Category Archives: 6-12

On a Plate

I did not grow up in a wealthy family. I never wore designer clothes, couldn’t afford a car until I was 21 (and, boy, was it a clunker). I paid my own way through college – sometimes working three jobs at a time – and still graduated thousands of dollars in debt.

But I was still privileged.

I am white, and I had many people along the way who gave me chances. Yes, I worked hard, but I wouldn’t be where I am now without the lucky breaks I got throughout my life.

For a long time, I dismissed anyone who put me in that “privileged” category. Because I had worked so, so hard – and I went to school with people who could take a private jet to see a Broadway show on a whim or wear their clothes once and give them away. I was not in their league, I argued.

It took me many years to understand that “privileged” is not synonymous with” rich,” and that, despite all of my hard work and the many times I held my breath at the ATM when I tried to withdraw cash, I still had advantages that others do not.

“On a Plate” is a comic by Toby Morris that illustrates privilege, reminding us that our country is not a meritocracy, as we would like to believe, where anyone who works hard is rewarded.

In my series of weekly anti-racist posts, I am trying to learn more about myself and improve my own attitude along the way. I’m also trying to share resources with teachers for discussing anti-racism in the classroom. I hope that some of you will show this comic to your students, and open up a discussion about “privilege.” And I hope that some of them will come to the conclusion that while no one should be punished for being privileged, we need to do a better job of making sure no one should be punished because they are not.

Image by s__grafik from Pixabay

Here is a list of my previous anti-racist posts:

Also, for more amazing anti-racism resources, check out the Live Binder curated by Joy Kirr.

Vote By Design

If you are looking for non-partisan resources about voting to use for secondary, college students, and adults, you should definitely take a look at the Vote by Design site created by a team of educators at the Stanford The site provides free materials that include lesson plans and interactive workbooks for students, as well as a Nearpod experience. By framing the conversation around the responsibilities of the president, this 45-90 minute activity guides the participants to consider, “What are the leadership qualities best suited to this job?” instead of, “Which candidate do you like more?”

You can find downloads for the free materials here, including videos to help guide you in facilitating the session. Additional resources, including a link to one of my favorites, iCivics, are on this page. For more information about the origins of Vote by Design, and the logistics of using it with your students, you can visit their FAQ page.

Statistics show that nearly half of the eligible voters did not vote in our last presidential election in 2016. Due to their age, most high school students won’t be able to vote this year. However, we have the opportunity to encourage them to take advantage of this hard won American right in their future.

Photo by Noah Pederson on Unsplash

Dear Mr. Shakespeare

I confess that I have never been a huge Shakespeare fan, and I have never read or seen the play, Othello. But when I first came across this short film from 2017 by artist, Phoebe Boswell, I was captivated by her poetic interrogation of the playwright about his intentions when he created the main character, “the Moor” in Othello. Boswell’s amazing masterpiece questioning Shakespeare’s tragic play is intensely thought-provoking, as she manages to compare the racism that surely existed during Shakespeare’s lifetime to its continued hold on our current society. When I finished watching, I immediately wished that I was teaching high school again so that I could invite my students to analyze the play and Boswell’s response.

Dear Mr. Shakespeare simultaneously highlights how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go. This is why I’ve committed to devoting one post a week to the topic of anti-racism, hoping that an educator will use one or more of these resources to help eradicate the bigotry and stereotypes that linger today.

Here are my past anti-racism posts in case you have missed them:

Also, for more amazing anti-racism resources, check out the Live Binder curated by Joy Kirr.

Factitious and Spot the Troll

UPDATE 10/22/2020: I found so many more websites for evaluating online information that I corrected a Wakelet list. Click here to view it.

Like many of you, I am worried about the misinformation flying around on social media, especially lately. The incendiary posts that seem to be easily flung from one person to another are exacerbating the anger and hopelessness many are already feeling due to months of restrictions.

It’s more essential than ever to teach our students how to look for reliable sources and information. I generally use if I am fact-checking anything, and it seems extremely unbiased and well-balanced. If you are looking for other potential fact-checking sites, this page from the American University Library has a list.

While I was looking at the AU site, I noticed a link to a game called, Factitious. You can play the game to determine whether news articles are fake or genuine. The original game is from 2018, but there is also a Pandemic Edition. The game seems suitable for middle school and up.

Another interesting quiz to try, which was shared on Facebook (sorry, I can’t remember who share it with me!) is the Clemson University Media Forensics Hub game, Spot the Troll, shows you social media profiles of 8 different account, and you must decide if they represent real people or not.

Both of these games give more information about how to spot “fakes” online. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules, as the people behind this misinformation are becoming more sophisticated. The biggest takeaway is to never accept what you read online at face value without doing some digging – especially if it seems designed to incite fear or anger.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Stamped Digital Reader’s Notebook

UPDATE 7/23/20 – Here is a link to a guide for Stamped.  Also, find out more about author Jason Reynolds in this blog post.

For this week’s post dedicated to sharing anti-racist resources, I am giving you the link to a digital Reader’s Notebook that was tweeted out by Pernille Ripp (@PernilleRipp) today.  This is a Google Slides template created by Jennifer LeBrun to accompany the book, Stamped, co-authored by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Stamped is based on Kendi’s book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which Reynolds and Kendi “re-mixed” to create a book with the same information for younger audiences.  If you haven’t had a chance to read Stamped, yet, you may want to try purchasing it from one of these independent, black-owned, bookstores. It is extremely readable, and offers pretty much all of the information about racism that history textbooks completely ignore or wrongly represent to intentionally mislead readers.  The Google Slides template is extremely thorough, and the book along with this notebook and some well-orchestrated discussions would make a fine addition to any middle to high school curriculum.



This post is part of a weekly Black Lives Matter series that I have vowed to include on this blog.  Here are the previous posts:

Also, for more amazing anti-racism resources, check out the Live Binder curated by Joy Kirr.

BrainPop: Black Lives Matter Protests

BrainPop has created an excellent animated video that explains the protests for Black Lives Matter.  It is accompanied by a blog post that offers tips for discussing related topics with young people, and a video discussion guide. This is a fairly recent addition to the BrainPop archives, as it refers to the death of George Floyd and other current events.  You may prefer to read quickly through the transcript instead of watching the video to determine if it is appropriate for your target audience.

This post is part of a weekly Black Lives Matter series that I have vowed to include on this blog.  Here are the previous posts:

Black Lives Matter
Image by S B from Pixabay