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How to Talk to Students About War When the Class Asks About Current Events, By Grade Level

When international conflict happens, what do your students think? Are they worried or scared? Do they feel indifferent or helpless if they think it doesn't affect them?

When students wake up to hearing news about conflict in Russia and Ukraine, it may be intimidating to figure out what to say. Students naturally look for solutions and look up to adults to lead them to action. Educators, here are ways you can talk to students about war and show them what they can do about it, depending on their grade level.

Talking to Elementary School Students About War

  • Give them factual info and tell them how it may affect them in a few very clear, simple words.

  • Encourage students to ask questions, and answer their questions in a clear, simple way.

What elementary school students can do in response to hearing about war: Write letters to troops thanking them for their service.

Talking to Middle School Students About War

  • Ask students how they feel about the war and open a discussion to the class to share what they know or don't know about war.

  • Then, do research together to try to find answers to what's unknown.

What middle school students can do in response to hearing about war: Reach out to refugee families in the US affected by war to learn about their experiences and find ways to help.

Talking to High School Students About War

  • Continue creating discussion in the classroom about the direction this war plays in the world, and teach the historical events that led to the war.

  • Don't unload all your knowledge on students, but rather discuss how you, as an adult, are taking action about it so you can inspire students to do the same.

What high school students can do in response to hearing about war: Do a social action project that fundraises or donates resources to humanitarian aid organizations to help civilians in need overseas.


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