Including social justice in your high school English classroom is an ideal way to connect the themes and motifs from the literature we teach to the issues teenagers in society face. However, teaching and incorporating social justice isn’t something that teachers should go at alone. There are so many invaluable resources available for free for educators to help students learn about important social justice issues.
Here is a look at some of my favorite social justice and real-world issue teaching content.
1. The Anti Defamation League
The ADL works to fight antisemitism and hate. The ADL even has an educators tab on its website that is filled with lesson plans and activities that teachers can use. With lessons and content available for ages preschool through high school, the ADL provides teachers with free resources on ability, disability, and ableism, gender and sexism, Jewish culture and Anti-Semitism, and more. One of my favorite lessons is the one on Everyday Bias that discusses the implicit biases that people hold.
2. Learning for Justice
Formerly known as Teaching Tolerance, Learning for Justice has a host of resources available for teachers. One of the best things about Learning for Justice is that the search filter is amazing. Teachers can even filter through lessons that will help EL students or enforce SEL practices. Plus, the free printable posters will look great in your classroom.
Founded by a group of teachers in 1990, the GLSEN works to create safe and accepting learning environments for LGBTQ+ students. With a special section just for educators, the GSLEN offers lesson plans and classroom activities that promote identity and challenging assumptions. Plus, the GLSEN has lessons and resources for grades K-12!
4. Teaching for Change
Like many other free resources, Teaching for Change also has an educator’s tab filled with lessons and activities for anti-bias education, challenging Islamaphobia, and teaching Black Lives Matter. What I really like about Teaching for Change is that they also provide a books list for each social justice topic they share information about.
5. Equal Justice Initiative
The Equal Justice Initiative works to end mass incarceration. It also has amazing public education projects that teachers can incorporate into their curriculum. One of the most fascinating and useful resources the EJI has is an On This Day in History calendar. This calendar, which you can sort by the day or month view, provides a glimpse into history and can serve as a great class opening.