The 2016 presidential election was unlike any in recent history. According to the nearly 10,000 educators who responded to our election surveys (one administered during the primary season and the other after the election), the campaign and its results: elicited fear and anxiety among children of color, immigrants and Muslims; emboldened students to mimic the words and tones of candidates and pundits; and disrupted opportunities to teach effectively about political campaigns and civic engagement.
Educators also told us what types of resources they need to overcome these ongoing obstacles, and we listened. We created this web package for use during and after the campaign season.
We’ll continue to update this web package with post-election resources, knowing that the work to ensure civility, inclusion and safety in schools continues.
These resources will help students recognize and respond to bias against immigrants, Muslims and Sikhs.
10 Myths About Immigration Unravel misconceptions about immigrants and immigration with this short list. (middle and high school)
Using Photographs to Expose Anti-Immigrant Sentiment This structured lesson helps students analyze hot-button media messages safely and expertly. (middle and high school)
An Educator’s Guide to the Immigration Debate The guide and accompanying toolkit provide background knowledge and tips for teaching about the history of immigration in the United States. (high school)
The Truth About American Muslims This guide will answer your students’ questions about Sharia law, religious clothing and whether Islam is a political movement. (high school and adult)
Religious Diversity Webinars We teamed up with the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding to produce this on-demand webinar series for teaching about religion across grade levels. (professional development)
Lesson on Religious Clothing These lessons help students learn the significance of traditional religious clothing and its meaning to the people who wear it. (all grades)
Zahrah’s Hijab To inspire your students’ empathy, share the story of how Zahrah responded to teasing about her hijab. Free registration required; then search for “hijab” in the Central Text Anthology. (elementary)
Sikhtoons Sikh cartoonist Vishavjit Singh uses art and humor to challenge people to see the person beneath the turban. Free registration required; then search for “Sikh” in the Central Text Anthology. (upper elementary, middle and high school)
It’s important to reassure students that they can make a difference in the political process. These resources recommend ways young activists can participate in civic life and do something about the issues that matter to them.
Post-election Activity: “Voting in Your Town” “Voting in Your Town” is a great action-based task. This multi-step project includes teacher instructions, student handouts and a rubric. (middle and high school)
Rock the Vote This story from the Fall 2016 issue of Teaching Tolerance explains how teachers can involve students in the democratic process—even under the age of 18. (high school)
If It Can Happen Here… This feature story from the Fall 2016 issue of Teaching Tolerance tells how a group of teachers organized a “Teach In” to protest hurtful election rhetoric heard in schools. (all grades)
The Young and the Registered This story profiles organizations dedicated to voter registration and mobilization and discusses how to inspire the next generation of voters. Includes a related webinar. (high school)
Do Something tasks from Perspectives for a Diverse America Do Something performance tasks allow students to build civic engagement awareness and demonstrate their critical literacy skills. Free registration required. (all grades)
Rock the Vote’s Democracy Class This interactive lesson plan includes a mock election exercise to equip young people with the skills they need to navigate the political process. (middle and high school)
League of Women Voter’s Voter Registration Training This manual includes a step-by-step guide to help you develop successful high school voter registration programs. (high school)
Campus Vote Project’s Student Guides With this interactive map of the United States, students can see state-specific guides on how to register and cast a ballot. (high school and higher education)
SPLC on Campus Through student-led SPLC on Campus clubs, the Southern Poverty Law Center is working to make a difference on campuses across the United States. (higher education)
The New Deciders This episode of America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa explores the voting power of four demographic groups: black millennials, Arab Americans, Latino evangelicals and Asian Americans. The accompanying lesson urges students to research and support voting in their communities. (Grades 6-12)
While students may not always agree, they should be able to listen, express opinions and debate with respect. These resources can help you guide students in their discussions and model civil discourse.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day A national campaign launched by Teaching Tolerance in 2002, Mix It Up at Lunch Day encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries while sharing a meal. We ask schools to participate on the last Tuesday in October each school year. (all grades)
Speak Up for Civility This contract provides a way for families, educators and other staff to commit to some simple behaviors that will make them all models of good citizenship and respectful dialogue.
