Lesson Plan Post Election

  Resources for the Day After the Election

If you have something you’d like to add to this plan but can’t, feel free to email me at jessica.k.cabral@gmail.com and I’ll add it. Thank you again for coming together as community during this time – it really has been so wonderful to see. In solidarity.

The election’s over. Here’s how to navigate the next few weeks with grace


There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Mahatma Gandhi

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

John Wooden


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.

Dalai Lama

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

Dalai Lama

Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.

John Wooden

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

Maya Angelou

The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.

James Baldwin

Processing Circle Directions

(A letter from a mom to her daughter)

MLK’s speech in 1965 during the march from Selma
Excerpts from MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)
Study checks and balances, and then have them brainstorm ideas for different ways to organize.
Listen to Maya Angelou, “Just Do Right” https://youtu.be/bxrV2J_OjGo

“So pick it up, pick up the battle and make it a better world. Just where you are. Yes. And it can be better. And it must be better. But it is up to us.”

Listen to Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise


[here’s also a version of her reading it herself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqOqo50LSZ0]


“No jokes tonight. Do not laugh and look away. Watch this, stay here. Burn this into memory. Wake up tomorrow: the fight will await you.“


“This is the end of nothing. This is the beginning of something new and solemn and so important. You must be part of what comes next.”


[[Note: this account is not actually Neil DeGrasse Tyson]]

Let America Be America Again – Langston Hughes
A processing activity such as this can facilitate a conversation to process students feelings, foster hope and build community.

1.       Have students journal their reactions to the following:

a.    What are you thinking and feeling after the election?

b.   What are your fears for the future? What are your hopes?

c.    What do you need from your classmates right now? What can we do as a classroom, school and community to support one another?

2.       Start by sharing in partners or small groups for 5 minutes, making sure everyone has a chance to share

3.       Open it up to a whole group discussion for as long as you see fit and as long as students need it (~20-30 min)

4.       As the teacher, take notes on the answers to question C and try to incorporate student actions and suggestions into your classroom in the coming days.

What should we tell the children about this election?


Come in to today projecting confidence and resilience. Our kids will remember this day forever and they’ll take their cues from our body language. Definitely process what happened with them but remind them that their future is so critical to what happens to our country and that that work begins today.
Van Jones: How do I explain this to my children (maybe something to watch as a staff)


Understanding How Trump Won: Exit Polls

Predicting & Understanding Trump’s Win


If You’re Overwhelmed by the Election, Here’s What You Can Do
Listening to his acceptance speech with the following guiding questions: what gives you hope; what concerns remain.  http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/09/politics/donald-trump-victory-speech/index.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8HdOHrc3OQ (Charlie Chaplin- The Great Dictator Speech)
Remind them that education is freedom and working to attain college completion is the best way to enact change in the future for them, their families, our country, and our world.
A message from teachers to students, written before the election https://medium.com/@lukeallpress/looking-ahead-the-first-day-of-trumps-presidency-6118a28a1472#.r4rszmj55
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”

Augustine of Hippo

Guiding Principles:

1) Respect and kindness win

(They have to, right?) Maintain order and civility. We are all worthy human beings. Set the expectations clearly right away this morning. Opinions and ideas are the rights of the person expressing them. Others may agree or disagree and must do so respectfully.

2) Teachable moments

Explain more about how our government works and why. Democracy is a messy business. This is an opportunity to share more details about how it operates, why the US has this system, and how it compares to other forms of government.

3) We got the power

Share real-life examples of how people work for change. Progress doesn’t always move in a straight line (or even in a forward direction). Discuss ways students can work for their ideals in the future and right now in our school and community.

4) Hugs help

All of us need one sometimes . Be generous with these expressions of safety and warmth (with consent.)

Engagement Strategies:

Free write / journaling

While for some of us, our first impulse may be to talk, many students need time and space to work through thoughts and feelings before verbalizing them.  We all benefit from thinking – writing, drawing, listing – before or in place of speaking.

Silent Conversation

In the silent conversation students write their thoughts, feelings, and journal about their response to a prompt silently. Then, they pass it to another student. Students then read the last writer’s thoughts and write back. Then, they pass the paper to a new writer who reads the responses of the previous writers and writes back yet again. You can continue to have students reflect and respond as many times as you want before passing the paper’s back to the original writer who can then see the thoughts and feelings of other students. This can help validate and affirm students feelings and help them see how others feel while avoiding potentially breaches due to interruptions, body language, or hasty response of other students that can sometimes happen in whole group verbal processing.


