Exploring Women’s Rights

A first-grade teacher uses the 1908 Bread and Roses textile strike to help her students understand International Women’s Day.

Confession

I confess: My students play with blocks. Despite the current obsession with standards and standardized testing, some of us are still letting children play in our classrooms. Those of us […]

Black Boys in White Spaces

Right away I recognized her. Ruby Bridges. The courageous girl who defied white racists and became the first to integrate an all-white elementary school. My 7-year-old son pulled a handout out of his backpack with her face on it. He is in a bilingual, two-way immersion program at our local elementary school. As is our custom on Friday, we emptied his backpack and sorted the contents. We determined what needed to be recycled, what would be hung on our whiteboard, and what needed to be stored in my Things-to-take-care-of box by the fridge. I smiled, because as a former history teacher and lover of Black history, I was happy to see my son learning about this important historical moment. And then, I took a closer look and saw that it was in Spanish. I was elated as it dawned on me that my son truly is emergent bilingual. “Caleb, what’s this about? Did you read this in school?”

#SchoolsToo: Educators’ Responsibility to Confront Sexual Violence

The ongoing, persistent verbal and physical violence against women, youth, and LGBTQ communities has not been adequately addressed in most schools. Instead of educating children and youth about gender equity and sexual harassment, schools often create a culture that perpetuates stigma, shame, and silence. Student-on-student sexual assault and harassment occurs on playgrounds, in bathrooms and locker rooms, on buses, and down isolated school hallways. Students experience sexualized language and inappropriate touching, as well as forced sexual acts. And they encounter these at formative stages of their lives that leave scars and shape expectations for a lifetime. What isn’t addressed critically in schools becomes normalized and taken for granted.

“I Believe You”

To all of my students: I believe you.

Every Monday morning Lilly would walk into our 1st-grade classroom with downcast eyes and a heavy heart. She would wait for everyone to settle in and then quietly beckon me over to her seat and say, “My head hurts.”

It became a routine. I would stroke her head and say, “I know you miss your dad. Let’s try participating in school and see if it helps you feel better.” This seems like a reasonable response from a seasoned veteran teacher in her 31st year of teaching. My message to Lilly was I understand children, I understand your life, and I know what is best for you.

“How Could You Let This Happen?”

I was just about to finish my second year teaching 2nd grade. It was the first week of June and school was quickly coming to a close. The sun was out and everyone’s energy was extraordinarily high. We were in Seattle after all; when the sun comes around, you rejoice. One morning that week I came to work and noticed I had an email from a parent. This was a parent I had a good relationship with, and she often checked in to see how her daughter was doing. But this email was different. The mother explained that her daughter had been cornered at recess the previous day by some boys who were also 2nd graders. The boys grabbed, groped, and humped her. They told her they were going to have sex with her. Her daughter told them to stop and to leave her alone, but they persisted. As this sweet one told her story of shame, confusion, and hurt to her family later that day, she became so upset that she threw up in the car. Her mother knew this wasn’t a miscommunication or misunderstanding.

Boys in Dresses

One of a Kind, Like Me/Unico como yo by Larin Mayeno // Illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo // Blood Orange Press, 2016 Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman // […]

Prizes as Curriculum

A paraprofessional exposes the harm of substituting compliance for content at a school for special needs students.

Cuentos del corazón

Los estudiantes de segundo grado escriben junto con sus familias, desafiando las políticas monolingües, anti-inmigrantes, y de segregación de Arizona.

Have you seen my dad? image

“¿Qué es deportar?”

Una maestra de primaria se da cuenta que debe dejar a un lado el guión y la antología de su currículo para encontrar literatura latina en español y abrir un espacio a las vidas de sus estudiantes.

Have you seen my dad? image

“¿Qué es deportar?”

An early elementary school teacher realizes she needs to dump the scripted curriculum and basal reader, find Latina/o literature in Spanish, and make space for her students’ thoughts and feelings.

Other People’s Lives

An introduction to persona poems, which ask students “to find that place inside themselves that connects with a moment in history, literature, life.”

Celebrating Skin Tone

An early elementary school teacher combines a science lesson and poetry to encourage children to celebrate their own skin tone and that of their classmates.

Our Grandparents’ Civil Rights Era

Second graders ask grandparents to write about their experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. The letters bring surprising wisdom – and some thought-provoking issues – to the classroom.

Awareness of the Natural World

Publishers carefully manicure the list of books they publish, and slot them into categories by age as well as genre: young adult, beginning reader, adult romance, and so on. However, […]