Racial Injustice: Teaching Resources

Teachers have a unique opportunity to engage students in exploring the complex issue of racial injustice. Students need a space to explore their feelings and reflect on what is happening, why it is happening, and what they can do to create positive change.

Educators may be looking for resources they can lean on as they navigate these complex issues with their students who understandably have a variety of feelings about what is taking place in our country. I’ve curated the list of resources below to support teachers as they consider the best ways to talk about racial injustice with students.

The Teaching Tolerance website has a collection of ready-to-use classroom lessons and resources that span a range of social justice topics and issues while prioritizing social-emotional learning.

The Teaching Tolerance website includes lessons, texts, tasks, and teaching strategies teachers can use to guide students in exploring and discussing social justice topics.

Lessons include:

  • Lesson objectives
  • Essential questions
  • Materials–teaching strategies, handouts, and texts
  • Key vocabulary
  • Procedure

The Teaching for Black Lives website published a resource titled Materials from Teaching for Black Lives/Rethinking Schools for Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.

  • Making Black Lives Matter in Our Schools
  • What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party–but Should
  • Black Muslim Meet-and-Greet: Rethinking Islamophobia
  • Collection of articles (e.g., “A Talk to Teachers” by James Baldwin and “Black is Beautiful” by Kara Hinderlie)

The Center for Racial Justice in Education has a collection of resources to guide conversations about race, racism, and racialized violence. The website includes:

  • Interviews and advice from experts
  • Resources list
  • Articles

The D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice website has a collection of resources for educators. The resources are organized by:

Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon and Colorful Pages created K-8 Distance Learning Activities designed to help students to understand and process the Black Lives Matter Movement, racial injustice, and the murder of George Floyd. Parents and teachers can use these resources.

The Student Ignition Society published a resource titled Ending Police Brutality: At-Home Family Action Toolkit. It has a collection of creative and artistic activities for kids, including an advocacy poem, talking points for families, and collage activity.

If educators have found other valuable resources to help students to understand and process the events taking place in our country right now, please take a moment to post a comment and share resources.

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The Balance: The Home Stretch

The Balance is now available on Spotify!

Teachers are in the home stretch! Summer is almost here. This mini-episode of The Balance focuses on the tangible things teachers can do in these final weeks to provide students with closure, collect feedback, and embrace a fun routine that will keep them learning this summer.

In this mini-episode of The Balance, I encourage teachers to end the year with a fun project that provides students with some much-needed closure. A teacher on Twitter shared pictures of her class’ virtual talent show! Students can create a time capsule of this moment in their lives. And last week, I shared a project titled “What are YOU curious about?” There is no shortage of fantastic ideas being shared on Twitter if you need inspiration.

I suggest teachers use their final weeks with students to collect feedback about their experiences learning online. Teachers have no idea what fall will look like–in person, online, or a blend of both. Right now is the time to find out what worked and what didn’t work. Your students are an invaluable source of data. Ask them to share their experiences and offer recommendations they think we can improve online learning in the future. Feedback is an excellent way to continue learning and growing in our practice.

Finally, I encourage educators to organize a summer book club with other teachers. Find a book on a topic that interests you related to education. Decide on a date when you think you’ll be ready to start reading and commit to a chapter a week. Set up a weekly Zoom meeting and chat about your reading over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Professional learning over the summer should be personalized and fun! If you organize it now, the summer won’t get away from you.

Several people have asked me about my books on blended learning, so I put together the cheat sheet below for anyone interested. Corwin is offering educators a 25% discount and free shipping until the end of June!

Thank you to StudySync for producing and sponsoring this podcast! StudySync is committed to helping teachers find balance in their lives by providing them with a robust multimedia ELA platform that simplifies lesson planning, automatically differentiates tasks for learners at different skill levels and language proficiencies, and blends online and offline engagement to help students develop as thinkers, readers, writers, and speakers.

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End of the Year Exit Ticket: Evaluating Online Learning

As the year comes to a close, I encourage teachers to take a moment and collect feedback from students about their experiences learning online in the last few months. We do not know what fall 2020 will look like–in person, online, or a combination of both. I think it’s likely that schools will begin the year online or adopt a blended learning model that allows for fewer students on campus at one time. Either way, it will be helpful for teachers to know what worked well for students during this time of distance learning and what didn’t work.

Collecting feedback from students is one of the best ways for educators to continue learning and iterating on their practice. Students are the “customers” in the educational system. It is important to ask them how they feel about their experiences learning online. For many teachers, this transition online was unexpected and rushed. Teachers may not have felt particularly prepared to engage students in learning online.

Below is an example of an end of the year exit ticket designed to collect data from students about their experiences online.

This exit ticket asks the following questions:

  1. How easy was it to find your assignments online?
  2. Did you feel the course materials clearly organized and easy to navigate?
  3. Which technology tools and/or online resources did you find most useful during your time learning online?
  4. Which technology tools and/or online resources did you find challenging to use during your time learning online?
  5. Did you attend the virtual conferencing sessions?
  6. If you did not attend virtual conferencing sessions, why not?
  7. If you attended virtual conferencing sessions, did you find them engaging?
  8. What suggestions do you have for how these virtual conferencing sessions could be improved in the future?
  9. How did you feel about the amount of work you were asked to do while learning online?
  10. Which assignments, tasks, or projects did you enjoy most?
  11. Which assignments, tasks, or projects did you enjoy least?
  12. What is one thing that worked well for you during this time of distance learning?
  13. What is one thing that did not work for you during this time of distance learning?
  14. How connected did you feel to your classmates during this time of distance learning?
  15. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions?

If you want to make a copy of this feedback form to modify and use it with your students, go to this Google Spreadsheet. Click “File”>”Make a copy.” Once you have a copy of the spreadsheet in your Google Drive, click “Form” at the top of your spreadsheet to “Edit form” to modify it for your students.

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