Polarized Classrooms This article from the Fall 2016 issue of Teaching Tolerance discusses the divisiveness of political parties and the negative effects of shutting out the other side. (all grades)
Civil Discourse in the Classroom This lesson booklet provides tools for teaching civil discourse and giving students the skills to turn their opinions into reasoned arguments. (middle and high school)
Speaking Kindness in Democratic Classrooms This lesson invites students to co-develop a set of guidelines for speaking to each other with kindness and respect. (all grades)
Ground Rules for Discussion In this exercise, students learn to participate in reasoned and respectful discussions with each other, following ground rules that they create together. (all grades)
A New Set of Rules Use this plan to develop a "Class Constitution" with students, furthering their civic education and giving them ownership of the room's rules. (professional development)
Classroom Culture Foster a classroom culture that reflects diversity, equity and justice by following these five guidelines. (professional development)
Learning From Politics: 5 Actions to Help Students Embrace Civility During the 2016 election, students have witnessed uncivil displays from multiple presidential candidates. Turn displays into teachable moments. (professional development)
Educators are looking for ways to handle fallout from the presidential election and to address polarized school and classroom climates. Use these resources to facilitate vital conversations with students about how they see political differences influencing civic life.
What to Say to Kids on November 10 and the Days After This blog reminds educators of a few key truths children need to hear after the election. (professional development)
The Day After This blog helps readers answer the questions: How do my students and I move forward? How do we return to some form of normalcy after the election? (professional development)
School Administrators: Are You Ready? Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello offers several suggestions for how administrators can keep schools safe after the election. (professional development)
Our Work Is Unfinished After Election Day, this educator and blogger recommitted to making room for hope and action in his classroom. (professional development)
PD Café These professional development activities from the Fall 2016 issue of Teaching Tolerance help educators process their thoughts about the election and commit to civil discourse and civic engagement. (professional development)
Teach 2016 This feature from the Fall 2016 issue of Teaching Tolerance addresses five common questions and concerns educators have about teaching the election. (professional development)
A Need to Speak: Teaching About the 2016 Election This teacher argues that educators can’t shy away from discussing the current political climate. Teach your students how to navigate emotional conversations in a civil way. (professional development)
Political Discussion Belongs in Our Classroom Read about one teacher’s belief that classrooms should be a safe space for expressing political opinions. (all grades)
Shifting Out of Neutral A history teacher discusses leaving the struggle for objectivity behind and encouraging students to consider multiple perspectives. (all grades)
Let’s Talk! Use these strategies as you prepare to facilitate difficult conversations about the election, social inequality, discrimination or other topics. Check out the related webinar. (all grades)
Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or Controversial Topics Learn how to structure complex conversations about hot-button issues with these strategies from the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT). (higher education)
Guidelines for Discussing Incidents of Hate, Bias, and Discrimination Use these strategies from the University of Michigan’s CRLT to facilitate respectful classroom discussion around incidents and behaviors that express hostility or violence. (higher education)
The News Literacy ProjectHelp students become informed citizens with these educational resources created by teachers and seasoned journalists. (middle and high school)
Teaching Tolerance posed a post-election question to students via their teachers: What advice would you give to the new president? We posted the responses on social media using #StudentsSpeak and asked participating educators to do the same.
The number and thoughtfulness of the submissions we received far exceeded our hopes. Students took this question very seriously; their answers make it clear that they are listening closely to the president-elect and that they care deeply about what the next four years will mean for the United States and for the people who live here. You can see some of the submissions below and view the complete album here.
Let the Students Speak! This blog details the goals and mechanisms of the #StudentsSpeak campaign, and even includes a downloadable template.
The Students Have Spoken This blog identifies six key themes that have emerged from the #StudentsSpeak campaign and includes highlights from the first several hundred responses.