When there are national news stories that involve incidents of bias and injustice, young people want to be part of the conversation. Even at a young age, they hear adults talking about what’s happening, read about the story on social media or learn about it as it plays out on television. Rather than “protect” children and youth from what’s going on in the world, there are age-appropriate and constructive ways to engage them in understanding the situation. Teachers often feel a responsibility to address the issue in some way, whether they do it with a short conversation, an interactive lesson or a unit lasting days or weeks.
Below are suggestions, strategies and resources to help make those discussions rich and productive for students. The suggestions build in opportunities for students to read, write, research, speak, listen and understand vocabulary, addressing ELA common core standards.