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How to Talk to Students about Traumatic News Events: The Storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021

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Show Notes:

The horror that unraveled as we watched the news on Wednesday, January 6th is still difficult for me to digest.

As a stunned world watched, thousands of Trump supporters, fresh off a two hour battle cry high fueled by the losing candidate himself, marched onto capitol grounds, pushed (quite easily) past unprepared campus police, broke windows, hung from walls, and then put their feet up Nancy Pelosi's desk and proudly showed her stolen mail on social media.

Had these rioters been part of the Black Lives Matter movement, they would have been met with force and jailed, not gently escorted down the steps and given water to cool burning eyes from tear gas.

And yet, the very next day, teachers were expected to begin conversations with our students about what happened and help them to process it.

All of this in the midst of when new teachers are already reeling from Covid, working to manage teaching online or some hybrid model of online and in-person, social distancing, trying to convince six-year-olds to keep their masks on all day long, and perhaps dealing with sickness and death in their own families. 

Let me first say how amazed I am by you. How honored I am to know you. And that whatever you have done to try to have these conversations with your students already, it is enough.

You are enough.

You are a beginning teacher, and there is no right way to handle any of this. This week's show is simply my gentle offer of support during what I know is yet another very challenging time.

Inside this episode, you will learn:

  • Why talking about this event (even though we feel unprepared) is the only way forward.
  • Books I recommend to begin the conversation about government, race, and social justice in an age-appropriate way.
  • A simple and very effective method to integrate current events into your existing calendar.
  • Several easy ways to support children's social and emotional learning.
  • Fantastic books I recommend to help children manage strong emotions.

Remember, you don't have to do any of this alone. If you aren't already a member of our Beginning Teacher Talk Private FB group, click here to ask to join and get instant access to an amazing community of support.

And until next time, remember: just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one. 

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at


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