Sarah Bender

In this section, I have paired grade years based on similar expected learning outcomes. I have provided suggestions for literature, videos, and activities that teachers can use in the classroom. These resources provide a diverse group of voices and perspectives. By exposing students to diverse classwork, we begin to normalize differences, which leads to global and critical thinkers and generations of students that value the lives of everyone. I have not read or watched every resource listed, but I researched all the materials before suggesting them.

Kindergarten & First Grade

Projects & Activities

Classroom Jobs – After learning about the environment (which could come with teaching the Lorax), instructors assign different students job roles in the classroom to save energy and minimize waste. Some of the jobs can be turning on and off the lights, recycling, washing hands, and reusing paper. Multiple students can have one job, and positions can switch every week or month.

Problem Solving Activity – In this activity, students will find similarities and differences between each other and have conversations about why, in their opinion, it’s the best. For example, someone’s favorite color might be blue, while another student might enjoy purple. Students will then discuss why it’s their favorite and debate about the better color. After the debate, the kids with different preferences will combine their interests into an activity (drawing, painting, building, etc.) This role play will practice solving disagreements through collaboration. The PA Standard Aligned System emphasizes learning about conflicts and solutions for the Civics and Government portion of social studies. Students will learn about their responsibilities of being a part of a community and how differences can lead to great things.

Second & Third Grade

Projects & Activities

Poetry Activity – In connection with the poem book Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat, students can create poems inspired by what they have read. They can combine music and art skills by illustrating their poems and cre- ating music to go along with readings of their poems. The PA standard system em- phasis vocabulary development, speaking and listening, and writing skills around these age groups.

Buying and Selling Activity – The class will be split in half, and each group will decide on a product they want to sell (ice cream, artwork, poems, etc.). Students will then create their products. Over two days, one group will sell their product at different prices, and the other group will be given a form of currency (fake money, beads, marbles, etc.). Students will then go around and “buy” different products that are being “sold.” Students will be given all the same amount of money, but have to learn how to spend according to their wants. In social studies, there is a focus on economics. Students in second and third grade are expected to learn about jobs, defining pricing, and the purpose of advertisements. This activity will allow students to work different jobs and “earn” money.

Fourth & Fifth Grade

Projects & Activities

Project: Presidents and the Enslaved: Helping Students Find the Truth (Research Project) and Play – This is a teaching project to learn about American history through the eyes of our leaders. I think this is just a start to a project. Researching presidents and their values could be an excellent way to look at America’s priorities through times and how good and bad can happen. This is also a research project to learn about primary and secondary sources and citations. This can lead to creating a modern play from a historic moment. For example, in fifth grade, my class 15 put on a play that took the Trojan War to present-day America. Being able to relate past events to modern-day events teaches kids that just because something happened in the past doesn’t mean it’s over. Hamilton is a good example of using modern music to teach history.

Sixth & Seventh Grade

Projects & Activities

Plan a Nonprofit Organization – Creating a nonprofit will teach kids more about our economic systems while explaining the situations in which people need to fundraise. These nonprofits should be directed towards helping a cause that is currently happening in the world today. Students will then present their nonprofits to the class. This teaches kids teamwork, economic roles, problems that might not be mentioned in the curriculum, and public speaking.

A Single Story – A project that would go well with The Danger of a Single Story is for the students to write a single story about themselves. Students will pass their stories around, and another student will write down what they learned from the story without any other context. Students will receive their stories back and write down the story’s context to affect how someone responds to the story. This activity allows students to experience the dangers of a single story.

Eighth Grade

Projects & Activities

Living Wax Museum – Living Wax Museum is a popular event held at schools where a student researches an important historical figure (dead or alive). The goal is for students to educate others by seeing the experiences of people from a first-person scenario.

Allies and Accomplices – Allies and Accomplices is a research project on historical leaders. Students can determine what characterizes a per- formative ally or someone who is actively anti-racist based on his recurring actions. This project will teach students about allyship while recognizing that the shortcomings of our past influence people’s lives today.

High School

Projects & Activities

Perspective – Present the Cold War from different perspectives. Following World War II, The Cold War is a fight between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. However, due to allyships, the whole world is involved. Different groups of students should pick or be assigned a country to research its role during the war. This allows students to expand their perspectives of history while teaching about the second half of American history.

Classroom Debate – Classroom debates can work in many different ways. When I was a student, we would take books we read or historical events and split the class between judges, prosecutors, and defendants.


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