School Climate & Safety

Rep. Giffords and Sandy Hook Mother Co-Author Anti-Violence Lesson Plan

By Liana Loewus — November 14, 2013 1 min read
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In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 students and six teachers were killed by an intruder, former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has collaborated with a victim’s mother and a teacher to write an anti-violence lesson plan for schools.

The “Hands of Hope for Sandy Hook” lesson plan, released today on the lesson-exchange website, includes discussion starters, articles, and videos on violence prevention. Students can learn about nonprofit organizations aimed at curbing gun violence started by the Sandy Hook community and by Giffords, who was shot in the head during a constituent event in Tucson, Ariz., nearly three years ago.

In the lesson’s culminating activity, students cut out paper hands and write two sentences on them: an “I hope” statement about the United States and a sentence explaining one thing they’ll do to make the country safer. Teachers can then take pictures of the hands and upload them to UClass, which will post a digital collage of paper hands from across the country in time for the Dec.14 Sandy Hook anniversary.

Giffords co-authored the lesson with Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was killed at Sandy Hook, and Jessica Lura, a teacher at Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, Calif. The plan is available for download free of charge.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage and new ideas,” Giffords said in a press release. “We are proud to bring students together to honor the lives lost in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, and encourage them to envision an America that is both free and safe.”

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, center, holds hands with her husband, Mark Kelly, while exiting Town Hall at Fairfield Hills Campus in Newtown, Conn., after meeting with Newtown officials and families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. —Jason Rearick/The News-Times/AP-File

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.