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Supporting Students During Times of Anxiety and Stress

In times of confusion and traumatic events, often theatre students look to their theatre classes as a safe place of refuge and comfort.  For some, the most comfort will come from the familiar routines and business as usual, for others the most comfort will come from discussion and sharing. A number of organizations have begun publishing resources for starting these discussions. EdTA has collected a curated list of some of the best of these below.   

Strategies for Opening Discussion

Talking to Kids About the Attack on the Capitol from the National Education Association
Key takeaways and talking points from this national teacher's association include a link to self care strategies for educators. 

Talking to Children About Violence from the National Association of School Psychologists 
This handout, also available in several languages, offers tips and talking points for talking with children about violence and trauma, published by the National Association of School Psychologists.

Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events from the National Association of School Psychologists
This article discusses possible strong reactions and offers advice and support for educators.

Tips for Talking to Students About Violence from Common Sense Media
Strategies for opening the discussion from Common Sense Media.  Common Sense Media collects tools and research exploring media, technology and information. 

Responding to the Insurrection  from Facing History and Ourselves 
Tools for talking about the riots in Washington from Facing History.  Facing History is an organization begun in 1976, dedicated to providing resources to address racism, antisemitism and prejudice at pivotal moments in history with a goal of helping students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives. 


Curriculum and Resources
 

January 6, 2021 Resource Guide from the NYC Dept of Education 
This resource packet offers lesson plan links, resource tips and curriculum supports published by the New York City Department of Education. 

Sample Theatre Class Lesson Plan: January 6th, 2021 - a Drama Lesson for Middle School created by Robin Willis
This middle years level lesson plan offers an excellent example of using theatre games and activities to promote discussion and help students process and is easily adaptable to other ages.  Generously shared by theatre educator Robin Willis on the Theatre Education Distance Learning & Resource Sharing Facebook Group

When Bad Things Happen from Teaching Tolerance 
Lesson plan and links from Teaching Tolerance.  Teaching Tolerance is an organization dedicated to creating civil and inclusive school communities where all children are respected and valued.  They offer free resources to educators with an emphasis on social justice and anti bias. 

Resources for Talking to Students About Politics, Civil Engagement and Uncertainty from ASCD
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development offers a set of free videos and lesson plans. 

Resources for Responding to Trauma from Edutopia
This extensive list from Edutopia offers strategies, lesson plans and other resources for helping students process trauma, including resources for Trauma Informed Instruction strategies. 

Helping Young Children Respond to Trauma from the American Red Cross
Downloadable pdf offers an overview of common reactions to trauma from students of various ages.

Big Paper Discussion Strategy for Virtual Environments from Facing History
Tips for using a "Big Paper" collaborative document discussion strategy in a virtual environment. 


Theatre Educator Pro Resources

Diving deeper?  You may find these Theatre Educator Pro archived webinars a helpful resource:

Bringing Human Rights and Social Justice Into the Classroom with Karen Watson
This webinar will guide you on the journey of human rights defenders — from oppression to speaking truth to power. Karen will demonstrate theatrical exercises such as Role on Wall and others from Theatre of the Oppressed, tableaux that you can use with your students to explore speeches by well-known human rights activists and everyday defenders with the end goal of creating a devised monologue, scene or play.

Stage the change - Social Justice Through a Playwriting Based Curriculum with Ruthie Pinkus
Ruthie came to teaching as a professional actress and director and holds degrees from Michigan State University and Stony Brook University.  For the past 21 years she has been teaching theatre and enabling her students to create original theatre pieces based on issues such as human rights, celebrating diversity, equality and kindness. In this webinar Ruthie provides a step by step process for doing the same in your classroom. Ruthie has taken her cause beyond the walls of her own high school, with her mission of enabling other schools to teach their students to use their "theatre voices" to change their world.

Processing the Pandemic - Self Care for Educators with Amy Luskey-Barth, MPC and Cindy Warden, certified life coach. 
Educators carry a heavy load whenever trauma hits, it is vital that you remember to take care of yourselves as well. This webinar offered in the height of the pandemic, contains wonderful coping strategies for dealing with trauma of any kind.