The tried-and-true community meeting circle is a simple way to give everyone the floor. Provide a neutral question, set and uphold the expectation that we are not commenting on or responding to what others say – we are valuing their opinions – and go around.


Small groups are a safer and more comfortable forum for many. Break into random groups of 3, explain the roles (1 person speaks for the allotted time, the others only listen, and then wait silently until time is up. Then the next person has their speaking time). Post one question at a time for the students to consider and then speak about in their microlabs. Debrief and invite whole-group shares after each round.

Letter writing

It’s empowering to tell someone what you think!  Students can write letters – to the president-elect, to their families, to teachers, to friends – to explain how they’re feeling and what they want for our country.

Feelings / Opinions Barometer

Draw a number line from 0 to 5 or -5 to +5 and have students mark how they’re feeling generally or how strongly they agree or disagree with a question you pose. It’s a great starting point for discussions.


Make time for a closing at the end of the day. Give students a chance to express what they’re thinking and to show support and kindness to one another.

Movement Helps – Having extra time to move one’s body can be helpful in releasing emotions. Make sure you and your students get some healthy movement in today. In traumatic situations, what is amplified is the lack of control over a situation. How can you find what you have control over today? How can you help your students do the same? Offer options and breaks. Model that yourself. And don’t forget to breathe.

From the UW-Madison Center for healthy minds. A Compassion Meditation Training (under the “tools for scientists” section of their main page. First pull up the mission statement of the U. five minute freewrite in reaction to it. Then the meditation (~30 min). Then write a letter to the president elect.

The Blessing of a Corrupt Government

“Why would I go to a depressed Danish philosopher after Election Day? Søren Kierkegaard is one of those dead white males whose words are not easy to digest. But he brings me dark hope today, like a seed deep in the dark earth.

Kierkegaard, like Jesus, like Moses, had no illusions about how God creates authentic people. How is an authentic, divinely led human being cultivated? Through unflinching and honest social examination that leading to liberating self-determination. Transformed reality begins and ends with individuals who accept the power of choice–uncomfortable as it may be–and then surrender to a far greater Spirit. Despotic rulers, unjust laws, corrupt society, and hypocritical churches become strange blessings, because they make us rise up to our best selves. Immoral institutions require individual Spirit-led people to make their own courageous choices. That’s how the beloved community has always formed. That’s what Standing Rock is doing today. After election day, now the rest of us can see it too: we are the people we’ve been waiting for. It’s time to go down to the sacred river and be born again.”  –Todd Wynward

CREAD Resources for the Day after the Election: “The Very Black Edition”

The full acceptance speech from Hispanic Heritage Literature Award recipient, Junot Díaz. Filmed live at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, September 22, 2016. (1:10 onwards)

Post Election Collection
Malcolm X the Ballot or the Bullet – http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/malcolm_x_ballot.html
Hillary Clinton’s Full Concession speech: “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it”
President Obama: Trump Election Speech
Listen to John Legend, The Roots “Wake Up Everybody”
Breathe in…breathe out visual
National Assoc. Of School Psychologists: Guidance for Reinforcing Safe, Supportive, and Positive School Environments
Mindfulness – 3 minute Guided Body Scan
Kid President Talking About How to Disagree Respectfully
Privilege, Power, and Difference by Allan G. Johnson (I find Chapter 3 is a particularly valuable resource)
TFA’s online community on StoryCorps.me is an excellent opportunity for our teachers to work with their students to record their families’ reflections and share gratitude for the good things that are happening within their families and communities despite the current tension.

From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces — A new way to frame dialogue around diversity and social justice

For undocumented students and their families:


Immigration Rights Resources:

Make the Road NY: http://www.maketheroadny.org/

Builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.

NYS Youth Leadership Council: https://www.nysylc.org/  An undocumented youth led organization that works to organize and empower their communities.  

UNY Citizenship Now: http://www1.cuny.edu/sites/citizenship-now/

provides free, high quality, and confidential immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship.


  • 2-class lesson plan for teachers
  • An action toolkit for youth
  • Conversation starters for parents


CREAD Resources for the Day after the Election: “The Very Black Edition”

So, today is hard. And we here at CREAD wanted to extend a hand of love and support. So maybe something below can serve as inspiration for you and your students today.

Quotes and Proverbs:

Want to start your class with analyzing a quote and connecting it to today and America’s aftermath?

