FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL: Human Rights for All


[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Wendi Fein



K-12 educators will develop invaluable lessons for their students around issues of equity, social justice and the human rights of the child by examining the texts, "A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers: Lessons and Resources from the U.N. Rights of the Child"  and "Teaching Human Rights: Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools.”

In addition, a review of related literature, websites and videos will enable you to integrate these human rights issues into your curriculum and engage your students with thoughtful inquiry based lessons and activities. The development of a service-learning project will culminate the course.

Required texts:  A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers, approximately $14 used and Teaching

Human Rights, approximately $15 used.  Both are available at


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Read and reflected upon specific lessons, concepts and resources in the required texts.
  • Select relevant human rights websites, videos and literature appropriate for classroom use.
  • Participated in at least two locally based human rights related activities.
  • Applied human rights knowledge and resources to the development of contextualized classroom lessons.
  • Shared lessons, activities, text and resources with colleagues, parents and administrators.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers: Lessons and Resources from the U.N. Rights of the Child, by JoBeth Allen and Lois Alexander, and Teaching Human Rights: Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools by Barry Leonard.  Approximately $15 each plus shipping from for the required texts listed above.

  • A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers: Lessons and Resources from the U.N. Rights of the Child (Practitioner Inquiry Series)
    ISBN# 0807753947
    by Allen, JoBeth, Alexander, Lois, Lytle, Susan L., Cochran-Smith, Marilyn
    Teachers College Press

    Buy from Amazon
  • Abc Teaching Human Rights: Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools
    ISBN# 9211541492
    by United Nations
    Brand: United Nations

    Buy from Amazon


Text, A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers: Lessons and Resources from the U.N. Rights of the Child, and Teaching Human Rights: Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools are approximately $15 each plus shipping from



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 

Assignment #1: Introduction

In 250+ words  describe your current professional situation, some low and high points in your teaching career and share why you chose this course. Please also share your involvement in human rights issues personally and professionally.

Assignment #2: Read from text"A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers: Lessons and Resources

Read: "A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers: Lessons and Resources from the U.N. Rights of the Child"

Grades K-6 teachers:  Chapters 1-5. Grades 7-12 teachers: Chapters 1, 6-8

•       Respond to the following in 500-750 words:

  •  Chapter 1:  What does Critical Inquiry mean to the authors?
  • How do you interpret it for you in your classroom?  Give at least two (2) examples. b) Chapters 2-5 (grades K-6 teachers) or Chapters 5-8 (grades 7-12 teachers)
  • Read each assigned chapter carefully & summarize the specific study/lesson and UN article from each of the four (4) chapters.
  • Describe how you could adapt at least two (2) of the study-lessons to your own classroom.

Assignment #3: Teaching human rights Read: Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools.”

Read: "Teaching Human Rights: Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools.”

Grades K-4 teachers:  Introduction, Chapter  1. Grades 5-12 teachers: Introduction, Chapter 2

  • Introduction: Respond in a 1-2 page paper to each of the key topics in this chapter and its application to your teaching and classroom.
  • Chapter 1 (grades K-4 teachers) or  Chapter 2 (grades 5-12 teachers):                                                                                                                                        1) Read the assigned chapter carefully.

2) Summarize the specific study/lessons and UN article from the chapter.

3) Describe how you could adapt at least three (3) of the activities to your own classroom.

Assignment #4: Read from text

Read: Chapter 9 in A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers.

Read: Just a Beginning, the last chapter in Teaching Human Rights

Write a 1-2 page reflection for each text addressing the following questions:

a) Which of the articles from the excerpts and full text of the UN Rights of the Child surprised you?  Why?

b) Which articles would you most likely address in your curriculum?  Why?

Assignment #6: View Videos

View at least five (5) YouTube or other short videos related to a Human Rights topic that would be appropriate for your classroom.   Here are a few suggestions on Human Rights songs/dance to introduce the topic, but I encourage you to find your own as well, selecting a theme that works for you and your students. You can also include some feature films/documentaries  as appropriate.

Assignment #7: Rethinking Schools

Spend some time perusing the “Rethinking Schools” website. Find two (2) articles of interest to you that are related to the teaching of human rights. You can go to the home page to look at the current issue of the journal and a list of articles. You can also go to the tab "archives" and where there is a table of contents and full text of selected articles available on line. Click on the issue cover or number for the table of contents and links to articles. Write a 500 word response and reflection of the articles. Explain the basis premise of the articles and their relevance for your classroom or school/district.           Home page           Archives

Assignment #8: Human Rights literature

Using Chapter 9: Bibliography of Children's literature and related resources, compile a list of at least 6-8 literature sources applicable to your classroom that are related to human rights and the UN Rights of the Child.  Share these resources with colleagues.

