December Holidays

Some of them have passed, but consider the following:

  • December 2: Cyber Monday
  • December 3: Giving Tuesday
  • December 5: International Volunteer Day
  • December 7: Pearl Harbor Remembrance
  • December 10: Human Rights Day
  • December 21: Beginning of Winter
  • December 22-December 30: Hanukkah
  • December 23: Festivus
  • December 25: Christmas
  • December 26: Boxing Day
  • December 26-January 1: Kwanzaa

The world is vast, diverse, and changing. The classroom should reflect these things.

Open the world up to your students, show them the vastness of our national and international holidays.

The world is diverse, we never know what students actually celebrate or how they feel about any celebration. Forgo a concentration on a singular holiday, or a cursory glance at recurring holiday learning. Try to add something new–for their learning and your learning.

The world is changing, we have so much to celebrate, so much to do, and so much to learn. Change with it. In fact, go beyond this serious list and look up some fun ones–did you know National Brownie Day is in December? So is National Cupcake Day! And National Pastry Day! Think of all that you can incorporate and mix into holiday learning!

In December, holidays are much bigger and as a result are full of potential; seize this opportunity to teach and learn and grow.

Diverse Literature: Mirrors & Windows

As I stated in the beginning, I am focused on diverse literature. As noted, it’s an uphill battle. Finding quality is difficult. Finding quality diverse literature is a monumental task.

In my day-to-day conversations, in my daily social media feeds and conversations, in my personal interactions, I have been confronted with confusion, defensiveness, and dismissal.

People are confused. They tell me that children’s books are good–fine as they are, good enough, and mostly feature animals anyway. People are defensive. They have attachments to their own upbringing, their own learning, or just their routine. Re-evaluating their classroom experiences or their teaching practices requires acknowledging a deficit, challenging the status quo, and expanding their worldview. These are emotional endeavors. All of this leads to dismissal. The passion behind the task, the commitment to diversity is relegated to my individual soapbox rather than a collective project for every teacher.

It is easy to be discouraged. It is easy to feel alone. In my research, however, I found my words–my words of rebuttal and my words of personal encouragement: mirrors & windows.

Children are provided a lens in their learning, this lens can either be a mirror or a window. The mirrors are just as important as the windows. Mirrors allow them to be seen and heard, to realize their potential and reaffirm their value. Windows allow them to see others, to realize the potential and reaffirm the value of every person they encounter–whether that is now or in the future, in the classroom or somewhere else.

So, if you need a little encouragement or a reminder on why diverse literature is critical or important; remember, every child needs mirrors and windows, everyone benefits from being seen and seeing others.

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The language of mirrors and windows comes from my original post, the image had a caption that led to researching the concept and finding several articles on it, including one on We are Teachers.

This year . . .

Over the summer I came across one article on the importance of diverse literature. This topic and concept has always been on my mind–I believe and advocate in culturally responsive teaching, culturally relevant pedagogy, and other tenets of multi-cultural education.

I have acquired knowledge through my university work, expanded my knowledge base in my teacher preparatory program, and finally learned by doing in the classroom. This applies to all components, and my understanding, of teaching and learning.

Now, this year, I want to make a series of posts, a category I will entitle: Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion.

Through readings, and research, I know I have done some work, but I also know I have more to learn, and more to do. By sharing I hold myself accountable; furthermore, I help inspire others, help spread the message, and hopefully offer some ideas to guide us all in becoming better teachers–teachers more committed, now more than ever, to creating a welcoming space for all students.