Buddhism teaching

Steal These Ideas: The New York Times Teaching Project Curriculum 2020-21

A year ago, The Learning Network fulfilled a long-held dream and welcomed 60 educators into the very first cohort of the New York Times Teaching Project. Now that the members of this group are officially alumni, and we’ve welcomed a new cohort of 40, we want to highlight just a fraction of the work they’ve done, in the hope that it can inspire you – whether you have taught with The Temps or not.

Even with the almost daily upheaval of teaching during a pandemic, our inaugural cohort was able to find imaginative ways to teach with the daily news. and design immersive semester-long program projects that engaged their students in more in-depth work.

The best thing about this group, in fact, was maybe the community we built that got us through a tough year for classrooms and newsrooms. For us, editors of The Learning Network, the information these teachers have offered to schools across the country has been invaluable in helping to make our offerings as responsive as possible. For our participants, the cohort gave them like-minded colleagues to collaborate with, sympathize with and to create.

As one of the participants, Hannah Lipman, puts it below in the “one-page page” she made at our last meeting, she received “hopeful and heartfelt comments” on the projects she presented, and was “urged to do better for my students by observing the size of our cohort.” As the group leaders we couldn’t agree more, and we were also ‘pushed to do better’.

From the first article we did together – the much needed “80 Tips for Distance Learning from Seasoned Educators” that were published just before the start of the school year – to the cohort’s contributions to our daily functionality (like the idea in this Day lesson to play “Among Us” in the classroom) to their thoughtful appearances in webinars such as “Talking about Race and Racism in the Classroom,” we literally couldn’t have offered some of our most popular features this year without teachers.

Thank you again to these 60 educators for giving us so much, so generously. We hope their ideas can inspire you as well.


Below, we highlight some “news you can use” in the form of some of the many contributions these teachers have made – and will continue to make – to the larger goal of helping others. connect the program with today’s world.

Over the next few months, we hope to post more about these ideas and more. Stay tuned.

Each member of the cohort completed a curriculum project that significantly integrated The Times’ resources, articles, essays, graphics, photos, videos and podcasts into the daily report to over 150 years of information found. in our archives. We have chosen a few below, in the hope that these projects may give you some ideas for study programs.

  • Examining attitudes to climate change using data: Three science and math teachers from across the country, Alina Acosta (Denver), Sohum Bhatt (San Francisco) and Keshia Williams (Montgomery, Alabama), have teamed up to use Times data on attitudes to climate change to engage students in collecting and sharing related data from their own communities. They started by analyzing The Times charts on climate change and chose a topic, like deforestation or climate justice, to further their research. As a result of their analysis and research, the students created surveys, interpreted and displayed the results via data visualizations, and then wrote argumentative essays related to the topic of The Learning Network’s annual student editorial competition.

  • Consider monuments and commemorate: Jen Coleman, an English teacher in Alabama, took inspiration from Project 1619 for a project that invited students to consider local Confederate monuments and ask themselves: How should we commemorate the past? The students each researched a specific monument, then chose a genuine audience of stakeholders – such as state officials or local newspaper readers – and wrote argumentative articles aimed at persuading them to adopt their point of view. view on what to do with this monument and why.

  • Redefining the American Dream: How do you define the American dream in 2021? That’s the question Kelsey Francis, an English teacher in New York City, asked her students, and asked them to respond by finding articles, pictures, music, and poetry that spoke to the theme, then reflect upon considering the question. in light of what they found.

  • Tell the truth through fiction: Kendra Radcliff combined stories from The Times’ Decameron Project, a fiction written in response to the events of 2020, with classic texts from the past to invite her Atlanta students to ponder the role of fiction as “lie through which we tell the truth. “In response, they each created a video exploring a universal theme through the texts.

  • Amplifying Indigenous Voices: How can we include more indigenous voices in the APUS history program? Erin Pinsky has spent the last year answering this question by enriching her course with information on local Connecticut tribes and tribal experiences nationwide. Using spotlight on public policy topics such as tribal land sovereignty, voting rights, and the impact of Covid-19 on indigenous communities, Ms. Pinsky’s students made connections between current reporting and the American history.

  • Understanding identity and community: In a school year where building community was more important than ever, several participants completed identity-related projects, all using the Times report as a starting point. Jennifer Carlson’s English learners in Maryland explored stereotypes and expectations others placed on aspects of their identity, then created photo essays to contrast them with how they would like the world to see them. sees. Hannah Lipman’s middle school students in Louisville, Ky. Developed a narrative collage that used the Evidence-Based Reasoning Protocol to show their individual and collective understanding of the meaning of community. Students at Rebecca Temple in Mississippi created podcasts in which they interviewed the elders in their lives to learn more about their identity and culture. And in Wisconsin, English students of Claudia Felske used the metaphor of books by Rudine Sims Bishop, the literacy worker, as mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors to read a variety of texts, then create their own reflection “Mirrors, Windows and sliding glass doors ”.

  • Investigate civic responsibility: “In a country where individual beliefs frequently overshadow action in the name of the collective good, students will conduct a year-long survey of how civic responsibility is viewed nationally and globally,” Judi Freeman wrote in his initial proposal. Starting with his own high school in Boston, Judi’s project connected nearly 400 students in more than 50 countries around the world. You can learn much more about the results of this project and participate yourself by visiting the website created to support the project.

  • Reflection on social change through mathematical modeling: Students at Avery Pickford’s precomputation class in San Francisco began by using the process of mathematical modeling to make sense and think about the goal of education and how that goal relates (or not) to the college ranking The US News & World Report. Then they worked in groups to go through a similar process on a topic of their choice covered by The Times and related to social change, from mental health and the sustainability of tuna fishing to supporting incarcerated mothers.

  • Trace the problems through history: In Mary Reid Munford’s class in Atlanta, students traced a topic through American history to see what progress has been and has not been made. By studying hot topics such as the war on drugs and women’s rights, students answered the questions “How much progress have we made?” How and why was it made? What hasn’t changed? What progress do we need to make? Via whatever creative medium they choose, whether it’s a podcast, infographic, cartoon, or video.

  • Imagine the neighborhoods we need: As part of a year-long action research project inspired by “The America We Need,” Sarah Garton students in St. Paul, Minnesota, studied economics with an emphasis on social issues by examining issues affecting their geographic and ethnic communities. After choosing broad topics, they researched the various societal structures that influenced their chosen issues, examined biases in reporting on the topic, and then wrote their own editorials in response.


Are you planning to teach with The Times this school year? Tell us how! Post a comment or email us at [email protected] Or, if you’ve completed a project that significantly uses Times resources, pitch an idea for our Readers’ good ideas column by filling out the form you will find there.