Posted in #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Being a better teacher, Big Questions, Curriculum Ideas, ELA, Exploration, Lesson Ideas

The Words of Warcraft

Over the decade of playing World of Warcraft ™ I’ve run across a few allusions to other works in literature, music, and the arts. For fun (!) I thought I’d do some research into how many allusions appear in Azeroth.

Just the other day, I came across this:

THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO by Edgar Allan Poe
https://www.poemuseum.org/the-cask-of-amontillado

There are also numerous puns:

Get it?

And while there are many literary references in Wow, 10 AWESOME BOOK REFERENCES IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT the pop culture ones are as valuable and endearing: List of Pop Culture References in WoW.

Winne the Pooh reference in Stormsong Valley

https://www.wowhead.com/news=286599/winnie-the-pooh-reference-in-

In a region called Bastion, which is full of angels and paragons, (it’s a little creepy, quite frankly), one of the NPC dialogues is “clear skies, full hearts, can’t lose” which I immediately recognized as a Friday Night Lights line, though I haven’t seen a single episode. I’m not a football person. How did I know it was from that show? Because popular culture exacts a toll. One of my colleagues used it on T-shirts or something for students. We know things in the moment because it’s collectively shared or shoved. I think of the groundlings in Shakespeare’s audience chatting around the village wells sharing one-liners and bawdy jokes from the plays. It was entertainment. And I realized most stories and series I watch are based on Bible stories. No one can convince me that Better Call Saul isn’t grounded in Cain and Abel. And I’m not even a Christian church person.

And I need to think more about this. Recently, #DisruptTexts was attacked. That aggression will not stand, man. I’m thinking of the disingenuous argument that people won’t know where ideas, references or allusions come from unless we muddle through language that’s over 500 years old. Yes, novels that continue to be taught do provide a cultural reference point. But whose culture? What reference point? Yeah, you know who. Allow me some time to ponder this, and work with some amazing women I know.

Posted in Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, burning questions

Please.

I look under rocks so you don’t have to.

If you saw what some Libertarians, White Supremacists, Trolls, write about teachers–that their jobs are ridiculous, outdated, and students can learn everything they need to know from Khan Academy and YouTube, and that our professional expertise and ability to find relevancy and context with our students, help them understand and apply the process of critical thinking skills, weigh facts, opinions, truth and biases to draw their own conclusions based on logic and personal values. When we do this well, it’s powerful. And perhaps it is that expertise and knowledge that frightens many, including some teachers. Unfortunately, many teachers still uphold white supremacy, colonialism, and other harmful, violent practices. And, though I will never understand it fully, many voted for the current president and would do so again. But at this writing he’s in the hospital right now, Sunday, October 4, 2020, with the virus he called a hoax.

But this is about teaching Ayn Rand’s works Whatever you may think about her writing, her opinions, etc., I ask: please do the background knowledge and current scholarly research into the consequences of her work. I provide a few articles to read and consider.


Ayn Rand

The new age of Ayn Rand: how she won over Trump and Silicon Valley

It is a timely decision because Rand, who died in 1982 and was alternately ridiculed and revered throughout her lifetime, is having a moment. Long the poster girl of a particularly hardcore brand of free-market fundamentalism – the advocate of a philosophy she called “the virtue of selfishness” – Rand has always had acolytes in the conservative political classes. The Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, is so committed a Randian, he was famous for giving every new member of his staff a copy of Rand’s gargantuan novel, Atlas Shrugged (along with Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom). The story, oft-repeated, that his colleague in the US Senate, Rand Paul, owes his first name to his father Ron’s adulation of Ayn (it rhymes with “mine”) turns out to be apocryphal, but Paul describes himself as a fan all the same.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/10/new-age-ayn-rand-conquered-trump-white-house-silicon-valley

The Fountainhead was serially rejected and published to ambivalent reviews, but it became a word-of-mouth hit. Over the coming years, a cult following arose around Rand (as well as something very close to an actual cult among her inner circle, known, no doubt ironically, as the Collective). Her works struck a chord with a particular kind of reader: adolescent, male and thirsting for an ideology brimming with moral certainty. As the New Yorker said in 2009: “Most readers make their first and last trip to Galt’s Gulch – the hidden-valley paradise of born-again capitalists featured in Atlas Shrugged, its solid-gold dollar sign standing like a maypole – sometime between leaving Middle-earth and packing for college.”

