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Students at NYC's Beacon High School.
Photo© Carolina Kroon

About Morningside Center

TeachableMoment.Org is a project of Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, and furthers our mission of fostering social responsibility in young people.

Morningside Center
educates young people for hopeful and intelligent engagement with their world. A national leader in fostering social and emotional learning (SEL), Morningside Center reaches tens of thousands of educators and students each year through an array of programs that develop such skills as handling anger, being assertive, solving conflicts creatively and nonviolently, and dealing well with diversity. We help teachers make their classrooms more caring and productive. We support students in taking leadership to improve their communities--from the classroom to the world.

Morningside Center relies on individuals to help support our work, including the free lessons available on TeachableMoment.

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Latest Activities

The classroom lessons on TeachableMoment foster critical thinking on issues of the day and a positive classroom environment. Teachers are free to use these lessons in their classrooms. We welcome feedback! Send comments as well as requests for permission to reprint materials for widespread circulation to: more interactive classroom activities are available on our elementary, middle, and high school index pages.

Drone Warfare & Obama's 'Kill List' for high school (7/20/12) Student readings explore the morality and legality of President Obama's controversial "kill list" and consider arguments for and against drone warfare. Questions for student discussion follow each reading.

2012 Election Issues: DEMOCRACY & THE CITIZENS UNITED CASE for high school (7/12/12) Students come up with a working definition for democracy, then watch and discuss an animated short on the Citizens United Case. Homework prepares students for a liberal vs. conservative discussion over whether the ruling puts our democracy at risk.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Classroom Activities for Starting Off the School Year This 28-page PDF booklet includes great activities to get your class (grades preK-12) off to a good start in the new school year.

THE BOYCOTT, THEN AND NOW for high school (5/31/12) Two student readings (with discussion questions) examine the historical development of the boycott as a tactic used by both progressives and conservatives, and recent boycotts targeting Glenn Beck and Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

Part II: 50 years after The Other America: POVERTY IN THE U.S. for high school (4/26/12) TeachableMoment marks the 50th anniversary of Michael Harrington's influential book with a series of readings and discussion questions for high school students. In Part II, readings focus on the debate about who should count as poor in this country and proposals for combating poverty.

Part I: 50 years after The Other America: POVERTY IN THE U.S. for high school (4/5/12) Two student readings, with discussion questions, provide an overview of Harrington's book and consider the state of poverty in the U.S. now.

Trayvon Martin case reignites GUN LAW DEBATE for high school (4/18/12) In the wake of the tragic killing of the Florida teen, two student readings examine the controversy surrounding Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law and the wider gun control debate.

Earth Day 2012: DEVELOPING OUR 'GREEN INTELLIGENCE' ON FOSSIL FUELS for high school (4/13/12) Students consider American consumption of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas; learn about new methods of extracting these fuels; and discuss their pros & cons.

More Earth Day Ideas for the classroom. See our selected list of past Earth Day & environmental lessons.

Parent perspective: SHOULD I LET MY TEN-YEAR OLD READ THE HUNGER GAMES? (3/30/12) 'This is a hot topic among parents of the upper elementary set - and it's gotten even hotter since the movie version of Hunger Games came out. For me the decision wasn't hard...'

TEACHING ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL OR DIFFICULT ISSUES (3/26/12 ) These helpful guidelines were written by Jinnie Spiegler for the New York Times Learning Network, a great resource on teaching and learning. The guidelines suggest many resources for teachers, including on the Trayvon Martin case.

IRAQ WAR 9th anniversary See our index of the many lessons TeachableMoment has offered on the war since 2003.

TEACHING FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Five Essential Ingredients (3/15/12) Key ideas on how to help our kids engage in a positive way with each other and the world.

International Women's Day: CONSIDERING WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP for high school (3/7/12) Students consider people who have had an impact on them and what makes a leader, and learn about some women who have made a difference in the world.

WHO MAKES YOUR iPHONE? A discussion about Sweatshops for high school (3/6/12, updated 3/22) Two student readings examine labor conditions in factories making Apple products and the debate about sweatshops more broadly. Questions for discussion follow each reading.

Respect for All 2012: STANDING UP TO DISCRIMINATION for middle & high school (2/14/12) Students define the terms "prejudice" "stereotype" and "discrimination," read an an article about a group of vets who took a stand against discrimination, and consider the role of an ally both in the article and at school.

RESPECT FOR ALL Classroom lessons to foster respect for diversity - a concrete way for schools to mark Respect for All Week.

2012 Election STEPHEN COLBERT & the Role of Political Satire for high school (2/12/12) Students view a clip from Colbert's Comedy Central show about his Super PAC, then read and discuss several views on the role of Colbert's spoof of the election process.

2012 Election WEALTH & TAXES: WHAT'S FAIR? for high school (2/3/12) Students consider opposing views about taxes and wealth, analyze charts about wealth distribution, and decide how they think wealth should be distributed.

Giants vs. Jets: Two Styles of Coaching (and Leading) (1/22/12) In the wake of the NY Giants' Super Bowl victory, this lesson contrasts the Giants' style of coaching and leading with that of the Jets, a team the Giants recently defeated. In the process, students consider: What makes a leader effective? What does it take to foster teamwork?

2012 Election CAUCUS IN OUR CLASSROOM for high school (1/19/12) Students understand the caucus election process by experiencing it firsthand in their classroom - and learn more about 2012 Republican presidential candidates along the way.

GUANTANAMO BAY AT 10: A Debate about Military Detention for high school (1/19/12) Two student readings provide a brief history of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, explore arguments for and against the facility, and examine the evolving debate about it during the Obama administration. Discussion questions follow.

. . . And more for elementary, middle & high school.

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