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Current Events Classroom

About Current Events Classroom

Gay Marriage Same-Sex Symbols
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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. [Download Lesson PDF]

What Is Marriage Equality?

Summary

In October 2014, the Supreme Court let stand several appeals court rulings holding that the U.S. Constitution guarantees marriage equality for same-sex couples in five additional states This brings the total states allowing same-sex couples to marry to 25 plus District of Columbia. The Court’s decision not to hear these cases will also open the door to the freedom to marry in five more states. 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.

Grade Level

4-8

Common Core Anchor Standards

Reading, Speaking and Listening


[Download PDF]

Elementary School Lessons

Who Is Malala Yousafzai? (PDF)
Malala Yousafzai has won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and at seventeen years old, is the youngest person to ever receive the award. This grades 4-7 lesson helps students learn about Malala, why she won the Nobel Peace Prize and explores what it means to be an activist.

Mo'Ne Davis and Gender Stereotypes (PDF)
Mo'Ne Davis, a 13 year old girl, has made news headlines because of her distinction in Little League Baseball. This elementary lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Mo'Ne Davis and explore gender stereotypes about sports and in other areas of their lives.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 7 Ways to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary (PDF)
The Anti-Defamation League presents this special edition lesson that includes a variety of teaching strategies and resources to help you commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with your students. The lesson provides an opportunity for educators to teach and students to learn more about the history of discrimination and racism in the United States, the struggle for civil rights, the Civil Rights Act, and the strides we have made as well as the work that remains to be done. (Grades K-12)

Identity-Based Bullying (PDF)
When bullying targets aspects of a person’s identity, it is called identity-based bullying, and may include bias about appearance, race, culture, gender and gender expression, language, religion, socioeconomic status, disability and sexual orientation. This elementary lesson will help students define and understand identity-based bullying, reflect on experiences they have had and analyze scenarios and come up with potential solutions. (Grades 2-5)

Who Am I? Identity Poems (PDF)
April is National Poetry Month, which is a good opportunity to explore poetry with your students. 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. (Grades 2-5)

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. 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 (Recent)

Who Is Malala Yousafzai? (PDF)

Malala Yousafzai has won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and at seventeen years old, is the youngest person to ever receive the award. This grades 4-7 lesson helps students learn about Malala, why she won the Nobel Peace Prize and explores what it means to be an activist.

Who are the Children at Our Border? (PDF)
In this lesson, students will learn more about the unaccompanied children at the U.S. border, read and reflect on two stories of children who recently came to the U.S. on their own and will consider their opinion about the situation and what to do about it by writing a persuasive letter. (Grades 7-12)

Student Dress Codes: What's Fair? (PDF)
Over the years, student dress codes have sought to address a wide range of issues and have incited different degrees of controversy. Lesson provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their own opinions regarding student dress codes, identify school and students needs and perspectives and design their own dress codes that satisfy both student and school needs. (Grades 6-12)

Civil Rights Act of 1964: 7 Ways to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary (PDF)
Lesson provides an opportunity to teach and learn more about the history of discrimination and racism in the United States, the struggle for civil rights, the Civil Rights Act, and the strides we have made as well as the work that remains to be done. (Grades K-12)

What is Weight Bias (PDF)
Lesson provides an opportunity for students to discuss and define weight bias, identify stereotypes about overweight and obese people and explore what can be done about weight bias in their classroom, school and society at large.

60 Years Later: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education (PDF)
Students will learn more about the Brown v. Board of Education ruling and study two infographics in order to analyze and reflect on the modern day “school-to-prison pipeline” and the opportunity gap that both exist in our public schools. (Grades 6-12)

Responses to Bias: Donald Sterling of the L.A. Clippers (PDF)
Students learn more about Donald’s Sterling’s racist statements, discuss what they would do in certain stakeholder roles and explore the different responses. (Grades 6-12)

Who Was César Chávez? (PDF)
Students 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)

Middle School Lessons

Stereotypes of Girls and Women in the Media (PDF)
Lesson provides an opportunity for students to critically examine certain media forms and their portrayals of women and girls. 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.

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

What is Marriage Equality? (PDF)
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 (Recent)

Who are the Children at Our Border? (PDF)
In this lesson, students will learn more about the unaccompanied children at the U.S. border, read and reflect on two stories of children who recently came to the U.S. on their own and will consider their opinion about the situation and what to do about it by writing a persuasive letter. (Grades 7-12)

Student Dress Codes: What's Fair? (PDF)
Over the years, student dress codes have sought to address a wide range of issues and have incited different degrees of controversy. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their own opinions regarding student dress codes, identify school and students needs and perspectives and design their own dress codes that satisfy both student and school needs. (Grades 6-12)

Privilege, Discrimination and Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (PDF)
Students learn about unearned privilege, examine racial disparities in the criminal justice system and explore the role of privilege in the different interactions white and people of color have with law enforcement.

What is Happening in Ferguson, MO? (PDF)
Students learn more about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown and reflect on their thoughts and feelings about the case, analyze the militarization of the police and explore activism.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 7 Ways to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary (PDF)
ADL presents this special edition lesson that includes a variety of teaching strategies and resources to help you commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with your students. (Grades K-12)

60 Years Later: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education (PDF)
Students will learn more about the Brown v. Board of Education ruling and will study two infographics in order to analyze and reflect on the modern day “school-to-prison pipeline” and the opportunity gap. (Grades 6-12)

On the Rise: Anti-Semitism in Europe (PDF)
Students have an opportunity to define anti-Semitism, identify and categorize incidences of anti-Semitism, gain an understanding of the Pyramid of Hate and learn more about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Transgender Identity and Issues (PDF)
Students learn more about transgender identity and issues, the barriers faced by people who identify as transgender or are gender non-conforming and how we can make schools safe and welcoming for them.

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.

High School Lessons

Responses to Bias: Donald Sterling of the L.A. Clippers (PDF)
Students learn more about Donald’s Sterling’s racist statements, discuss what they would do in certain stakeholder roles and explore the different responses. (Grades 6-12)

What is the Dream Act and Who are the Dreamers? (PDF)
Lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the DREAM Act, reflect on different perspectives about it and identify their own opinion to defend in writing. (Grades 9-12)

Who Was César Chávez? (PDF)
Students 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)
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.

Microaggressions In Our Lives (PDF)
Students explore what microaggressions are, how they have experienced them and what can be done to counteract them.

Bias, Bullying and Bad Behavior in the NFL (PDF)
Students reflect on the news story about two Miami Dolphins football players in a situation involving bullying and bias.

Self-Defense and Racial Profiling (PDF)
Students have the opportunity to discuss the homicide of Renisha McBride, who was shot to death while seeking help after being in a car accident and analyze the role of self-defense and racial profiling. In both cases the shooter was white and also similar was the perpetrator's claim of self-defense.

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 more about Nelson Mandela and his extraordinary life.

Analyzing Hate Crimes Statistics (PDF)
Students learn more about hate crimes, FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics report and background on the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).

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