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What are you teaching this month?

What to Teach This Month: April

April 1, 2024

What to Teach This Month: April

What are you teaching this month? Check out some April highlights including climate education, Autism Acceptance Month and School Library Month.

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For me, April is the official start of spring and the herald of warmer weather and days spent outside. Growing up, I’d run into the woods behind my house to go work on “forts” (these were not mom-approved structures) in the trees and spend countless hours admiring the flora and fauna that I was fortunate to grow up among. There in the woods, I’d also spend many hours reading books, listening to birds and wildlife, and stare up at the sky wondering what makes the world tick. With this anecdote in mind, did you know that April is also Earth Month? April features several “green” celebrations to get our students excited about the planet throughout the month, including Arbor Day and National Wildlife Week, which are perfect opportunities to engage students on topics like climate education, animal science and anything earth-related!

So, what are you planning to teach in April? It’s also a month that highlights several other fun learning opportunities, such as celebrating the rich history of jazz, learning about poetry and teaching about financial literacy. Throughout the month, I’ll also be publishing a series of climate-focused and earth-centric Today’s News, Tomorrow’s Lessons that will provide fun ways to get your classroom excited about our planet and keeping the environment healthy by focusing on current events that will get students interested in making a difference.

Also, I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention that if you didn’t have a chance to attend all your favorite sessions during the 2024 Share My Lesson Virtual Conference, all 37 sessions are now available on demand! Join the community, and check them out here.

Review this month’s highlights below and use the comments section to let us know what you’re planning to teach!

Climate Education and Earth Day

Climate change is one of the top concerns for Gen Z, and April provides an excellent opportunity to engage your students in all things related to the climate as well as earth-focused discussions and activities. Check out the various collections and resources below, as well as my No. 1 resource from last year about monarch butterflies.

National Arab American Heritage Month

April not only celebrates Arab American Heritage Month but also the holy month of Ramadan, underscoring a period of reflection, community and faith for millions, including many Arab Americans. Find ideas in this Share My Lesson collection to explore and honor Arab Americans' rich contributions and heritage. These resources feature activities and lesson plans from partners like ADL and Re-Imagining Migration, offering diverse insights into both cultural and religious observances.

Autism Acceptance Month

Autism Acceptance Month is an opportunity for K-12 educators to deepen their understanding and embrace neurodiversity in the classroom. It's a time to recognize and value the unique perspectives and abilities of students with autism, promoting an inclusive educational environment. By incorporating autism awareness into your curriculum, you contribute to fostering a culture of acceptance and understanding, ensuring every student feels respected and valued. Get started with these resources.

The Founding of NATO

Have your students brought up NATO in class? The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded on April 4, 1949, as a means to prevent the expansion of Soviet influence in Europe. It’s been heavily featured in recent current events: Sweden has joined NATO, and the debate about the future role of the U.S. in the organization is ongoing. Learn more about its foundation and how it functions with the resources below from CFR Education and C-SPAN.

Columbine High School Shooting

Twenty-five years ago, on April 20, 1999, a deadly mass shooting took place during school hours. We must continue to remember the victims of Columbine High School and other school shootings to understand the impact of violence on communities and the ongoing need for safety in schools. The anniversary serves as a somber reminder of the importance of mental health awareness and the need for preventive measures to protect students and staff. These acts of remembrance also strengthen the resolve to advocate for policy changes that can prevent future tragedies, ensuring that the victims are honored through meaningful action and awareness.

School Library Month

April is School Library Month; it’s time to D.E.A.R. (drop everything and read) your favorite books and authors. Use this month to honor the work that school librarians do every day during National School Librarian Day and National Library Week. Their work enriches our educational environment by providing access to information and promoting digital literacy, making librarians indispensable in nurturing informed and thoughtful future citizens. Check out some of our favorite libraries and reading resources below.

Assassinations of MLK and Lincoln

April marks the anniversaries of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, and Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865, pivotal moments in American history that underscore the ongoing struggle for justice and equality. Teaching about these events provides students with a deeper understanding of the impact of leadership on civil rights and the enduring fight against oppression. It's an opportunity to reflect on the values these leaders embodied and the importance of continuing their work in today's society.

Do you have any additional resources or teaching topics to add to our list? If you want to have your resources featured in a future edition or if you’d like to be a contributing blogger, contact us!

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Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, video games, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from Americ

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