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.”

Grade Level
Social Justice Domain
Subject
Topic

500 Lessons

Friendship Without Barriers

This lesson lets students examine what it means to be a friend and explore ways in which people can make friends. The lesson explores stories that tell of building barriers between groups, such as the story presented in Spanish and English, "Papalotzin and the Monarchs/Papalotzin y las monarcas" and/or the folk tale "Old Joe and the Carpenter." You may adapt this lesson to discuss anti-bullying messages.
Grade Level
K-2
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
SEL
Arts
ELL / ESL
Social Justice Domain

Why Frogs and Snakes Never Play Together

In this lesson, students will read, act out, hear a reading, or watch a performance of a play that tells the story of a chance meeting in the woods of children from two families—one of frogs, the other of snakes. The frog and snake children develop a wonderful friendship. But when the siblings tell their parents about their new friends, they are told to never play together again. The play addresses the important topic of diversity and will spark a discussion about the topic of prejudice.
Grade Level
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
SEL
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
Topic
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
Topic
Subject
Social Studies
Civics
History
Economics
ELL / ESL
Social Justice Domain

What Do Halloween Costumes Say?

This lesson, adaptable across grades, is designed to help students look critically at the different Halloween costumes marketed to them in the media and other places. In schools where Halloween is observed, the activity can be used to develop guidelines for acceptable holiday garb.
Grade Level
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
ELL / ESL
Math & Technology
Social Justice Domain

White Anti-Racist Biographies: Early Grades

For young white students, explorations of fair and unfair, just and unjust, can go a long way in advancing anti-racist white identity. Purposeful use of literature and basic study of white anti-racists are among the key ways educators can advance such aims.Teaching Tolerance presents four short biographies for early grades classrooms, with activity ideas.
Grade Level
Social Justice Domain