As ever-increasing cracks in the foundation of our democracy reveal weakness and corruption, so too do these revelations allow the light of justice and truth to penetrate. As educators, our work to help young people learn to communicate across differences, think critically, and work for justice is as important as ever. This remains an apt time to reconnect and reflect.
And an even more apt time to talk about what’s happening with our students.
Rest assured, they know something’s going on, but they’ll need your help to begin processing.
What’s happened now:
On January 6, 2021, a group of white supremacist terrorists infiltrated the US Capitol building and briefly shut down Congress. They committed many criminal acts, yet news outlets have portrayed them variously as “criminals”, “protesters” and “heroes”. What’s the truth? And who decides?
First of all: you’re not alone in this. Teachers nationwide are talking about this with their students. We are all trying to make sense of this at the same time as our students do. We’re the adults in the room, so we’re having to do the thing.
And we’re also here to provide some resources and strategies for talking with your students.
Let’s start with the big picture: what happened
- NEW: Excellent collection of lesson plans for teaching about impeachment, by grade level (WeTeachNYC)
- The NPR Politics Podcast does a great job of presenting what happened in manageable chunks.
- VT Digger talks to Vermonters who took part in the insurrection
- Allsides.com pulls together media coverage of January 6th and unpacks biases and perceived biases in talking about what happened
- A brilliant twitter thread: @MoserMadness, drawing on the work of Dr Ladson Billings, explains the insurrection for younger elementary grades
General resources for responding to January 6th
- 3 Ways to Teach the Insurrection at the US Capitol (PBS Newshour)
- When Bad Things Are Happening (Teaching Tolerance)
- Resources for School Communities in Times of Crisis (a fairly exhaustive collection from Education Elements)
- Using a Circle of Power and Respect (CPR) to respond to January 6th (Mindi Wimett, WRVSU VT)
- Beyond the Stoplight Resource list
- A twitter thread of resources for responding to January 6th as well as centering the Georgia run-off race in events (Zinn Project)
- The Sound of Silence, by Brian Ricca. A call for administrators to support educators in speaking up about these events.
- NEW: The Rutland NAACP published a comprehensive list of resources for contextualizing and responding to these events.
- A thread of history-specific resources for discussing the January 6th events (American Historical Association)
- A structure & guidelines for public processing of January 6th (Leyla Helwa)
Putting it in historical perspective
- NEW: Everything looks different now: Comparing 1/6 & 9/11 with similar uprisings in US history (The Atlantic)
- NEW: For Black Americans the White Terror Looks Familiar (HuffPo). A great historical piece connecting the dots from earlier white supremacy violence to January 6th.
— Alex Shevrin Venet (@AlexSVenet) January 13, 2021
Resources for anti-racist education
Looking for resources to talk about who’s at the heart of our conversations on what matters? Need help evaluating critical sources for bias, or just jumping into anti-racist education?
- Student intervention for anti-racist education
- Using art to talk about identity and race (video)
- NEW: Lessons learned from a community conversation on race
- Powerful op-ed by Black and Smart: “But What Will We Tell The Children?”
Resources for digital citizenship
One important portion of the events of January 6th was the role of the then-President, both in video messages and on social media. Looking for resources for unpacking the role online communications has played?
- “Because internet”: learning to communicate in different online spaces
- 4 resources for fighting fake news
- Exploring digital citizenship as a form of literacy
- twitter etiquette
- Digital citizenship in the real world
- NEW: Teaching Good Citizenship As A Part Of Democracy, by the VT Good Citizen Challenge
Teachers, we see you and we appreciate you. None of this is easy, but responding to moments like these are incredibly necessary. Education is necessary for democracy to be successful. We have a role to play in the health of our democracy and supporting our students. Our investment matters.
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