School leaders, teachers, and staff are often tasked with helping our students and their families grapple with what’s happening in the news. The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has compiled the following list of resources to assist educators in helping students process the violence, terror, and news coming from the Middle East.
Discussing the History
While the current war is between Israel and Hamas, it is important for students to have background on the long history of conflict, attempted peace processes, and the people living in the region.
- Processing Attacks in Israel and the Outbreak of War in the Region: These mini lessons for 6-12 grade provide resources to help students process violence, terror, and the loss of life in the wake of attacks in Israel and Israel’s declaration of war against Hamas.
- Making a Difference in the Midst of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict | Wide Angle: Lesson Plan: This high school-level lesson plan from PBS explores the history and complexity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through videos, websites, and interactive activities that provide more insight into the conflict.
- What Is U.S. Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?: This guide from the Council on Foreign Relations provides background information behind the conflict and explains what the United States has done to negotiate a resolution to the conflict.
- Conflict in Israel and Palestine: Crash Course, an educational YouTube channel, explains the origins of the long-standing conflict in under 13 minutes.
Talking with Students
- How do I talk to my kids about violence in the news? and Explaining the News to Our Kids: These two guides from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that examines the impact of technology on children, provide age-appropriate tips on how to talk to kids about what’s happening in the news, especially when it involves violence.
- How to talk to your children about conflict and war: This guide from UNICEF provides 8 tips on how to support and comfort children when war dominates headlines.
- Handle With Care: Supporting Young People During Crises: Learning for Justice, a social justice and activism program for schools, provides ideas to support “meaningful” discussions about emotionally charged topics, such as the Hamas attack on Israel, with young people and potential follow-up steps and responses.
- How to Talk to Kids About What’s Happening in Israel Right Now: This article from Kveller shares balanced scripts parents and family members can use with their children based on their age range.
- How to Talk to Kids about Violence, Crime, and War: Common Sense Media gathers tips and conversation starters to help you talk to kids of different ages about the toughest topics.
- Talking to Your Kids About War: Very Well Family explores ways families can speak with young people about war, including tips on sharing information and restricting media coverage.
- Resilience in a Time of War: Tips for Parents and Teachers of Elementary School Children: This article from the American Psychological Association can help adults guide their young children beyond fear and to resilience.
- Resilience in a Time of War: Tips for Parents and Teachers of Middle School Children: This article from the American Psychological Association provides tips and strategies for parents and teachers of middle school-aged children.
In the Classroom
- Fostering Civil Discourse: How Do We Talk About Issues That Matter?: This guide from nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves gives educators ideas for how to prepare students to engage in reflective conversations on controversial topics.
- Teaching Controversial Issues: A Framework for Reflective Practice: This guide from Judy Pace, a teacher educator at the University of San Francisco, provides a research-based framework for teaching controversial issues.
- In brief: Misinformation: This infographic from the News Literacy Project provides an overview of the pervasive use of misinformation and how people can be more critical readers of news and other information.
Trauma-Informed Resources for School Systems
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides resources that can be filtered by topic, keyword, and audience with a focus on how adults can identify traumatic responses in young people and how to support them.
For All Ages
- If you are an educator in need of additional support, The FrontLine WarmLine is also available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week by calling 207-221-8196 or texting 898-211.
- For additional support, please reach out to your school-based mental health professionals such as the school counselor or social worker if needed. Parents and students can also call 211 for additional community resources. If you are a parent and believe your or your child’s mental well-being is in jeopardy, call or text 1-888-568-1112 or emergency responders.
These resources are neither meant to be exhaustive nor is their inclusion an endorsement of a particular viewpoint.