product cover images of resources included in this roundup

When it comes to civic engagement, students can be powerful advocates for change. But before a student can stand up for what they believe is right, they often need to discover their own voice and formulate their own opinions in the classroom. So how can you help your student feel empowered and activated? The resources in this roundup are a great place to start. 

All of these resources were created by educators who participated in TpT’s Teach for Justice program. Each in their own way, these resources can help you uplift your students’ voices and opinions as well as encourage their interests in civic engagement. Check out the resources below, and read more from the educators who created them. Plus, be sure to browse the full Teach for Justice collection on TpT for more resources that apply anti-racist and social justice teaching practices.

10 resources for supporting civic engagement and encouraging student voice 

Modern Maestro

Liz from Modern Maestro

I thought it was important to provide resources to help teachers and students have conversations around the complexities that contribute to social injustice. By creating and offering the “Protest Songs: Music of Social Change Composition Project Unit”, I am offering instructional communities an opportunity to be reflective, culturally relevant and responsive, while amplifying student voice and creating opportunity for reconciliation.  

About Liz: Dr. Elizabeth Palmer holds degrees in Music Technology from Susquehanna University (B.A.) and Music Education from Towson University (M.S.) and USC (D.M.A.). She is an instrumental music teacher in Maryland and a contributor to the middle school band and orchestra curriculum for her district. Liz is the founder of Modern Maestro, Inc., a non-profit offering enrichment programs and professional development for music students and teachers. Her research focuses on social and cultural capital, social justice, and culturally relevant/responsive pedagogies. Her research has been presented at international and domestic conferences and is published in “Update: Applications of Research in Music Education”. 

Protest Songs: Music of Social Change Unit w/5 Lessons Virtual/Hybrid/In-Person

6th – 12th grade

This is an Online Resource for Google Apps™. Learn More

SchoolinLife32 X TeachLove

Eghosa from SchoolinLife32 X TeachLove

As a student, I remember feeling disengaged because I was rarely introduced to classrooms that had any representation of me. That lack of representation dramatically impacted my teaching practice. Culturally responsive teaching provides students the opportunity to expand their connection to the material being presented.  That connection allows them to be invested in the material and work towards understanding the bigger picture. 

About Eghosa: Eghosa is a first generation Nigerian American originally from Sacramento who has over 14 years of experience as an educator and culturally-responsive curriculum creator. She is co-founder of Making Us Matter, a Black-woman-owned, nonprofit, educational organization. She is currently pursuing an Education doctorate with a concentration in Racial Justice at the University of San Francisco. Her research is centered on the experiences of Black girl learners and she seeks collective liberation and visibility for those who have been left in the margins.  

Project Power: The intersections of race and science

9th – 12th grade

This is an Online Resource for Google Apps™. Learn More

Foursquare Schoolhouse

Tina from Foursquare Schoolhouse

For the last several years, a major focus of my personal and professional growth has been related to equity and culturally relevant teaching. Personally, I am looking to understand my own intrinsic bias and confront beliefs that may impact my teaching. Professionally, I have incorporated research-based strategies into my classroom that focus on equity, inclusion, and anti-racist practices. If the events of 2020 have taught me anything it is that now is the time to transform education.

About Tina: Having taught middle school since 2009 in California and Florida, Tina has experience teaching U.S. history, world history, and civics/government, as well as, English language arts and journalism. Her teaching focuses mainly on historical thinking and literacy skills. Her lessons are rigorous and use a lot of inquiry and collaboration. She loves watching students investigate sources and create their own meaning.

The American Dream: Founding Principles Through a Social Justice Lens

7th – 12th grade

Science Betta - the store

Science Betta

The topic I prepared for the Teach for Justice initiative is Lead in the Water. What happened in Flint is atrocious, current, and more relatable to my students. It is a topic that can be readily used in the chemistry classroom, thus allowing chemistry teachers to approach social justice.

About Science Betta: Science Betta completed her undergraduate degree in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, where she also was a chemistry lab instructor. She previously worked in the biology department at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. From there, she completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry. She conducted her postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University, and practiced teaching at Clark Atlanta University. Currently, she holds a secondary teaching credential in California and is certified to teach chemistry and biology at the high school level.

Teach for Justice | Dimensional Analysis | Lead in the water 

10th – 12th grade

MzChristinaJ "LibraryLadyC"

Christina from MzChristinaJ “LibraryLadyC”

Too often, materials on social justice and/or racism are either nonexistent or are biased in a way that doesn’t present the whole truth. In the past, those materials have lacked authenticity, as historical recollections are controlled by the oppressors. I wanted to help “fill in some of those gaps” with real/ forgotten accounts. 

