Lessons

These robust, ready-to-use classroom lessons offer breadth and depth, spanning essential social justice topics and reinforcing critical social emotional learning skills.

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“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

490 Lessons

Visualizing School Equity

We often teach our students that school segregation ended with Brown v. Board of Education, but the reality is not quite that simple. While schools today are not segregated by law, segregated housing patterns and unequal funding systems have concentrated students of color into underfunded, under-equipped institutions that some critics call “apartheid schools.”
Grade Level
Topic
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
Social Studies
Civics
Economics
Social Justice Domain
July 6, 2009

The Real Monopoly: America's Racial Wealth Divide

Fifty-plus years after the end of legal segregation, individual African Americans have achieved amazing successes – including Barack Obama’s election as president. However, the black community as a whole remains under great stress. African Americans are overrepresented in prisons, underrepresented in college, and make less money, on average, than white counterparts in similar positions. How did this happen? As Obama pointed out in his groundbreaking 2008 speech on race, African Americans have historically been shut out of a number of paths to wealth, including membership in labor unions, access to FHA mortgages, jobs in civil service, and education in well-equipped schools. Other communities of color have faced similar obstacles – leading to a racial wealth gap that has made white people, on average, wealthier than people of color.In this lesson, students will get a glimpse of the long-term economic effects of race-based policies that have limited the economic opportunities of African Americans, Native Americans, and other communities of color.
Grade Level
Subject
Social Studies
Civics
Economics
Social Justice Domain
July 6, 2009

A Nation of Immigrants?

Barack Obama ran for President in 2008. He won, became the 44th President of the United States and served two terms. In this lesson, students will analyze some of Obama's comments about immigrants. Students will also examine their history textbooks to see how the books shape America's view of the immigrant narrative. In the speech, then-Senator Obama made in Philadelphia on March 18, 2008, he said of white Americans, “Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they're concerned, no one has handed them anything." Obama's observation points to a complex reality of American culture: The classic immigrant story — of overcoming hardship, working hard and succeeding — is often invoked by white people who recognize the migrant story in their own history. Despite that, many still reject new immigrants to this country.
Grade Level
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
Social Studies
Civics
ELL / ESL
Social Justice Domain
July 6, 2009

Rev. Joseph Lowery: What Makes a Civil Rights Leader?

Rev. Joseph Lowery, who delivered the benediction at the first inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009, also marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement. He was among the many activists who cleared the way for the election of the first African-American president. There is no question that Lowery was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement. Yet when he started his career, there was no job description for “civil rights leader.” Martin Luther King, Jr., Lowery, and others in the movement created the role of the non-violent American political leader almost from scratch, using only a handful of precedents and role models as their guide. This lesson is designed to inspire students to think about what makes a civil rights leader—and to think about how they can become the social justice leaders of their own generation.
Grade Level
Subject
Social Studies
History
Social Justice Domain
July 6, 2009

Inaugural Prayers in History

In this lesson, students will discuss the diversity of clergy members who spoke or prayed at inaugurations since 1937. As Donald R. Kennon, Chief Historian of United States Capitol Historical Society in 2005, noted, "the role of clergy in our inaugural ceremonies is a recent development that began in 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt had a minister to give a benediction, and then his following inauguration had an invocation and a benediction. And it has involved Catholic priests. It has involved Protestant ministers. It's involved Jewish rabbis. So there has been a little bit more diversity. … [But we should remember that] religion supports the government. The government doesn't necessarily support or favor any specific religion…" Students will discuss: Is Kennon right? When a President-elect invites someone to pray at an inauguration, does that represent an endorsement of a particular religious view? Is it an expression that some views are legitimate and others are not? Who has not been represented at the inauguration?
Grade Level
Subject
Reading & Language Arts
Social Studies
Civics
History
Social Justice Domain
July 6, 2009
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Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

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