What Happens When You Take Ayn Rand Seriously?

The core of Rand’s philosophy — which also constitutes the overarching theme of her novels — is that unfettered self-interest is good and altruism is destructive. This, she believed, is the ultimate expression of human nature, the guiding principle by which one ought to live one’s life. The fly in the ointment of Rand’s philosophical “objectivism” is the plain fact that humans have a tendency to cooperate and to look out for each other, as noted by many anthropologists who study hunter-gatherers.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/good-thinking/201602/what-happens-when-you-take-ayn-rand-seriously

In other words, we are more social and connected than some would like to believe.

The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise

The city’s experiment was fascinating because it offered a chance to observe some of the most extreme conservative principles in action in a real-world laboratory. Producers from “60 Minutes” flew out to talk with the town’s leaders. The New York Times found a woman in a dark trailer park pawning her flat screen TV to buy a shotgun for protection. “This American Life” did a segment portraying Springs citizens as the ultimate anti-tax zealots, willing to pay $125 in a new “Adopt a Streetlight” program to illuminate their own neighborhoods, but not willing to spend the same to do so for the entire city. “I’ll take care of mine” was the gist of what one council member heard from a resident when she confronted him with this fact.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/30/colorado-springs-libertarian-experiment-america-215313

This is a long piece, and requires a few readings to reach its conclusions, mainly because it’s muddy (like most human endeavors). But it does illustrate an experiment of Libertarian ideals that would make Ayn Rand rise from the grave, and then go back in again when she sees what a failure it is.

Libertarianism, in my husband’s words, doesn’t scale. That’s it. And my words: it produces an immaturity and failure to actualize into adulthood. And if we teachers want this for our students, and insist on teaching Ayn Rand, please provide multiple viewpoints that demonstrate how it doesn’t work. Everyone of us likes to think we’re the hero of our own story, we’re in control, and we are independent. And there’s nothing wrong that until we forget there are 8 billion others. It’s misspent energy at best, and destruction at worst.

Posted in #Deconstruct, Anti-racist work, being a better colleague, Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, book recommendations, Book Reviews, Books

Grateful: Book Talk Revisited

A few months ago, I made this book talk video and posted it on YouTube. I confess, I did try to find out how to pronounce words correctly, but I still goofed up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp6DwT7c9eI&t=17s

And yesterday I received an email correcting me on a few points:

I added the email text to the video, and kept the original video because I want to share this with students this next school year. This is how we learn. One of my plans for my own learning this summer is to read more and reflect on Indigenous peoples in North America. Monise Seward and I were going to do this. I feel behind in my progress, but will show myself a little grace–I put it on my calendar for this weekend, and will continue to grow.

In the meantime, I feel so much gratitude to this teacher for helping me.

Posted in Big Questions

next year

Warning: I may swerve a little bit out of my lane today.

What is the plan for next school year during the COVID19 pandemic?

I was thinking about my current teaching assignment at an alternative high school: the school was built in 1991, and from what I understand has had a shifting history (like most districts/schools). Currently, the schedule is as follows:

  1. There is a “learning center” function – large classrooms with a few students, teachers who monitor online course work
  2. Day school — (where I teach):
    1. Four classes a day, about 75 minutes each
    2. Each class period per quarter gives a ‘traditional’ semester credit
  3. Off-campus options with access to teachers, counselors, etc.

