Monthly Archives: January 2016

Teaching Flint, MI, Teaching Social Justice: Curriculum Materials to Use With Students

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Contaminated Water in Flint, MI 

I have amazing colleagues. Yesterday, during a quick chat at the copier, Ariel Maloney and I discussed ideas that would blend current events, nonfiction reading, and discussion. Given, too, that Mrs. Maloney walks the talk EVERY DAY about teaching for social justice, it made sense that she would use the current injustices of what’s been happening in Flint, MI to do that work.

I asked her if she’d type up all her materials so I could push them out on her behalf in the hope that more of us could build on her work to make our students aware of what is happening right here in the United States (because I talked about it with my students this week, too, and they were agog that clean water wasn’t a given everywhere in the country). Believe me, they want to know. If you dig a little deeper, too, these discussions open an important level of discussion about race, access, class…yup, this issue lets you go there (and, I argue, as educators, we should go there).

I tend to think it’s all of our responsibility to teach what matters. The materials below offer a road map for how we can do that work.

Case Study-Flint, MI Flint MI Case Study Mrs. Maloney’s contact information is on her materials in case you want to contact her, ask her question or give her props for her excellent work.

Image of Flint water from: https://cdn4.dogonews.com/images/78b27af9-041f-4a8d-817f-cc668f9ae2eb/flint-water-top-compressed.jpg

 

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Filed under Curriculum Resources, Equity

#kal Kids Are Loving #1: Books My Students Are Currently Reading & Loving

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Boy21 image from Matthew Quick’s website

Welcome to what I hope is a regular series I’m calling “Kids Are Loving” #kal. Here, I’m aiming to note what is popular with my teenage readers in hopes of having a record for future recommendations, to also serve as suggestions for those of us working with young people, and to remember what they enjoyed at that particular moment. These books are all ones students selected on their own and read as part of their independent reading lives.

Boy 21, Matthew Quick: boys love this book! I can’t keep our multiple copies in the library. From Matthew Quick’s website: Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights and Finley is left alone to take care of his disabled grandfather. He’s always dreamed of somehow getting out, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay…

Rule of the Bone, Russell Banks: another one that is always checked out. Review here from the New York Times.

Monster, Graphic Novel, adapted by Guy Sims from original by Walter Dean Myers: a graphic novel of the popular story of WDM’s Steve. Tackles timely questions in a gripping, accessible way. Students who loved the original Monster also like this version.  More info here. 

Redefining Realness, Janet Mock: another popular selection that is informative and inspirational as well as a great example of how literacy can save us. Plus, Mock has a fantastic online presence that encourages follow-up and further reading.

The Death of Bees, Lisa O’Donnell: a student explained why she loved this book: alternating narrators and a mystery that isn’t resolved until the last few pages. Great for kids who love mysteries, young adults as protagonists (and I found them portrayed accurately, though it took me a moment to get used to the narrators because they talk just like…well, like teenagers!), and a well-told, sentimental story. (The link takes you to an NPR story about the book).

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Filed under Kids Are Loving, Literacy, Reading Lives