About Christina: Christina is a media specialist at a public high school, where she specializes in collection development and ensures that all students have books and materials that speak to their needs. Before this, she taught high school English for 13 years. She holds a B.A. in English and Secondary Education and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Norfolk State University, and she earned an endorsement in Library Science from Old Dominion University. She is the vice president of a local chapter of a state-wide reading association and specializes in student mentorship. Christina is a true lover of literacy and a champion of representation in its various forms. 

Black (African American) Massacres in the Midwestern United States

8th – 12th grade

This is an Online Resource for Google Apps™. Learn More


Chasity from ChasityWrites

Before I stood at the front of the classroom, I was a teacher. I started as a child reading books and encyclopedias about African Americans. As an adult, I realized that much of the limited educational resources about African Americans is not written by African Americans. This is a gap that I seek to fill. I can bring my perspective as an African American educator to classrooms across the country. I can expand students’ exposure to key African American leaders and go beyond the traditional narrative.

About Chasity: Chasity is an English professor at Elgin Community College. She also has taught English language arts and history to youth who had been incarcerated. Chasity currently serves as the inaugural Poet Laureate for the city of Elgin. She is the author of How to Create a World, and her work has been published in Bitterzoet Magazine, BRAVO, and Electric Moon. She frequently holds writing workshops and readings. Her spoken word has been featured in the Bedlam Theatre’s 10X10 Fest and the Elgin Fringe Festival. Before working as a full-time college instructor, Chasity worked as a newspaper reporter. 

Ida B. Wells Life Study 

4th – 9th grade


Terry from Ms Kawi

I was motivated to create resources for the Teach for Justice grant program because I saw it as an opportunity to model what transformative, learner-centered learning can look like. 

About Terry: Terry is an 6th – 8th grade English language arts teacher and instructional coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is finishing her 8th year teaching and considers herself an actively antiracist, culturally responsive, and sustaining practitioner. In addition, she runs a teacher account on Instagram (@Ms_Kawi) and is a monthly writer for PBS Teachers’ Lounge. 

Mini-Unit: What is Activism?

3rd – 8th grade

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Elvis Alves

Elvis Alves

As an informed Black educator, I cannot bypass issues of race, class, and gender. I see antiracist work as a responsibility and employ poetry to bring about awareness, and ultimately action, regarding this work. For this project, I borrow from the works of Black poets who participate in a tradition that encourages radical social change, and that students can learn from in terms of grounded activism. 

About Elvis: Elvis is a graduate of Colgate University and Princeton Theological Seminary. He has taught middle school to the college level. His expertise lies in the areas of English, history, and religion. Elvis is a published writer and poet. His “I Am No Battlefield But A Forest Of Tree Growing” was awarded the Jacopone da Todi poetry prize by Franciscan University Press (2018). Elvis lives in New York City with his family.  

Pivoting Towards Social Activism 

6th – 12th grades

Fannie's RAW Content Market

Rachel from Fannie’s RAW Content Market

Students, and even educators, MUST know our history and how it impacts our present, which will then help determine our future. I don’t want students to have a biased, blurry, or even non-existent view and understanding of how people throughout history responded to and resisted unjust practices, leading to reform or even the dismantling of unsuccessful/oppressive systems….I created my resources to expose students to this rich history, and hopefully they takeaway huge chunks from it and are hungry to learn even more.

About Rachel: Rachel has 15 years of experience in education, currently teaches 7th grade, and has previously taught English language arts, writing, and social studies from elementary school through to college. Each year, her teaching becomes more unapologetic, raw, creative, and social-justice based. She knew she wanted to work with adolescents, specifically with creative writing, and to publish a literary magazine. On top of accomplishing this, she has been a mentor teacher, grade team leader, and student council advisor. A creative lens, along with her genuine love of history, books, written expression, and how it all connects with the real world and ourselves, are a few of what she says are her teaching superpowers.

Resist-Revolt-Reform (Five Lesson Unit)

5th – 9th grade

Terri and Heather from Expeditions in Empathy

With the current political and social climate, we feel that now it is more important than ever to openly discuss issues of social justice, and not only connect current events to history, but to also teach students how we, as a nation, got to the issues with which we are presented today in hopes that they will begin the work to improve the future.

About Terri and Heather: Terri and Heather are 7th and 8th grade educators who teach social studies (geography, US and Arkansas history) and English respectively. Prior to their current positions, Terri served as an adjunct instructor at a local university and Heather taught AP language and AP literature. Heather has also co-authored several studies and articles about the efficacy of young adult literature in the classroom to teach social justice issues.

Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Power of Protest

8th – 11th grade

This is an Online Resource for Google Apps™. Learn More

By teaching about civic engagement, educators can help students discover the power of their own voices and opinions. For support in this important work, you can turn to the 10 resources in this post to help you get started or deepen your current practices. And if you need more ideas and inspiration for incorporating more anti-racist and social justice teaching methods into your instruction, check out the full Teach for Justice collection on TpT.