From what I hear some of the day school faculty is that teaching a semester’s worth of content in a quarter is challenging. Students that come to my school already have found a variety of obstacles to their learning. And what they give up by coming to an alternative high school is deeper than a traditional school environment: “they” don’t make movies about alternative high schools unless it’s a white-savior teacher trope. There is a stigma associated with alternative high schools, and it’s a shame, and unnecessary.

Since we are still battling, and losing, containing the spread of COVID19, we must respond now in our planning for next year. Many groups have weighed in, from the APA to districts, etc. Yes, a lot of people are weighing in, but not offering much by means of financial support.

Teachers: Refuse to Go Back to Campus

“The legend of the self-sacrificial teacher is a fantasy that lets you pretend we were summoned by some higher calling to lives of poverty, endless toil, or martyrdom. It obscures how elected officials leverage teachers’ visceral concern for our students, because they know that teachers will spend the little time and money they have to cover much of the difference between what governments are willing to pay for and what students deserve. It glorifies teachers whose unpaid labor fills gaps in underfunded public services that should have been filled by other professionals, such as academic counselors, therapists, after-school program coordinators, coaches, or custodians. Like the fantasy written to sacrifice nurses and grocery store workers to COVID-19, it lets you off the hook for failing to protect and support the workers you depend on. And during this pandemic, it lets you pretend we signed up to die in service of you.”

https://medium.com/@harley.litzelman/teachers-refuse-to-return-to-campus-b9afa039ef2e

One thing I do know: the current president and his supporters are not going to help us. They are not equipped, don’t have the capacity, and this may be part of their agenda. The divide in our nation is insurmountable: but those of us who are working together, trying to come up with actionable solutions, we must do this work ourselves. And most days, I believe we can.

.

We are in a mess. The destruction of unions, loss of infrastructure (and I include unions in that infrastructure), the current Education Secretary whose continued destruction of the support for all our nation’s students goes unchecked. We don’t have support for working families. Our economy has tanked. (Note: the stock market ≠ economy). People are out of work, and were already living paycheck to paycheck. Every corner of our nation is touched by crisis and disaster: childcare, killing and harming immigrants who come to our nation seeking safety, healthcare, housing, military, education, and now this virus. This virus: stirred into the foundation of anti-scientists, anti-intellectuals and incurious blowhards creating an acidic frothy mix of toxic denial. Many of us have become a Cassandra to our friends and family, crying out a warning that no one heeds but other Cassandras. And we’re getting hoarse.

But I must remain grounded in hope, too.

So, next year: I hope other schools look to what alternative schools have done for years. Look at the goals of learning- what can be done, what is most important, and what can fall away? What can be chosen from a menu, what standards are worth it, and how will we develop assessments that are valid and meaningful? Be efficient in instruction, and even more organized in the feedback and progress. Students have a huge cooperative role to play: look at how small group and partnership teams can help mitigate and encourage learning (but do not make any grade dependent on the “whole”).

I suggest this is a time for PLCs to work harder than ever to create and maintain “school” to be more flexible, team, coordinated and accountable to students and families. Family connection and support is a priority, which serves two-fold: teachers have to watch out for their own health as well as the health and security of their friends and families.

This task feels overwhelming because it is. We have a Federal government that aggressively and actively denies the harm, has surrendered, and does nothing to stop the death tolls, and in point of fact, seems to be working with the personified virus to kill Americans and encourage its spread. But we have coalitions, we have the numbers: the NEA is a national organization, and they need to start acting like it. In the meantime, work with your admin, colleagues, and families to see what we can do.

My wish: we would begin cooperative childcare, every family and individual would receive a stipend of $2500/month if they make under $200/k per year, rent would be paid, student loans waived, past and present, and we would be focusing on a vaccination. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, being a better colleague, Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, Communication, Creativity, Culturally Responsive Teaching, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: Let’s talk (15)

In a Facebook group whose mission is to discuss anti-racism and equity issues (one of about a thousand of these groups) a member asked if it’s “okay to compliment an accent.”

