In the coming weeks and months, your students may continue to have many questions about why the election unfolded as it did and what comes next. They may also have questions about what a new presidential administration means for them. These resources include educational resources you can use in the classroom and tips for discussion.
Special thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for maintaining great resource lists and archives on these topics.
Addressing ELL Students' Questions and Concerns
If you teach English language learners (ELLs) or immigrant students, there are a few helpful things to know about as we head into the coming weeks. You may wish to share this information with administrators or colleagues who also work with ELLs.
1. Explain that the long process of counting votes after the election proceeded as normal and was expected, especially with the high number of mail-in ballots this year due to the pandemic. There are some helpful explanations about this process in our resources below.
2. Students may have deep personal feelings about the outcomes of this election for a number of reasons. ELL and immigrant students may have felt the impacts of changing immigration policies in recent years, directly or indirectly. They may also have experienced bullying or harassment due to a number of factors, including their ethnicity, language, or religion. In addition, many immigrant families have also been particularly vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic and students may be shouldering heavy levels of responsibility at home. Students may also be concerned about retribution against themselves based on the outcome of the election.
3. It is also important not to make assumptions about any student's experience or political leanings. No voting block is monolithic and we are seeing a complex picture emerge for how and why a diverse range of communities voted as they did.
4. While some students may wish to engage in group discussion, others may feel uncomfortable drawing any attention to themselves or their family's situation. Proceed with utmost care and sensitivity and continue to look for ways to embed social-emotional support and learning across the curriculum.
- Embedding Social-Emotional Learning for ELLs Across the Curriculum in Any Learning Environment
- Providing Social-Emotional Support for Immigrant Students
5. You can get a better picture of the questions and concerns families may have by speaking with families directly. Students and families may have questions about what the results might mean for them. While you won't be able to answer their questions right away, you can acknowledge the difficulty of the uncertainty families have been experiencing and assure them that you will work to help connect them with others who will be working on these issues.
- Addressing Immigrant Families' Questions and Concerns
- Connecting Immigrant Families with Legal Support and Advice
6. You may wish to reach out to administrators and mental health colleagues or partners to establish some more robust support for students who are under tremendous strain due to the pandemic and perhaps feeling high levels of anxiety.
7. Find out which local organizations have ties to your community and look for ways to partner in families' home languages to provide ongoing updates of information. Building school-community partnerships have proven to be critical in addressing families' questions and concerns about the pandemic, immigration issues, and other key topics.
8. Don't lose sight of the strengths that ELL/immigrant students and families bring to their schools and our communities every day. The better you know your families, the more deeply you can tap into those strengths.
9. Let ELL/immigrant students and their families know that they are valued members of your class, school, and community. Continue efforts to make them feel welcome. If you aren't sure what that looks like, especially in virtual settings, ask them what would make them feel more welcome, perhaps in private conversations or small focus groups. Share those ideas with staff and administrators as you hear them. At the same time, communicate to your class that all students are valued members of the classroom and bullying or disrespectful speech against ELLs and immigrant students will not be tolerated. Share the importance of these message with other colleagues.
- 8 Tips to Protect ELLs from Bullying in Your Classroom and School (Language Lizard)
10. Continue learning from other educators to find out how they are managing this moment through your local networks or online networks.
For more resources and ideas you can use in instruction, see the list below.
Classroom Resources: Media Literacy
- Twitter chat on 11/9 at 7pm ET: How can the journalists of today help the historians of tomorrow? (PBS Student Reporting Labs)
- Webinar on 11/10 at 7pm ET: How to Teach Post-Election and Work Towards Unity (PBS NewsHour Extra)
Articles & blog posts
- Time to Boost Media Literacy (Facing History)
- Fostering Civil Discourse: How do we talk about issues that matter? (Facing History)
- The U.S. Election Underscores the Need for Teaching News Literacy in Our Schools (EdSurge)
- Digital Literacy in the Classroom (Teaching Tolerance)
Classroom Resources: Election 2020
After the Election
- 2020 Election Coverage (PBS NewsHour)
- Super Civics 2020 (PBS NewsHour Extra)
- Student Opinion: What is your reaction to the results of Election 2020? (The New York Times)
Immigration stories and topics
- Irish Home of Biden's Great-Great-Great Grandfather Cheers His Victory (The New York Times)
- As Kamala D. Harris Breaks Barriers, India and Jamaica Celebrate (The Washington Post)
- Six immigration issues Biden may take on (Reuters)
Election Week: Waiting for Results
- During election week like no other, teachers help students make sense of it all (The Washington Post)
- Social studies teachers turn election uncertainty into teachable moment (National Council on Social Studies)
- Navigating November 4th (Facing History)
- What to Discuss with Students After the Election (PBS NewsHour Extra)
- What Is the AP and How Do Outlet Call Results? (PBS NewsHour Extra)
- How Mail Votes Could Delay Election Results (The New York Times)
Preparing for the 2020 Election
- What I'll Say to My History Class If There Is No Clear Winner on Election Night (Education Week)
- How Can Teachers and Students Discuss the 2020 Election? (Teaching Channel)
- Teaching the 2020 Election: What Will You Do on Wednesday? (Teaching Tolerance)
- Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo: 4-Part Series on Politics in the Classroom (Education Week)
- Day After Election Guide (Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities)
- Teaching About the 2020 Presidential Election (National Council for Social Studies)
- Let's Talk About Election 2020 (KQED Learn)
- Resources for the 2020 Election (Larry Ferlazzo's Best Websites of the Day)
- 2020 Election: Learning Plan (Teaching Tolerance)
Multimedia: 2020 Election & Civics Resources for Students
- Talking with Young Kids About Elections, Voting, and Justice for All (PBS Kids)
- Turning Out: The Youth Vote (NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)
- iCivics: 2020 Election Headquarters (See iCivics resources and games available in Spanish)
- National Student/Parent Mock Election: Voter Education Portal Teaching Materials
- Election Day Videos for Students (Simply Kinder)
- Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out
- Civics in Real Life (Florida Joint Center for Citizenship)
Resources for ELLs
- Newsela: Bilingual news articles at different reading levels and Common Core-aligned quizzes
- Listenwise: Current Events & Election Podcasts
- Video for ELLs: How Congress Works (Voice of America, via Larry Ferlazzo)
- CNN 10 (CNN)
Spanish-Language Election Information
Useful Resources from Prior Elections
- 8 Questions for Nate Silver (Time for Kids)
- Five Ways to Support Undocumented Students During Election Season (Teaching Tolerance)
- Don't Count Them Out Just Because They Can't Cast a Ballot (NPR)
- Civil Conversation Challenge for Teenagers (The New York Times)
- Speak Up for Civility (Teaching Tolerance)
- Bias in the Presidential Election (Table Talk parent/family discussion guide)
- Education World: Primaries, Voting, and Elections
- ReadWriteThink: Election Lesson Plans
Books & Authors
My America: Many Voices, Many Stories
These books celebrate a diverse range of American voices and experiences, including voting in an election, immigrating to this country, and the journey to becoming a U.S. citizen.
Featured Video: Janet Wong reads "Liberty"
Poet Janet Wong reads and discusses her poem "Liberty", which is featured in Poems to Learn by Heart.
Book and Activity Guides
- Our Democracy: Explore Government, Voting, and Active Citizenship! (Start with a Book/Reading Rockets)
- Activate Young Citizens: Books and Activities for Elementary and Secondary Students (Read Across America/NEA)
Reading Rockets offers the following great booklists about elections, government, and U.S. presidents: