Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Being a better teacher, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Curriculum Ideas, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: All Posts

1 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/02/equality/

2 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/03/series-white-people-homework-2/

3 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/04/series-wph-militarizing-3/

4 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/05/series-wph-teach-your-children-well-4/

5 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/06/series-wph-know-your-history-5/

6 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/07/series-wph-fear-6/

7 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/08/series-white-people-homework-white-teachers-7/

8 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/09/series-white-people-homework-the-cost-8/

9 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/10/series-white-people-homework-the-cost-9/

10 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/10/series-white-people-homework-joy-10/

11 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/11/series-white-people-homework-11/

12 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/12/series-white-people-homework-12-bad-behaviors/

13 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/13/series-white-people-homework-statues-13/

14 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/14/series-white-people-homework-whats-in-a-name-14/

15 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/15/series-white-people-homework-lets-talk-15/

16 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/16/series-white-people-homework-educators-part-116/

17 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/17/series-white-people-homework-educators-2-17/

18 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/18/series-white-people-homework-poetry-18/

19 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/19/series-wph-juneteenth-19/

20 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/20/series-white-people-homework-20-who/

21 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/21/series-white-people-homework-21-solstice/

22 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/22/series-white-people-homework-22-canon-fodder/

23 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/23/series-white-people-homework-23-will-this-be-on-the-test/

24 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/24/series-white-people-homework-24-moving-on/

25 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/25/series-white-people-homework-25-forever-young/

26 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/26/series-white-people-homework-26the-question/

27 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/27/series-white-people-homework-27-reflection/

28 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/28/series-white-people-homework-28-money-support-the-work/

29 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/29/series-white-people-homework-29-elijah-mcclain/

30 https://mrskellylove.com/2020/06/30/series-white-people-homework-30-love/

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, burning questions, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Equity & Cultural Competency, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework (28) Money: support the work

This is what I wrote in 2018, and my question ‘is this the best we can hope for?’ lacked in hope and vision. But thank goodness others have taken up the work, and helped us (teachers) continue to grow and learn.

My inadequate hope.

Fortunately, Shea Martin, Lizzie Fortin, and many others keep sharing their thinking.

And it’s almost payday: donate to this, even if they’ve exceeded their goal:

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, book recommendations, Books, burning questions, Burning Questions Book Lists, Classics, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Curriculum Ideas, ELA, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, Genre Studies, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework (22) ‘Canon’ Fodder

I’m going into year 15 next school year, and during this time I can vouch that I continue to seek answers and strive to be a better teacher for my students. This is built on my master’s thesis, which was using engaging children’s literature–I contend this was a solid foundation for my practice. But I’m out of patience waiting for others to catch up. And I’ve encountered this request and steerage multiple times. I’m not a patient person by nature anyway, or so I’ve been told by a friend. It would be my life lesson. I’m beginning to think patience, when it comes to children and education, is highly overrated and is not, as painted, a virtue, but a sin.

And I saw this:

And this:

I would add that I am here for any conversation about books, novels, problematic texts, and the approved “canon.” Districts and district leadership: I beseech you: do not make it so difficult to get great literature written by BIPOC writers in our classrooms. We don’t have time to wait.

Book Recommendations for my current teaching position: link here.

This is a screenshot from a recent Webinar sponsored by the International Reading Association
Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Argumentative Reading and Writing, Being a better teacher, Books, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: Joy (10)

When I first began teaching, I used a lot of picture books. I still do, actually; I didn’t this past year as much because well, it was this past year. One book I loved as a read aloud was Skippyjon Jones by Judith Byron Schachner. And something didn’t sit right after a few readings. And then the book was panned by critics, and yes, it’s racist. No question about it. So, out it went. I never read it again or shared it. Know better, do better (Angelou).

Let’s start taking a look at how books impact our students. If white kids are only taught a narrow narrative about enslaved Blacks, that narrow line of thinking will shrink their critical thinking and empathy processes. And since I taught 7th and 8th grade most of my teaching career, this quote from Nic Stone took my breath away. Is this why my students stop reading in 8th grade, because they’re tired of waiting for books, mirrors, and sliding doors (Rudine Sims Bishop)?

Up until that point, required reading was either minimal or animal—shout-out to Mrs. Frisby and her NIMH-ish rats—but then eighth grade hit. And I started to disappear.

