Pulitzer Center Lesson Builder
The Pulitzer Center Lesson Builder is a digital tool and a supporting community of educators. They provide free lesson plans for teachers and educators, focused on current events and world issues in the news today. View some of the most popular lessons here!
Sample Lesson Plan Themes
Students will learn about how debt and tougher border enforcement in the U.S. are both contributing to migration, and what the effects are on the community left behind.
Students will be able to evaluate audio and print reporting on the long-term causes and effects of family migration from rural Guatemala in order to research or write about the history and implications of migration to the U.S.
Depicting War: Examining the Conflict in Yemen High School, College
Students explore reporting on the Yemeni war and consider: What forms can war take, and how does it affect civilians directly and indirectly? How can journalists report on a conflict well?
Students will be able to…
- define different types of wars and how they apply to the Yemeni conflict
- identify war’s direct and indirect effects on civilians
- analyze the purpose and efficacy of narrative and investigative journalism
- evaluate how the order of a story affects its meaning
Exploring Afropunk’s Global Influence Elementary, Middle School, High School
Students explore Afropunk as a global social catalyst and consider art and fashion’s relationship to identity, culture, and social movements.
Students will be able to…
- explain the Afropunk music festival and its role as a social catalyst
- identify art and fashion’s relationship to identity, culture, and social movements
Documenting Stories of Resilience: Ballet in Brazil’s Favelas Middle School, High School
This lesson explores how film is used to tell the stories of young ballerinas in Brazil’s favelas, resulting in art and/or research projects examining resilience.
This lesson examines how film is used to explore the stories of dancers who live in Brazil’s favelas, which are highly populated neighborhoods in the country’s capital city of Rio de Janeiro. The stories were captured as part of a short documentary film by Frederick Bernas and Rayan Hindi for VICE News.
“With an average 20 incidents of weapons fired every day in Rio, last year saw more than 100 police deaths – as well as hundreds more civilians, many of whom are caught in the crossfire of confrontations in their local areas,” write Bernas and Hindi in an article accompanying their film.
- What do you think is causing violence in the favelas?
- How could violence in these neighborhood impact the children who live there?
- How do you think the children will respond to the violence? What actions might they take that demonstrate resilience?
Video Discussion: Exploring Democracy with Formerly Incarcerated People Middle School, High School, College
Engage students in a dialogue about democracy with photojournalist Andrea Bruce and members of a re-entry program in Memphis, Tennessee.
Through Our Democracy, documentary photographer Andrea Bruce aims to engage audiences in an open study of democracy while also democratizing journalism itself. She hopes to empower individuals who represent today’s biggest changes or challenges to democracy to tell their own stories.
She invites Americans across the country to document democracy’s effects in their own lives and communities and contribute to the project’s Instagram feed @ourdemocracy. She also endeavors to create a multimedia map that showcases this community reportage alongside her own photography over the next two years.
Her project moves to a new location each month. The first city she visited was Memphis, Tennessee, where she spent time with Lifeline for Success, a community of formerly incarcerated men and women.
The following lesson offers ideas for utilizing video documentation of Andrea’s discussion about democracy with Lifeline community members as a means to begin a classroom conversation about incarceration, the American voting system, and the relationship between community and democracy.
Teachers who are interested in challenging students to produce their own journalistic work for Our Democracy can explore this project-based unit: Teaching Journalism through Our Democracy.
Caring About Climate: Telling the Human Story of Climate Change All Grade Levels
Students will consider the relationship between humans and the natural world through evaluating a podcast, exploring photography, discussion, and writing.
Piecing the Story Together: Visual Literacy Activity Using Photo Puzzles Elementary, Middle School, High School
Independently and collaboratively, students piece together photo puzzles and investigate the stories behind them, all the while considering: Why is it important to seek out the full story?
Research and Debate: The Battle Over Land in the Brazilian Amazon Middle School, High School, College
Students evaluate two broadcast stories on the battle for land in the Brazilian Amazon in order to craft arguments about how they think land in the Amazon should be used.
Visual Storytelling: Crafting Images that Reflect Personal Stories All Grade Levels
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to evaluate how photojournalist Daniella Zalcman communicates interviews with blended photography in order to create their own blended portraits that communicate how their identities are impacted by significant memories.
photographs by Daniella Zalcman
Previous Contests & Workshops
Fighting Words: Poetry in Response to Current Events (Contest & Workshop) Elementary, Middle School, High School
Announcing the Pulitzer Center Poetry Contest!
How can poetry be an effective response to current events and under-reported stories? How can we use poetry to connect global issues to our local and personal contexts? Students are invited to explore these questions and make their voices heard in their entries to the Fighting Words Poetry Contest.
- 1st place: $100, publication on the Pulitzer Center website
- 2nd place: $50, publication on the Pulitzer Center website
- 3rd place: $25, publication on the Pulitzer Center website
- Finalists: Publication on the Pulitzer Center website
Eligibility: Any current K-12 student in the United States or internationally may enter.
Deadline: Monday, May 20, 2019 11:59 PM EST
Submission guidelines: Go to the Pulitzer Center website and select a story (see workshop guide below for suggestions). Write a poem of any form and length that includes lines from the story. Use “With lines from “STORY TITLE” by JOURNALIST NAME, a Pulitzer Center reporting project” as your epigraph.
Send poem(s) to email@example.com as a Word document, PDF, GoogleDoc, audio file, or video. If you choose to submit an audio or video file, please include a transcript of your poem as well. Do not include your name in the document.
In the body of your email, please include your full name, school, grade, state and/or country, and phone number.
Judging criteria: Poems will be judged by the following criteria:
- Success of the poem on its own terms (craft, linguistic style, emotion, etc.)
- Successful inclusion of lines quoted from a Pulitzer Center story
Schedule a Workshop to Prepare: Teachers and after-school activity leaders who would like to prepare their students to craft poems for this contest can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a workshop for their students facilitated by a Pulitzer Center education team member, or may use the workshop guide outlined below.
You can view last year’s winning poems here.
For more detailed information, visit the full Pulitzer Center’s Lesson Plan here!