My short answer was “no.” She was not satisfied with this. I told her I would research it further, but my first response comes from being an ELA/ELL teacher, and complimenting someone’s accent or dialect may make them feel singled out, “other” ness. It may discourage students who speak one or more languages other than English, and while they’re working on English will feel self-conscious.

And I am wondering why I am still so irked. Why wasn’t it enough for me to say “no?” The reason is because when a white person doesn’t get the answer they want, it takes a trajectory of time (confirmation bias strength) and friction (cognitive dissonance). She wanted to continue her behavior. I get it. I still like to tell students they’re amazing, beautiful, smart, loyal friends, courageous, and creative. When we’ve done pop-up toasts as a class and they need to speak to/about other students, it’s my honor to help them find ways to compliment one another that’s healthy, loving and profound.

Further Reading:

Note: even the word “microaggression” sounds like “small racism.” They’re aggressions.

What exactly is a microaggression?

This is from a person who works as a dialect coach: http://accenteraser.com/blog/4-things-people-with-accents-wished-you-knew/

“And maybe, just maybe I don’t want to tell you where I’m from because I might look at this country as being my home. I’ve worked hard to become part of your world. And I love it here.”

Please Know This Before You Comment on My Accent

Micro-aggressions in the Classroom: https://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/921/Microaggressions_in_the_Classroom.pdf

YOU HAVE AN ACCENT, I HAVE AN ACCENT, EVERYBODY HAS AN ACCENT….by Larry Ferlazzo

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Argumentative Reading and Writing, being a better colleague, Being a better teacher, Big Questions, Close Reading, Communication, Culturally Responsive Teaching, ELA, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, Series: White People Homework, Writing

Series: White People Homework- What’s in a name? (14) (Updated)

We’re not a football family in our house. And like many areas of fandom, it’s okay–no judgment on those who love football, and as far as we know we aren’t judged by others. Wouldn’t matter. So forgive me for not knowing who Emmanuel Acho is. Turns out, he’s pretty amazing! And I am so grateful for other media formats who bring people such as him into my life and help me learn.

And I am an ELA/ELL teacher; however, full disclosure, I was not an English major in college. Most of what I learned about mechanics, style guides, and conventions I relearned and created lessons while teaching. My next question is what are the current grammarians and style guide writers determining about the capitalization of Black and White. Here’s what I’ve found:

Black should be capitalized. “White” — not as clear. From the Diversity Style Guide, they link further articles. The consensus isn’t clear (as are many grammatical discussions).

The National Association of Black Journalists does not capitalize Black in its publications, including the NABJ Style Guide. Many of the terms related to Black and White people in The Diversity Style Guide come from 100 Questions & Answers About African Americans. The team that put together that guide decided to capitalize Black and White, according to editor Joe Grimm. After much research and consideration, the editor of The Diversity Style Guide elected to capitalize Black and White when used in a racial context, but most would say it’s not incorrect to lowercase those words.

https://www.diversitystyleguide.com/glossary/white-white/
This article was written in 2011: When referring to race, should ‘black’ and ‘white’ be capitalized?
Original Post: http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/when-to-capatalize-black-and-white/

However, when words labeling an entire people are at the root of a language dispute, that’s reason enough to seek direction outside of our usual resources, especially if the resources are outdated. If your editorial directive is to call people what they want to be called—including names, pronouns, and labels—then look to Black media outlets like Ebony and Essence for accepted usage and avoid overriding their terminology. By capitalizing black and white, we also make necessary distinctions between color and race—black hair and Black hair—similar to distinguishing between native and Native. Don’t wait for your style guide to catch up, because it’s waiting for you to demonstrate sufficient usage.