Nic Stone, “Don’t Just Read About Racism–Read Stories About Black People Living.”
Link to this article: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/books/a32770951/read-black-books-nic-stone/?fbclid=IwAR3X0tOp-gIjexv8hSa_ptftOW64N85hxHnfkWjn2MURSnVP3RnqR6KDGs0

And though I’ve watched this probably over fifty times, it’s worth watching again:

Start curating your own collection, and I’ll continue to share the resources I discover along the way.

And immediately follow Dr. Kim Parker @tchkimpossible and the other woman who created and sustain #DisruptTexts

Posted in Anti-racist work, Bullying, Critical Thinking, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: The Cost (8)

How does racism affect children?
The featured image was designed by a 4th grade student in one of my dear friend’s classes.
https://www.charliechaplin.com/en/articles/29-the-final-speech-from-the-great-dictator-

I am an amateur in so many areas, it’s really kind of lame. One of the mental games I like to play with myself is the hidden costs of things, like trying to pull data from chaos. I am ill equipped and humbled. All I can offer is I like to think about big things, and this will be separated by multiple posts.

The question is: How does racism affect white people? Understand this question is not intended to center white people. We’ve been centered plenty. It’s meant to explore why this construct of race and power keeps getting propped up, exploited, and used to keep groups in fear, confusion, disoriented, and in danger.

When I was in high school, I went to a predominately white, wealthy parents, large high school in suburban Denver. Kids wore $300 boots and drove BMWs. I was not one of these kids. I was friends with a boy named Bryan. Bryan was Black. He was funny, smart, and always cracked me up. One evening, when we were at a football game, he told me he and his family were moving so he could attend the mostly Black high school. I did not understand fully why, and was heartbroken. I didn’t have the emotional means to express what was happening then, and I’m not sure I do now. It may have been a mixture of things: wasn’t our current school ‘better?’ And trust me: I tell the truth when I say I also recognized why going to the other high school was important and was indeed, better for him and his brothers. Was my friendship not enough to make him feel part of a community? But we lost. We lost his smile, his gifts, and his friendship. I knew once he moved, even if it was only twenty minutes away, he was moving to the other side of the world, our world.

I found my high school yearbook during the great Quarantine Time of Purging All Closets, and saw his picture. I miss that friend.

Flash-forward to the election of 2016. White kids chanting “BUILD THE WALL” in those predominately white schools in my former district. When I told my principal about her previous school and what the students did she said no, it wasn’t them, it was another building. Her denial was somewhat shocking at the time, but now considering she’s still social media friends with a teacher in the building who is a loud and proud Trump supporter, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The amount of energy and time for white educators and parents they spend on building their mental fort is incredible. What if…WHAT IF…they spent that time and energy saying and doing something ELSE. ANOTHER ACTION.

What if

What if all teachers had to do a study with Jane Elliott’s and Cornell West’s work in educational philosophy? Why, when I was in second grade, did I get the teacher who, when asked if she believed in “women’s lib” answered, “Oh no, I like having the doors opened for me!” I was crushed. I was born a feminist, and to hear my teacher say this was devastating. And the little boy’s smug face as he got the answer he wanted is burned in my brain. Now think of all the trillions of micro and macro aggressions: what if?

What if when people had land, resources, built a community they understood that the community is better with diversity of experiences, gifts, talents, and contributions?

What if…

Threatening teachers’ voices is a common tactic.

Because right now we have administrators, parents, school boards and parents who force teachers into subterfuge and “asking forgiveness” whenever they talk about Malcom X or want to teach books from the #ProjectLit or #DisruptTexts communities. Right now, I’m trying to remind myself as a new person in a district/building that change takes time, even if I’ve been doing this work for almost 15 years as a teacher. Just getting some titles that aren’t white, colonized canon approved is painstakingly slow. There are gatekeepers and bureaucrats.

The hidden costs may include:

  • losing a friend
  • no collaboration
  • decreased joy
  • stale thinking
  • fixed mindsets
  • destruction of parent/child love and relationships
  • loss of respect and inclusion (think of cancel culture but more hidden)

Since this series is “White People Homework” keep in mind it’s not for BIPOC to do your work for you. Take some time, pray if that’s something you do, meditate, relax, and think: how would your life be better if we all practiced anti-racism work?

