Lesson of the Day: ‘How Teachers Are Exploring the Derek Chauvin Trial With Students’ | #teacher | #children | #kids

Listen to a “Daily” podcast examining the case that has been brought against Mr. Chauvin so far.

Look at photos by Times photographers capturing the events across Minneapolis as the trial began.

Then, respond to these prompts:

  • What is one new thing you learned about the trial of Mr. Chauvin?

  • What is one key takeaway from the trial so far?

  • What is one new question that you have about the events?

  • How might your identity, family or experiences shape your reaction to the trial? What personal connections might you have to the story?

Read the featured article, then answer the following questions:

1. Why does Lacrissha Walton, a fourth-grade teacher at Lucy Craft Laney Community School in Minneapolis, feel compelled to use the trial as “a teachable moment”? How has the death of Mr. Floyd impacted her students’ lives? How have her young pupils responded to her lessons and discussions about the trial?

2. What are some of the challenges schools and teachers face in addressing a “televised murder trial”? How have educators in Minneapolis addressed the possibility that the trial might rekindle “feelings of racial trauma and fears of potential unrest” for students?

3. How has Kristi Ward, the principal for third through eighth graders at Lake Nokomis Community School, worked with her staff on developing ways to prompt meaningful discussions? Which approaches and strategies do you think are most effective or appropriate?

4. While many schools around the country have avoided the court proceedings entirely, why did Tom Lachermeier, a social studies teacher at North Community High School, feel that “as a white man,” he had to address the trial with his students, 90 percent of whom are Black? What message would “not saying anything” about the trial send to his students? Do you think the racial identity of a teacher or students is important in deciding whether and how to address the legal proceedings?

5. What are some of the lessons drawn by students who have been studying the trial, according to the article? Why has learning about the trial convinced Kyree Wilson, 16, a junior in Mr. Lachermeier’s United States history class, that a conviction would do little to stop police brutality? Do you agree with her perspective? What difference do you think the verdict will make? What kind of impact might it have in the nation’s fight for racial justice?

6. What is your reaction to the article? What did you find most surprising, provocative or memorable? Does anything resonate with your own experiences as a student? Have any of your teachers provided opportunities to discuss and analyze the trial? If so, have you found them to be productive?

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