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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.

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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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Current Events Classroom

Freddie Gray & Baltimore Unrest

Exploring the Case Using Op-Eds

Date: May 8, 2015

Topic: Race and Racism, Social Justice

Grade Level: High School

This lesson provides an opportunity for high school students to discuss the case of Freddie Gray’s death and the protests that took place in Baltimore and elsewhere. In the lesson, students will learn more about the case, read and analyze several op-eds about it and use what they learned to write their own argumentative essays with a specific point of view and evidence to support their positions.


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Current Events Classroom

Caitlyn Jenner and the Power of Coming Out

Date: April 29, 2015

Topic: LGBTQ People and Homophobia/Heterosexism

Grade Level: High School

This high school lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Caitlyn Jenner’s experiences, reflect on what it means to “come out” and explore the impact of coming out on the individual, others, policies and society as a whole.


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Current Events Classroom

Social Justice Poetry

Date: April 9, 2015

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: Middle School

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle school students to explore poetry and song about injustice, reflect on what social justice issues are important to them and write their own poems about social justice, using a variety of formats and finding creative ways to share their poetry with others.


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Current Events Classroom

Understanding Homophobia/Heterosexism

and How to Be an Ally

Date: March 26, 2015

Topic: LGBTQ People and Homophobia/Heterosexism

Grade Level: Middle School, High School

This lesson is geared toward increasing middle and high school students’ understanding of and empathy for how homophobia manifests itself in schools and society, including actions they can take on behalf of their school or community.


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Current Events Classroom

The Movies, the Academy Awards and Implicit Bias

Date: March 3, 2015

Topic: Gender and Sexism, General Anti-Bias

Grade Level: High School

In this high school lesson, students will reflect on their own experiences and opinions about movies, analyze demographic information about the movie industry and explore the role of implicit bias.


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Current Events Classroom

The Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights

Date: February 25, 2015

Topic: Race and Racism, Social Justice

Grade Level: High School

This high school lesson will give students background information about the historical struggle for voting rights and the Selma to Montgomery March that took place in Alabama in March 1965. Students will also explore voting restrictions today and gain insight into what can and should be done to preserve the right to vote.


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Current Events Classroom

We Can All Be 'Kid President'

Date: February 6, 2015

Topic: Social Justice

Grade Level: Elementary School

This lesson uses Kid President’s recent video on Martin Luther King, Jr. as a jumping off point to talk with elementary students about activists. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the activities and qualities of activists, identify and explore famous and ordinary activists and conduct research on an activist of their choice.


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Current Events Classroom

The Trap of Masculinity

How Sexism Impacts Boys and Men

Date: February 2, 2015

Topic: Gender and Sexism

Grade Level: Middle School, High School

This middle and high school lesson will help students explore how we, as a society, view boys and men and understand concepts of masculinity. Students will reflect on those messages, identify where those concepts and stereotypes come from and begin to understand how they can be challenged.


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