One idea: if an administrator asks you to do something in your classroom that is counter to anti-racism work, ask why, and request a detailed response. Ask if they are willing to have a conversation with the school board, the parents, and other teachers and students: identify the real stakeholders in the community.

Resources:

Merritt, K. (2017). Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South (Cambridge Studies on the American South). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316875568.

https://www.macucc.org/racismhurtseveryonecoststowhitepeople

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Curriculum Ideas, History, Lesson Ideas, Life after school

reimaginginginginging

How Moderate Teachers Perpetuate Educational Oppression

This is one of the most critical think pieces on education I’ve read in a long time, published in Medium by Lisa Kelly.

A moderate teacher often uses the rhetoric of maintaining high standards without interrogating themselves —holding students to high standards of what? As my comrade G.T. Reyes wrote, “Educators …if you’re still asking about how to “hold students accountable,” I would suggest you first ask yourself — accountable to what? This might sound crazy to some of you, but maybe you are wanting students to be accountable to learn their place within white supremacist, capitalist schooling.” Many credentialing programs teach that it is racist to expect that black and brown children are less capable than white children, which is absolutely true. However, this doesn’t mean that the solution is to expect any student to reproduce capitalism or whiteness.

From school uniforms to accountability, how white teachers continue to uphold white supremacy and colonialism comes in wave after wave. During this time of emergency remote learning and teaching, the number of teachers who are aghast at students turning in blank documents (they did this before, by the way), terrified of students cheating, not being accountable, on and on and on…ladies: you are exhausting. And students continue to act like, well, students. The cat and mouse game of “gotcha” is part of the teacher-student dynamic: but does it have to be?

The first answer that comes to my mind would be — schooling that is centered on relationships. Not relationships that are about getting kids to like you enough to want to produce for you. But relationships built on understanding the unique humanity and the community that each child brings to education.

Every year, sometimes at several check points, I give students surveys to express and provide confidential opinions on my teaching, what they liked, what they wish would change, etc. And overarching themes emerge: they want to wear what they want, and learn about things that will empower them in the moment, in an unknown future, and that feel relevant and worth their time. (Gee, almost like this generation understands existential crisis or something.)

As I continue to grow as an educator, I am mindful that I will always need to push against racist ideas and bias. I am fortunate to have a spot on the Wednesday webinars with Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi on their collaborative book, Stamped. I am going to ask my admin if we can use this as a book study for next year: if not the entire staff, then perhaps my immediate ELA colleagues would be interested.The essential piece of all this is as we’re reimagining schools, beware of who’s trying to hold teachers “accountable” and who is building authentic relationships. Those people service in complicity to hold teachers and students accountable, too. Look for those who include teachers’ and students’ voices, who have experience in making those connections. We cannot underestimate the danger we’re in right now. And personally I am struggling to hold onto hope. As the person said in Samantha Bee’s video, I now consider myself to be, as Meehan Crist quotes, an “Undefeated Despair.”

Keep focused: what brings us to teaching, what brings children to learning, and what are the most critical things to teach? That’s it. I am thinking about entire semester of simply reading critically for argument and bias, and how to have fluency and accuracy in detecting bias and agendas. Looking forward to digging into this resource, too: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/qanon-nothing-can-stop-what-is-coming/610567/

PS Something that popped up from the past — it’s a charter school, but am wondering–you know–https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/47694/to-engage-students-and-teachers-treat-core-subjects-like-extracurriculars

Posted in Assessment, Being a better teacher, Books, burning questions, Burning Questions Book Lists, Connections, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Equity & Cultural Competency, Literary Analysis, PLN: Professional Learning Network, Reading

disrupting mockingbirds.

Is anyone going to understand, aside from other teachers, how amazing what happened is? For all the ills of social media, there is so much good. Note to new and veteran teachers: find your PLN (professional learning network) via social media, and expand your thinking and horizons.

Here is what happened: my district uses packaged novel units based on another district’s work, or now a business, called EL or Expeditionary Learning. The program has many benefits, one of which each student (or scholar as they are known in the district) receives a copy of the central text. There are four modules, each with more lessons than is possible, and the intent is to provide some flexibility and professional judgment in the how to teach, but not the what, and the assessments are ironclad. We first taught Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, and I followed the pacing guide and time frame and came out of it three weeks ahead of my PLC colleagues. No matter–I forged ahead with more essay and creative writing until winter break began on December 21.

