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Addressing Bias at School

Hello everyone!  I am so happy to see you and hope that you are having a fantastic and patriotic weekend!





This week's prompt is:

How do/will you address implicit bias at your school?

True Story

Many years ago, I had "that" class.  Due to the variety of issues, a psychologist came regularly to observe my class to help me develop strategies to deal with all the situations.  She had just entered my classroom; we were having Morning Meeting; this is a paraphrased version of the conversation between two African American boys (I am using their first initials).  One of the boys asked me a question about a book we had just read:  More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby.  In this amazing story, George Washington Carver finds a newspaper man who teaches him to read.  He calls the newspaper man "the brown face of hope."

M:  In the story we read yesterday, why couldn't he call the man "the black face of hope?"

R (slaps the rug):  That would be even worse!

M:  Why?  I'm black, and nothing is wrong with that.

R:  You never call anyone black, that's why!  You should know that by now!

At this point, M. runs to the front of the room and bursts into tears. 

Now the class becomes silent as I comfort M. and encourage him to return to the rug.  My main message to the students was that each of them should be safe to express opinions at school.  We need to accept differences respectfully.  At home, families have different views on everything, but in school, it is a safe place.  We might have different skin colors, however, on the inside, we have feelings that need to be honored whether we agree or not. 

Wow, I can still remember this from 10 years ago so vividly because I had no time to think, but I absolutely knew how I felt and believed, and still do.  Students learn from our example; what we say and do every day.  That's what counts, and that's what kids learn.  They see how I treat each of them equally, fairly and respectfully.  I do not tolerate anyone's feelings being hurt.

Other Ways to Prevent Bias

*Read books with characters from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

*Add books to your classroom library to make it more diverse.  Amazon has a whole section of books to check out here.


*Discuss differences often.

As always, thank  you for popping in to read the blog today.  Every day in the classroom is an adventure; that's why we need to be in school (hopefully)!  Kids learn so much from interacting with their peers and teachers.

Currently It's Just July ~ The Summer Is Just Beginning!

Happy July!  My summer vacation started six days ago, and it's already a new month!  Plus, people will soon remind me:  "Once, it's July 4th, the summer is over."  Noooooo!  I don't believe that ~ I'm going to enjoy every day of the summer starting today by linking up with Anne in Residence for her monthly link-up:



Cooking:

I have been cooking on my grill ~ A LOT!  I love to make chicken, turkey burgers, steak...  Yesterday the marinated steak was $18.99 per pound.  Needless to say, tonight I am trying turkey tips!


Photographing:

Last weekend my husband, daughter and I drove down to New York City.  Although she is currently working from our home in Massachusetts, she will be getting a new apartment in the fall.  Consequently, we drove down so she could put all her "stuff" in the car.

New York City was relatively quiet, and we spent a lot of time just strolling.  We did pass a bakery with these amazing cookies:



Sharing:

Today I am sharing a link to check out summer reading books for Summer Reading Lists for preschool to grade 8 from the American Library Association.  After at-home learning, kids really need to read A LOT this summer to keep their reading skills sharp.
cover image summer reading lists Kindergarten - Grade 2 shows laptop displaying rocket image, stack of picture books, and phone with headphones

Trying:

Last Friday I popped in to school to get some items from my classroom.  I told my students I would be there, and some came to say hello.  We tried and succeeded in taking a social distance picture:





Wondering:

I wonder if we will really go back to school in September.  Massachusetts is on track to start in-person school in September.  It seems that a lot of colleges are holding classes until Thanksgiving and then switching to at-home learning. 
What are your thoughts?
 
happy 4th of July Cards

In the meantime, have a happy 4th of July!




Insights About Students and Distance Learning


Happy summer days are here again! 

Hello there, and thank you for visiting the blog today as I link up for the third installment of this Summer Blog Challenge!  This week's prompt is:  

What insights do you have about your students after #RemoteLearning?


How The Kids Feel ~ Do you still like online learning?:

Although less than half of my students answered this question during the last week of school on Google Forms, I would say most of my students missed school terribly.  They missed their friends, recess, gym, ...  I think the social interaction is most important to the kids.  Hopefully, they learn academic skills along the way as well.  Our daily Morning Meetings were very important to the students because it was their time to socialize with their peers.  I included periods of instruction, but the kids really wanted to see and hear their friends.




Teaching Opinion Writing:  A Wide Range of Results

One topic taught during at-home learning included opinion writing.  I tried to include student samples from prior years and other strategies such as modeling how to write an opinion piece during our Morning Meeting.  Honestly, the results were all over the place.  Check out some student examples.

First, we started with completing organizers.

This student completed the organizer and the ideas are all here!


These are some examples of final paragraphs:








I save my favorite opinion piece for last!




I felt that writing skills got short shrift during online learning.  Writing is such an important skill that involves conferencing with the teacher and sharing with classmates.  Online learning just does not cut the mustard when it comes to writing instruction.  I would say most of my third grade students' writing skills need improvement.

Other Academic Insights

In addition to opinion writing, the kids learned about geometry and area in Math; the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution in Social Studies; force and motion in Science; sequencing and story elements in Reading.  What will students remember?  I worry about how well my students are prepared for next year.  It is impossible to really know from online learning.

Staying Connected

Yes, this was a priority, and I think we all did our best under the circumstances.  There is no replacement for in person
learning for younger students, but my students knew they were important to me even if I couldn't see them face to face.  It still comes down to this important quote:



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