•   Related books by Rethinking Schools

Assignment #9: Local Participation

Participate in at least TWO human rights related activities in your community: a march or protest, a community forum, a food bank, a film, a museum that focuses on human rights/diversity, write a letter to the editor, a response to a local blog, attend a diversity festival. Write 250+ words reflecting on the activities and your participation OR share pictures/blog or video from the experiences.



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 


Assignment #10: Create lessons

Lesson Plan Design

  • Title Enter Lesson Plan Title, and your name
  • Audience Enter grade level (& special student group if applicable)
  • Time duration Enter time duration of the entire lesson
  • Big Idea(s)/Essential
  • Question(s)
  • Enter learning goal(s) in the form of a question(s)
  • Objectives(s) Enter Your Objective(s) and correlation to district standards (state,
  • Common Core, other)
  • Props & Materials Enter props/materials/equipment/any learning handouts
  • Activities/Tasks/Procedures
  • Any Special Reminders
  • Enter activities/tasks/procedures/practice
  • Enter anything you want to remember to pay attention to
  • Peer Review Enter peer relationship to you and summary of peer comments

Assignment #10-A:

  • Create a unit (or adapt an existing one) of at least three lessons reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement at least one lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback or noteworthy student products.
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the lesson tab below. 
  • Share what you've learned with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box when you submit your lesson. (
  • Sample Lesson Plan Template: 


Assignment #10-B:

Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.

  • Create a unit (or adapt an existing one) of at least three lessons to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Write a 500+ word article concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines for our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Yvonne Hall,, THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your article to your instructor via Response field and the modified lesson via Submit Lesson.  
  • As you submit your lesson, consider sharing it with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box.

Assignment #11: Service learning project

Create a short term service learning project with your students that will give your students both a voice and leadership role. Consider how a local project can have a global effect. Students should initiate ideas, work out details, lead the project and evaluate its effectiveness. If you are a substitute or aren't in a classroom, please contact me for an alternative assignment.

  • Briefly submit a summary of the project via the lesson tab and describe its effectiveness and what/how you would change the project.
  • Attach student comments and your evaluative rubric as well.
  • Share the project with parents, colleagues, your community and/or administrators.

Assignment #12: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one of the following:

Option A)

Prepare a presentation, for colleagues or another group, highlighting instructional strategies and relevant materials that you have learned from this course. The presentation can be in the form of a Power Point or other design with instructor’s approval. Include a copy of any handout(s) you will use


Option B)

View three (3) feature length films that relate to a human rights issue of personal interest and summarize and reflect on their impact in 500-750 words. 

OR Option C)

Read a book of personal interest that is related to human rights and summarize and reflect on its impact in 500+ words.

OR Option D)

Suggest another assignment of your own choice, with instructor’s prior approval: travel related to human rights, another class project, local events, etc.


Assignment #13: (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 350-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Wendi Fein, M.A., enthusiastically brings her years of teaching experiences since 1980 to the development and implementation of her courses. Presently, she is teaching Adult Education, Developmental Math and English as a Second Language at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma Washington.  

She spent 25 years teaching in K-12 public schools with a focus on special education, math, dance, PE, study skills and English/World Cultures. In addition, Wendi has traveled and volunteered extensively, bringing her stories and passion for human rights and equity into the classroom. Wendi holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an M.A. in Special Education.


FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL: Human Rights for All



This is an excellent collection of many human rights books for all grade levels. Easy search options.



Akbarpour, Ahmad.  Good Night, Commander.  2008.  Groundwood Books.

A young boy who has lost his leg — and his mother — in the war, acts out imaginary battles against his enemies, seeking revenge, until he “sees” that the “enemy” is young, too, and also has experienced loss.


Bales, Kevin. Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves. 2008. University of California Press,, Berkeley & Los Angeles, Ca.

What can people, community and governments do to end slavery now?


Bales, Kevin.  Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy Kevin Bales University of California

Press, 2004 This book pulls back the curtain so that we can learn how slavery is  escalating worldwide and how we can eradicate it.