Well, break is over on Monday, January 7th, and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is our next Module of Study, titled “Taking a Stand.” Being a Grants/Wiggins fangirl, I am all about the concepts of Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions. But–

…but–To Kill A Mockingbird?

My relationship with the novel is probably typical of a little white southern girl with liberal, progressive parents–I loved it. I loved Scout. I loved the bravery, and the characters, the mystery, the strength, and the suspense. I can’t remember when I first read it if it was a choice or assigned, but I see a wavering fog of memory of some teacher and I connecting over my lightbulb moment of why Mrs. DuBose chose to go off her morphine toward the end of her life. The novel taught me so many things, and I am grateful to Harper Lee for this novel. And to this day, it holds a special place in my heart. However, we paradoxical humans can and should hold two or more truths at once, and over the past year or so (long before I knew I would switch districts and be mandated to teach the novel), many respected educators questioned and criticized this novel. I learned and listened to new perspectives and considerations, many of which hold important truths. Truths about race, racism, misogyny, and injustice masquerading as justice.

#edchat #ncte #disrupttexts Looking for help in pulling all the pieces together:— Kelly (@mrskellylove) January 2, 2019

One of the focuses will be https://t.co/OvUczzQe6W— Kelly (@mrskellylove) January 2, 2019

I had this amazing professor in college. He was Sri Lankan, teaching the required Brit Lit class from the POV of colonized people. He gave us “Heart of Darkness” and said:— Tom Rademacher (@MrTomRad) January 2, 2019

“This book is a racist piece of crap. I want you to read it because I want you to know what a racist piece of crap it is.” We read the book and had amazing discussions, using it as a central text to talk about white gaze and other things. So, teach, but teach context.— Tom Rademacher (@MrTomRad) January 2, 2019

I’m just listening in but I do think if you have to teach a problematic text, then you teach it as a vehicle to learn a critical reading process that allows kids to identify other problematic texts out in the world. Because they WILL encounter them.— Jess (@Jess5th) January 2, 2019

When Jess@Jess5th tweeted this –I knew I found the center focus.

The responses received fill my heart. With the deepest of gratitude, I must acknowledge @MrTomRad, @Jess5th, @debreese, @Ebonyteach, @CrazyQuilts, @Caitteach, @ShanaVWhite, @JenniferBinis, @spencerideas, @TheJLV, @ValerieBrownEDU, @triciaebarvia and if I missed anyone, my apologies. You all came to the conversation, and this-this is what I’ll share with my scholars first — we are all learning together, and trying to do better, and ask the big, tough questions.

The plan, such as it is, when we come back on Monday, January 7, in the midst of adolescents who’ve been homebound for two weeks (most of them) caring for younger siblings and doing whatever it is kids do over rainy breaks when resources are limited, and the building expectations PowerPoints that must be shown, is to let them first take and get reoriented, but also–share what happened. How other teachers discussed their ideas, openly and freely. I intend to pair this text with my #projectlit collection, of course, and allow students to find their own relationship with To Kill A Mockingbird along with other paired texts and discussions. I want so much for them.

If you would like the resources and ideas shared, please go to Twitter and follow me, and click on the discussion thread: @mrskellylove

Resources:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Sg5itwdpj_gWT1NDDebgyJLWhvM8T4aQ5k5sIZQoKLs/edit?usp=sharing

This is a draft–just trying to organize the scope and sequence: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c4BmPo53CFhk3dFi6PuTQr9ln_OvJaeQzjWgzLzW5xI/edit?usp=sharing

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wkQXV6d7f-9NoZR6Ma4z-WtU9gQy4BvHB_mrVbCvxkE/edit?usp=sharing

Posted in Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, Critical Thinking, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Uncategorized

Fresh Start 101

Do students come to your classroom year with reputations? 

Well.

Yes.

And–I’m struggling with the past clinging to some students.

That’s about as diplomatic as I’m can muster right now.

