Monthly Archives: February 2016
If you really want to know if you are a culturally sensitive leader just ask your students about Black History Month.
Students often associate February with Valentine’s Day, I Love to Read Month, or even the 100th day of school. These are really comfortable things to talk about. What I’m less inclined to talk about is how the color of a person’s skin may impact the opportunities that person experiences. I’m even less excited to reflect upon my own white privilege.
These are some of the hardest conversations I’ve never had.
And I’m done not having them. Fortunately I work with an amazing team of teachers who are helping me with my journey. They push me. They help us get better for all kids…not just the kids who may look like us.
This school year I’ve been reading a different book each month to individual classrooms. This month…Black History Month…I’m reading, “All Different Now” by Angela Johnson. I’ve had the chance to fumble through some pretty powerful conversations with students. Admittedly, my contributions have been limited to asking a few difficult questions and then listening to students. I’m seeking to understand. At the same time I’m digging deeper.
What I’m learning is that I have a long way to go. Our kids are counting on me, and us, to teach them how to be culturally sensitive. How can I do that if I’m not part of the conversation?
The silence is blaring.
I need to confront my own comfort with the status quo. I need to question why I might be feeling so comfortable while others around me are hurting, angry, and oppressed. I need to acknowledge that my own truth is not always the same truth and journey that others have experienced.
Recently, I had the chance to connect with Brandi Bates about this topic on a radio program called, UnearthED. You can click HERE to listen to our 10 minute conversation.
Brandi helped me begin to shine the light on the dark part of Black History Month; my own white privilege.
There is no doubt about it. We LOVE to read and we want to cultivate that same love of reading in our students. One way we can do this is by talking about the books we love and involving our kids in the process.
Jen LaGarde and I are teaming up to bring you the World Book Talk Championship. This is the Super Bowl of book talks. (We even included a few fun reading-themed commercials to complete the Super Bowl feel.) We started with 16 incredible educators who each submitted a short book talk video. We’re down to four finalists and we need your help. Who will win the coveted “Vince LomBooki” award for best book talk in the world?
It’s “I Love to Read Month” and we’re feeling the love! Click HERE to view the championship round of the podcast. In the eight minute video you’ll see two “Literacy Legends” take on two “Lead Learners,” but only one person can hoist the championship trophy. YOU decide!
Click HERE to cast your vote online…voting is open through February. We’re also seeing classrooms create their own versions of the #30SecondTake book talks too. We’d love for you to share these with us as well. Most importantly…keep reading!
Special thanks to Oliver Schinkten…his creative genius elevated our Super Bowl commercials to an entirely new level.
An interactive TouchCast is available at: http://www.touchcast.com/greenwood/30secondtake_podcast_world_book_talk_championship
Our 4th grade podcast crew collaborated on a video project that depicts a year’s worth of learning in just four minutes! Students brainstormed words that described their work and goals for learning. The kids were amazing, and their video speaks volumes about who they are and what they can become.
I’m really inspired by our students, and LOVE the fact that our teachers are so committed to teaching the “whole child” through the arts, character education, and so much more. Click HERE to view their video and to see what our artists, mathematicians, readers, writers, and engineers have been up to the past year or so.
Click HERE to watch the Podcast
It’s finally here…the Super Bowl of Book Talks! Jennifer LaGarde and I are teaming up to bring you 16 educators sharing their favorite books in 30 seconds or less! Just for fun we divided the educators into divisions. Jen is heading up the Literacy Legends, and I’m rooting for the Lead Learners. The only question is…who will take home the “Vince Lombooki” trophy?!
This podcast features all the thrills of the Super Bowl…including some amazing commercials! Watch the podcast and then vote for who is moving to the next round using the online link below.
Vote for your favorite book talk today! Click HERE for our online voting ballot. Round 1 voting closes Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 10:00pm CST. Vote for one book talk from each bracket to advance to the Super Bowl.
Pick the winner based on pure passion or perhaps try a more objective approach…the choice is yours! Click HERE for a classroom book talk rubric shared by Jennifer LaGarde.
Special thanks to Oliver Schinkten for his creative genius, as well as all 16 of the educators who shared their #30SecondTake book talks.