Lesson Plan

An Ode To Those Who Speak Up

Using slam-poet and teacher, Clint Smith's TedEd, The Danger of Silence and Poetry, students will explore, investigate, and appreciate those who have the courage to stand up against ignorance and social injustice.
Lisa G.
Classroom teacher
Marina Village Middle School
El Dorado Hills, CA
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My Grades 7
My Subjects English Language Arts
  • Students will be able to analyze the theme and purpose of a piece of text
  • Students will be able to synthesize ideas presented in TedEd with Ode Poetry format
  • Students will be able to have thoughtful, reflective discussion with peers 
  • Students will utilize technology as a method to improve presentation of self-authored poem




English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 6 - 9
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook: TedEd - The Danger of Silence

Students will view Clint Smith's explosive spoken word on speaking up and telling the truth and the danger of silence.  After viewing, students will share their initial thoughts on ignorance and social injustice.  This could be done through a backchannel, like TodaysMeet, or in their Writer's Notebook, or in Wall of Words. 


2 Direct Instruction: Examining the Ode

Activity: Reading

Students will participate in close reading of "An Ode To Dreamers".  Close read should unearth text structure, theme, writing strategies author is employing in poem.  Encourage students to dig deep in their annotations and thoughts.  Provide students with both small group collaboration and whole group opportunites to communicate their ideas. 

See Activity:



Student Instructions

Read An "An Ode To Dreamers".  Provide evidence of a close read.  Provide evidence that you understand the poem (summary statements in the margins may serve this purpose).  Notice any style strategies the author used to grab reader’s attention.

Activity/Poem/Directions for Reading:




3 Independent Practice: Remixing the Ode

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students will complete a Remix of Jording's "An Ode to Dreamers", using the ideas presented in Clint Smith's: The Danger of Silence.  Students should consider a time that they witnessed someone say something... instead of holding it in.  Or observed someone being mistreated, and someone stood up for him.  Maybe they witnessed someone who needed help, and watched someone offer assistance.  

Students can upload their poems on Google Drive and poems can be available for peer review and presentation.  

See attached for poem format and sample poem. 



Student Instructions


Complete a Remix of the of B.R. Jording’s poem, using the ideas presented in Clint Smith: The Danger of Silence.  Consider a time that you witnessed someone say something… instead of holding it in.  Or observed someone being mistreated, and someone stood up for him.  Maybe you witnessed someone who needed help, and watched someone offer assistance.  There are those people out there… Consider if Martin Luther King, Jr would have decided it was just too impossible a task to speak out against injustice and racism?

In the poem, please included the following:

  • An ode praising or glorifying a person who has stood up, been a hero, done the right thing
  • 16 lines
  • A moral theme that encourages your reader to be honorable and brave
  • A title that conveys who your reader is speaking about  


4 Wrap Up: Discussion Board

Using Turnitin, or another Discussion Board, expand classroom walls by providing a digital conversation where all voices are heard and students have an opportunity to reflect on the powerful message of TedEd: The Danger Of Silence:

“The Danger of Silence” Discussion Board

Most people want to do the right thing.   Most people want to do good,  help one another,  or stand up  to bullies, injustice, or poverty.    In his talk, “The Danger of Silence,” Clint Smith  discusses the one thing that good people often fail to do:  speak up.

Think of a time when you wanted to speak up or stand up for what you knew was right, but you failed to do so.  Give a brief description of the situation (without using real names), and explain what made it difficult for you to speak up or act.  Why do you regret it?  What would you like to do differently next time?