Whether you're a teacher who's already back in school or one who's heading back soon, we hope this blog can serve as resource to you. Here are links to some stories that have caught our eye this month along with a look ahead at some upcoming notable events.
What can educators do to make English language learners (ELLs) and immigrant students feel welcome within the school community? Here are some of our most popular resources on the topic, along with related resources. We also include a list of organizations that have related lesson plans on race, civil rights, and immigration, as well as booklists for kids and teens and the latest lesson plans focused on recent events in Charlottesville, VA.
How should educators confront bigotry, racism and white supremacy? The incidents in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend pushed that question from history to current events.
Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post writes, "The 2017-2018 school year is getting started, and teachers nationwide should expect students to want to discuss what happened in Charlottesville as well as other expressions of racial and religious hatred in the country. While such discussions are often seen as politically charged and teachers like to steer clear of politics, these conversations are about fundamental American values, and age-appropriate ways of discussing hatred and tolerance in a diverse and vibrant democracy are as important as anything young people can learn in school. Civics education has taken a back seat to reading and math in recent years in 'the era of accountability,' but it is past time for it to take center stage again in America’s schools."
A common complaint among English-language-learner educators is that high-quality learning materials are hard to come by. The Council of the Great City Schools wants to do something about it. The council—which represents 70 of the nation's largest urban public school systems—has formed a purchasing consortium to encourage the production of better instructional materials for English-learners.
In this column, Margaret Renkl talks about her experiences volunteering in an ELL class at a public high school. She writes, "In the E.L. classroom, there's more to learn than language. During a unit on the Harlem Renaissance, I arrived to find a newly decorated bulletin board fashioned from an assignment modeled on Countee Cullen's 'Heritage.' The poem begins, 'What is Africa to me?' The students' own poems were titled 'What Is Myanmar to Me?' ('Spicy foods, we’ll take seconds, please'), and 'What Is Zambia to Me?' ('I can feel the hot weather in my body/A beautiful sun outside on my face'), and 'What is Mexico to Me?' (I'm like a flame,/Waiting to go back again') — on and on and on. I stood before that bulletin board with my back turned to hide my tears, and I read every poem."
When Bao Bao left the National Zoo for China, thousands of fans showed up in February to bid the giant panda adieu. To Kyree Cox, who had grown to love the spunky bear during Bao Bao’s three and half years in Washington, it felt like saying goodbye to a childhood friend. "I thought, after they took her, 'She's going to be gone forever. Why?'" the 18-year-old D.C. student said. But last month Cox found himself in an unlikely position: on the other side of the globe, staring into the majestic animal's eyes again. This time, he was her caretaker.
April Salazar longs to make her Grandma Alice's tortillas with her daughter. It is the same tortilla recipe her grandmother's mother made in Baja California and later in Tucson, Arizona, after she fled the Mexican Revolution. There's just one problem: she needs the stars to align… and the cooperation of her two-year-old daughter.
Nearly every weekday during the summer break, a giant truck from the Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha, Neb., loads up hot meals and heads out into the community. The goal is to help feed children who would normally get free and reduced-price meals during the school year. It's one of 50,000 programs nationwide providing summer meals to children. Public school districts, parks departments, public libraries, and YMCAs are among the entities that help provide summer feeding programs. But there is still a huge hunger gap during the months when school is out.
The Justice Department said Wednesday it had no broad plans to investigate whether college and university admission programs discriminate against students based on race, seeking to defray worries that a job posting signaled an effort to reverse course on affirmative action. News reports of the posting inflamed advocacy groups that believed it would lead to legal action against universities for not admitting white students over minorities with similar qualifications. But a day after The New York Times reported the department was seeking current attorneys interested in "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions," the Justice Department said the job ad was related to just one complaint.