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Current Events Classroom

About Current Events Classroom

Young Boy Writing

The Current Events Classroom is a collection of timely and relevant brief lesson plans that assist K-12 educators in teaching news topics and other issues of the day. Each lesson helps students analyze the topic through an anti-bias, diversity and social justice lens. Featured Lesson (Download PDF).

Who Am I? Identity Poems

Summary

April is National Poetry Month, which is a good opportunity to explore poetry with your students. Because poetry does not require strict sentence structure or the usual grammar rules and conventions, young children are often open to and interested in experimenting with poems. This lesson provides an opportunity for children to learn more about poetry, understand the role of metaphors and comparisons in poetry and reflect on aspects of their identity in order to write an acrostic poem about themselves.

Grade Level

2-5

Common Core Anchor Standards

Reading, Writing, Language

Learning Objectives
  • Students will learn how to write a simple poem using interesting words.
  • Students will understand the role of comparison and metaphor in constructing poetry.
  • Students will reflect on identity poems they read aloud.
  • Students will reflect on different parts of their identity in order to develop an acrostic poem about themselves.
  • Students will increase their understanding of personal and cultural identity.

Download PDF

Elementary School Lessons

Who Am I? Identity Poems (PDF)
April is National Poetry Month, which is a good opportunity to explore poetry with your students.  Because poetry does not require strict sentence structure or the usual grammar rules and conventions, young children are often open to and interested in experimenting with poems. This lesson provides an opportunity for children to learn more about poetry, understand the role of metaphors and comparisons in poetry and reflect on aspects of their identity in order to write an acrostic poem about themselves. 

Toys and Gender (PDF)
Holiday season is a time of year when children and families think about buying toys for children. In our society, very few toys are free of gender packaging and most toys are either associated with girls or boys. Often, those associations are stereotyped, so that “girl toys” tend to focus on domesticity, nurturing and appearance whereas “boy toys” emphasize building, action and aggressive play. This lesson will give students the opportunity to learn about and reflect on how toys are influenced by gender stereotypes and how children and their families are impacted by those messages. (Grades: K-3) UPDATE: Subsequent adaptations of this lesson have been included for PreK students.

What is Marriage Equality? (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore marriage equality, gain background information about it, and reflect on their own thoughts and feelings about marriage equality. (Grades: 4-8)

Middle School Lessons

Who Was César Chávez? (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about César Chávez, the strategies he used to create change for the migrant farm workers and to analyze and reflect on modern day civil rights and labor struggles. (Grades: 6-12)

Stereotypes of Girls and Women in the Media (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to critically examine certain media forms and their portrayals of women and girls. Students will consider how media shapes public perception and can perpetuate bias. This is a two-part lesson that requires the students to conduct investigative work in between the two sessions. (Grades: 6-12)

The Sound of Silence in Football: Derrick Coleman (PDF)
In this lesson, students will discuss this inspiring football player, learn more about Derrick Coleman’s life and reflect on a story written by a deaf teenager. (Grades: 6-8)

Nelson Mandela: ‘A True Hero of Conscience’ (PDF)
In celebration and memory of the life of Nelson Mandela, this special edition of The Current Events Classroom provides students the opportunity to learn, in several ways, more about Nelson Mandela and his extraordinary life.

What is Marriage Equality? (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore marriage equality, gain background information about it, and reflect on their own thoughts and feelings about marriage equality. (Grades: 4-8)

High School Lessons

Who Was César Chávez? (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about César Chávez, the strategies he used to create change for the migrant farm workers and to analyze and reflect on modern day civil rights and labor struggles. (Grades: 6-12)

Stereotypes of Girls and Women in the Media (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to critically examine certain media forms and their portrayals of women and girls. Students will consider how media shapes public perception and can perpetuate bias. This is a two-part lesson that requires the students to conduct investigative work in between the two sessions. (Grades: 6-12)

Microaggressions In Our Lives (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore what microaggressions are, how they have experienced them and what can be done to counteract them. (Grades: 9-12)

Bias, Bullying and Bad Behavior in the NFL (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the news story about two Miami Dolphins football players in a situation involving bullying and bias, and which resulted in one player leaving the team and the other player’s suspension. The situation has launched a national conversation about bullying, hazing, masculinity, physical and verbal abuse and locker room behavior. (Grades: 9-12)

Self-Defense and Racial Profiling (PDF)
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to discuss the homicide of Renisha McBride, who was shot to death while seeking help after being in a car accident. Similar to Trayvon Martin, both victims were black and in both cases, the shooter was white. Also similar was the perpetrator’s claim of self-defense. Students will learn more about these cases and analyze the role of self-defense and racial profiling. (Grades: 9-12)

Nelson Mandela: ‘A True Hero of Conscience’ (PDF)
In celebration and memory of the life of Nelson Mandela, this special edition of The Current Events Classroom provides students the opportunity to learn, in several ways, more about Nelson Mandela and his extraordinary life.

Analyzing Hate Crimes Statistics (PDF)
In November 2013, the FBI released the Hate Crime Statistics, 2012, a report that has been compiled every year since the early 1990s. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about hate crimes, the annual report and background on the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). Students will also explore possible actions they can take to prevent hate crimes. (Grades: 9-12)

Get Regular Updates

The Current Events Classroom is a collection of timely and relevant lesson plans that assist K-12 educators in teaching news topics and other issues of the day.

If you want to receive an update every time there is a new Current Events Classroom lesson (could be as often as weekly), send an email with your request to educationcurriculum@adl.org.

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