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Lesson Plans

Educator Voice: Voices on teaching the insurrection at the Capitol

January 12, 2021

Full Lesson


PBS NewsHour EXTRA held a Zoom with educators, staff and students, on Jan. 7, just one day after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. The program featured guests Dr. Yohuru Williams and Kenneth C. Davis with teacher-host Sari Beth Rosenberg.

Use this Educator Voice as a resource in hearing how educators are teaching about the attack on the Capitol, what they are hearing from their students, historical context and to know there are supportive communities and teachers for when you have questions or concerns about teaching current events and issues.

For the full Zoom, watch the video here. Check out shorter clips below.


Watch this clip from Dr. Williams describing the 1970s TV show Archie Bunker and Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again.” Think about how they influenced Dr. Williams’ view of American history.


Kenneth C. Davis, author of “Strongman: The Rise of Five Dictators and Fall of Democracy,” on educators being arbiters and umpires of truth about history and present events, including the attack on the Capitol building.


Watch student Grace Huebner on wanting teachers to provide some of their own perspective on the Capitol riot; educator Elisabeth Morales on her immigrant students learning some of America’s dark history and what that might feel like; and teacher-host Sari Beth Rosenberg on there is no “magic key” when it comes to teaching serious events like the insurrection in Washington D.C.


Watch Tim Smythe, social studies teacher in Penn, discusses the importance of having conversations about race at the start of the school year, which will make lessons about hard issues like the insurrection easier to have in the classroom.


Judith Ganley is a middle school teacher in the San Francisco Bay area whose students have experienced serious ramifications of the economic downturn, COVID, climate change and racial injustice. She speaks about the importance of teachers and students sitting with feelings of discomfort during difficult times.


Educator and author Lauren Porosoff discusses how the classroom is a perfect opportunity for students to listen to one another as well as respect and affirm each other’s point of view.

If you would like to contribute to Educator Voice blog, please send your idea to Vic Pasquantonio at

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