In response to the murder of George Floyd, people have offered lists of actions to take to fight racism. Rita Platt adds another: Get anti-racism books into your community. Read, talk and share. Help people deepen their understanding of white privilege and systemic racism.
Racial “microaggressions” do harm to students’ self-image and health, says teacher Cheryl Mizerny, who has spent a decade studying this common teacher behavior and how to avoid it. Learn ways to recognize these often unintentional slights and better support all students.
Matthew Kay shows how to establish and maintain a positive classroom community that allows teachers to begin to broach racial discourse with our students in a healthy and productive way. Teacher Nicole Warchol finds Not Light, But Fire “smart, supportive, and necessary.”
Meaning well and teaching well are not the same – a painful truth that ELA teacher Dina Strasser’s exponential learning about race has helped her realize. She uses the story of her unit based on Gary Paulsen’s “Nightjohn” to underscore the difference between intent and impact.
If you value student discussion, Not Light, But Fire is for you. If you value students working through big issues, this book is for you, too. Teacher Andrea Clark finds something usable and important for teachers of all grades in Matthew Kay’s thoughtful, engaging book.
Reading “Not Light, But Fire” inspired Sarah Cooper to change the way she frames conversations about current events and history – which very often involve race, ethnicity, religion, politics and other incendiary topics – to build understanding, not emotion.
Michael Dyson’s Tears We Cannot Stop challenges white Americans to confront white privilege and join black Americans to fight racism. Teacher Rita Platt finds Dyson’s book an effective starting point for educators ready to develop a social justice lens to combat racism.
In her first post at a new MiddleWeb blog, “Heart of the School,” teacher-librarian Rita Platt responds to a weekend of civil strife and a deepening discussion about race and diversity in America with eight steps she believes can promote social justice through education.
Kevin Hodgson’s 6th graders learn about church bombings as he reads from The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963. The students also explore primary sources and write about children in the Civil Rights movement to begin to understand bravery in the face of racism.
When one of Kevin Hodgson’s 6th graders asked about using the “n” word, his class fell silent. In this Working Draft post, he shares the mini-lesson he responded with and also the resources he’s since found to help students build an understanding of racism and the evolution of language.