From https://consciousstyleguide.com/capitalizing-for-equality/

This article lead me to this page: Center for the Study of Social Policy: https://cssp.org/2020/03/recognizing-race-in-language-why-we-capitalize-black-and-white/

This is the dilemma we need to address:

We believe that it is important to call attention to White as a race as a way to understand and give voice to how Whiteness functions in our social and political institutions and our communities. Moreover, the detachment of “White” as a proper noun allows White people to sit out of conversations about race and removes accountability from White people’s and White institutions’ involvement in racism. We are also reckoning with the threatening implications of capitalizing “W” in “White,” often used by White supremacists, to establish White racial dominance. The violence of capitalizing White in this context makes us grapple with the history of how Whiteness has functioned and thrived in the United States; acknowledging that, yes, White people have had power and still hold power in this country. While we condemn those who capitalize “W” for the sake of evoking violence, we intentionally capitalize “White” in part to invite people, and ourselves, to think deeply about the ways Whiteness survives—and is supported both explicitly and implicitly.

https://cssp.org/2020/03/recognizing-race-in-language-why-we-capitalize-black-and-white/

Language is powerful, and oftentimes I think ELA teachers don’t teach the true power of capitalization, punctuation and syntax. Because it “wasn’t on the test” we spent the past 14 years teaching to a test that uses excerpts like out-of-context entrails on an autopsy slab. I am going to call on my other experts on history and language to ask their thoughts. I will and do capitalize Black when referring to race, and have been using lower case “w” for white people. My instinctual response was because capitalizing the “w” felt like a nod for white supremacy. However, CSSP makes a strong case. (No pun intended.) Language is ever-evolving and shifting, sometimes for honest, descriptive and precise communication and sometimes for nefarious and subtextual racist communication. This article was written in 2015 by the Columbia Journalism Review: I think we can all agree that we need to be mindful of language and do our best to stay current and mind the impact.

And also, ELA teachers, be especially mindful of your use of Martin Luther King’s, Jr. works.

Update:

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Being a better teacher, Big Questions, burning questions, changing the world, Creativity, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Equity & Cultural Competency, History, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: Statues (13)

Bree Newsome climbed up a flagpole and took down the racist, Confederate flag of South Carolina in 2015. I was teaching 7th grade Humanities that year, and her actions were shared with my students.

Newsome’s move, for many, was nothing short of cathartic. Weeks before, white supremacist Dylann Roof gunned down nine parishioners and injured three more during Bible study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The day before Newsome climbed the flagpole, former President Barack Obama gave a moving eulogy for South Carolina state senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the shooting’s victims, in which he called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds, describing it as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.”

https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/6/27/15880052/bree-newsome-south-carolinas-confederate-flag

Bree Newsome reflects on taking down South Carolina’s Confederate flag 2 years ago

The debate over whether or not to take down statues of the Confederacy began to heat up, and information and background history of when and why those statues were erected shared, but still the debate waged on. And nothing was done. We forgot about this work.

Just this past week, a mother of one of my favorite people, and she is a loving, Christian woman who is on his side, loves his bravery and voice, and shares his convictions, stepped out in one way –she believes the taking down of the statues is a form of censorship. Now, I am sensitive to the word ‘censorship.’ (This morning a colleague said, unequivocally, that “racist texts need and should be burned.” She didn’t cite specific works. She said it would be an anti-fa act. I said it is also a fascist act. One of the paradoxes of our times. But the book burning post is for another day.)

Instead of debating or making a case whether or not taking down statues is censorship, I had this epiphany this morning, and I am going to explore further. It came to me while listening to the news about Britain putting barricades around statues to protect them from protestors:

Statue Of Winston Churchill Is Covered Up In London

I do not know everything about history. I know quite little, actually, and this lack of knowledge affords me this opportunity to think about the statues and monuments I’ve encountered. If I see a statue of a man on horseback dressed in military gear, I assume he’s a famous person who has performed some act of bravery. The statue is shorthand and communicates an agreed-upon statement. If there is a statue of someone that means they did something worth getting a statue for. Right? I mean, we don’t honor horrible people, do we? We honor brave, kind, intelligent, worthy people who save lives, heal others, tell stories, or share a greater gift with the rest of humanity, right? There are statues that are works of art, fountains, monuments, that bring beauty and joy. But think: when looking at them, what assumptions do we make?

