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Teacher Guide

Be an Upstander at Home

This guide lets teachers work with the Be an Upstander resource and video to create at‐home lessons for students.

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We have adapted some of our education programs and resources to support teachers and students in their efforts to keep learning at home during the COVID‐19 pandemic. 

This version of the Be an Upstander teacher guide simplifies the classroom project into four at‐home lessons, incorporating a video introduction and an interactive web resource.

The first three lessons introduce students to upstanders and human rights and connect with their learning on a personal level. The final lesson challenges students to become a human rights upstander through a completing a small, action‐oriented inquiry project.

Lesson 1: What is an upstander?

  1. Video introduction

    • What is an upstander? Before watching the video, write down your answers to that question.
    • Watch the video.
    • After watching the video, look at your answer again. How is your answer similar to what you learned? What would you add or change?
  2. Explore:

    • Explore the stories of Viola Desmond and Malala Yousafzai from the "Case Studies" section of the Be an Upstander website. (You will find this link in the expandable left-side menu.)
    • As you read, use the highlight tool to identify the traits of an upstander.
  3. Connect:

    Do you know any upstanders? Remember: upstanders don’t have to be famous.  There are upstanders all around us!

    • Who is an upstander you know? Explore this question using the “Upstanders You Know” section of the Be an Upstander website. (You will find this link in the expandable left-side menu.)
  4. Tell:

    Choose an upstander from the “Upstander Stories” section of the Be an Upstander website. (You will find this link in the expandable left-side menu.) Tell your teacher about the upstander you chose.

    • What injustice did they recognize?
    • What personal strengths do they have and how did they use those strengths to create change?
    • How did they create change and take a stand for human rights?

Video: Virtual Museum Tour: Be an Upstander

Lesson 2: What are human rights?

  1. Explore:

    Learn about 15 of the 30 articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, using the “United Nations” section of the Be an Upstander website. (You will find this link in the expandable left‐side menu.)

  2. Connect:

    Choose three articles that interest you.

    How do you experience the freedoms that these three articles describe?

  3. Tell:

    Search the web, check the news or talk to an adult to find three examples of when these three rights were not respected. (We call this a “human rights injustice.”)

    Don’t know where to start? Try this site: UNICEF – Stories and features.

    Answer the following questions and share with your teacher: 

    1. Who is affected by this injustice?
    2. Where is this happening?
    3. Why is this happening?

Lesson 3: What are your strengths?

  1. Explore:

    Choose three upstanders from the “Upstander Stories” section of the Be an Upstander website. (You will find this link in the expandable left‐side menu.).

    Create a list of their strengths and passions.

  2. Connect:

    Create a list of your own strengths and passions.

    • Write down a list of strengths you think you have.
    • Ask the people in your house what they think your strengths are.
    • Connect virtually with two friends or relatives who are not in your house. Ask them the same question about what strengths they recognize in you.
  3. Tell:

    Share with your teacher your list of strengths.

Lesson 4: How will you create change?

Just because we’re staying home doesn’t mean we can’t create change. To create change, follow these three steps:

  1. Know:

    Learn all you can about a human rights injustice that you feel connected to. This might be something that is happening in your own community or school, or it might be taking place in another part of Canada or the world.

    • Start by answering these questions:
      1. Who is affected by the injustice?
      2. Where is this happening?
      3. Why is this happening?
    • Once you have some answers, what are two more questions you have now?
    • Find the answers to those questions.
  2. Tell:

    Use your strengths to tell others about what you learned. There are many ways that you can tell others about what you learned. Be creative! You could paint, make a video, write a story, create an exhibit, create a social media awareness campaign, or think of something else. The choice is yours!

  3. Act:

    Upstander actions don’t have to be big. Upstanders can use their knowledge and strengths to take simple actions that make a difference for even one person affected by an injustice.
    It starts with one simple act. What is yours?

    Inspire others

    Upstanders can share what they’re doing to take a stand against injustice in hopes of inspiring others.

    Three ways you can inspire others:
    1. #BeAnUpstander.
      Share what you are doing on social media. Tag the Museum on Instagram @cmhr_mcdp
    2. Create a 180 video.
      Share a 180-second (three-minute) video about how you are turning an injustice toward justice. 
    3. Challenge others.
      Create an action plan for others to do from home. Challenge your friends and family to take a stand against injustice alongside you

For more learning supports and a sample rubric, access a downloadable version of the full teacher guide, which can be adapted for the current education context.