Lesson Plan

Experiences with Race and Racism

Diverse Elementary Students Meeting with Counselor


Related Content

GRADE LEVEL: Elementary School, Middle School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Language

Race and racism are topics that regularly come up in the news and populate our social media feeds. Whether we are discussing the lack of representation of people of color in media, immigration policies, the racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system or the events in Charlottesville, race is part of our public conversation. Race is an integral part of our history, culture and modern life and impacts all of us in society. Young people are not exempt from these conversations and in fact, want to be engaged in those discussions and should be. This lesson uses stories from The New York Times Race/Related column on First Encounters with Racism in which teenagers across the country responded to the question: “What is your earliest experience dealing with race?”

This lesson[1] provides an opportunity for students to learn about the language of bias and racism, explore a range of stories (through video and written pieces) of young people’s first encounters with race and racism and reflect on their own early experiences through a writing assignment.


[1] A version of this lesson was originally published on The New York Times Learning Network, First Encounters With Race and Racism: Teaching Ideas for Classroom Conversations.