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March 2, 2021

Social Justice: Lesson Planning Resources

When events like those in Charlottesville, Virginia happen, we watch the news in disbelief and despair. We scroll endlessly through our Twitter feeds — tweeting, retweeting, sharing resources, and keeping abreast of the latest developments. Maybe what you saw invoked anger, maybe sadness, maybe fear.

The question that remains is, what are you going to do about it?

Teachers need to talk with their students about race, but before you begin to explore race, bias, and identity in your classroom, you’ll need to do a bit of work to be sure you’re prepared.

When you’re ready, the resources below can help spur discussions about implicit bias, privilege, and systemic racism, and empower students to work toward a more just society.

Be Thoughtful About Curriculum

The resources we use in our classrooms say a lot about our values and priorities. Think about the types of resources you can include to support dialogue, critical thinking, and questioning. Also, be intentional about including more liberatory texts that challenge traditional textbook narratives by telling the stories of workers, women, Native Americans, African Americans, and others whose impact has been overlooked or dismissed.

Here are a few great resources to help you start to shift your curriculum:




Teaching Channel Videos

Teaching for Civic Engagement

If you’ve been wondering how to engage young people in civic action and prepare them to address the great challenges of our age — from climate change to racism — you need to see our Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age series.

VIDEO: Encouraging Students to Take Action 

This video shows Matthew Colley’s students thinking about the root causes and effects of  contemporary social problems. You can learn about how Matt teaches for civic engagement all year long and pick up some of his best resources here.

VIDEO: Infographics for Change 

In Infographics for Change, Chela Delgado’s students design an infographic to visually represent a theory of change around a contemporary issue.

Although not in this same series, you can see students express themselves around social issues through 3D art in Walls and Barriers: Using Art to Express Social Issues.

Reading Like A Historian

Reading Like a Historian: Overview
VIDEO: Reading Like a Historian: Overview 
The Reading Like a Historian methodology “turns history into a series of questions instead of a series of answers.” Students become “Historians in Training,” beginning their investigations with questions to focus their learning. Most lessons include one or more primary source documents, which allow students to practice skills like SourcingRepetitionRe-Assessing ReliabilityContextualization, and Corroboration.
You’ll also notice how movement and space are important in Turn to Your Partner and Philosophical Chairs.
One added benefit of this Tch video series is that after you view, you can head over to Stanford Education Group’s website and check out the history curriculum and lesson plans available for you to use in your classroom.
Curated Curriculum, Reading Lists, & Resources
Conversations About Race
A Conversation on Race: A Series of Short Films about Identity in America
25 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias and Identity With Students
Share My Lesson: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism
The Charlottesville Syllabus
Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism – from Ferguson to Charleston
Charlottesville Anti-Racist Resources
Newsela #Charlottesville Curriculum Resources
There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times
The First Thing Teachers Should Do When School Starts is Talk About Hatred in America. Here’s Help.
Resources For Educators To Use In The Wake Of Charlottesville
Teachers Share Resources for Addressing Charlottesville Hate Rally in the Classroom
Charlottesville Resources
Related Resources
Share My Lesson: When Hate Is In the Headlines: Resources For K-12 Educators (WEBINAR)
KQED: Above the Noise
Educator Innovator: Above the Noise Classroom Guide
Ideas for Student Civic Action in a Time of Social Uncertainty
Anti-Defamation League: Current Events for the Classroom
Teaching About the Holocaust
Facing History: The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy
Facing History: Not in Our Town
Social Justice Projects and Lessons
The Rebellious Teacher’s Edgy, Summer Reading List for 2017
NNSTOY Social Justice Book List
Knowing Our History to Build a Brighter Future: Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality
#CharlestonSyllabus: A Reading list to Contextualize the Massacre
Intersectionality of Social Justice
Conversations about race are front and center right now, but we can’t forget that oppressive systems such as racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and the like are inherently interconnected and can’t be examined separately from one another.
Here are a few resources from Tchers Voice that extend beyond race to discuss social justice and equity in other spaces:
Supporting Transgender Students
Youth Mic: What Three Transgender Students Wish Their Teachers Knew
Resources to Help You Celebrate Women’s History Every Day
Five Simple Ways to Create an LGBTQ-Inclusive Classroom
Products of Personalized Learning
Teaching for social and racial justice is some of the most important work we can do together. I encourage you to lean into the discomfort, have courageous conversations, forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and be patient but persistent. We have a long way to go, but we’ll get there — together.

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