Culture

Asian & Pacific American Heritage and History

Since 1990, the U.S. government has designated the month of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrating the heritage, achievements, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. The month of May was chosen to mark the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, as well as the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.…

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Learning from Student Language

Last fall, one of Chanea Bond’s ninth grade students told her that he was going to “SOB” next semester. She was confused. A quick Google search didn’t yield a definition that made sense to Bond. So, she asked her student to clarify. The answer? He was going to ‘stand on business,’ a slang term used to express a person’s promise to take care of their responsibilities. This semester, Bond, who teaches in North Texas, created…

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The 5 Stages of Childhood Friendships

When your child is younger, you as a parent have a lot of control over his social life, selecting whom he should interact with, the length of the interaction and where the interaction takes place. That changes when your child reaches school age. Suddenly, these decisions about friendships— with whom to be friends, how much time to spend with a friend and how to spend that time together — are made largely on his own…

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How Responsive Literacy Makes Learning Relevant

Today’s education system resembles much of what you’d see in the early 1900s: rote memorization, a teacher speaking to dozens of pupils who must remain silent unless called upon, curriculum at scale. Coronavirus-related distance learning pushed that same operation online, and because of the severity of the crisis, educators and parents understandably yearn for getting back to normal. But for educator Gholdy Muhammad, normal hasn’t served all students well, especially in literacy education, and no…

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Teaching About Black History Month

When it comes to teaching elementary school during Black History Month, there’s a lot that teachers do right. Then again, there are a lot of things that go wrong — we’ve all seen the news reports over the years of schools advertising problematic Black History Month meals or inappropriate assignments handed out to students. So how do you strike just the right tone with activities that aren’t just appropriate, but also truly meaningful and reflective…

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How to Teach Kids About Martin Luther King Day

With a fresh year just beginning, this is an opportune time to help children set a respectful and kind tone for the year ahead. Many offices and schools will be closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 15, making the nationally recognized holiday a great chance for teachers and parents to teach children about civil rights and American history. While older children are likely to have a better grasp on the civil…

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Classroom Community Building Activities

Teachers have long known that feeling safe and secure in school helps students focus their energy on learning, and the research bears that out: a 2018 study found that when teachers deliberately foster a sense of belonging by greeting each student at the door of the class, they see “significant improvements in academic engaged time and reductions in disruptive behavior.” Some of the below activities for classroom community building take less than five minutes. They’re…

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Student Activism in Modern America

Peaceful, student-led protests and activism have been a powerful force for change throughout American history. In 1925, for example, students at Fisk University staged a 10-week protest to speak out against the school’s president, who didn’t want students starting a chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. In 1940, almost 2,000 students protested after New York University decided to pull a black player from its football roster to accommodate the University of Missouri’s segregationists. And campus-based activism, including…

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How Outdoor Learning Brings Students Together

In a year full of challenges, figuring out how to implement outdoor learning may feel like a tall task for teachers. It’s too hot in Arizona. Too muggy in Mississippi. Too snowy in Maine. And in cities everywhere, “too dangerous.” Kass Minor has heard many of those objections in recent months. It’s a similar response that comes with “anything that’s outside people’s experience,” she said, but like her husband, Minor took her students outside regularly…

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How to Diversify a Classroom Library

As protests against racial injustice spread to communities large and small in this year, many educators have been pushed to examine how systemic racism harms students. Some have publicly proclaimed the steps they will take to create anti-racist schools, including diversifying classroom and library bookshelves. That task may be easier than ever, thanks to six years of advocacy by the We Need Diverse Books campaign. “There’s no excuse for the books in your classroom and…

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