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Lessons

These robust, ready-to-use classroom lessons offer breadth and depth, spanning essential social justice topics and reinforcing critical social emotional learning skills.

“Teaching Tolerance provides me with the means to promote social justice, challenge bias, and engage students in discussions about diversity that would perhaps not happen otherwise.”

69 LESSONS

Defenders of Justice

In this lesson, students will investigate “defenders of justice” who fought against racism and changed American attitudes. Their work made possible, years later, something that many doubted would ever happen: the election of an African American as President of the United States.
Grade Level
Subject
Social Studies
Civics
Arts
Social Justice Domain

Inaugural Prayers in History

In this lesson, students will discuss the diversity of clergy members who spoke or prayed at inaugurations since 1937. As Donald R. Kennon, Chief Historian of United States Capitol Historical Society in 2005, noted, "the role of clergy in our inaugural ceremonies is a recent development that began in 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt had a minister to give a benediction, and then his following inauguration had an invocation and a benediction. And it has involved Catholic priests. It has involved Protestant ministers. It's involved Jewish rabbis. So there has been a little bit more diversity. … [But we should remember that] religion supports the government. The government doesn't necessarily support or favor any specific religion…" Students will discuss: Is Kennon right? When a President-elect invites someone to pray at an inauguration, does that represent an endorsement of a particular religious view? Is it an expression that some views are legitimate and others are not? Who has not been represented at the inauguration?
Grade Level
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
Social Studies
Civics
History
Social Justice Domain

An Historic Vote

In this lesson, students in the upper grades will explore the struggle of African Americans to attain voting rights and develop a greater appreciation for the significance of Barack Obama's election.
Grade Level
Subject
Social Studies
Civics
History
Social Justice Domain

The Immigration Debate: A Lesson from Viva La Causa

In this lesson, students will explore social justice issues within our nation’s immigration debate—a debate that is largely connected in the public psyche to undocumented Latino workers. Students will examine a commentary by Mary Bauer, Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, that encourages everyone to take a hard look at the harm and devastation done to people of Alabama because of the state’s anti-immigrant legislation, HB 56, passed in 2011.
Grade Level
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
Social Studies
Civics
ELL / ESL
Social Justice Domain

Writing Persuasive Letters About Immigration Reform

Latino workers from Central and South America, as well as Mexico, have long been part of the workforce in the United States. In response to calls for immigration reform, President G. W. Bush proposed a new temporary worker program. There was just one catch -- it would be based on existing guest worker initiatives, which civil rights advocates said were rife with abuse.
Grade Level
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
Social Studies
Civics
Social Justice Domain

Mexican American Labor in the U.S.

Christine Sleeter and Carl Grant wrote this lesson to encourage students to explore policies and attitudes about Mexican and Mexican American laborers in the U.S. and develop informed personal perspectives of the United States-Mexico border and undocumented Mexican immigrants.
Grade Level
Subject
Social Studies
Civics
History
Economics
ELL / ESL
Social Justice Domain