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Lesson Plan

A Collaboration of Sites and Sounds: Using Wikis to Catalog Protest Songs

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A Collaboration of Sites and Sounds: Using Wikis to Catalog Protest Songs

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Chris Kawakita

Normal, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Protest songs serve as a means to combat social ills and cover a wide array of topics, including racism, sexism, poverty, imperialism, environmental degradation, war, and homophobia. This lesson makes a connection to popular culture by asking students to work in pairs to research and analyze contemporary and historic protest songs. After learning about wikis, each pair posts their analysis of the protest songs to a class wiki, adding graphics, photos, and hyperlinks as desired. The class then works together to organize the entries. Finally, students listen to all of the protest songs and add information and comments to each other's pages.

This lesson works well with a unit focusing on a piece of literature in which a character(s) actively fights for social, political, or economic justice. For example, this lesson can build on a discussion of the issues that Atticus Finch contends with in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Protest Songs: This list from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty includes protest songs on a variety of topics from a variety of artists.

Protest Song Lyrics Research Guide: students can use this handout to research the lyrics to a protest song, including the song's historical significance and its contemporary connections.

Group Participation Assessment Sheet: Use this rubric to assess students' group participation for any group project.

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Meeks and Austin cite group interaction as the catalyst for literacy development. They demonstrate how collaborative projects enable and empower students to learn. This lesson employs the collaborative classroom strategies found in their book, and then extends students' collaborative efforts to a collaborative digital writing space, the wiki.

The open-editing function of wikis leads not only to collaboration, but also to re-conceptualizations of authorship and readership functions. In the democratic world of wikis, its readers also take on the roles of writer, editor, monitor, and arbitrator. By introducing wiki construction and maintenance, this lesson can lead students to a critical analysis of the new spaces in which they read, write, and think.

Further Reading

Meeks, Lynn Langer and Carol Jewkes Austin. 2003. Literacy in the Secondary English Classroom: Strategies for Teaching the Way Kids Learn. Pearson.


Hicks, Troy. "Exploring Copyright through Collaborative Wiki Writing." Classroom Notes Plus 26.2 (October 2008): 7-15


Miller, Nora. 2005. "Wikipedia and the Disappearing ‘Author.'" Etc.: A Review of General Semantics 62.1: 37-40.

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