Education Platforms

I do not have all the answers. Despite all the research, the on-the-ground work, the constant reading, I’m still learning. I’m discovering new tools, new methods, new concepts, new ideas. That is both the curse and the beauty of education–it is in a constant state of change and evolution; the work and learning is never done.

Now, sometimes I have enough time and energy to read 10 books on a topic. I have enough time to discuss and debate with colleagues for hours, days. Other times, I want to learn but only have enough time and energy for a single thought, a single bit of reflection, or a single dose of inspiration.

When time is limited, I go to social media, blogs, and websites.

My favorite forums, ones that I highly recommend are:

Each of these speakers, experts, and platforms are incredible inspiration for me. If you click on any of them, or all of them, you will notice that they are equity-driven, equity-focused, resources.

Equity and access, mirrors and windows, providing the most welcoming inclusive education for students is the core of my work. So, I seek out material and places where I can work through short exercises, read about new concepts, or learn a new bit of information–and I seek it out daily.

If I have enough time to read a book, that’s good. If I only have enough time for an Instagram post, that’s still good, still worth recognition. Why? Because if it is the core of my work, if it drives me, if I am committed to it, then every moment–big and small–is an opportunity to increase my capacity. And with that in mind, if you only have a few moments, or if you need a daily dose of inspiration and reflection, I recommend checking out Dr. Courtney Rose, Love.Tanesha, Teach and Transform, Teaching Tolerance, The Conscious Kid, and the Zinn Education Project . . . and if you find other equally amazing platforms, definitely let me know!

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Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

 

Anti-racist Literature

As educators we have been tasked with the monumental job of providing history, paradigms, and inspiration for a better world to our students.

In this honorable role, we must be hyper-vigilant of the stories we have consumed, we must be aware of the misunderstandings we have absorbed, and we must acknowledge that gaps are present–in our thinking, in our understanding, and in our own education. We are products of a system still redefining and finding itself.

In the past year, I have read more nonfiction than fiction–a real reversal in my reading consumption. While I started my anti-racist journey at birth, in a way, its momentum really took hold in my final years of high school, and has been an ongoing part of my life–personal and professional–since those teenage years. Nevertheless, it has only been in the past few years that I’ve had the robust conversations, the language development, and the depth of understanding to put all of what I have seen, heard, read, and experienced¬† together. And this comes as the whole world has recognized that everyone has work to do. That racism is something to be dissected and discussed, not swept under the rug.

For those new to the language and discussions, there is no place better to start than books. While I’m sure there have been plenty of lists and recommendations, I will include 8 here:

  • A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris Hill
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

If I had to start all over, or if I had to recommend a start, I would start with these books.

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For more details on each of these titles, please visit my book recommendation page on Instagram: Canon Reclaimed.

 

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It’s still summer!

So I’m going to enjoy my coffee outside, leisurely enjoy it, while I still can . . .

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Clean Rooms

With everything that has been on the news, teachers have been at the forefront of advocating and pressing for clean(er) schools. I get it, with upwards of a thousand or more people coming in and out of one building–during flu and allergy season–a lot of surfaces need a good wipe. Now, with coronavirus, that sense of urgency or obligation is heightened–I get that too.

I always believed in a clean classroom. In the early days I would even come, before school, to my classroom, just to dust and wipe down surfaces. I’m kind of a neat-freak anyway, but I also knew that sometimes school is the nicest place for a child, and the cleanliness of my classroom, the sparkle and shine, the pride I wanted to exude, was an extension of giving my students that nice-place-feel. By putting extra effort into cleaning I felt I made safety and security more tangible.

After some time though, I either had to give up or ask for help. It’s hard to keep a classroom neat and orderly. Interestingly enough, kids are way more enthusiastic about cleaning than I ever anticipated or imagined.

So, if you’re cleaning here are some tips and ideas to involve the kids and really make your room shine:

  • Clorox wipes can be harsh on little hands–and harsh on our wallet. Try using baby wipes instead. Give everyone one wipe and let them go to town.
  • Vinegar, water, and an orange peel make for a great sanitizing spray. Spray surfaces, allow students to wipe down (can use baby wipes or paper towels for wiping).
  • Make your own hand sanitizer—all it takes is aloe vera and alcohol. It can be a little experiment or recipe lesson for students, but try it first at home and test it out, all recipes take practice!
  • Get some castille soap, dilute, and viola–hand soap for the classroom.
  • Go old school: clean with shaving cream! For the primary folks, practice letters, numbers, shapes, and sight words with shaving cream. It can get messy but it’s tactile and helps clean the room.
  • Assign added tasks and duties to tables, individuals, and groups. Designate the sink space, the carpet, the bookshelves, the chairs, the coat rack, whatever is in your classroom, as someone’s specific lead and/or responsibility.

Whatever you do, whatever you try, make sure to involve others. A classroom and school belongs to all of us, so we each have to do our part to keep it nice and clean. Cleaning skills are life skills, by including our students we teach them critical life lessons. By including our students, we also allow them to take pride in their school, to see their collective power, and to have another chance to work together. It’s just cleaning, but it can be so much more if we do it right.

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I visited my friend’s classroom and she had this posted. Brilliant right? Nothing like a clear measure of needed, desired, or expected volume in the classroom.

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