While there are many opportunities to incorporate themes of justice, equity, and inclusion into social studies and language arts curriculum, educators have expressed a need for more resources to help them do so. The good news is, the resources in this roundup and the educators who created them are here to support with inclusive, anti-racist resources for social studies and ELA. The resources in this roundup are all part of TpT’s Teach for Justice collection, created by Teacher-Authors who applied for TpT’s Teach for Justice grant program.
Keep reading to discover ways you can be a changemaker for your students with resources for promoting diversity and inclusion in your social studies, ELA, or humanities classroom.
9 changemaking educators and inclusive resources for social studies and ELA
Casey from Office Hours with Casey
My Teach for Justice resources feature a unit about athletes of color who broke social barriers and athletic records. The motivation to create this resource stemmed from the lack of media representation I experienced growing up as a Korean-American. Children need to see themselves reflected in books, media, and in real life. My unit contains an extensive list of books with diverse change maker athletes. Through the unit, I hope that more children will see themselves represented inside their classrooms.
About Casey: Casey is a Korean-American educator who currently teaches a mixed-grade, upper-elementary class in Silicon Valley. She earned her M.A. in teaching Arabic, and obtained her license to teach Arabic in public schools. Since Arabic programs in K-12 settings are not widespread, she shifted her focus to teaching elementary school students.
Heru from Heruvian Groove Arts and Education
My resource was created to aid educators who are yearning for an engaging, critical, and creative curriculum that activates the socially-empathetic citizen that lives in all of our children. This curriculum will not only provide healthy platforms to discuss uncomfortable civil topics, but aims to produce an end-result of action for students.
About Heru: Heru Stewart, otherwise known as Ras Heru, is a Newark NJ-born poet, performer, artist-entrepreneur, and elementary school teacher. A creative writing workshop producer and publisher, Heru’s creative and professional endeavors reflect his purpose in using the creative word and other avenues of art to spark engaging thoughts, conversations, and relationships between all those he and his works are able to reach.
Phoebe from Stories of the World
I believe that a lack of exposure to diverse stories at a young age creates a lack of knowledge, which in turn creates a lack of understanding and empathy. Young children see color, hear about racism, and observe how grown-ups struggle for explanations. Stories offer windows and mirrors and open doors that can start changing perceptions and underlying causes by breaking thinking patterns.
About Phoebe: Phoebe is an experienced early childhood and elementary educator. She serves as an education consultant to Globe Smart Kids, the non-profit behind One Globe Kids. She also teaches at an International Baccalaureate Spanish and Mandarin immersion school and a Spanish and Mandarin immersion Montessori school. She has her M.A. from NYU in Spanish History and Language, as well as Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a bilingual education extension. She subsequently received her Permanent Public School Certification from the state of New York.
Jenn from Tree Stone Education
I am both fascinated with, and horrified by, the story of “America”. There are hundreds of moments in history where peoples’ voices have been left out and should be centered in the narrative. When I taught 8th grade U.S. history, I noticed that much of what I wanted to convey was not created. I shared lessons I created to fill the gaps. [. . . ] I used a Zinn-like, person-based experience approach to this lesson and have a running list of people, places, stories, and moments that are both standards and curriculum aligned. It’s a start!
About Jenn: Jenn has been an educator for as long as she can remember. Prior to receiving her 5th-12th grade social studies certification, she worked at a number of nonprofits, facilitating public programs that encourage lifelong learning. She is passionate about local learning, elevating the buildings, people, plants, and landmarks we often overlook to guide lessons. She is an organizer, passionate about education, medical, and food justice. She believes we can achieve liberation through critical and curious exploration.
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Monica from MommyMaestra
I come from a family of community leaders and activists. My grandmother organized community-wide events to promote Mexican culture, celebrate Mexican holidays, and support Mexican small business owners. My mother was one of the first Hispanic reporters and columnists in the country, highlighting Latinx issues across the nation. I grew up immersed in social justice issues. I create materials to give a voice to my community and help Latino families see the important role they play in our nation’s history and inspire them to follow their dreams and make a difference.
About Monica: Monica has been an educator for over 20 years, and she’s been a freelance education writer for the last decade. Her articles have appeared in PBS Parents, NBC.com, Woo! Jr., PBS SoCal, and many other outlets. On her site MommyMaestra.com, she provides resources, tips, and opportunities to help Hispanic parents get more involved in their children’s education. Her TpT store is filled with bilingual resources that highlight Hispanic culture and contributions to world history.
Megan from The Aesthetic Teacher
My Global Short Story Unit is one way that I’ve been able to have my students develop empathy for people around the world. [. . .] Oftentimes, when high school educators teach a short story unit, they rely on old (and often predominately White and Male) standbys instead of exploring diverse and multicultural authors. I wanted to make it easy for teachers to integrate diverse voices and global perspectives into their classrooms by making it easy for them to change their curriculum.
About Megan: Megan is a fourth-year high school ELA teacher. She specializes in British literature, but has also taught American lit, speech, mythology, and creative writing. Megan holds a B.A. in English Literature and French Language from the University of Notre Dame and an M.Ed. in Secondary Teaching from Creighton University. She was drawn to teaching ELA because she believes that stories have the ability to transform others through empathy.
It is my belief that social justice-oriented content is vital in supporting students to be engaged citizens with the conscience, conviction, and compassion to make the world a better place, [and to] create a learning environment where all students are recognized as valuable contributors. For me, this is tied to both the culture of my classroom, and how I teach visual art.
About Alice: Alice Vogler is an educator, artist, and curator. She loves to invent new ways for children, young and old, to create and explore. She is a believer in the power of self-directed education and always provides choices in her classroom. She has worked in non-profit community art centers, after school programs, independent schools, and museums for two decades. Alice currently teaches visual art at the Friends School of Atlanta for PreK to middle school students and works as an arts education consultant.
Elisabeth and Dave from Teacher Resource Cabin
We were motivated to create resources for the Teach for Justice grant program after listening to the experiences of BIPOC in the outdoors. [. . .] We love to spend time outdoors and want nature to be a safe place for all. Our resource raises awareness surrounding discrimination in outdoor spaces, teaches about the benefits of diversity, and inspires students to take action in whatever ways they can.
About Elisabeth and Dave: Elisabeth and Dave are a teacher-couple from Canada who focus on experiential learning and learning opportunities at the high school level. Elisabeth teaches geography, science, and outdoor education. Dave teaches special education, business, and career education. They were both motivated to become educators to give students the tools to think critically and learn about the world around them.
While social justice is a current hot topic in education and society, it is not a new movement, nor is the need to address it a new development. Throughout my years as a teacher, I have worked to design and include lessons, discussions, and activities to help address social justice issues with my students as well as make my classroom a safe space to confront and explore these things.
About Rebecca: Growing up, Rebecca’s career goals occasionally took short detours (circus performer, astronaut, chef) but always came back to teaching. She now has close to two decades of experience in education. She is certified in ELA and social studies, and she has taught at both the middle and high school levels in diverse environments and subjects. Her students know her for her love of Shakespeare and quirky sense of humor. She’s a firm believer in the value of experiential learning, class discussion, and self-reflection, and she knows students learn best when they feel valued, listened to, and supported.
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With these and other resources in the Teach for Justice collection, you can make the most of the many opportunities to weave diversity and inclusion into your social studies and ELA curriculum. Whether you’re taking the first steps on your journey to building a more inclusive, anti-racist classroom, or you already have experience incorporating these themes into your instruction, these resources, and the educators who created them, are here to support you. For additional ideas and inspiration, be sure to browse the full collection on TpT.