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
Join classrooms across the country as we celebrate the books we love on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 9:30am CST. Be sure to add the #StuConnect hashtag to your classroom tweets when responding to the questions below.
Q1 What book are you reading independently right now? What book is your teacher reading aloud to you? Which would you recommend?!
Q2 If you could meet a favorite character from a book, who would you choose?
Q3 What’s on your classroom’s Top 10 “Must Read” list?
Q4 If you could create a new book award what would you name it? What book would you nominate and why?
The entire twitter chat will only last 15-30 minutes. Feel free to join us for one question or stick around for the entire chat. All grade-levels are welcome to participate.
We will share out a new question every five minutes or so. Classrooms can respond to specific questions by starting their Tweets with the letter “A” (stands for Answer) and adding the hashtag #StuConnect to the very end of each Tweet.
Feel free to prepare pictures and video ahead of time. For example, if your students would rather design a new book award drawing to respond to question four they are more than welcome to. Creativity is appreciated, but a love of literacy and cultivating digital leadership skills are the ultimate goals!
Special thanks to my friends and #StuConnect co-moderators John Fritzky (NJ) and Tony Sinanis (NY). We’ll also be joined by a Greenwood student serving as honorary co-moderator and “Principal for the Day!” We hope you can join us for the live Twitter chat at 9:30am CST on Friday, January 15th.
This past month a team of educators from across the country collaborated to create an epic ConnectED BINGO game for students. The opportunity was created by John Fritzky (NJ), Tony Sinanis (NY), and me. Our students have been connecting for close to two years now on collaborative cross-state podcasts. The ConnectED BINGO game was our attempt to include EVERYONE in a connected celebration of literacy and learning.
We know that many classrooms are still plugging away on their BINGO boards, and we encourage everyone to keep connecting and sharing. You can see all the exciting work kids are doing on the Twitter hashtag #StuConnect. We’re also excited to announce the first round of winners from the collaborative cross-state BINGO game. More winners will be announced soon.
To claim your prize please send me a direct message (DM) on Twitter with your school’s address. Please share a Tweet with a picture of your book/prize to the #StuConnect hashtag on Twitter after you receive it. (We had some amazing authors donate books, and it would be great to thank them for their support.) More prizes will be randomly drawn soon.
2015 ConnectED BINGO Winners
Grand Prize (1):
Signed copy of Wendell the World’s Worst Wizard by John Spencer AND
original framed illustration!
First Place Book Prizes (10):
Signed copies of Spruce and Lucy book written by Todd Nesloney
February is I Love to Read month and we are celebrating…Pirate-Style!! Help your child “Seek Treasure in a Good Book.” Check out the short podcast HERE to learn more about the adventures that await.
Click HERE to download your very own copy of the Pirate’s Challenge game board. Students should turn these into the main office at the end of the month.
Originally posted January 23, 2013