A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a former colleague of mine, Shari Markowitz, who is the Chief Product Officer at Analytic Orange. The company is on a mission to provide learning materials that are research-based and high interest to students with strong support for teachers. Their social studies curriculum, correlated to the standards, includes: lesson plans, digital presentations, and differentiation suggestions. Materials integrate beautiful graphics and multiple opportunities for formative and summative assessment.
Analytic Orange offers 4 main reasons that their curriculum stands out, but I am going to focus on two of them in this article: Civic Engagement and Diverse Perspectives.
Events over the last few years have demonstrated that young people in the United States have much to learn about civic engagement. With nationwide standardized testing emphasis primarily focused on math and reading, social studies is often swept aside. For many, this has resulted in apathy and/or susceptibility to misinformation. We sorely need a course correction in every sense of that phrase.
The determination of Analytic Orange to include Diverse Perspectives in its materials is the reason that I chose to write about the company today. This is my weekly anti-racist post, and I think that it is vital for us to make sure our students understand our history through multiple points of view. As I looked through some of the sample curriculum for 4th graders in Utah, I saw lessons about the Navajo tribe and its rich traditions, as well as the impact of the European explorers and Americans upon their culture. We cannot ignore this part of our history, and the curriculum relates the facts of the mistreatment of this tribe by the American government. As you can see in the screen shot below from the Analytic Orange website, the company is dedicated to ensuring the complete story is included in its curriculum.
Analytic Orange has partnered with the Joan Trumpauer Mullholland Foundation, a foundation formed to end racism through education. They will be offering their program curriculum on Canvas, Google Classroom, and SRG Technologies (BlenderLearn) as soon as January, 2021. In an e-mail to me, Shari Markowitz said, “Throughout our publication, we present women and people of color in various situations that are not typically presented in mainstream textbooks. Children will see themselves in our publication. “
I believe that the more students are able to see themselves in the history of our country, the more empowered they will feel to become involved in preserving and furthering its assets while working to rectify its liabilities.
A large part of eradicating racism is education. We cannot expect future generations to avoid the missteps of the past if they are ignorant of them.
For links to my previous anti-racist posts, click here.