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Learning for Justice
Pros: Free educational materials on interesting topics that promote diversity, equity, and respect in the classroom.
Cons: The sheer quantity of resources could overwhelm; teachers will need quite a bit of time to decide how best to use these materials.
Bottom Line: It's an invaluable teacher tool to help reduce prejudice and encourage tolerance in schools, as well as within society as a whole.
There are so many ways to use the Learning for Justice program that teachers could possibly get overwhelmed. It's best to browse the site and try out one activity at a time, as you gain familiarity with the resources. For professional development, teachers can regularly read the site's blog: Magazine articles and presentations can help improve teachers' overall practice to better meet their students' needs.
For the classroom, teachers can use the ready-made lessons and film kits to implement anti-bias curriculum. For school communities, educators can start Mix It Up activities to break down divisions and promote new relationships between students. The possibilities here are extensive; it could be as little as putting a recommended tip into practice, or as extensive as creating an entire course using the program's lessons. Depending on their classroom and school environments, teachers should tailor their use of the materials to address the specific challenges they face.
Established by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Learning for Justice is a social justice and activism program for schools. The site itself, primarily aimed at educators, has materials to promote equity and reduce discrimination in schools. Teachers can use the site's classroom resources, professional development materials, and blog, as well as a host of other resources. The site provides film kits and lesson plans on a range of topics, such as school integration, anti-bullying, social justice, and gender equity.
The site's search function uses topic and grade-level filters to help teachers find appropriate lessons for their classes -- many of the materials here are Common Core-aligned. There's also a link to the Teaching Tolerance magazine, which any teacher can receive free of charge. The articles can help teachers further their own understanding of diversity issues, as well as provide tips that can easily be integrated into the classroom. Included on the site is an overview of the program's popular Mix It Up at Lunch activity, including detailed information on how to get started.
Teachers will find the Learning for Justice website full of powerful lessons and activities for the classroom. The program has won numerous awards, and the lessons and activities here are researched as well as school-tested. For anyone looking to improve school climate and help students explore real issues like bullying and discrimination, this is the place to go.
Lessons here go beyond simply teaching content outside the context of personal experience; students are encouraged to find personal meaning in everything they learn. For example, in a lesson titled "Defenders of Justice," students don't just learn about key figures in the civil rights movement, they also discuss how to apply the principles they learn about in their own lives. A variety of similar lessons incorporate different instructional strategies to engage all types of learners. Music, videos, and personal stories help improve accessibility for all, including English language learners and students with special needs. Debates, literature analysis, and data comparisons provide challenge, even for high-achieving students.