Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Social Justice: More Than Heroes and Holidays

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Lecture

Sunday, June 23, 2:30–3:30 pm
Location: 109AB

Leanna Pionke   Susie Wren  
Ready to move beyond heroes and holidays, but don’t know where to start? Join us for a jam-packed hour of digital resources to support your practice. Learn about the social justice standards and gain lessons to implement at your grade level. Transform your daily curriculum with social justice!

Audience: Teachers, Principals/head teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Please register for a free account at before the session.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Online tools, apps and resources
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Transformative social justice education is key to an equitable democracy. However, teachers often find it difficult to implement social justice education into their instruction. This often results in the “heroes and holidays” approach. While the attempt to diversify the curriculum is made with this approach, the weaknesses heavily outweigh the strengths (Gorski, 2018). Non-dominant groups are still viewed as “the other,” and the real experiences of these groups are not addressed.

Achieving the goals of social justice education can be overwhelming. How does one begin to ensure students learn various perspectives from various sources while examining important social issues?

The purpose of this session is to explore the importance of social justice education, and equip educators with a wide variety of digital tools and resources to support them in the overwhelming task of educating students with a social justice lens as a regular part of the curriculum. K-12 teachers will leave with a better understanding of what social justice education entails, and have the opportunity during the session to explore a wealth of digital resources to implement at their grade levels and in their content areas. Participants will leave this session with resources and hyperdocs for future use, as well as presenter contact information for ongoing support.

Objective #1: Participants will leave with a digital toolbox to equip them to teach lessons with a social justice lens. Teaching Tolerance’s social justice standards will be used as the starting point to give a framework for instruction. These standards, available online, give specific indicators for four large social justice strands within each grade level. The strands are: identity, diversity, justice, and action. Through these standards, teachers are able to tailor their instruction to their specific grade level. At the end of the session, participants will be able to effectively navigate these standards and utilize them in their daily lessons.

Objective #2: Once participants have an understanding of the social justice standards, the session will focus on free online lesson design tools emphasizing social justice and how to integrate them into a social justice framework for instruction. Various perspectives, multiple voices, and intersectional “enabling texts” (Tatum, 2009) will be highlights of these online tools. Participants will leave the session with a range of online resources to integrate into their daily lessons, and have the opportunity to explore these resources during the session. Student work and projects reflecting the social justice standards and resources will be shared throughout the session.



I. Introductions (2 minutes)
II. Defining Social Justice Education - attendee participation with Padlet; attendees will work to construct a working definition, and the Teaching Tolerance definition will be shared as well (5 minutes)
III. The Social Justice Standards/Teaching Tolerance - combination of lecture and participation/exploration of the standards; attendees will be introduced to the standards and given time to explore their grade levels (10 minutes)
IV. Teaching Tolerance Resources - lecture with exploration time for attendees; attendees will learn about the variety of resources and search features, then given time to explore (20 minutes)
V. Children’s Literature and Mentor Texts - lecture and attendee participation; exploration and sharing of resources with group (10 minutes)
VI. Current Events, Film, Photos, and Art - how a variety of “texts” can be used to infuse social justice; attendee exploration of resources (10 minutes)
VII. Resources & Closure - Extensive resources and hyperdocs will be given to participants as well as contact info of presenters for ongoing support and networking (3 minutes)
VIII. Note: Student work will be shared throughout the session to demonstrate how social justice education impacts student learning.

Supporting research

References cited in overview:
Gorski, Paul C. “Multicultural Education - Stages of Multicultural Curriculum Transformation.” EdChange Consulting and Workshops on Multicultural Education, Diversity, Equity, Social Justice, EdChange,

Teaching Tolerance. "Classroom Resources."

Teaching Tolerance. "Social Justice Standards."

Tatum, Alfred W. “Enabling Texts: Texts That Matter.” Best Practices in Secondary Education,

More [+]


Leanna Pionke, Woodcrest
Susie Wren, Fullerton School District

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