On March 14, 2019, eight D.C. teachers reminded everyone of the joys of teaching with moving stories from their classrooms. The event was organized by Stories from Our Classrooms alumni and held in the American Poetry Museum in the Brookland neighborhood of D.C. The space was filled to standing room only with fellow teachers, family members, and other guests including a representative from the National Gallery of Art and two representatives from Southern Echo in Mississippi. Read more.
The Tellin’ Stories Race, Equity, and Family Engagement Summer Institutes will teach participants to apply an asset-based lens to family engagement that is grounded in popular education, community organizing, racial equity, and family engagement research. The summer institutes are based on the yearlong Tellin’ Stories Race, Equity, and Family Engagement Seminar and draw from research and in-school experience. Read more and apply.
We are proud to announce the launch of the Story of the Virginia Interscholastic Association (VIA) website. From 1954-1970, the VIA provided athletic, art, academic, and leadership opportunities for African-American high school students in Virginia. The story of the VIA is the inspiring story of African-American parents, educators, and schools working together to provide enriching extracurricular opportunities for students despite racial, social and economic barriers. Read more.
In honor of Women’s History Month, each day Social Justice Books is featuring a children’s book we recommend to highlight grassroots women’s history in the United States. Read more.
On the last day of Black History Month, children at a predominantly African American elementary school in D.C. were each given a book to keep. The title given to the daughter of one of our Teaching for Change staff was If You Lived in Colonial Times (Scholastic, 1992). While this outrageous book all but erases African Americans and demonizes Native Americans, it ironically came along with an “I am Black History” bookmark. Here is our critique of the book. (We could also critique the assumption… Read more.
The range and depth of Nqobile Mthethwa’s contributions to our work in the D.C. metro area and nationally have been enormous. As she leaves to do refugee work this spring, we express our heartfelt appreciation for her dedication, wisdom, creativity, and hard work. Nqobile’s fellowship coincided with the launch of new initiatives at Teaching for Change and the Zinn Education Project. Therefore, she not only stepped into the daily work, but she also helped shape it. Here is a brief outline of just a few… Read more.
From February 4-8, 2019, Teaching for Change’s D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, D.C. area educators, and community members collaborated on the D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. About 400 pre-K to 12 teachers from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia participated. Read stories from their classrooms.
On December 15, 2018, Teaching for Change joined an important dialogue about representation in children’s literature on-stage at the Oprah Winfrey Theater in the National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The museum’s Early Childhood Education Initiative collaborated with the events department to celebrate the re-release of James Baldwin’s only children’s book Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood. Baldwin based the work on his nephew and niece… Read more.
We are pleased to share selected highlights from Teaching for Change’s work in 2018. Our work is made possible by the ongoing support of allies like you. Help us deepen our impact by sharing these stories (as well as our resources for parents and teachers) as we continue building social justice, starting in the classroom. Read more.
Sir Ken Robinson is the internationally acclaimed educator and author who caught the attention of many with a viral video that illustrated his 2014 TED Talk, “Changing Education Paradigms.” Robinson has continued to write and speak about the challenges and opportunities in education since then, and in 2018 published a new book that focuses on how families can support their children’s success. His latest title with co-author Lou Aronica, You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education… Read more.
This summer, Teaching for Change was proud to partner with a team of scholars, veterans, and educators from the Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Tougaloo College on a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Teacher Institute, The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives from 1940-1980. Journalist Melinda Anderson spent several days at the Institute. Her article, “A Better Way to Teach the Civil Rights Movement,” was just published by Edutopia… Read more.
Alison Kysia, project director of “Islamophobia: A people’s history teaching guide,” was invited to present at Morgan State University’s Faculty Institute in Baltimore, MD on August 9, 2018. She shared the interactive lesson on “Black Muslims in the United States: An Introductory Activity” with 175 educators and discussed ways that participatory pedagogies like the meet-and-greet can create more inclusive classrooms. Later in the month, she was in Iowa where she piloted the “What is Islamophobia?… Read more.
In this new school year, we express our profound appreciation to Faye Colon for her work with Teaching for Change where she was the founding coordinator for the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice. We also welcome new staff members Rosalie Reyes and Rachel Mehl. Faye Colon joined the Teaching for Change team in late spring of 2017. She and her family relocated to New York in the summer of 2018. In her one year on the Teaching for Change staff, she did an amazing job in establishing, nurturing… Read more.
This summer, Teaching for Change was proud to partner with a team of scholars, veterans, and educators from the Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Tougaloo College on a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Teacher Institute, The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives from 1940-1980. Thirty classroom teachers were selected from across the country to study the bottom-up history of the Civil Rights Movement, addressing key narratives that challenge… Read more.
