laughing diverse girls embracing gently on sofa

Embrace Race Action Guides

I am always on the lookout for practical ways to for parents and teachers to raise anti-racist children. So, when I found these “Embrace Race Action Guides” I knew that I wanted to mention them in one of my regular anti-racist posts. The guides can be read online or downloaded in PDF form in Spanish or English. I counted 28 guides altogether (be sure to click on the “next” button at the bottom of each web page to find more), and the ones that I looked at were brief and down-to-earth advice that could easily be implemented. From “Tips to Drawing Across Color Lines with Kids” to “5 Ways to Raise More Inclusive Kids if You Live in a Segregated Neighborhood,” I wish had access to these resources from the beginning of my teaching career and parenthood. There are many other topics, webinars, book suggestions, etc… on the site, so I encourage you to explore. I’ll be adding this to my Anti-Racism Wakelet, and I hope that you will also take a moment to visit some of the other 58 links I’ve included in that collection.

cheerful diverse schoolgirls embracing near brick wall
Photo by Mary Taylor on Pexels.com

How to Have a Screaming Great Time

One of the more enlightening activities I’ve done with my students in the past is to have them brainstorm things that “make them scream” whether from fear or exasperation, and use those words and phrases to reproduce the Edvard Munch masterpiece, “The Scream.” You can read in this post how I learned a valuable lesson about making assumptions one year when we did this. For our products, we used iPads, WordFoto, and the Green Screen app by DoInk. There are other ways to do Green Screen on different devices, but I haven’t found something as good as the WordFoto app, which is a paid app only on iOS. However, the absolute genius on projects like this is Tricia Fuglestad (@TriciaFuglestad), who has done quite a few Scream projects with her art students. You can get a preview of one of them here, or purchase one of her TPT packs that compile the ideas and instructions that she has created over the years (see the top of her haunted blog post for links to those).

Here is an excellent lesson on how to analyze “The Scream.” This video gives a short history, and directions for making your own Scream painting. I also like these instructions for creating a yarn version.

As it was World Mental Health Day on October 10th, and that is a topic near and dear to my heart, I also want to include a link to this article about the artist and his own struggles with insecurity and depression. Also, here is a list of children’s books that deal with fears and phobias.

I’ll be adding this to my Halloween/October Wakelet collection. You can check out the rest of those resources here!

Read this post to learn more about this pic!

image of bulletin board with index cards that have common stereotypes

Ending Stereotypes Begins With Us

Although I don’t spend as much time on Facebook as I do on Twitter, I do belong to a few Facebook groups that include a lot of creative educators with great ideas. One of these fabulous groups is the Distance Learning Educators Facebook Group. When I recently saw a post from Shannon Nicole about a bulletin board that she and her 9th graders created, I asked her permission to share the idea and the pics on this blog. As some of you know, I’ve committed to doing regular anti-racist posts, and I’ve been collecting them in this Wakelet as a resource for educators. I hope that some of you will also be inspired by Shannon’s idea and find a way to discuss and combat stereotypes in your own classroom.

Here is Shannon’s introduction to the pictures below: “I asked my 9th graders to write one stereotype they wish they could get rid of, and this is what they said. The last 5 minutes of class, I pull a few off the wall for us to discuss. This has been an amazing lesson for all involved, including myself!” Click on each image to see it more clearly.

photo of young girls looking through microscope

Microbe Art

I have long been fascinated with the intersection of math, nature, and art. From Fibonacci to fractals, I find it intriguing to recognize patterns and similarities in natural objects and animals that also appear in those created by humans, and that we can imagine wildly creative innovations from very logical, patterned, or symmetrical visions. When I came across this video of the “Art of the Microcosmos” by Emily Graslie, I had a feeling that it would lead me down a rabbit hole of Fibonaccian proportions, and I was correct. Her interview with James Weiss made me wish I had him as a Biology teacher in high school, or that I had even once gotten the chance to observe the incredible microscopic animals shown in the video. Of course, I’ve known about the tardigrade (also known affectionately as “water bear”) for a few years, so I definitely have no problem imagining it or any other of the strangely beautiful creatures in this video as artistic inspiration.

Following Emily’s film, I had to look up Klaus Kemp, who creates diatomic art, and then I made the mistake of Googling “art made with microbes” and found an entirely different branch of scientific art grown in petri dishes.

After a couple of hours of being transfixed by so many things I had never seen or even known about before watching Graslie’s video, I finally had the wherewithal to drag myself away and try to do something somewhat productive (though not even minutely creative). I started a new Wakelet of “Math, Art, and Nature,” and I even used Wakelet’s new layout option of columns to attempt to organize it a bit. (You may need to scroll horizontally to see all of the columns, and scroll vertically within a column to see all of the links.) This is, of course, separate from my “Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep,” collection, but I went ahead and added a link to it in that one, too.

Just a reminder that, even though fancy microscopes might be nice, you can always get your students started with observations of that microscopic world with an inexpensive Foldscope. You might be surprised at the incredible images you can view with this simple tool.

microscopic shot of a virus
Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

red leaf trees near the road

October 2021

I’m a bit behind in blog posts, but the good news is that a little prep work from last year will pay off for this year! You can find all kinds of links for October activities, including Powers of 10 Day (October 10th) and Halloween, in this Wakelet I started last October. I’ve added a few new links that I got from MakerEd, TCEA, and Ditch That Textbook, and will continue to add more throughout this month. I also recommend that you check out the “Holiday Ideas” page on Big Ideas 4 Little Scholars, as Donna Lasher has a nice monthly list of activities that she keeps. If you find any broken links or want to recommend a resource I’ve missed on my Wakelet, please comment below!

green and white pumpkin on brown wooden table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
MC Hammer

Jon Stewart, M.C. Hammer, and Data

I spend a lot of time curating random things that interest me (see my NEO post on my curation methods here) , and I sometimes find obscure connections that inspire me to group them together into a blog post. As I was browsing my “Blog Ideas” Wakelet after my morning dog walk, I rediscovered a couple of resources I’d saved that correlated quite well with the podcast I’d just been listening to, Smartless. First, I’ll share a screen shot of this tweet from @AlvinFoo:

Next up, I have the updated Interactive Media Bias Chart, which has also been included in my Wakelet for “Evaluating Online Information.” (My daughter had originally shown me this site when she was taking a Journalism class last year, and I found it fascinating.) Whether you agree with its findings or not, it’s definitely worth discussing with older students when talking about current events and/or the reliability of news sources.

And, lastly, I have a quote from Jon Stewart that he attributes to M.C. Hammer (beware an expletive near the beginning) — and it is something we should never forget when looking at any data, including standardized test scores in education (click here if the embedded audio does not appear below):

There is nothing quite so satisfying as finding a way to tie together so many seemingly disparate topics in one post, so I consider my work done for today 😉