Interrupt Violence

Kartemquin Films is pleased to unveil InterruptViolence.com, an extension of the award winning documentary The Interrupters and its latest campaign to address the root issues of gun violence in Chicago. Created with students in mind, and designed to both be interactive and address Common Core Standards, the website aims to serve as a catalyst for students to engage with powerful stories and conflict resolution tools.Lesson plans and various excerpts from the film are included on the site. Click here to visit the site. 

Personal Narratives and Stop & Frisk

The PBS NewsHour's Teacher Extra webpage now features a lesson that helps students explore NYC's "stop and frisk" program through videos, graphics, and a news article. The lesson includes an interactive infographic as well as video clips that aim to 'provide a balance between data analysis and the personal experiences of stop and frisk.' Click here to explore the lesson. 

Interviewer Prep 101

Interviewer Prep 101 Looking to help your students prep for inviting and/or interviewing a guest speaker visiting your class? Click the icon below for a quick activity and worksheet created by Mikva teacher Tricia Tepavchevich at Infinity High School to help structure just this kind of preparation.  icon Developing_interviewing_questions.doc (36 KB)

Chicago Stats By Neighborhood

Looking for data on the City of Chicago? The city's Data Portal offers a wealth of spreadsheets, tables and maps that that are increasingly well-formatted for easy access by residents and researchers alike. (Most can also be downloaded so that users can work with the data as they choose.) Click here for one such spreadsheet that breaks down socioeconomic indicators such as unemployment rates, high school graduation rates and poverty rates by neighborhood. 

One Nation, Underfed

Teachers with students interested in addressing the issue of hunger and food insecurity in America can check out the new film 'A Place at the Table' (released March 1st in theaters, On Demand and to 'rent' on iTunes). The documentary aims to demonstrate "how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides-as they have in the past-that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all." To learn more...

  • Click here to see a trailer for the film (and learn how to access it).
  • Click here to see the accompanying website that offers supplementary material (such as myths and facts about hunger) and digital tools to take action.
  • Click here to see an interview with the film's directors on a recent episode of the Daily Show.

Data Dive into Chicago's Violence

DNAinfo.com, a neighborhood news website in Chicago, has taken the data on the city's 2012 murders and broken it down by sort, neighborhood, date, time of day, distance from home, and other metrics. Click here to explore the site. 

School Lunches Say Cheese 

Earlier this year, a Scottish nine-year-old started a blog to post photos of her own unsatisfying school lunches, and in the months since, her blog has garnered international attention, raised over £100,000 and inspired students all over the world to send her photos of their own school lunches. Submit photos of your school lunches by visiting her blog or click here for a NewsHour Extra story about Martha and her work. 

Identifying Sundown Towns

Classes searching for a community issue to work on this year can check out Professor James Loewen's website that provides tools and resources to people interested in investigating whether their town (or others nearby) qualifies (or ever did) as a Sundown Town. Click here to visit the site and learn more.  

Solutions Exploration Chart

Seeking a good mechanism to help your students keep track of and rank the solution/action options for your class issue that different groups or classmates are proposing? Check out the chart below submitted by Mikva teacher Maggie Hoffman at Perspectives-Joslin (sample entries in the chart can be deleted to print a blank copy): icon Solutions_Exploration_Chart.docx (15 KB)  

The History of Policing in the US

Students investigating the issue of police misconduct may find useful this timeline activity about the history of policing in the US, put together by the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective. 


MetroPulse is a web resource of the Regional Indicators Project (created by the Chicago Community Trust and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning) that provides extensive data on a variety of issues that affect the livability of communities in the Chicagoland area. Classes trying to find reliable information about topics ranging from unemployment to safety to greenhouse gas emissions to transportation will find this site a valuable resource! Click here to access the site.     

Data Across the States

As your students settle on an issue and begin their research, check out the Kids Count Data Center for a wealth of information in chart and table form on topics ranging from economic well-being to health insurance access to test scores. Click here to access the site.   

Teaching with Primary Sources

Love the idea of teaching with primary sources but lack the time to hunt them down? Click here to check out the Barat Foundation's online collection of themed source sets and lesson plans created around Library of Congress sources.   

Think You Can Balance the Budget?

The Center for American Progress' website offers an interactive tool that offers teachers and students alike an opportunity to examine what percentage of the federal budget is currently spent on what and to consider in which areas they would make cuts to reduce the deficit. (While the intro given above the tool is admittedly partisan, the tool itself is not.) Click here to visit the site.

Diplomacy of Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

The U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian offers educators a variety of free teaching materials on diplomacy for both middle and high school students. Topics include 'The United States and China, 200 Years of History,' 'Today in Washington: the Media and Diplomacy', 'Terrorism: A War without Borders' and, most recently, 'When the Border Vanishes: Diplomacy and the Threat to Our Health and Environment.' Click here to access the site and download the curriculum.

Issues-Based Lesson Plans/Videos

ITVS Community Classroom offers free lesson plans on multiple topics (i.e. diversity, the environment, democracy and rights, women's studies, etc.) made up of educational film modules drawn from ITVS documentaries and standards-based lesson plans, activities, and interactive content. Click here to see a full list of their current offerings.

Global Sustainability

Interested in encouraging your students to think more about climate change, where the goods they use come from, and the different meanings of 'conservation'? Facing the Future offers a multitude of free downloadable curricula on all these topics for teachers to use as primary or supplementary resources in their classrooms. Click here to go to their website.

Fair Trade

Want your students to understand their relationships to others around the world? Learn how Fair Trade can be a resource to engage students and their communities in understanding the impact of trade on human rights, environmental justice, and the role of consumers. Chicago Fair Trade offers lessons and other classroom support.  For more information contact martin.macias@chicagofairtrade.org. 

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