Addressing race and racism at school and at home is becoming a top priority for educators and parents alike. Whether you’re a teacher looking ahead to the fall semester or a mom or dad not knowing where to begin, here are some turnkey lesson plans that can serve as formal classroom activities or simply as conversation starters, plus books and movies appropriate for middle school and high school students.
Black Lives Matter At School
Looking for ways to deepen students’ understanding of the BLM movement? Check out the NEA’s lesson plans, guides on how to have tough conversations, community resolutions and mobilization efforts, and videos to engage in racial and social justice efforts.
Black Lives Matter at School: 2020 Curriculum Guide
Black Lives Matter at School Coalition
The Black Lives Matter At School coalition’s curriculum committee has developed lessons for every grade level relating to the 13 principles of Black Lives Matter. Their 2020 Curriculum Resource Guide includes downloadable lessons to “challenge racism, oppression, and build happy and healthy classrooms.”
Talking About Race and Privilege: Lesson Plan for Middle and High School Students
National Association of School Psychologists
This lesson’s objectives for learners include defining the concept of privilege and identifying and expressing examples of privilege in their lives. It includes a group discussion, reflection, 12-question “Privilege Aptitude Test,” companion resources, and recommended reading.
Teaching Ideas and Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the George Floyd Protests
The New York Times
Look no further for student-friendly articles, op-eds, videos, photos, graphs, and podcasts, as well as thought-provoking questions about race, protests, and policing for teenagers to reflect on.
Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism
The ADF has nine tips on how to set the stage for anti-bias education, including suggestions and strategies for having conversations with teenagers about race and racism.
Resources to Help Teachers Heal, Learn, and Listen
Teach for America
TFA’s exhaustive list of resources includes links to help “navigate recent events, including protests, racism, and violence … and the systemic injustices woven into our nation’s fabric.”
These three titles – all New York Times bestsellers with unique takes on race and racism – are striking a chord with young adult readers across the country.
Piecing Me Together
Renée Watson tells the story about a girl “striving for success in a world that too often seems like it’s trying to break her.”
The Hate You Give
This book (-turned-movie) by Angie Thomas features a teenage girl whose encounters with racism and police brutality become a catalyst for social activism.
This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work
Today.com calls this Oprah’s Book Club favorite, written by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurelia Durand, “a clear guidebook for how to stop racism in our own hearts and minds.”
March: Book 1
This graphic memoir by the late Congressman John Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin details the Civil Rights icon’s “life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins.”
Black History Movies that Tackle Racism
Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media’s list of movies offers “jumping-off points for conversations” with teenagers about injustice. Pro tip: have students select a movie to watch, then ask them to write a formal or persuasive essay about its depiction of racial groups, how minority characters deal with prejudice, its themes of diversity, or select another topic that deepens their understanding of race and racism.