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The Best Resources On Talking With Children About Tragedies

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'Angel of Grief' photo (c) 2009, Konrad Summers - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

(check out my BAM! podcast, “How Can We Help Students Handle Loss and Grief?”)

Today’s tragedy in Connecticut seems too awful for words.

Here are some resources on talking with children about tragedies. I hope you’ll share more:

The Best Resources For Helping Students Deal With Grief might be useful.

Resources: Talking and Teaching About The Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Unspeakable Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is from Edutopia.

Helping Children Cope with Traumatic Events is from Share My Lesson.

Tips for Talking to Children About the Shooting is from The New York Times.

How to talk to kids about violence is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Dr. Steven Marans: Talking to children about violence

Talk to Your Kids About the Recent Violence is from ABC News.

Kids, the Media and Tragedy: 5 Lessons I Learned From Columbine

Taking Aim at Violence in Schools (lesson plan) from NY Times Learning Network.

TeachersFirst’s Resources for School Violence

Here For Each Other is from Sesame Street.

Here’s some wisdom from Mister Rogers (thanks to Barbara Lindsey for the tip).

Helping Kids During Crisis comes from American School Counselor Association.

Talking to Children About Violence:Tips for Parents and Teachers is from The National Association of School Psychologists.

School Crisis Resources is from the NEA Health Information Network.

Coping with Tragedy is from The California Department of Education.

Talking with Kids about news is from PBS (Thanks to Richard Byrne for the tip).

How Do You Explain the Newtown Shooting to Kids? is from the PBS News Hour.

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on Newtown School Shooting includes useful advice.

Doctor Advises Adults on How to Talk with Children about Connecticut School Shooting is from The AFT. Here’s the Spanish version.

Here are resources from The PTA.

The Senseless Shootings: How to Talk with Your Children is from The Dougy Center for Grieving Children. Thanks to Ken Libby for the tip.

How Not to Talk With Children About the Sandy Hook Shooting is from The New York Times.

Jo Schiffbauer suggests resources from Save The Children, which are available in English and Spanish.

School Violence: Is It in Your Backyard? Examining Recent Trends in School Violence
is a simple lesson plan that could easily be adapted for the Connecticut tragedy.

CNN has just posted a list of reputable sites collecting donations for victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings. You can find their article here.

Resources to address the tragedy in Connecticut is from The Morningside Center.

Helping Students Navigate a Violent World is from Teaching Tolerance.

Listen, Connect, Protect
is from Ready.gov.

The PBS News Hour had this very good segment. I’m embedding it below. You can also find the text (and the video) of Kids Need Sense of Normalcy, Reassurance They Are Not Alone in Time of Crisis here.

Here’s an excerpt that I found particularly useful, and which I will re-emphasize to my students tomorrow:

AMY SMITH: First of all, I would like to reinforce the idea that schools are very safe places. They certainly are very safe places.

One of the things that we can help our children do is understand the difference between something that can happen — clearly, these types of horrific events can happen. But the probability of them happening is extremely small. And we need to help students and faculty and parents and communities understand that that’s true.

Am I Safe? Talking to Your Kids About the Sandy Hook School Shooting is from TIME.

Helping Students Cope in the Wake of the Sandy Hook School Shooting is from NEA Today.


In the Wake of Newtown, Helping Children Cope
is from Education Week.

Resources for Parents following Traumatic Events is from The U.S. Department Of Education.

Handling Tragedy: How to Talk to Kids About Sandy Hook is from Edutopia.

Newtown shootings: How do you explain murder to a child? is from The BBC.

Responding to Tragedy in Schools: Supporting Teachers and Students is from NCTE.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

11 Comments

  1. Hi Larry,

    Someone shared this on Twitter today (sorry, can’t remember who).
    I thought your readers might find these suggestions from the late, great Fred Rogers helpful—for children and adults. http://www.fci.org/new-site/par-tragic-events.html

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  4. http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.8479773/k.2264/How_to_Help_Children_Cope_with_a_Crisis.htm

    Save the Children has a list (above) of ten tips to help children cope with a crisis. The list is available in English or Spanish.

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