A Veteran Teacher's Lessons: Web Resources and Downloadable Lessons for Students in the Current Crisis

By David Forrest posted 03-21-2020 11:10:28 AM


Schools around the country are closed in response to the novel coronavirus. It is a tough and uncertain situation for students, their parents, and teachers, too. In California, we don’t know if schools will reopen this school year.

Many districts are asking teachers to continue to provide instruction to students through various types of online learning. Social studies teachers are scrambling to find web resources and downloadable lessons for their students to access at home.

I’ve posted my favorite social studies/history web resources on my A Veteran Teacher’s Lessons website.  In addition, I’ve shared my lesson handouts and materials that can be downloaded for secondary social studies classes including: World Studies, US History, Government and Economics.

Being a Good Citizen in Tough Times 

The current crisis is also an educational opportunity to engage our students in an online discussion of what it means to be a good citizen during tough times. Below are three simple online lessons I designed for this purpose. 

Photo Analysis Lesson

Photo analysis is one way to draw students into thinking about our current situation. For example, have  students view two photos taken on March 18th, 2020. The first photo was taken of Miami Beach and the second was a photo of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on the same day.


Photo of Miami Beach - March 18, 2020

Bay_Bridge.jpgPhoto of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge - March 18, 2020

Students should  respond to the following questions:

  • Describe the details from the first photo. What does this photo show about the response to the novel coronavirus of the people on the beach?
  • Describe details from the second photo. What can you imply from the empty bridge leading to San Francisco?
  • Contrast these two photos. How does each photo signify different reactions by citizens and governments to the current coronavirus pandemic.
  • What is the responsibility of good citizens during the novel corona virus pandemic?
  • Find a powerful photo online related to the current crisis and post it with questions for your classmates to discuss.

Read and Respond to Online articles

Online news articles provide another way to get students to think creatively about fighting the pandemic. Have students read and watch the following CBS link:

Distilleries are making hand sanitizer with their in-house alcohol and giving it out for free to combat coronavirus

 Students should respond to the following questions:

  • What are several alcohol distilleries doing to help stop the novel coronavirus outbreak?
  • Go on-line and find another example of a person or business who has found a creative way to fight the novel coronavirus. Post your example.
  • What can you do to help and be a good citizen during the current crisis?

Then and Now  Lesson - The Homefront in World War II

US History teachers may also want to introduce the various ways that Americans mobilized and sacrificed during World War II. Have students view posters designed to mobilize the citizenry on the Homefront in World War II. As students look at each poster in  The Homefront in WW II slideshow, have them respond to the following questions:

  • List the different ways that US citizens on the home front supported the war effort during WW II.
  • Make a list of different ways that US citizens and local, state, and federal governments can help the current fight against the novel coronavirus.
  • What can you or your family do in the current fight against the novel coronavirus.
  • When the history of the current crisis is written, who do you think will be heroes in the fight against the novel coronavirus?

These are challenging times. I hope you find a web resource or a lesson above useful for your social studies students. Or perhaps one will spark an idea for your new, virtual, classroom. 




11-29-2021 04:05:22 PM

I am currently about to transition to my clinical experience as well. Through my experiences I have seen teachers struggle to make online lesson plans that are accessible and equitable for all students. These resources are something I can share, with giving due credit of course. to aid some these teachers and inform my own construction of online platforms.

04-19-2020 08:20:13 PM

As a senior in college about to step into my clinical experience semester, the role I will play has drastically changed quickly, with these new circumstances being uncharted waters. Thanks for this post and all of these awesome resources, as I could see them being extremely helpful for my Cooperating Teacher and I as we chart out our future online lesson plans! Stay safe!