Teaching Social Justice is More than One Lesson

On January 6, 2021 there was a historical event that took place at the nation's capitol. Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, DC. Five people died. Senators were forced to shelter in place. The insurrection has left many wondering how and why the rioters were able to enter the building. Learn more here

Teachers around the country have been grappling with how to approach the conversation with students. Many have put aside their pre-planned lessons to address student concerns and simply open up a space to process the information. I have seen so many teachers worry about how to touch on topics - afraid to do or say something wrong. I can understand that because it can be hard to address such a big topic, especially when you are putting pressure on yourself to facilitate a perfect lesson in just one shot. I believe that teaching social justice - which is a critical component to understanding the insurrection - is more than one lesson. Teaching children to talk (and listen!) happens over time -- through trust and open dialogue. We hope some of the lessons below help you to continue to build an inclusive classroom that supports ongoing discussion about history, current events, and social justice. 


Rhetoric: Do Words Matter This HyperDoc, designed by Jenna Hewitt-King, helps students to study the language of leaders. By analyzing the speeches and looking closely at the rhetoric of Biden and Trump, students will explore the impact that words can truly have.

Addressing Capitol Rioters This HyperDoc, created by Cassidy Booe, was intended to help students process the events of 1/6/21 at the capitol. Within the lesson, the teacher allows space for clarifying definitions/language,and  sharing wonderings. 

Peaceful Transfer of Power  This HyperDoc explores the value on norms/traditions established and followed by our US Government for years. Consider how the 1/6/21 riots challenge history.

Power and Protest This HyperDoc was a collaborative effort by Sarah Landis, Nadia Moshtagh-Razi and Chasity Klein. Embedded throughout this unit are multiple resources and individual HyperDoc lessons to unpack the different ways that protests have shaped US history and the struggle to end racism.

Leadership This HyperDoc, created by Sarah Landis, will help students to think about the qualities of an effective leader. The intent is to use MLK, Jr. as an exemplar leader throughout time, but also to help students identify similar qualities in every day people they know or know of. Any figure or content can be substituted. Students create a slide to share their own personal leadership qualities. The objective is to get students critically analyzing the leaders they see in the world, with a critical eye towards leading for positive change or otherwise.

6 Things You Should Know About. Although not an actual HyperDoc (yet!), we love this idea from Kelly Gallagher, secondary ELA thought leader. Students create a micro writing piece to describe the event using mixed media (photos, memes, headlines, short descriptions). See his idea below:


Additional resources to consider/include in lesson planning: 

Author: HyperDocs Admin 09-01-2021

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