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Lesson Plans

Current Events Classroom

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. Please note that these lessons are developed in real time as the news topic unfolds. Therefore, if the lesson is taught after additional information about the story emerges, teachers should supplement the lesson with additional resources.

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Current Events Classroom

Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?

Date: September 27, 2016

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Columbus Day, reflect on why some cities and states have renamed it Indigenous Peoples Day and consider their own points of view on the topic by engaging in a writing project to express their perspective.


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Current Events Classroom

We Were Strangers Too

Learning about Refugees through Art

Date: August 31, 2016

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: Middle School, High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to learn about the refugee crisis, view and analyze related artwork produced by artists all over the world and other activities to deepen their understanding of the refugee crisis and promote empathy for what it means to be a “stranger.”


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Current Events Classroom

8 Ideas for Teaching National Hispanic Heritage Month

Date: August 19, 2016

Topic: People, Identity and Culture, Race and Racism, Social Justice

Grade Level: Elementary, School, Middle School, High School

This resource offers eight ideas for teaching about National Hispanic Heritage Month.


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Current Events Classroom

Is Olympic Coverage Sexist?

Date: August 18, 2016

Topic: Gender and Sexism

Grade Level: Middle School, High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to learn more about the 2016 Olympics, reflect on what they’ve seen and heard and assess the extent to which there is sexism and stereotypes in the coverage of the 2016 Olympics.


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Current Events Classroom

Confronting Cyberhate

Old Navy and Malia Obama Backlash

Date: May 12, 2016

Topic: Hate, Genocide and Holocaust

Grade Level: Middle School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore and learn more about cyberhate using these two recent news stories, and to reflect upon the best way to confront cyberhate.


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Current Events Classroom

Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

The Power of Symbols

Date: April 27, 2016

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: Middle School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn about the sweeping changes in U.S. currency, analyze the role of symbols and their impact and articulate their own opinions about the importance of symbols and symbolic gestures in our society.


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Current Events Classroom

Outsmarting Propaganda

Combatting the Lure of Extremist Recruitment Strategies

Date: March 29, 2016

Topic: Hate, Genocide and Holocaust

Grade Level: High School

This high school lesson provides an opportunity for students to understand what propaganda is and how it is used, learn about domestic and international extremism and terrorism and their recruitment methodology and consider actions they can take to counter those strategies.


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Current Events Classroom

The Gender Wage Gap

Date: March 23, 2016

Topic: Gender and Sexism

Grade Level: High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their own opinions about sexism, understand the gender pay gap and its various manifestations and consider ways that it can be overcome.


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Current Events Classroom

Dolls Are Us

Date: February 8, 2016

Topic: Ability, Disability and Ableism

Grade Level: Elementary School

This lesson provides an opportunity for elementary students to explore their own identity and the physical characteristics that make each person unique, learn about some of the new diverse representation of dolls, reflect on their own experiences with dolls and propose a new doll by making one and writing a persuasive letter to a toy company.


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Current Events Classroom

Anti-Muslim Bigotry and Being an Ally

Date: January 15, 2016

Topic: Religion and Religious Bigotry

Grade Level: Middle School, HIgh School

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to learn and reflect on the connection between anti-Muslim acts of bigotry and the misunderstandings and stereotypes about Muslim people, and identify ways they can be allies in the face of bias and discrimination.


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Current Events Classroom

Athletes and Activism

Date: January 13, 2016

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: High School

This high school lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about and reflect upon athletes who have taken stands on political issues.


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Current Events Classroom

Terrorist Attack in Paris and Scapegoating

Date: November 24, 2015

Topic: General Anti-Bias

Grade Level: Middle/High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the Paris attacks and understand the ways in which Muslim people and Syrian refugees are being scapegoated as a result of the terrorist attacks.


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Current Events Classroom

Role Models and Stereotypes

Misty Copeland's Story

Date: November 13, 2015

Topic: General Anti-Bias

Grade Level: Elementary School

This lesson provides an opportunity for elementary students to learn about Misty Copeland, reflect on her experiences and story and explore how stereotypes and role models influence career aspirations and decisions.


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Current Events Classroom

What is the School-to-Prison Pipeline?

Date: November 5, 2015

Topic: Race and Racism

Grade Level: High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for high school students to understand more about the School-to-Prison Pipeline, learn about its history and evolution and begin to plan some activities to teach others about it and take action.


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Current Events Classroom

Refugee Crisis in Europe

How Should the World Respond?

Date: September 25, 2015

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the refugee crisis through reading and viewing photographic images and exploring what nations around the world are doing in response to the crisis and what they can do to help.


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Current Events Classroom

School Lunch Policy

Kids Can Make a Difference

Date: September 22, 2015

Topic: Gender and Sexism, Social Justice

Grade Level: Elementary School

This lesson provides an opportunity for elementary students to learn more about Henry and Henriet James' actions that led to the change in school policy, explore their own opinions about gender norms/separating children by gender and write a persuasive essay about a school policy/rule they want to change.


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Current Events Classroom

Black Lives Matter

From Hashtag to Movement

Date: September 11, 2015

Topic: Race and Racism, Social Justice

Grade Level: High School

This high school lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Black Lives Matter and the activists involved, explore the controversy about using the term “All lives matter,” and posit their point of view in writing to a person of their choice.


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Current Events Classroom

Teens, Tech, Connect

How Technology Impacts Teenagers' Friendships

Date: August 25, 2015

Topic: Bullying Awareness and Prevention, General Anti-Bias

Grade Level: Middle School, High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to explore their current use of and perspective on technology, analyze the results of a recent study on teenagers, technology and friendships, learn more about some of the negative consequences like social isolation and cyberbullying and share the information they learn with each other.


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Current Events Classroom

Boy Scouts of America Lifts Ban on Gay Leaders

Date: July 28, 2015

Topic: LGBTQ People and Homophobia/Heterosexism

Grade Level: Middle School

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the evolution of the Boy Scouts’ position on gay members and leaders, analyze Robert Gates’ recent speech on the issue and explore students’ own points of view by writing persuasive essays.


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Current Events Classroom

Voting Rights Then and Now

Date: July 22, 2015

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for high school students to explore the difference between the right to vote and the ability to vote, learn more about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and reflect on some of the current day threats to voting rights and what can be done about it.


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