Teaching End-of-Life Issues in the Classroom
For many people death can be a difficult topic to discuss. The challenge
for educators is to provide children with a variety of strategies that
allow them to discuss openly the issues surrounding death and dying.
To do so effectively requires sensitivity, courage, and the creation
of a classroom climate where children feel comfortable discussing their
feelings. These lessons were created to provide teachers with multiple
entry points for dealing with children's experiences of death, dying
and the afterlife.
The following lessons will be useful in helping children deal with
the death or illness of a family member, friend, or pet, as well as
media-reported deaths, including those of public figures and victims
of mass tragedies.
"Defining and Discussing Death"
The purpose of this lesson is to develop an awareness of the kinds of
losses that one may experience as a human being, and the different ways
in which one may deal with them. In this lesson, students will participate
in an imaginary scenario that involves different ways to both confront
and talk about issues surrounding death. The students will also write
a letter expressing their emotions to a person or a pet who has died.
"Understanding Different Views on Death"
The purpose of this lesson is to develop an understanding of the variety
of ways in which people deal with death, how both children and teenagers
come to understand death, how death is portrayed in the media and popular
culture, and the importance of expressing emotions surrounding death
and dying. In this lesson the students will research various grass roots
movements that have arisen around death and dying, and write a letter
to a person or a pet that has died.
In this guide you'll also find some tips and strategies for using "With
Eyes Open"--the program in your classroom. Teachers may tape "With Eyes
Open" and use the videotape for educational purposes for up to ten days
after the broadcast. To purchase the tape, visit Films for the Humanities
& Sciences at www.films.com or call: 1 (800) 257-5126.
For Ideas for Parents, click here.
Suggestions on how to use books to create a comfortable setting in which
to initiate conversations with your entire family.
Recommended Books, Movies, and Websites