Beller, Ken & Chase, Heather. Great Peacemakers: True Stories From Around the World. 2008. LTS Press.

The award-winning Great Peacemakers brings together the compelling stories of 20 people who have (or had) a strong commitment to living a peaceful, compassionate life and to bringing about a peaceful, just world. The book is divided into five categories: Choosing Nonviolence, Living Peace, Honoring Diversity, Valuing All Life, and Caring for the Planet. Profiles of the peacemakers are each about five pages, and there is also a page of quotes from each person profiled.



Alika. Marianthe's Story: Painted Words & Spoken Memories. 1998. Green Willow Books, New York, New York.

There are two tales in the same book. The first is the story of Mari starting a new school in North America after her family immigrates. The second is her description of life in the village where she was born. Its double format would serve as a lovely model for students to replicate with their own stories and illustrations about family and school experiences, including immigration.

Amnesty International.  We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures.

This beautiful collection celebrates each human rights declaration with an illustration


Bunting, Eve.  A Days Work.  1997.  Clarion Books, New York, N.Y.

Veteran storyteller, Eve Bunting, introduces students to the experience of many Mexican Americans in

Southern California in a compassionate and realistic way,. Francisco is told to help his Grandfather (who

can't speak English) find work. The rights of children to love, belong, and to learn, especially as they relate to important values, are addressed with simplicity and warmth.

Choi, Yangsook. The Name Jar.  2003. Dell Dragonfly Books, New York, N.Y.

This is a story of a young Korean immigrant arriving in a new school where she is worried no one will be able to pronounce or remember her name. She decides to pick a new one, though her decision is soon complicated by a number of factors. The story is a lovely introduction to the right of every child to have a name. As well, it is a fine example of children's rights to express their particular cultural beliefs and traditions.


Cohn, Diana. !Si, Se Puede!/Yes We Can!  2005. Dinco Puntos Press, El Paso, TX.

A chronicle of the April 2000 Janitor Strike in Los Angeles, told through the eyes of a young boy whose mom is one of those striking workers.


Fleming, Virginia.  Be Good to Eddie Lee.  1993.  Philomel Books, a Division of the Putnam & Grosset Group, New York, N.Y.

This is a story of a gentle boy with Down's syndrome and the ignorant attitudes and prejudices he endures from local children, and sometimes members of his own family.. The right of every child to be treated with dignity and to be given the resources to flourish, even when he may have limited mental capacity, is treated seriously but not didactically. Passages could be turned into wonderful role plays in the classroom, especially since the dialogue between the children rings so true.


Pilkey, Dav. ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.  2004.  Orchard Books, New York, N.Y.

School children visit a turkey farm and befriend the turkeys. When they learn what’s planned for their new friends, they try to save the turkeys from certain doom.


Williams, Karen Lynn.  Galimoto. 1991. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, New York, N.Y.

This is a delightful read-aloud story about a creative and determined boy who wants to make a special and quite complicated toy from wires he finds. The setting is a small village in West Africa, and the people and daily activity there are wonderfully portrayed in gentle watercolors. Elementary students may be surprised to know that several children's rights relate to play and movement, and Kondi's travels through a day collecting scrap materials to construct his galimoto (toy truck), introduce readers to an imaginative and resourceful young boy, as well as the sights and sounds of his village on the sea.


Books for Older Readers

Ellis, Deborah.  Parvana's Journey.  2015.  Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, Toronto, Ontario. This is a story of Parvana's brave search for her mother and siblings across the northern tip of Afghanistan.


Ellis, Deborah. The Breadwinner.  2015.  Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Deborah Ellis'  chronicles of Parvana's life before her family is lost to her.


Fenner, Carol.  Yolanda's Genius.  1997.  Aladdin Paperback, New York, N.Y.

Set in modern day Chicago and in suburban Michigan, the novel looks at diversity in a uniquely appealing way.


Galentino, Richard. Off to Serve.  2010.  Hidden Spring, West Linn, OR.

“Volunteer, teach, donate, create, care, contribute, build, help, lift-up, develop, give back, and make a difference in the world. ”Richard Galentino’s rhyming illustrated book offers an inspiring read about the value of serving others. As the illustrations take readers around the world, the text offers useful bits of advice, including the importance of collaboration and self-care.


La Valley, Josanne.  The Vine Basket. 2013.  Clarion Books, New York, N.Y.

