January 15, 2021
Experts on social-emotional learning say it’s crucial for educators to help students identify their own feelings, to understand the effects adults have on students’ emotional stability, and to recognize teachable moments on tough news days.

This issue of Big Deal Media’s enewsletter is devoted to helping educators and students share their reactions and express their feelings following the events that occurred at the United States Capitol on January 6. It also offers a range of teaching and learning ideas and resources for use during this teachable moment.
Professional Growth
Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty

Teachers nationwide are considering how to support students who may be traumatized by images of violence at the United States Capitol on January 6. Some school districts are offering counseling services for students, giving them opportunities to share.

Professional Growth
Teaching for Civic Agency

Events of the past year have made clear that the work of civic educators—to empower youth with the ability to make positive change—is now more urgent than ever. Oftentimes, we see something that’s unjust and wonder, Where do I go? What do I do?

Professional Growth
Leading Conversations After Crises

The Advisory Board of Teaching Tolerance has shared ideas for starting discussions in the days following the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Professional Growth
Reflecting on the Democratic Process

The events of January 6, 2021, may generate feelings of fear or anger in students. Teachers can create a space, whether in the physical classroom or on a remote learning platform, for students to express discomfort and feelings of anger or distress that may emerge from discussing these events.

Professional Growth
Facilitating Discussions Around Difficult Topics

University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) has shared “Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or High-Stakes Topics” to help educators facilitate classroom discussion around controversial issues.

Professional Growth
Supporting Urban Students on the Days After Major Events

In a guest post on Beyond the Spotlight—a resource for parents, caregivers, and educators, designed to create equitable and caring classrooms for all children—Alyssa Hadley-Dunn, Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University and founder of Teaching on the Days After: Dialogue & Resources for Educating Toward Justice, offers tips and resources for teachers related to the attack on the US Capitol.

Digital Learning • Learning Support
Building and Sustaining Positive Social and Emotional Climates

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has developed a social–emotional learning program called RULER, which teaches students to do daily check-ins, identifying the energy level and pleasantness of their emotions on a color-coded “mood meter.”

Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Digital Learning • Learning Support
Sharing Thoughts and Emotions in Reaction to Current Events

lesson from the Mikva Challenge program about the attack on the US Capitol offers ways educators can provide students opportunities to share their reactions, thoughts, and emotions about the events of January 6 in Washington, DC.

Digital Learning • Learning Support
Reflecting on Contentious and Troubling News

January 6, 2021, will certainly be a day for the history books. For all teachers grappling with how to address the day’s events with students, this Teaching Idea from Facing History and Ourselves is designed to help guide an initial classroom reflection on the insurrection at the United States Capitol on that day.

Digital Learning • Learning Support
Using Current Events to Develop Media Literacy

On January 6, 2021, the nation witnessed a grave breach of its democratic traditions. For the first time in American history, supporters of the losing presidential candidate forcibly disrupted the official counting of electoral votes. PBS NewsHour Extra has provided a classroom resource that includes three activities to teach about the breach of the US Capitol.

Pete Marovich for The New York Times

Digital Learning • Learning Support
Making Sense of the Rampage at the US Capitol

Not since the War of 1812, when British forces set fire to the United States Capitol, have the halls of power in Washington been overtaken by violent intruders as they were on January 6. As the world watched this tableau of violence and mayhem live, teachers immediately realized that the ordinary curriculum would need to give way.

Digital Learning • Learning Support
Comparing Mass Media Reports of the News

According to the news platform Newscompare, just 41 percent of Americans believe the mass media report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” Even fewer Americans who are politically involved believe what they see on television, read in newspapers, or hear on radio.

Digital Learning • Learning Support
Exploring Propaganda in the Digital Age

The Mind Over Media web platform gives students aged 13 and up an opportunity to explore the subject of contemporary propaganda by hosting thousands of examples of 21st-century propaganda from around the world.

Digital Learning • Learning Support
Discussing Propaganda Techniques in Online Political Ads

In this ReadWriteThink lesson, students read or view a literary text, and then identify and discuss examples of propaganda techniques in the text. Students then explore the use of propaganda in popular culture by looking at examples in the media.


Digital Learning • Learning Support
Analyzing Propaganda Techniques Used to Disrupt Democracy Worldwide

PBS affiliate WETA has made available a list of propaganda techniques that make false connections (such as the techniques of “transfer” and “testimonial”), or constitute special appeals (such as “bandwagon” and “fear”), or are types of logical fallacy (for example, “unwarranted extrapolation”).


Digital Learning • Learning Support
Evaluating the Trustworthiness of Online Sources

How can educators help students navigate the treacherous terrain of misinformation that runs rampant online? The Stanford History Education Group’s Civic Online Reasoning (COR) curriculum features 67 free lessons and assessments that teach students the methods fact-checkers use to sort fact from fiction by evaluating the trustworthiness of online sources.


Digital Learning • Learning Support
Symbolizing American Strength and Freedom: The Capitol Story

In 1814, British troops marched on Washington, DC, intent on striking a blow against the capital city during the War of 1812. The first public building they encountered was the unfinished Capitol. A feature of eight videos on the US Capitol’s website describes what the Capitol looked like at that time, how the British attempted to destroy it, and how their actions shaped the future of the building.


Digital Learning • Learning Support
Journeying Through the US Capitol’s Turbulent History

America’s seat of government has endured bombings, a presidential assassination attempt, and even destruction by foreign forces. There have also been attacks from inside—including a near-fatal attack on one lawmaker by another. National Geographic provides a brief look at the threats to the Capitol over the years.