22 Free Resources for Teaching Social Justice in the Classroom

Teachers are left to their own devices when crafting or discovering social justice lesson plans because there are no federal standards for the subject in place. Although civil rights activism, organization, and resistance have a long history in our nation, many instructors still perceive these events as recent.

These 22 resources for social justice lesson ideas are all free.

Use these curriculum preparation materials to dig in-depth:

  1. Teaching Tolerance

We adore the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. It offers free lesson planning resources for educators working with kindergarten through high school students. These honorable materials range from a straightforward weekly email to magazine articles to a comprehensive lesson-plan maker. With the tool, you may collaborate on projects and units with colleagues by sharing your learning plan. And that’s not the end of it. Additionally, Teaching Tolerance provides self-guided and coached professional development opportunities in person and online through webinars.

Now that we’ve stopped gushing, let’s talk about how one teacher helped her school de-stigmatize menstruation in time for Women’s History Month! Consider developing a lesson from the outstanding piece by staff writer Coshandra Dillard.

  1. Poets.org

Poems may not come to mind when you consider social justice. But since 1960, Poets.org has helped instructors use poetry to teach about historical and modern challenges. Enjoy a monthly curricular calendar, a database of poems that can be browsed by topic and period, and lesson plans that use poetry to teach kids about social concerns. BONUS: Subscribe to the handy poem-a-day newsletter to receive new poems and insightful analyses in your email.

  1. ING

These free lesson plans from the Islamic Networks Group (ING) on tackling racism, fostering inclusive communities, and promoting equity make us happy to share. This unit’s emphasis on tales is one of our favorite features. Students can examine the history and origins of stories about people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds and racialized religious groups and think about how these stories relate to racism and implicit prejudice. Additionally, it provides young people with potent counter-narratives and strategies for acting to combat racism.

Middle and high schools are the target audience for these programs. They would be a wonderful addition to any course on ethnic studies, international history, current events, or American history. Additionally, ING’s work focuses on increasing awareness of all oppressed communities, not only Muslims.

  1. The National Education Association’s Social Justice Lesson Plans

This excellent curriculum received the 2018 Human and Civil Rights Award (sponsored by the National Education Association).

These K–12 courses cover English, art, and humanities topics. They were developed by various groups and individuals, including the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of modern-day Idaho, DREAMer Daniel Rodriguez, and Writers in the Schools colleague Susan Bartley. Links to handouts and Common Core equivalencies are also included.

  1. The Knotted Line

Hello there, data nerds! This three-part project uses historical data from accessible sources to create a timeline that examines freedom and imprisonment in the US.

Use the multimedia library, free curriculum guide, and interactive online experience to engage students in a critical examination of who is granted freedom and under what conditions.

  1. @RethinkSchools

Rethinking Schools is a nonprofit publication that publishes books and magazines to enhance public education via social justice action and classroom instruction. Even though their books are fantastic, you can keep informed by following them using the hashtag #SoJustEdu. Their feed assists educators in recalling important yet little-known historical occurrences and keeping up with current affairs like the #Unite4OaklandKids teachers’ strike.

  1. #EduColor

Follow this hashtag if you’re searching for monthly talks about language, culture, self-care, and equity. EduColor, a group of activists of color, was established to advance intersectional diversity and offer professional tools to support teachers as they work to dismantle the injustice that permeates the educational system.

  1. DisruptTexts

Dr. Kim Parker, Julia Torres, Tricia Ebarvia, and Lorena German created the #DisruptTexts Twitter discussion. The objective is to provide a more inclusive curriculum while challenging the established canon in language arts. How to take part in #DisruptTexts is detailed below.

  1. @theconsciouskid

Through a race-critical lens, this Instagram account explores parenting and education. The book suggestions, social commentary, and insightful articles shared on this account will win you over. Click follow to experience higher awareness. Be prepared to reconsider the books you choose for your classroom library, but worry not—this influencer offers a range of suitable alternatives.

  1. @teachandtransform

The 2018 Teaching Tolerance Award winner and TED Talk speaker is Liz Kleinrock. Her anti-bias education platform, @teachandtransform, provides instructors with easy and doable changes to make their classrooms more inclusive and equal. Enjoy candid pictures of Liz’s whiteboard and discover what she is learning as she goes!