Merighul is a 14 year-old Uyghur girl forced to leave school and help her family when her brother leaves home. Now that she is no longer attending school, Merighul is being watched closely by the local government, which sends teenage girls to work in factories in southern China. Merighul strives to convince her father that she can both go to school and make money to save her family from poverty.


O’Brien, Anne Sibley and O’Brien, Perry Edmond.  After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance.  2009. Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA.

Anne has devoted her life to peace and environmental activism. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, her son Perry enlisted in the military, over his mother’s strong objections, and served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.


Perera, Anna.  Guantanamo Boy.  2012.  Albert Whitman and Company.  Park Ridge, IL.

Khalid Ahmed is a 15-year-old living in Rochdale, UK. Khalid’s chance appearance at a protest and his penchant for playing video games leads to his kidnap and arrest. Awakening in an unfamiliar location, in shackles, no one will tell him where he is or why he was taken. Khalid finds himself interrogated by U.S. soldiers who have used misinterpreted evidence and lies to brand Khalid as a terrorist.


Perkins, Mitali.  Bamboo People.  2010.   Mitali Perkins   Charlesbridge, 2010

In reality, there are always more than two sides to every story. Bamboo People takes readers into the political and military conflict of modern-day Burma (Myanmar) through the eyes of two young boys who are struggling to find their way.


Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola.  8th Grade Superzero. 2010.  Scholastic Inc., New York, N.Y.

Due to an unfortunate incident at the beginning of school, Reggie is determined to keep a low profile. But when his church youth group gets involved in helping people who are homeless at Olive Branch, a local shelter, Reggie embraces his role as a community activist.


Shea, Pegi. The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee's Story. 1996.  Highlights Press, Pennsylvania, PA.

This may at first look like a picture book for young children, but it actually is a heartbreaking representation of refugee experience. Many human rights can be fruitfully discussed in light of this refugee story: the right to religious and cultural expression, the right of children not to be exploited as laborers.



HUMAN RIGHT FILMS a variety of films from festivals in many categories.

WITNESS is an international organization that trains and supports people using video in their fight for human rights. Film it.  WITNESS is a leader of a global movement that uses video to create human rights change.


3 1/2 Minutes-10 Bullets            High School s/3-1-2-MINUTES-10-BULLETS/1604041/2015-07-


This delves deeply into the Michael Dunn murder trial.


12 Years as a Slave                   High School

In the antebellum United States,  Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.


A Borrowed Identity                  High School



Hotel Rwanda                           High School

The true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. (2004)


Little Tin Man                            High School

Tired of being overlooked for bigger roles, a struggling dwarf actor sets out to be cast as the Tin Man in

Martin Scorsese's remake of The Wizard of Oz. Through both humor and human insight, this film explores an individual's relentlessness not to accept the status quo.


Selma                                        High School

David Oyelowo stars as  Martin Luther King Jr. in this historical drama set during the height of the 1960's civil- rights movement. It depicts the poignant struggle and marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to secure voting rights for black people.



Slingshot                                  High School

Slingshot focuses on noted Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his work to solve the world's water crisis. An eccentric genius with a provocative world view, his inventions help people in need and ease

suffering. Kamen is an inspiration for future scientists.


Alive Inside                               Middle/High School

This emotional documentary follows Dan Cohen, a social worker, as he tenaciously fights a broken healthcare system. Through phenomenal footage of actual Alzheimer’s' patients, he proves the powerful effect of music in combating memory loss and restoring dignity and a sense of self.


Captain Abu Raed                     Middle/High School

Abu Raed is an lonely janitor at the airport in Amman, Jordan. He experiences his dream of traveling vicariously through books. Finding a discarded Captain’s hat in the trash at work, he is followed by a neighborhood boy who spots him wearing it as he walks home. The next morning he wakes up to find a group of neighborhood children at his door, believing him to be an airline pilot. Friendships and stories enchant!



Dancing in Jaffa                       Middle/High School

After decades of bloodshed, it’s hard to imagine what can bridge the divide between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. But Pierre Dulaine has an idea: dance. He begins teaching ballroom dancing in Jaffa at the city's mostly segregated schools. His ultimate goal is to get the kids from the Jewish schools to dance with those from the Arab schools for a big competition.


Remember the Titans:               Middle School

The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.



HUMAN RIGHTS ARTICLES   Home page           Archives         Effective Tools for Teaching Human Rights

10 activities to do on Human Rights Day    Origins of multiculturalism