Teaching Social Studies in 2022

Curated Resources for Teaching During Historic Times

Note: Please check back, as we will continually update this resource in order to be responsive.

Dear Teachers,

Amongst the chaos of a global pandemic and a polarized political climate you've had to continually pivot and adapt to keep your teacher magic going.The workload is relentless and you are worn out. Yet, still, here you are reading a newsletter as you try to sort out the most meaningful ways to teach social studies in our current context.

Thank you.

Thank you for all you are doing to make connections with students, foster learning, AND for continuing to focus on social studies. Unfortunately, social studies is once again becoming marginalized in the curriculum, even though It is arguably more important now than ever to engage in meaningful social studies learning with our students. In the short term, together, we can help make sense of what is currently happening in our communities, the country, and the world. In the long term, through social studies, we can continue to grow the knowledge, skills and dispositions required to be engaged, informed and active citizens. Even though it is challenging, we must do both.

The resources curated here are meant to support you in these endeavors.

Again, thank you for sticking with it and for doing the hard work of the noblest profession in our democracy.


Teaching After Racially-Motivated Mass Violence

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Photo credit: Associated Press

Building Context with Students

Authorities are investigating connections between the May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and the “great replacement theory,” a racist, antisemitic ideology that festers in extremist echo chambers online and has seeped into mainstream political discourse. The shooting — which killed 10 people, most of them Black — was briefly livestreamed on Twitch before being taken down, but copies of the video continue to proliferate across social media.

-From News Literacy Project

“What we know so far about the Buffalo mass shooting” from NPR

“Buffalo Shooting Latest Example of Racial Violence” from the Associated Press & adapted by Newsela Staff

“Explainer: White Nationalism” from Facing History & Ourselves

This Explainer is intended to describe key characteristics of the white nationalist ideology and clarify some of the terms surrounding it. It is important to note that many of the beliefs described here are based on false and dangerous assumptions. (Facing History & Ourselves)

Anti-Taiwanese Mass Shooting in CA

The day after the mass shooting in Buffalo, there was a mass shooting at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, CA that the FBI is investigating as a hate crime.


How do we talk about the violence?

How do I talk to a preschooler about the shooting in Buffalo?

Instagram thread from Growing Toward Liberation

“The Horrific Mass Shooting in Buffalo: How to Talk with Young People” from the ADL

“Teaching in the Wake of Violence” from Facing History & Ourselves

This Teaching Idea is a guide for teachers to navigate conversations with their students after news of a mass shooting, terrorist attack, or other violent event. (Facing History & Ourselves)

Template for communicating with staff and students in the wake of Buffalo from Truss Leadership

Teaching About The Invasion of Ukraine

Education and the Human Rights Crisis in Ukraine: A Current Events Response by National Council for the Social Studies

NCSS asks that all educators—and especially social studies educators—be given the wide latitude and resource support needed to address the Russian invasion of Ukraine appropriately, carefully, and in instructionally sound ways. Throughout history, as major turning points and conflicts have unfolded slowly or quickly, locally or globally, students have consistently come to class wanting to inquire: “How did this happen? How can we solve this?” As humanitarian crises like the invasion of Ukraine unfold in real time, please support the educators in your community in their crucial roles of facilitating classroom discussion to build civic discourse and historical understanding. Advocate for additional instructional resources to help teachers ask and answer compelling questions about this devastating invasion and its likely repercussions.

(Click here to read the full statement March 3, 2022)

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Kyiv, Ukraine

Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

In case you didn't know: "How To Pronounce and Spell 'Kyiv,' and Why It Matters" from The Guardian

Seize This Important Opportunity to Teach About News Literacy & Disinformation

K-5 Resources on Ukraine, War, & Peace

Picture Books

Lessons & Resources

Three Tips for Talking to Kids About War and Violence

6-12 Resources on Ukraine, War, & Historical Context

Ready-Made Lessons

Instructional Resources

(Click Images to Access the Resources & Threads)


Teaching Thanksgiving in a Culturally Responsive Way

Things to keep in mind:

Emphasize that being culturally responsible in how you present Thanksgiving is key. Teachers should make sure they don’t inadvertently perpetuate trauma or stereotypes of Indigenous communities. Positive intent can still lead to doing harm.

