In 2020, teachers and students had to adapt to new ways of learning—so TeachKind followed suit and adapted our message of compassion for animals so that it could be shared virtually. As educators evolved and became more resilient throughout the year, your efforts to help your students and animals never wavered—and for that, we applaud you. Check out these TeachKind lessons and activities created throughout this whirlwind of a year as well as some standout examples of compassionate teachers continuing to promote kindness to animals in spite of this year’s obstacles.
Teaching About COVID-19 and Eating Animals
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip the world, students are staying at home with their families and very likely questioning just how we got here—so TeachKind created materials for educators to use in explaining how this pandemic began and to help students of all ages understand the connection between eating animals and outbreaks of infectious diseases. Discussing this major event can expose them to important new facts and aid them in synthesizing information that may seem overwhelming. This will allow them to draw their own conclusions.
Switching to Virtual Learning
In an effort to support educators and families during the pandemic, we at TeachKind have adapted our methods of promoting compassion for animals to suit the needs of a virtual classroom. We created a series of videos to provide educators and parents with empathy-promoting lessons, including compassionate stories read aloud by TeachKind staffers who have prior classroom experience, a presentation from Ellie the elephant, and a demonstration involving the future of frog dissection. We anticipate creating more virtual lessons in the coming months.
Celebrating Compassionate Teachers
This year, TeachKind had the pleasure of working with a number of exceptional humane educators, including the participants in our annual Teacher Appreciation Contest and our newest partner, The Good Kid Project.
Animal Rights and Other Social Justice Issues
Young people are coming together like never before to stand in solidarity against oppression—and if that weren’t exciting enough, harnessing your students’ disdain for inequity and their willingness to speak out against it may be the key to unlocking their academic potential.
TeachKind created Challenging Assumptions, a free social justice curriculum designed to educate and empower students in grades 6–12 to challenge societal norms and have compassion and empathy for others regardless of species, race, gender, sexual identity, age, or ability. The lessons spark lively discussion among students with a wide range of perspectives—especially among members of Gen Z, who are generally highly motivated by social justice issues, including animal rights. The curriculum includes a groundbreaking video featuring the firsthand stories of two activists of color. It explores the ways our everyday language and actions can either reinforce or challenge ideas of power and supremacy.
Supporting Students’ Social and Emotional Needs During the Pandemic
In response to the epidemic of cruelty to animals carried out by young people across the U.S., TeachKind created “Empathy Now,” a step-by-step guide that assists schools in addressing incidents of cruelty to animals within their communities and in implementing humane education to help prevent future tragedies. And because we know that antisocial behavior and violence against others, including animals, often go hand in hand, we also created resources to support students’ social and emotional well-being and help them overcome trauma.
Other Exciting Highlights
Because safety is of the utmost importance during the pandemic, we created this soft “Teaching Kindness Like It’s My Job” face mask to add to your collection!
We also launched our new Instagram account, so we can connect with you in new and exciting ways. Follow @teachkindteachers for exclusive giveaways, Q&A sessions with our team of former classroom teachers, and more fun, animal-friendly content.
TeachKind will continue to create engaging, animal-friendly materials for the evolving classroom. Connect with us and let us help you incorporate compassion for animals into your classroom curriculum.
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