Stay tuned! During your morning commute, listen to these beneficial podcasts:

  1. Educators for Social Justice Podcast

This St. Louis-based, independent, teacher-led podcast can be found on iTunes and addresses topics including racism, gender, sexuality, language, and more. It just stayed around for a short while. Listen to the last episode to learn how to embrace LGBTQ+ adolescents wholeheartedly.

  1. Pedagogy Cult

We’ll be open about it: We like all Cult of Pedagogy materials! However, the program benefits those of us who consider themselves self-described teacher geeks and want to learn about instructional practices, classroom management, educational reform, and educational technology—many of which are viewed through the lens of social justice. Listen to this episode from a recent podcast with Pedro Noguera discussing ten steps educators may take to promote equity.

  1. The Truth for Teachers Podcast

The Truth for Teachers podcast is a top-ten podcast for K–12 educators and offers resources for more than simply social justice. Dr. Travis Bristol, a former teacher currently conducting research at UC Berkeley, is the guest on this edition of Angela Watson. The NYC Young Men’s Initiative, which aims to find and assist 1,000 male teachers of color, also has Travis as its lead investigator. Listen to this episode to learn why white women make up most of the teachers and how to encourage a more diverse faculty in schools. How do you feel?

You may rely on the following done-for-you tasks to encourage critical discourse:

  1. The Global Oneness Project

This exquisite collection of multimedia features essays, photos, and films that showcase the human condition as a whole. Unique displays cover hot subjects, including climate change, migration, and endangered civilizations. Beautiful artwork can be seen in each collection, but the website also includes lesson materials for educators. Take a peek right now to “bring the world to your classroom.”

  1. The Critical Media Project

For educators and students aged 8 to 21, The Critical Media Project (CMP) is a free media literacy website resource.

CMP utilizes the Common Core Standards to give pertinent media snippets and follow-up discussion questions that engage students’ capacity to consider identity politics and advocate for social change critically. In today’s complicated political environment, CMP was created on the premise that media literacy and analysis are vital to all education. We wholeheartedly concur!

  1. iCivics

Make use of gaming to teach civics to your kids! This entertaining and engaging website offers comprehensive lesson plans and interactive activities that let your students assume the roles of legislators and public workers.

Additionally, you can see how other instructors are implementing iCivics in their classrooms by following @iCivics on Twitter to stay up to date on the news on legislation and policy!

  1. IWitness

Examine victim accounts with the help of this well-arranged activity library for teachers. Choose your preferred language from a collection of compelling videos and Common Core lessons that assist in helping your pupils understand hatred. BONUS: Take a look at their webinars for free professional development.

  1. Constitute

Your one-stop resource for obtaining the constitutions of governments worldwide is this sizable searchable database. Ask your students to research, read, and contrast the legal systems of various cultures—filter by topic, status, date of adoption, and nation. Despite the absence of lesson materials, this website will undoubtedly inspire advanced classroom debate among high school students.

Use these initiatives as your model to inspire your pupils to effect the change they want to see in the world:

  1. DoSomething.org

Organize your upcoming service endeavor with DoSomething.org! Take a survey of your students to find out what they are passionate about, and then assist them in selecting a project from an extended range of campaigns to begin in your community. The class can then participate to win rewards, such as scholarships, by submitting a picture or video of their finished campaign.

  1. YR Media

This Oakland-based group amplifies the voices of young journalists and artists. Encourage your high school students to pursue careers as reporters! Watch YR Media journalists’ films before sending your young journalists out to locate the stories in their neighborhoods.

Use these administrative-level tools and professional development pieces of training to change the culture of your school:

  1. Facing History and Ourselves

This organization provides professional development for teachers and administrators, school-wide training, and a network of partner schools. Facing History creates programs unique to your school community’s requirements, from pedagogical philosophy to subject-specific material. Follow these steps to invite them to your school.

  1. The Zinn Education Project

The Zinn Education Project is necessary to this list of social justice resources. This organization provides training on how to teach people’s histories to teachers and administrators. Eighty-seven thousand teachers had signed up for Zinn Education training by the end of last year, learning about climate change, Islamophobia, the labor movement, the New Deal, anti-war movements, and how to create lesson plans and articles for publications.

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