On our one year anniversary, we share highlights from our accomplishments. In the spring of 2017, Teaching for Change contacted social justice educator networks from around the country to collect ideas about what they did and how they were organized. We then held focus groups to explore those ideas and shape the vision for the DC Area Educators for Social Justice and formed an advisory group. Faye Colon led this inaugural year of establishing, nurturing, and documenting the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice. Read more.
Many years ago, as the author of Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children, I was invited to serve on an advisory board for Scholastic to help them produce books for young children that accurately and respectfully depicted the many forms of diversity in our country. With the publication of President Donald Trump, Scholastic is not honoring their earlier commitment to diversity. For example, Trump’s campaign promise of “a better future for his supporters” actually meant… Read more.
Earlier this month we published critical reviews of the Scholastic books for early and upper elementary students about the election of President Trump. Both books present Trump’s life and the election in a celebratory tone, as summarized by this poem in the book for first and second grade. More than 800 educators, parents, librarians, and concerned citizens took action by writing to Scholastic, demanding they recall the book and publish an accurate and age-appropriate biography of Donald Trump… Read more.
To encourage the teaching of grassroots organizing during the Civil Rights Movement – lessons that can inform student activism today – we want to publish a new print edition of Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching this year. Timothy Jenkins, a Teaching for Change Board member and SNCC veteran, has offered to match any donations up to $10,000 in honor of fellow SNCC veteran Chuck McDew (1938-2018). Read more.
This blog is being maintained by Kathy Nganga and Sarah Cornelius to document the work and insights of the 2018 summer interns. Read more.
Alison Kysia, project director of Teaching for Change’s “Islamophobia: A people’s history teaching guide,” will be presenting at two upcoming conferences. She will present “Black Muslims in the United States: An Introductory Activity” from 1:45-3:15pm on Saturday, May 5th at the 9th Annual Teacher Action Group (TAG) Education for Liberation Conference in Philadelphia, PA. The conference, titled “Connecting the Dots: Building Solidarity to Transform our City and Schools,” seeks to explore… Read more.
The new children’s book Islandborn by Junot Díaz tells the story of a young girl, Lola, who learns from family and friends about the island where she was born. The island is not named in the book, but readers can deduce that the story is based on the history of the Dominican Republic. “Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else,” the book opens. “Hers was the school of faraway places.” Lola was brought to the United States as a baby, therefore she has no memories from the island… Read more.
Roving Readers, one of our Tellin’ Stories signature activities, creates a space for parents of a variety of cultures to come together and read stories in their children’s classrooms. On March 9, at Thomson Elementary School (DCPS), a group of eight parents read to both of the second-grade classes. The school is in the Chinatown neighborhood of northwest D.C. We read Drum Dream Girl, by Margarita Engle, based on the true story of the first female drummer in Cuba. It was a fitting choice for Women’s History Month… Read more.
The D.C. Area Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools gave a powerful start to Black History Month in classrooms across the Washington, D.C. area. Pre-K — 12th grade teachers in more than 100 schools taught lessons about structural racism, intersectional Black identities, and Black history. D.C. was one of many cities across the country that participated in the national Black Lives Matter Week of Action in our Schools from February 5–10, 2018. The three key demands issued… Read more.
Professor Ibram Kendi led a powerful conversation about the history of racist ideas with nearly 200 D.C. area educators on January 17, 2018. The book talk with Dr. Kendi was organized by D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, a project of Teaching for Change, and co-sponsored by the DCPS Secondary Literacy Team and the Washington Teachers’ Union. Dr. Kendi is an award-winning scholar of racism and antiracism and a best-selling author. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History… Read more.
A beautiful archival website is now online about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The site, called the SNCC Digital Gateway, provides a comprehensive, student-friendly archive of the history of SNCC. It was produced by the SNCC Legacy Project, Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke University Libraries. eaching for Change is working with Duke University and the SNCC Legacy Project to collect stories from experienced teachers about ways to use the SNCC Digital Gateway… Read more.
We are pleased to share highlights from Teaching for Change’s work in 2017. This is just a small window into our accomplishments. We encourage you to read below and follow the links to read about our work. Our success is made possible by the ongoing support of allies like you. Help us deepen our impact by sharing these stories (as well as our resources for parents and teachers) as we continue building social justice, starting in the classroom. Read more.
