Last Thursday, my students weren't ready to talk about the takeover of the Capitol. So we got on with our day.
Truth be told, I wasn't ready either. I had too many big emotions and I wasn't sure how to keep myself objective. I didn't want to cause more harm. (Plus lots of other head-in-the-sand excuses. I won't list them all.)
But, as a trusted and valued colleague pointed out to me, I hadn't explored exactly WHY my students were reluctant to talk. So on Friday, I asked them, and between their answers and the information I've been gathering, I'm ready.
It's my responsibility to help my students develop the skills to understand and process whatever Historic Moments come their way in the next weeks or years, and I'm ready.
Here's my plan for now:
I made time for these conversations. I found 15 minutes each day I could label "Reading the World." Now that there's a small chunk of time ready, we can take on these Big Ideas a little at a time. I don't feel pressured to do everything all at once.
Using a three-column chart, we'll explore the variety of Historic Moments in which we've been living (BLM, police brutality, the election, the take-over of the Capitol, pandemic, online learning, etc.), what makes it easier/safe to talk/think about these moments (based on their comments last Friday, a strong classroom community), and what makes it harder/scarier to talk/think about these moments (my family supports the other candidate, personal connections to the moments).
Dig into fact vs. opinion, objective vs. biased.
Look at kid-appropriate sources for current events:CNN10
Time for Kids
Consider this question deeply: Why is history important? (Understanding the response of white police to white rioters vs. white police to peaceful Black protesters, understanding the implications behind the Confederate flag in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, etc.)
Think about: What can we do?
Here are a couple of helpful resources I've found:
Educator's Playbook from University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
What is your plan moving forward in discussing the reality of living in historic moments?