Before you explain to students that you will be discussing the war in Ukraine and its impacts in the lesson, we recommend that you create a classroom contract or revisit a previously created one. You can use our contracting guidelines for creating a classroom contract or another procedure you have used in the past.
After you have created, or reviewed, the class contract, ask students to reflect on the following questions in their journals (Students should have the option to keep their journal reflections private.):
- How is the news of the war affecting you?
- What would you like others to know about what you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing?
To debrief, you might choose to invite students to share any responses they feel comfortable sharing. Or, you might opt to do a group brainstorm, inviting students to share what feelings they think might be in the room concerning this conflict. You can collect these feelings on the board. When discussing feelings, it can help students to be more open if they do not make ‘I’ statements or share how they personally feel, but if they think more broadly about what people might be feeling.
After noting down the different feelings, you might notice that a lot of them are connected to negative emotions. It is important to validate such feelings. Let students know that such feelings are normal and that talking about them can help reduce the mental toll they take.