Organizations that center the voices of Indigenous Peoples and provide activities and resources for teachers:

Things to consider:

  • Whose voice do I center? What are the ethical considerations to take into account?

  • Is my resource developmentally appropriate? How do I know if my sources are reliable?

  • Am I telling a historically accurate and robust story? What am I unintentionally obscuring?

  • How can I use this resource and activity to engage in inquiry?

Things to avoid:

This article does an excellent job of talking about how to teach Thanksgiving in a socially responsible way and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes. It also includes digital resources for teachers to find activities and lesson plans.


Start with yourself.

As educators, we need to attend to our own social emotional needs. Mindfulness is an important component to well-being and can help us to be even better teachers and leaders.

Check out this article Seven Ways Mindfulness Can Help Teachers.


Should we even address or discuss political issues in the classroom?


"So, some people, I think, will say that it’s a teacher’s job to remain neutral. But, we have lots of research that shows that neutrality hurts our students...What I found is that teachers want to be doing these things. They want to be responsive to these moments. But many of them are feeling lots of pressure from various sources about whether and how to be able to do it."

--Dr. Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Michigan State University

(click here to read full interview from WDET, 2/6/2020)

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Fostering Civil Discourse

Fostering Civil Discourse: How do we talk about issues that matter?

The ideas and tools in this updated version of Fostering Civil Discourse: How Do We Talk About Issues That Matter? are designed to help you prepare your students to engage in civil discourse, whether you are teaching in-person, remotely, or transitioning between the two. --Facing History & Ourselves

Civil Discourse in the Classroom & Beyond

Teaching Tolerance developed this curricular guide with lesson ideas and approaches for fostering civil discourse in the classroom.

Above the Noise, a YouTube series for teens, cuts through the hype and dives deep into the research behind the issues affecting their daily lives. Every other Wednesday, the series investigates controversial subject matter to help young viewers draw informed conclusions, while inspiring media literacy and civic engagement.

Teaching for Democracy Alliance has curated a an excellent set of resources for teachers to support civic discourse in the classroom.

Critical Practices for Anti Bias Education

Set aside some time to read carefully through this guide on how to create an inclusive learning community that values all your students.


Resources to Support Anti Racist Learning

Responding to the Attacks on Social Studies Education

Statement from MCSS, MCHE, MCTE, MSSSA & MACTE in opposition to SB 460 and HB 5097

"We support education that prepares students to be informed, active participants in our democracy. Education that supports and maintains democracy must include teaching and learning that: allows for the free flow of ideas; recognizes the importance of teaching about race, racism, and discrimination; involves the analysis of issues, topics, and challenges from multiple perspectives; and embraces civic discourse of complicated truths. Therefore, we strongly oppose Senate Bill 460 and House Bill 5097 that prohibit teaching the core democratic values that we hold to be true."

Read the full joint statement.

"Day After" Toolkit The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

"This Day After Election Guide is designed to support educators and administrators in preparing for the 2020 Presidential election. The key message is that a school’s plan for the day after the election should actually be their plan for the entire school year. That means that classroom lessons, educator professional development, and communication with parents and guardians throughout the 2020-2021 school year should clearly establish and reinforce expectations about how to show respect for one another and how to explore controversial or difficult subjects."

Resources to Support Anti-Racist Learning

The Greater Good In Education Program out of UC-Berkley's Greater Good Science Center offers practical research-based approaches for cultivating learning environments that attend to well-being, ethics, and pro-social behavior. Anti-racist learning is an important component.

Click here for their anti-racist resources.

Additionally, the Western States Center developed a toolkit for Confronting White Nationalism in Schools.

Attending to Social Emotional Learning

Click for a toolkit for supporting students' SEL needs as we navigate multiple crises. Designed by Umoja Student Development Corporation


Help Your Students Spot Fake News

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Oakland Schools Social Studies Consultants

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Last updated May 17, 2022