocate for specific actions on this issue. Are there laws or initiatives that have been proposed that you support? Are there organizations that you think the representative should meet with? Would you like to meet with them to discuss what they have done? Maybe you would like to them to share what actions they have taken on this issue? These folks work for you and it is your job to hold them accountable!

Go to and find your state assembly member or senator

Email your assembly member or senator and Bcc

Complete a reflection on your handout