13 Guiding Principles in a Tenth Grade Classroom


Tenth graders in Christy Gill’s English class at HB Woodlawn Secondary Program (APSVA), learned about the 13 guiding principles as a part of the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.

As a warm up, students were tasked to answer the following questions,

  •  What do you know about the Black Lives Matter Movement?

  • Why do you think the Black Lives Matter movement began?

  • What do you think are the core principles and values of the Black Lives Matter movement? What is a social movement?

 Some of the students’ answers included,

I think it began because African-Americans were/are being treated unfairly. A lot of assumptions were being made and acted upon.

 The core principles are that Black lives will be treated just like everyone else.

A social movement is a movement made by people trying to fix something in this world that needs changing.

Gill explained that the Black Lives Matter movement started after the death of Trayvon Martin. Students discussed the death of Michael Brown and how unjust it was that both Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were killed because of the color of their skin.

Gill engaged students in the Introduction to the Principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement lesson. In small groups, they discussed two to three of the principles. Each group wrote what the principles they were assigned meant to them in their own words and why their particular principles were part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Each group shared their answers with the classroom as a whole.