When we see Confederate military statues, or statues such as James Marion Sims, we assume heroic deeds. And that is where the true censorship happens. It happens when the voices of those enslaved, tortured, harmed, killed and exploited are silenced. The censorship happens when we don’t know whose land we’re on. And in the cruel legacy of Sims, medical students still think BIPOC don’t feel pain the same way white people do. Still. To THIS DAY. Or what treacherous and heinous acts they performed. If we do keep colonizers, slave owners, and religious zealots statues present, why not put up a huge sign that tells the whole story? Would you have known what Sims did if you just walked through the park, saw his statue, and went about your merry way? Or Columbus? Would you have known about the Taino he slaughtered? If we’re going to keep Christopher Columbus status should we put the hands of the slaughtered around his neck? And how is Georgia planning on blasting off Stone Mountain? (Look it up.) Because that one is large and horrifying.

Now, of course, I would prefer that the statues just come down. Go in a museum basement somewhere. Or melted down and made into beautiful bells and chimes. For every statue that’s taken down, if we need to replace them we have thousands waiting who truly did do wonderful things. Brave things. Acts of courage and generosity. People half-joke about putting up statues of Dolly Parton. What about Harriet Tubman? What about Ida B. Wells?

And I wouldn’t mind seeing his work in every city across this nation:

For further reading:

Monumental Error: Will New York City finally tear down a statue?

How the US Got So Many Confederate Monuments

What should replace Confederate monuments? See 4 ideas from New Orleans students

People Are In Love With These Kids’ Ideas For What To Replace Confederate Monuments With

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, being a better colleague, Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, burning questions, Critical Thinking, Culturally Responsive Teaching, History, PBIS, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework (12) Bad Behaviors

Our current institutions are in dire need of systemic overhauls, and education top of the list. Please read and keep Ilana Horn’s thread and work close to your work and research. I am. If you’re a teacher who’s work in a school during the past ten years you may have heard or read, or even supported some of the behavioral management programs. And the trend is to have a white man create, package and sell these programs. This post is going to upset some educators and colleagues, but the intent is to provide information and background, with the hope of impact being you change and help change your own classroom policies, know how to push back, and keep districts accountable.

Here are some I’ve encountered, and others I’ve read:

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess: I read this book on my own a few years ago, and it didn’t sit right with me. I am already a creative teacher, and I found the ‘pirate’ thing gimmicky. He also fan-boy’d Tony Robbins, and yeah. No. Thanks. So, I put it aside, and moved on. I am kind of repulsed by a grown man who wears a pirate-style bandana on his head and a black t-shirt. I tried to go through the #TLAP hashtag on Twitter and can’t find precise criticisms, but a whole lot of fans who gush over this work. But the criticisms tend to run toward this: It’s teacher-centered. And since 80% of teachers are white women, that’s problematic.

PBIS: PBIS stands for “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.” It’s based on a Tier System. Every school I’ve worked in (now at three) has used PBIS, or when I’ve gone in for interviews have been asked about my knowledge and expertise with this system.

It’s a glorified “Change your clip” chart. And these are only my observations, because life at school goes so fast, any chance to discuss and create a sustainable method falls apart. The problems with PBIS is it’s a token economy: it rarely gets to the place for students to get to internalized positive behavior motivation. I have witnessed years of students ‘gaming’ the token system, too. One year in particular, kids kept the tickets that were intended to be traded for prizes and snacks, hoarding them as the treasure or trading them on the open market. It was actually quite genius. Students know inauthentic, tokenized systems of oppression. And the more important factor which lead to lack of success and meaningful change: there wasn’t the support for students. The physical, real-time qualified adult bodies to support students. My dream: instead of school safety officers we have a counselor and adult support for every 30-50 kids, including classroom teaches, counselors, and administration. We don’t overcrowd schools in the first place. We don’t use harmful, hateful violent curriculum (looking at you, programs that use racist, colonized canon). And we stop the systems that promote meritocracy. PBIS is that.

