Activities for


Respect for All 2012: STANDING UP TO DISCRIMINATION for middle and high school (2/14/12) Students define the terms "prejudice" "stereotype" and "discrimination," read an an article about a group of vets who took a stand against discrimination, and consider the role of an ally both in the article and at school.

CONSIDERING DEMOCRACY in Occupy Wall Street & the Classroom for grades 4-7 (10/27/11) Students explore the meaning of democracy and how Occupy Wall Street is using elements of democracy in their protests. Then students think of and analyze ideas that might make their classroom more democratic.

'OCCUPY WALL STREET': A lesson for middle grades (10/6/11) Students learn about the Occupy Wall Street protest, discuss wealth disparity, consider some statistics, make their own charts, and find out what some of the protesters want and and why.

9/11 ANNIVERSARY TEACHING GUIDE. Our age-appropriate classroom lessons and activities for grades K-12 aim to deepen your students' understanding of September 11 and the 10th anniversary ceremonies, and develop their critical thinking skills. The guide, written by Morningside Center executive director Tom Roderick, also includes recommended books and other teaching ideas. Please join us on Facebook or Twitter to share your thoughts and experiences on teaching on 9/11.

JAPAN'S CRISIS (4/1/12) Students learn about events in Japan since the massive earthquake on March 11, 2011, read and discuss quotes from Japanese people and others about the disaster, and make cranes and create messages for the people of Japan.

Tunisia to Egypt & Beyond: FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY? (3/4/11) Students consider a song, a video interview, and readings in exploring the events unfolding in the Middle East & North Africa.

EGYPT'S NONVIOLENT REVOLUTION (for middle school students (2/16/11) Students learn about the youth-led movement and consider what it takes to act assertively to organize for change. They view and discuss a video relating Martin Luther King Jr.'s statements to events in Egypt.

HOLIDAYS: Often Happy, Sometimes Sad (12/15/10) This usually happy season may also bring up negative feelings for some students--perhaps because of family tensions or divisions, health problems or financial stress. It's important to take this into consideration as we talk about the holidays in the classroom. This classroom activity is aimed at raising students' sensitivity and providing some encouragement for those who may be facing hardship during this holiday season.

Exploring Leadership: Burma's AUNG SAN SUU KYI (11/17/10) (for younger students) Students consider leaders in their own lives, think about the qualities of leadership exhibited by Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (who has just been released) and write messages to Suu Kyi.

HOMOPHOBIA: What is it? What can we do about it? (10/13/10) This two-part lesson for grades 5-8 is aimed at increasing students' understanding of homophobia. The first part focuses on personal experiences of our differences; the second part focuses on what students can do to make their classroom and school safe for everyone.

Controversy over the NYC Muslim Community Center & the 9/11 Experience (for younger students) (9/22/10) This lesson asks children to watch and discuss three public service announcements by the Council on American Islamic Relations featuring Muslims who were part of the 9/11 rescue effort; consider the news about the controversy over the Cordoba Project ("Ground Zero Mosque"), and discuss a Niemoller poem that relates to standing up for the rights of others.

ISLAM & ISLAMOPHOBIA (for younger students) (9/15/10) Students talk about their cultural heritage, watch an online video about American Muslims, discuss their understanding of Islam and Muslims, and share their own experiences of being treated unfairly.

ACTIVITIES TO CLOSE THE SCHOOL YEAR (6/23/10) (for all grades) Five activities use different methodologies to help you and your students reflect on the year and look ahead to next year.

GULF OIL SPILL: What happened, and who is responsible? (6/9/10) Students discuss the massive BP oil spill and view two short videos as they consider what happened in the gulf, their own consumption of oil, and who should be held responsible for the spill.

HAITI: Still in Crisis, but No Longer in the News (2/24/10) Marieke van Woerkom's activity helps younger students consider how Haitians are faring now that the news media has largely moved on.

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HAITI? (1/19/10) Help your students learn about the earthquake and Haiti's history, and brainstorm about how they can help Haitians now and in the long run.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King: THE POWER OF NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE (1/13/10) Through engaging activities, video, and small-group discussion, students consider the Montgomery Bus Boycott and how they might stand up against injustice in their own lives.

TEACHING IN A TIME OF CRISIS (9/2/09) Educator Marieke van Woerkom provides timeless guidelines for opening up discussion on difficult issues--like the current economic recession--with your elementary and middle school students. Also included: links to resources on the economic crisis to inform the class discussion.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Classroom Activities for Starting Off the School Year This 28-page PDF booklet includes great activities to get your class (grades preK-12) off to a good start in the new school year.

MESSAGE IN THE WAVES: Two Earth Day Lessons for Middle School Students After viewing a short video clip, students consider the effect all our waste has on the environment and develop a 'reduce, reuse, recyle' action plan.

LESSONS ON THE INAUGURATION for grades K-12 Our 15-page PDF booklet includes student readings and interactive lessons about the inauguration, Obama's inaugural speech, the challenges facing the new administration, and the inaugurals of presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.

Presidential Election 2008: MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES (for grades 4-6) Four 45-minute lessons engage students in considering what qualities they might look for in a political candidate; how to get information about candidates; and how they and the adults in their lives decide whom to vote for.

ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT: What can we do? Through a series of engaging activities, middle or high school students learn basic facts about climate change and consider what we can do about it.

Two Problem-Solving Approaches (K-12) Regularly instituting these two approaches in your classroom will build your students' problem-solving skills and create a more congenial classroom atmosphere.

Study Guides: The Librarian of Basra and Alia's Mission:Saving the Books of Iraq These two recent children's books (grades K-12) present a positive opportunity to open up discussions of the Iraq war with students. Both tell the story of Alia Muhammed Baker, the chief librarian of Basra, Iraq, who saved 30,000 books from Basra's library before it burned during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

I-Messages & the Assertiveness Line
Teach your students a strategy for being assertive when problems come up with friends and family. Then have students practice the skill regularly.

Feelings Charade (Grades 4-12)
This fun activity can help open up communication with and among students about their feelings. It also helps build students' vocabulary and their confidence in using their full vocabulary range.

Find Someone Who
This fun activity is a good one to use at the beginning of a course. It's a quick way for students to connect with one another and overcome shyness.

Affirmation Interview
Students interview and learn about one another.

Listening Circles
This simple process gives young people--and adults--a chance to express their feelings about events of the day.

Cultural Banners
Students work individually to create a "cultural banner" expressing values, traditions, and activities important in their families.

Machine Building: A Cooperative Activity
Students work in small groups to create a group "machine."

Coping Strategies: Managing Feelings
Working in small groups, students categorize coping strategies as positive, negative, neutral, and time-out behaviors.

Metaphors for Expressing Feelings
Students examine how feelings are expressed in a poem, and then use metaphor to write about their own feelings.

Similes & Feelings
Students explore anger using similes.





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