January 7, 2021

Helpful resources for talking with students about what happened at the Capitol

Following the events at the United States Capitol on January 6, educators across the country are grappling with the same question: How do I talk about this with my students?

We’re here to help.

Later this month, The Social Institute’s #WinAtSocial LIVE curriculum – created to address the real-world issues and current events impacting students’ social-emotional health – will address this event with a timely, student-led lesson.

Meanwhile, we’ve pulled together several resources to help school communities engage in healthy, thoughtful, productive conversations.

1) The National Education Association (NEA) offered the reminder that most children are aware of more than we may realize. In an age where students have more direct access to information, it’s essential to proactively lead honest discussions and offer students the opportunity to express their feelings. NEA outlines seven tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for talking with students about traumatic events:

  • Reassure children they are safe
  • Create time to listen and be available to talk
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate
  • Review school safety procedures
  • Observe students’ emotional states
  • Limit media exposure
  • Maintain a normal routine

2) The National Association of School Psychologists developed resources for both parents and educators to navigate strong emotions and feelings of uncertainty. It’s part of a larger initiative to ensure student well-being while engaging with others of differing viewpoints in a peaceful and respectful manner.

3) The WeAreTeachers HELPLINE on Facebook connects educators looking for guidance and advice. 

A few tips from teachers:

  • Let students lead. “Have them come up with the questions. Have them find the answers. Teach the vocabulary that pops up along the way. Stay out of the argument and guide the conversation to lead to more questions.”
  • Create a safe space.“Setting the tone stating that you want to give a safe space for them to talk about how they feel without fear of any backlash or arguments, just an expression of their feelings.”

For more tips directly from educators, check out this collection at WeAreTeachers.com.

4) Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty & Stress is an online class designed by Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. This course provides participants the knowledge, skills, and strategies to understand and manage their emotions and those of their students. It takes approximately 10 hours to complete and offers a shareable certificate upon completion.

More students – across all ages – have far greater access than ever before to information which only magnifies the influence of current events on social-emotional health. The Social Institute remains committed to helping schools process the real-world issues directly impacting their entire communities.


About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, parents, and educators to navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology positively through comprehensive, gamified lessons that meet students on their level as well. We have partnered with forward-thinking institutions across the nation, including Ravenscroft School, Gaston Day School, Miss Porter’s School, Gilman School, Woodward Academy, U.S. Olympic athletes, Duke Men’s Basketball, ESPN, and others. For more information, contact us.