The RE:ACTION Curriculum Guide - Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION
A page from the curriculum guide listing the general information for a lesson plan

School-to-Prison Nexus & Freedom Dreaming lesson plan details that uses the Chasing Hearts interactive exhibition by Renaldo Hudson

The RE:ACTION Curriculum Guide includes 12 lesson plans aligned with Illinois State Learning Standards in Social Science, English Language Arts, and Fine Arts and a “how to use this guide” essay. Created by teachers for teachers, the Curriculum Guide is intended to support 9th through 12th grade Illinois educators who are interested in exploring the impact of mass incarceration on the people and communities that comprise our state.

Download the Curriculum Guide

Bars & Gates: COPY+PASTE+DELETE lesson plan details that uses the Bars and Gates: COPY+PASTE+DELETE interactive exhibition by Antonio Burton


This guide, like the Envisioning Justice program itself, is a tribute to the power of collaboration and collective purpose. It would not have been possible without the generous mentorship of Nora Flanagan and Dr. Asif Wilson, who helped to bring together a skillful, creative group of educators to develop these lessons.The lessons were created by Eraldy Ballesteros, Kayce Bayer, Rebecca Coven, Nora Flanagan, Francisco Thornton Gonzalez, Alissa Irvin, Whitney Jean, Rachel McMillian, James Sloan, and Kee Taylor. Meredith Nnoka contributed thoughtful facilitation and administrative support for these educators.

In addition to our lesson creators, eleven Illinois high school teachers dedicated their time and advice to the development of the guide by participating in focus groups, which proved essential to expanding the resources list and writing the “how to use this guide” essay. Enormous thanks go to Nora Flanagan for reviewing, refining, and formatting all of the lessons, drafting parts of the guide, and co-facilitating our focus group discussions.

In addition to the team that produced the guide’s content, we also want to thank the long-time Illinois Humanities team, past and present, that stewarded Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION, including Jane Beachy, Alyssa Bierce, Meredith Nnoka, Willy Palomo, Tony Pizarro, and Tyreece Williams. Our design and communications team has ensured that the guide is readable, easy to locate, and beautiful to see. Thanks to Alyssa Bierce, Gabby Curtis, Morven Higgins, Sarah Sommers, and Tia Williams.

Finally, nothing happens at Illinois Humanities without the guidance of our Executive Director Gabrielle Lyon, our board, and our brilliant staff — or without the visionary support of our funders. The Art for Justice Fund and the Polk Bros. Foundation were critical to helping us conceptualize the educational components of Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION. We are ever grateful for the trust our partners and funders have put into promoting this work.

The Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION Curriculum Guide is funded by the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Additional support comes from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge and the Mellon Foundation.

mellon foundation logoArt for Justice fundMacArthur foundation Safety and Justice ChallengePolk Brothers Foundation

Download the Curriculum Guide

The Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION Curriculum Guide

We invite you to spend some time with these lessons on your own and with other educators — and then we invite you to try them out in your classrooms! If and when you do, we'd love to hear from you:

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