How Black Girls Aren’t Presumed to Be Innocent

A growing body of evidence has shown that the American education and criminal-justice systems dole out harsher and more frequent discipline to black youth compared with their non-black peers. But while most of that research has focused on black boys, a new study from the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality specifically turned its attention to society’s perception of black girls.

 

Further in the article:

Black girls describe being labeled and suspended for being “disruptive” or “defiant” if they ask questions or otherwise engage in activities that adults consider affronts to their authority. Across the country, we see black girls being placed in handcuffs for having tantrums in kindergarten classrooms, thrown out of class for asking questions, sent home from school for arriving in shorts on a hot day. … We also see black girls criminalized—arrested on campus or referred to law enforcement—instead of engaged as children and teens whose mistakes could be addressed through non-punitive, restorative approaches.

 

Black Boys Viewed as Older, Less Innocent Than Whites, Research Finds

“The evidence shows that perceptions of the essential nature of children can be affected by race, and for black children, this can mean they lose the protection afforded by assumed childhood innocence well before they become adults,” said co-author Matthew Jackson, PhD, also of UCLA. “With the average age overestimation for black boys exceeding four-and-a-half years, in some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old.”

I’m sharing these articles in the hope that we all are a bit more cognizant of our implicit biases and perceptions about children, especially children of color. There are more than a few behavior issues in my afternoon classes, and I’ve been doing a mountain of reflection. I can feel my brain buzzing in the early morning from the currents of thought and concern. Juggling new, top-heavy curriculum, leveled, a prescripted reading program that flies in the face of everything I’ve researched, and thirty-minute schedules to teach U.S.History (yes, thirty minutes) along with the new committees, expectations, navigating the new culture of my new workplace and district–it’s a lot. As I remind myself I am the adult here– and if my situation is challenging I must keep in mind how difficult it must be for students. Listening and reading a book you don’t like or can’t connect with? Silent reading for thirty minutes? And then pivoting to other ideas that seem random, as instructed from the same teacher, same space? I’m going to have to do better: it’s going to take both tricks and treats to move learning along.

In the meantime, thanks to many generous donors, and getting a decent payday myself, my DonorsChoose was fully funded. I am hoping that the #projectLIT books help my scholars see themselves in narratives.

Amazon Business
Ordered on 9/28/2018
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Tradition 1481480340 1 Shipped
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Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) 1250170974 10 Shipped
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Ghost Boys 0316262285 5 Shipped
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The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives 0374303231 5 Shipped
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Rebound (The Crossover Series) 0544868137 1 Shipped
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Amal Unbound 0399544682 1 Shipped
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Amal Unbound 0399544682 1 Shipped
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Pride 0062564048 1 Shipped
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Like Vanessa 1580897770 1 Shipped
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Speak: The Graphic Novel 0374300283 1 Shipped
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Like Vanessa 1580897770 1 Shipped
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Dread Nation 0062570609 10 Shipped
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Posted in Culturally Relevant Teaching, Writing

Summer Series of Saves: The Cockroach (II)

When Kelly Gallagher tweeted about prior knowledge, he hit on something critical in this idea: that prior knowledge is also culturally dependent.

And this is key: culturally dependent also includes time, place, setting, generational, and fluid. Our cultures are not fixed, but change and shift over time, knowledge, growth, education, movement, context and emotions. We live in our own spaces, and those spaces and ideas are constantly shaped and tested by our times.

icebergculture.gif

So how do we help students acknowledge that because they might not understand a reference, passage, joke, etc. it does NOT mean they’re ‘dumb?’ Because over the dozen years of teaching students from all walks of life one of the first things I see is this helplessness or fear of saying “I don’t get it.” Metacognition is a big word, but students get it. Teach it, have students practice, and recognize when they don’t get something, and most importantly, not be afraid to ask, question, discuss and research.

During my ELL Endorsement coursework this past year and into the summer weeks, we had the pleasure of a teacher in the KSD walk us through culturally relevant teaching practices. I highly recommend AVID Culturally Relevant Teaching: A Schoolwide Approach. Well-organized and accessible, it’s chockfull of lesson and conversation ideas. One lesson was the Where I’m From poem template. 

Here’s my offering:

Where I am from

I’d share other photos, etc. but need permission first. Others wrote beautiful, powerful poems, which again reaffirms my belief that writing saves us all.