https://www.pbis.org/

Teach Like a Champion: see the above thread for #TLAC. Also: these articles, please:By Layla Treuhaftali, The Power of Pedagogy: Why We Shouldn’t Teach Like Champions

This School Year, Don’t Teach Like a Champion by Ray Salazar

“To some white eduinfluencers who are starting to speak up” by Benjamin Doxtdador

https://dianeravitch.net/2015/09/21/peg-robertson-eviscerates-teach-like-a-champion/

“To be honest, after reading over 100 pages of the book (there will be a follow-up blog when I finish reading the entire book), I have to say it’s incredibly shallow and simplistic – yet the scary part is the dictatorial demand to keep everything shallow, uniform and simplistic. And as mentioned above, Lemov’s beliefs about “teaching like a champion” are beginning to co-opt what true educators really understand about teaching, child development, and engaging learners. This book is a great primer for reducing learning to uniform and robotic student behavior which is easy to “track” (Lemov’s word – not mine) and manage, in order to get the results that you want. And the results that they want are high test scores. Lemov is clear in stating that this work is gauged via state test scores.

https://dianeravitch.net/2015/09/21/peg-robertson-eviscerates-teach-like-a-champion/

“Fast LLama” by Doug Curry http://www.fastllama.com/free-resources – sat in on his trainings. Cute, and he’s congenial, but same stuff.

Second Step: I’ve been through two districts with this and both times they don’t have the money to purchase the support materials. And it’s hokey.

So what to do instead?

Read.

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond https://crtandthebrain.com/about/

Troublemakers by Carla Shalaby

Article about Troublemakers: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/05/the-power-of-the-troublemaker/525159/

Work with experts on understanding ACES, trauma-informed teaching, etc.

The End of Police in Schools

What do you think of some of these ideas? https://ctl.iupui.edu/Resources/Classroom-Management/Tips-for-Handling-Disruptive-Student-Behavior

What are the goals?

Every parent want their child to be able to go to school and feel free to learn, free from obstructions, bullying, racism, distractions, and fear. They want to know when their child comes home after the school day they have friends, healthy relationships based on mutual respect from adults, have grown their brains, bodies, and joy. And we humans are messy. We have bad days. We experience grief, anger, frustration, and a hundred ways to express these emotions based on our upbringing, context, culture, and desires. We get stuck with labels. I don’t have the answers. Every year I’ve made mistakes. I do know there are better ways to do this. I was a troublemaker in school.

And I still am.

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, Critical Thinking, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, History

Series: White People Homework: (11)

What I tried to say in this post, But Justin Schleider (@SchleiderJustin) said it so much better:

I am specifically talking to White people because we are the ones who created the problem and we are the ones who need to work towards rectifying what we have done. Plus I can only speak to the groups I am a part of and understand.

https://slowchatpe.com/2020/06/09/and-we-still-need-you/

Still, others may be young and just entered the field of education. You have been raised in a White bubble (like myself) and through the purposeful guidance of our communities and family, you have not fully grasped the magnitude of the problem that permeates school. Now is the time to listen before you act. Listen to queer Black feminists and the leaders in social justice within the world of education such as Val Brown and Dr. Rosa Perez-Isaiah. Listen to professors of sociology like Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom. Once you have listened follow the people who have been doing the work for years. Nothing you are thinking of is new. Activists have been working toward collective liberation for years. You as well are just coming into the fight in the 10th round. And we need you.

https://slowchatpe.com/2020/06/09/and-we-still-need-you/

And to my fellow white teachers, whether you teach English/Language Arts, History, Science, Math, an Elective, Music, etc.–we need to talk about language and literacies. Everyone, and I mean everyone, code switches. No one speaks the ‘standard’ or “formal’ language all the time. So if you’re using language or policing BIPOC students’ language as a mean to silence them, stop. Thanks.

This is an area of study I must do more research: since becoming an ELL teacher with my ELA endorsement, it’s important for my students for me to do my best and do better.