Back To School Resources For Our Times

We are sending our kids back to school this week against a political backdrop that is chaotic at best. What is clear is that teachers, parents and students need resources that address our national conversations about hatred, violence and protest, and break those overwhelming pieces down into manageable parts.

We believe that documentary films paired with dynamic educational resources are an excellent tool for introducing social issues into the classroom. They invite critical thinking, flex media literacy muscles, and introduce multiple perspectives through first-person storytelling.

Photo by Jerónimo Bernot on Unsplash
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Especially for those students from racial, ethnic, religious, LGBTQ+ and other identities that are under attack, it is critically important to make classrooms safe for these students to arrive as their whole selves without fear of discrimination or bias.  For us at Blueshift, it couldn’t be a better time to be launching a tool like Doc Academy, offering teachers a free, open-source platform to bring documentaries into the classroom as a way to introduce pressing issues with a frame of empathy and in the context of media literacy. We are currently recruiting teachers for a US pilot of this platform, already in use in thousands of classrooms in the UK. Click here to learn more.

And, we wanted to share these excellent resources from leading thinkers around the country:

This opinion piece, Yes, Race and Politics Belong in the Classroom from Education Week offers ten specific suggestions for teachers to engage with students about these challenging topics.

The Southern Poverty Law Center website offers a wealth of resources, including 10 Ways to Fight Hate and the Teaching Tolerance full curriculum.

The National Council for Teachers of English has also compiled a list of resources for teachers working with different populations in the thoughtful blogpost: There is no Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times.