Student Task

Act Up! Drama for Justice

Do Something
Grade Level


Students write and perform a skit or monologue that brings awareness to a specific issue addressed in the text.

Estimated time

Two to three weeks


Drama can be a powerful tool for social change. It allows students to call attention to injustice and to envision a scene in which injustice is overcome. Using dialogue, students can change the very language associated with the injustice. With drama, students can re-imagine moments of historical courage. Drama is hands on, creative and fun for students.


Get Ready

  1. Show students examples of high quality skits or monologues. A wealth of social justice themed performances by students and adults can be found on YouTube.
  2. Determine whether students will work in groups or individually.

Get Set

  1. Provide students with information about supplies, work schedule and due dates. Use the rubric to define expectations and project components and to clarify how you will assess student work. Tell students if you expect a rough draft of their scenes or monologue.
  2. Ask students to identify a theme or issue from the text about which they feel strongly. Form skit groups around themes, or groups students who want to write and perform monologues.
  3. Introduce students to the Do Something Student Planning Guide. Instruct them to use the Guide to sketch an outline for their skit or monologue.
  4. Pair students or break students into small groups to discuss these questions: What is the conflict in your scene or monologue? How will your scene or monologue end?
  5. Allow ample class time for students to write and rehearse.


  1. Allow time for students to perform for each other during rehearsal. Peer feedback can help students determine if they are clearly communicating their message. 
  2. Schedule formal student performances in each class. If successful, consider inviting guests (e.g., family, administrators) to an encore performance.


Use journal writing or Talking Circles to facilitate student reflection. Suggested reflection questions:
  • What was your performance piece? What were its strengths? How was it effective in conveying its message?
  • Is drama an effective vehicle for social justice change?
  • What did you learn from this experience? What about the process stands out for you? What did you learn from the performances you watched?
  • How does the final product relate back to the central text?

English language learners

Explicitly teach vocabulary associated with the task (“drama,” “improvisation”). Develop a theme-related word bank for students to use in scenes.  Provide ample time for students to practice their lines with you.

Connection to anti-bias education

Dramatic writing allows students to explore their own identities or experiences. They can also enact moments of courage, or re-write a scene that reverses an injustice. Talking through scenarios, performing and reflecting push students to engage the anti-bias themes.

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Learning for Justice in the South

When it comes to investing in racial justice in education, we believe that the South is the best place to start. If you’re an educator, parent or caregiver, or community member living and working in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi, we’ll mail you a free introductory package of our resources when you join our community and subscribe to our magazine.

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