Effects of the Civil War

This lesson addresses the effects of the Civil War on multiple populations. Students learn about the unprecedented scale of death and destruction, and what that meant for the country that needed to rebuild and heal at the end of the war. They also study the experiences of Americans who did not serve as soldiers. The varied roles of women, African Americans, and the people who cared for the wounded all provide students with an up-close and complex understanding of the meaning of war. Students also learn about longer term consequences of the war, including Lincoln’s assassination, as well as the physical destruction of much of the south. Moreover, they will come away with a picture of how warfare, and the country in general would never look the same after 1865 as the federal government took a vast new size and shape. This lesson also encourages students to understand the importance of perspective and complexity. It asks them to consider different people’s experiences and synthesize this information to make interpretations about the significance of the war. Specific literacy strategies help students make sense of multiple primary sources.

A Place in the Middle

A Place in the Middle is the true story of Ho'onani, a remarkable eleven year old girl who dreams of leading the hula troupe at her inner-city Honolulu school. The only trouble is that the group is just for boys. She's fortunate that her teacher understands first-hand what it's like to be “in the middle” - the Native Hawaiian tradition of embracing both male and female spirit. As student and teacher prepare for a climactic end-of-year performance, together they set out to prove that what matters most is what’s inside a person’s heart and mind.

Janet Miller – Organize

Janet Miller, a teacher at Hoover Middle School, was blown away by district-wide statistics that revealed the risk of violence that transgender youth experience. Moved by the statistics, Miller stated to her colleagues that it was their responsibility to create a safe learning environment for ALL students and that any type of discrimination should not be tolerated.

Boy Scouts of America Lifts Ban on Gay Leaders

This middle school lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the evolution of the Boy Scouts’ position on gay members and leaders, analyze Robert Gates’ recent speech on the issue and explore students’ own points of view by writing persuasive essays.

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.: Hate Crimes Prevention Act

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to understand the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, learn about how hate escalates, connect the understanding of the escalation of hate with Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.’s murders and consider what young people can do in their schools and communities to prevent hate crimes.

Understanding Homophobia/Heterosexism and How to Be an Ally

The goal of this lesson is to contribute to making classrooms and schools more safe and welcoming for all students—including LGBQ students and increase students’ understanding of and empathy for how homophobia manifests itself in schools and society. Middle and high school students will have the opportunity to learn more about what homophobia and heterosexism are and how they manifest themselves, read an essay about being an ally and discuss ways they can be an ally, including actions they can take on behalf of their school or community.

What is Marriage Equality?

On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court of the United States held that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize marriages lawfully performed in other jurisdictions. This means that marriage equality is now the law of the land in all 50 states. Prior to this historic day, 37 states plus the District of Columbia had legalized marriage for same-sex couples. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore marriage equality, gain background information about it, and reflect on their own thoughts and feelings about marriage equality.

What is a Hate Crime?

In this lesson, students learn the definition of “hate” and how to use alternate words, discover and understand how national laws are made and apply that understanding to the concept of government protection.

Activism and Legislation

In this lesson, students learn the provisions of the 14th and 15th amendments and the political forces supporting and opposing each. They will evaluate the agendas, strategies and effectiveness of Americans from underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, in the quest for civil rights and equal opportunities and explore how laws uphold democratic ideals and how changes in laws accompany social change.

Not In Our Town: Northern California

Not in Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here looks at five communities that are dealing with hate violence. The film’s four segments focus on hate crimes that took place in these five communities between 1999 and 2004. Taken together, the stories reveal that whether the crimes are motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, or gender or sexual orientation, hate is the same.