Pulse Check: Classrooms Across America Respond

Posted by Mary-Liz Murray on January 13, 2021

The U.S. CapitolIn the week since an extremist mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and staged a chaotic insurrection that shocked the nation, outrage, concern, and confusion have continued to make headlines. But amid the upheaval, students and teachers have continued to come together in classrooms and virtual learning spaces for daily lessons and instruction. Of course, this isn’t the first time in our history when teachers and students have had to grapple with conflict and fear. If anything, we must acknowledge and underscore that education is often a constant. That fact doesn’t make the events of last week any less serious or any easier to comprehend, but it does illustrate just how foundational our schools are to a functioning society. In the face of civil turmoil, it is critical that classrooms provide safe, responsive spaces for their students to explore the events, gain understanding, and ask questions about what happened and what might come next. 

Here at Facing History, we have been grateful and proud to be able to serve educators as they’ve tried to personally process all that has happened and show up to their classes ready to help students. Each and every day, teachers, administrators, and counselors are working on the frontlines of democracy, shaping a better future.

Below, we share 5 articles gathered from across the country about the many thoughtful ways teachers have been responding to both the events of January 6th and their students’ needs:

  • 'Hear a child's perspective': How America's teachers talked with kids about Capitol riot - USA Today
  • Lessons from an Insurrection: A Day After D.C. Rampage, How 15 Educators From Across U.S. Helped Students Make Sense of the Chaos - The 74 million
  • My students and I watched the Capitol riot as it happened. Here’s what they wanted to know. - Chalkbeat
  • ‘A terrible thing happened’: How teachers are explaining the Capitol insurrection to students - Philadelphia Inquirer
  • On The Brink Of Adulthood, Boston Students React To The Attack On The Capitol - WBUR

If you’re an educator looking for support, you can find two Teaching Ideas related to the insurrection on our Current Events page. Here are some examples from teachers who have been actively using our resources to help you visualize how you might put these to use with your class:


Facing History and Ourselves invites educators to use our Teaching Idea, "What Happened During the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and Why?" in the classroom.

Access Resources


Topics: Democracy, Teachers, current events

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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