- Educators can introduce the idea of injustice to young elementary school students by starting with the very idea of fairness, Alissa Alteri Shea, a 1st grade teacher in Massachusetts, writes for Edutopia. She does so through a social studies lesson tied to Women’s History Month that she calls "Justice Heroes."
- The curriculum includes having her students learn about children who fought against injustice before having them look inward to find moments in their own lives when they’ve had to be strong, as well. Students also read books about people throughout history who have worked toward increasing justice in the world, from author Emma Lazarus to civil rights activist Ayanna Najuma.
- Students continue with activities that include making comic books and reading about a current figure fighting for justice. Finally, the children are invited to pick one Justice Hero and create cardboard cutouts of them, which are then displayed throughout the classroom.
For administrators and educators looking to build curriculum through an anti-racist lens, they may want to consider how social-emotional learning tools can play a part. Empathy and compassion are two elements that play a role in SEL, which has five cornerstones, including social awareness, self-awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making and self-management, according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
Self-management, or self-regulation, can be woven into curriculum along with empathy and compassion to help develop an anti-racist focus within a digital citizenship curriculum, for example, according to a 2020 paper from authors at California State University, Sacramento and Delta State University in Mississippi.
Focused on pandemic learning, authors Eric Claravall and Kelsey Evans looked at how empathy, compassion and self-regulation can help students recognize and challenge racial inequality in online environments. Their research was published in the Journal of International Social Studies. Administrators may also consider how they may adopt this approach using SEL skills within their own digital citizenship curriculum.
Administrators too may want to ensure they allow for teachers to have the space and time to meet and discuss with each other collaboratively as a school takes steps to focus on equity and anti-racism within curriculum. Greater Good in Education at the University of California, Berkeley, has an online set of resources educators can turn to, from books to other materials, some of which also tap into social-emotional tools, all designed to help them as they begin to build an anti-racist curriculum in their own school.