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Civil Rights and Social Justice Resources for Classrooms

Our communities -- classroom and otherwise -- depend on the vigilant protection (and expansion) of our rights, respect for our differences, and continued fight for a more just, inclusive, and equitable world. For educators, this means inspiring students to become the next generation of critical thinkers and advocates for social change and equity. This collection of mostly free and web-based resources provides teachers with valuable professional development and classroom strategies for culturally responsive teaching and supporting diverse communities in the classroom. There are also tons of lesson plans and activities, as well as primary media, on challenging but necessary topics like racism, sexism, and genocide, as well as historical events like the civil rights movement and Japanese American internment along with contemporary social justice struggles. 

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Anti-Defamation League

Toolkit equips teachers to tackle bias with ready-to-go resources

Bottom line: This site fuses meaningful curricular connections between challenging current events and class content, and is a helpful go-to for teaching tough issues.

Teaching Tolerance

Thought-provoking classroom resources support diversity education

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.

Library of Congress

Visit our largest library's online collection of multimedia goodies

Bottom line: The Library of Congress delivers the best of America's past and present, but it's a little tricky to navigate.

EDSITEment

Extensive humanities resource offers deep well of great content

Bottom line: The National Endowment for the Humanities has put together an outstanding place for art, history, language, and literature.

National Archives

Access U.S. history with treasure trove of docs, genealogy, and other resources

Bottom line: NARA's website wasn't designed for kids, but they can definitely use it to research and learn about history, genealogy, and the U.S. population and government.

Digital Public Library of America

Impressive online collection of historic and cultural artifacts

Bottom line: This epic database of history and culture is a labor of love that all students can benefit from.

Beyond the Bubble

Top-quality assessments challenge students to think like historians

Bottom line: A ready-to-go, pedagogically sound route for refocusing formative assessment on critical thinking and literacy rather than memorization.

Critical Media Project

Relevant media clips get students examining identity, culture

Bottom line: Teachers will need to take time to build effective lessons, but if they do, this is a useful, relevant, high-interest resource for deconstructing identity and building critical thinking and empathy skills.

Do I Have a Right?

Law sim lets players practice pairing rights with amendments

Bottom line: Standout iCivics title helps learners new to the U.S. Constitution get great practice matching amendments to individuals' rights, and have good fun doing it.

Facing History and Ourselves

A wealth of resources explore racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism

Bottom line: These valuable materials empower students to understand and address difficult ethical choices -- past and present.

Ken Burns

Dynamic video clips explore cultural themes throughout U.S. history

Bottom line: A huge time-saver and an effective way to share Ken Burns' brilliant documentaries with students.

The Knotted Line

Unique, artistic timeline lets kids explore freedom in U.S. history

Bottom line: Students will benefit from this eye-opening and interactive approach to studying history.

Newseum

Media museum's site mixes history and civics, teaches about journalism

Bottom line: An effective summary and introduction to the media; more exercises and tools to help budding young journalists would make the site even more noteworthy.

Youth Radio

A stellar take on the news from diverse kid journalists

Bottom line: An outstanding place to find fresh voices and NPR-quality content created by kids.

Zinn Education Project

Resources, lessons help teach a more inclusive version of U.S. history

Bottom line: Free downloadable resources encourage critical thinking and active learning in search of a more accurate picture of American history.

American Social History Project

Deep, research-backed resources highlight America's rich diversity

Bottom line: Worth the time investment, because these valuable, socially progressive materials will add depth to the study of American history.

IWitness

Explore survivor testimony with lessons, video on teacher-geared site

Bottom line: IWitness allows students to reflect upon the past, looking toward today’s values and society. Students build knowledge about the past using a dynamic, specific tool.

Voices of Democracy

Vast collection of primary source documents a solid starting point

Bottom line: A great place to begin when you want to make history feel more real, but "begin" is the operative word; plan on creating your own scaffolding.

Constitute

Extensive, highly searchable collection of the world's constitutions

Bottom line: Quickly and easily access almost any country's constitution, locate an excerpt, or compare governments.

K-TOWN'92

LA riot videos shake up dominant narrative

Bottom line: This artful re-examination of the '92 LA riot can offer new insights and diverse perspectives, if students don't get too lost in the design.

Liyla and the Shadows of War

Stark, arresting game offers emotional perspective on war's human toll

Bottom line: The short length and powerful themes make this an effective way to help students consider the brutal effects of war on families.

Parable of the Polygons

Dynamic interactive helps classrooms explore topics of bias, diversity

Bottom line: A fascinating way to address how communities become segregated due to individual bias.

The Republia Times

Unassuming editorial sim elegantly exposes the business of bias

Bottom line: What this game lacks in pizzazz it makes up for in smarts, and it's certain to get students thinking and talking about bias and media politics.

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Deep, complex database is challenging but a peerless research tool

Bottom line: This is a highly academic site for better and for worse; it's filled with deep, research-backed resources and primary sources but is intimidating without clear guidance.

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