“If you want to go fast, Go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

African Proverb

The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated—James Baldwin

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. —James Baldwin

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”—Audre Lorde

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” —Maya Angelou

Call to council:

Let’s circle up and talk. When major things happen in our life we need to form tight bonds of community and love. May the circle never be broken!

  1. Music heals the soul so maybe you ask students to choose a song that represents how they feel this morning and allow each to open the circle with a snippet of the song.

For me on a day like this, I’m closing the circle with Bob Marley’s War as my contribution to the circle: “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned–everywhere is war–me say war.”

  1. One Word: Have students, as their do now, write down one word on an index card that represents how they feel and create a class poem using all the words.

Khalilah’s word is: Sankofa

Cathleen’s word is: Recalibrate

  1. Free write: Choose a prompt, or not but give students a specific amount of time to write about their thoughts, ideas or reactions.

Possible prompts:

What does this outcome mean for Black Lives to Matter?

Do politics matter? Explain.

Complete this phrase: “If I ruled the world… “(You could play Nas in the background as mood music)

In all of these things, you should also engage in the activity. Be a part of the circle but try not to control it. You don’t have to have all the answers, you just need to create space for students to investigate their feelings. Remind students that it is okay to experience difficult feelings and that it may take some time to work through them.  You also shouldn’t force it, feel out your room, if students don’t feel like talking, then they don’t have to beyond your morning check in.  If they feel like talking then let it flow. Ensure them that you are there to listen and support them.



Music is the soundtrack of our lives, sometimes we just need to sit and listen, sit and write, sit and compose as Jay Z said, sometimes you gotta make the song cry.

We need some Bob Marley so check out this reggae therapy:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJWsS8VuFNA&spfreload=5

And specifically:War by Bob Marley  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XHEPoMNP0I. Which  quotes from a speech from the honorable EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE I TO THE UNITED NATIONS http://www.ethiopiancrown.org/address.html

But maybe you’re in a more hood mood: WARNING: This is OG ish, so don’t do this unless you’re on OG!

“What Cats Do” by illustrator, Grace Lynne


How can we use the literature to help us access our feelings and our possibilities?

Claude Mckay: If we must die https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44694

Langston Hughes: I too, am America: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-too

Gwendolyn Brooks: Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Towardhttps://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/poetry_in_motion/atlas/chicago/spe_to_the_you_spe_to_the_pro_amo_the_nor_and_hen_iii/

Tupac Shakur: When Ure Hero Falls: https://allpoetry.com/When-Ure-Hero-Falls

Tupac Shakur: And 2morrow: https://allpoetry.com/And-2Morrow

Tupac Shakur: Liberty Needs Glasses: https://allpoetry.com/Liberty-Needs-Glasses

Examining media:

How is the media handling this turn of events? At times like this, do we need larger “Black Media” presence? Where do we go, to hear what we need, to stay informed, to soothe our souls?

Van Jones: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/11/09/how-do-i-explain-this-to-my-children-van-jones-gives-voice-to-the-nightmare-some-are-feeling/

Huff Post:


Political Ideating:

What? Now what? So, what? What are our possible next steps?

The Black Lives Matter Platform: https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/

Role of Black educators serving their communities:


I would have students take time to research quotes and speeches of some of our black leaders for liberation: Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm. And I would throw in a few of our modern liberators, Deray McKesson, Van Jones, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, Michelle Alexander, Jesse Williams, and Shaun King.

And ask them to make snapshot bios: Choose a picture, choose a quote, write a tweet or update their (Fb/IG/Snapchat) what would they, should they, could they, say in times like this?

In the end, we have to make space for our students’ feelings and our own, validate their concerns as well as our own. We must highlight the hypocrisy of America and our own hypocrisy as educators and allow ourselves to experience the emotions. We must make space for those who are numb, those who are angry, those who will say I don’t care, those who are heartbroken, those who will say this means nothing and those who will say this means everything. And when it is all out in the open, raw, and festering, we will provide them (and ourselves) inspiration, provide hope, provide a path to liberation, freedom, and revolution. But all of this cannot to be accomplished in one class period, or even on one day; in fact there is no set time to begin and end this work. It is ongoing and it will grow and change with us because the commitment to our children is not an election cycle, it is not a political phase or term in office, it is our life’s work. Today, let’s allow everyone to feel, and tomorrow we move towards freedom.

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

CREAD Tribe, you do not have to go in today being strong and projecting confidence. Your only job is to be authentic and allow for love and connection to prevail. Today is all about the feels.