Teaching About the Capitol Riot: Resources for Classroom Conversations Surrounding the Capitol Insurrection
January 12, 2021
After the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, educators across the country are facing an additional challenge of discussing the disturbing events in their classrooms. As you take on the overwhelming task of helping students process these events, we stand with you.
What To Do When There’s No Perfect Lesson Plan
The insurrection, as well as its racial subtexts, are undeniably complex. There is no perfect lesson plan for this moment. Sometimes the best plan is to just provide a safe place for questions, concerns, and dialogue. Students experience our constitutional democracy in different ways, which means each classroom conversation will be unique. We know that as your students ask about what happened, question the electoral process, compare protest footage, and reflect on what these events mean for us, you will skillfully meet them where they are.
Lean on Civic Education Foundations
Amidst the chaos, we know that civic education empowers students to take ownership of the direction of our constitutional democracy. It teaches the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to solve civic issues by engaging across differences with respect, empathy, and sensitivity.
In the weeks to come, you should trust your instincts and take steps to make sure students feel safe. In the long run, our mission continues to be instilling the importance of civics in our younger citizens, not only seasonally but year-round, to help our democracy get to a better place. This insurrection was years in the making, and it will be years in the making to bring us back on the right path.
Teacher Resources for Teaching About the Capitol Riots
While you are there for your students, we are here for you. We will continue to provide the support that empowers you to continue to have these conversations with your class. Here are resources from our team to begin these conversations in the coming days:
- Lessons and activities on the Constitution and teaching resources on the electoral process and executive branch.
- Printable infographic and a teacher’s guide on the Peaceful Transfer of Power.
- Lessons to support teaching about news literacy and misinformation.
To take the dialogue further, here are additional resources from our partners and other organizations:
- Resources on the peaceful transfer of power from the Bill of Rights Institute.
- A compilation of resources crowdsourced by educators during #sschat (social studies chat) on Twitter.
- Resources on the Constitution and the Election from the National Constitution Center.
- A compilation of resources on the Foundations of Democracy and Government offered by Share My Lesson.
- A lesson idea from Mikva Challenge.
- A teaching strategy from Facing History and Ourselves.
- An article with tips and resources on processing traumatic events from EdWeek
As you navigate this moment, we are here with you in unwavering solidarity as well as hope for better days ahead. Congress went back to work, the Electoral College results were certified, and our institutions held as they should.
The republic still stands.
Download the Transfer of Peace Power infographic here.