The Food Justice Youth Summit is an all-day event in which DC youth lead workshops focusing on issues of food justice. This event provides youth with the opportunity to share their research, ideas, and recommendations on food justice issues as they work with other youth and food justice activists to build a citywide movement for sustainable food systems. This year, the fourth annual Food Justice Youth Summit will take place on March 22, 2018 (11am-3pm) at the University of the District of Columbia. Here are ways… Read more.
Teaching for Change is proud to partner with a collaborative team of scholars, veterans, and educators from Duke, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Tougaloo College on a NEH Teacher Summer Institute: Beyond the Master Narrative of the Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Activism from 1940-1980. Participants (classroom teachers in grades 7-12) will learn the bottom-up history of the Civil Rights Movement and receive resources and strategies to bring it home to their students. Read more.
On December 1, 2017, Teaching for Change and the SNCC Legacy Project offered a workshop for 11th grade language arts and social studies teachers on the central role of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the Civil Rights Movement. The workshop was hosted by the DCPS Division of Secondary Literacy in the Office of Teaching and Learning for teachers from across the city during a professional development day at Eastern Senior High School. Read more.
Last year, educators in Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester and elsewhere engaged in a Black Lives Matter Week of action that centered around educating their school communities about the 13 guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter movement. The actions and education took place both inside and outside the classroom. This year D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice and hopefully many more D.C. area organizations are organizing a Black Lives Matter Week of Action in our communities. Read more.
Caribbean Connections: Puerto Rico introduces students to the history, geography, identity, government, economy, environment, and culture of Puerto Rico through essays, poetry, fiction, and timelines. See Table of Contents below. The second edition of our book Caribbean Connections: Puerto Rico has been out of print and unavailable since 2006. In light of the current crisis on the island after Hurricane Maria, Teaching for Change is seeking to place the book online for free download… Read more.
For Latinx Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we encourage educators to address topics that are often left out of the textbook. In particular, we encourage educators to explore and teach about Central America. Central America is too-often portrayed as simply a strip of land on a map connecting North and South America. Students are left to imagine that their Central American heritage, or that of their peers, is insignificant. Here are some of the comments we have received from teachers about the impact… Read more.
Approximately 20 teachers (and ASL interpreters) from across the D.C. metro area met at the Teaching for Change office on Saturday, September 9 to share teaching and activism strategies in response to the repeal of DACA. The event was organized by the new network, D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, and facilitated by Faye Colon. The convening began with participants using a tool to explore their personal connections to DACA to meet each other. Educators then explored curriculum ideas… Read more.
Students from several D.C. area high schools gathered in front of Trump International Hotel on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 to defend DACA. From 9th-12th graders, hundreds stood outside chanting “Let them dream” and “DACA students are here to stay.” The students came from Emerson Preparatory School, McKinley Technology High School, Bell Multicultural High School, Woodrow Wilson High School, Edmund Burke School, and more. Read more.
Scholastic News’ coverage of Hurricane Harvey says that the storm has acted “strangely,” but doesn’t mention even one word about climate change nor the extensive unregulated development that have contributed to the devastating crisis in Houston. Tell Scholastic our children deserve to know the truth about the weather as part of the #StepUpScholastic campaign. Also missing from the story are any references to the impact of immigration status, racism, and poverty on people’s options for safety and support… Read more.
“What should I say about Charlottesville?” It’s the burning question on every teacher’s mind as the new school year gets underway. On Twitter, users add lessons and resources to the #CharlottesvilleSyllabus and
#CharlottesvilleCurriculum pages; everything from identity charts to readings on the history of white supremacy to conflict resolution activities. It’s all good stuff. What is needed is not just day-after or week-after lessons, but a chance to reexamine what children learn… Read more.
In June 2017, Teaching for Change presented two workshops at the National Family and Community Engagement Conference in San Francisco, Calif., in front of crowded audiences. Unpacking Race, Class, Privilege, and Power: Making the Case for Race and Equity Training explored the roots of systemic racism and made modern-day connections to how race, class, and equity issues intersect with family engagement. This session was designed to help administrators make… Read more.
In July 2017, fifteen middle and high school English and social studies teachers from across the state of Mississippi participated in a teaching institute at Tougaloo College (in the historic Woodworth Chapel) on the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi. Not only did teachers learn hidden history and interactive teaching strategies, they also built relationships among themselves to sustain and inform their teaching about the true history of the Civil Rights Movement. Modeled on the philosophy of the Mississippi… Read more.
When fifth grade Spanish literacy teacher Cesarina Pierre realized that her nearly two decades of teaching Caribbean students in New York City Public Schools would not fully translate to teaching Central American students in Washington D.C., she sought resources from Teaching for Change. Pierre asked Teaching for Change, a longtime partner at the school, to help her understand the unique experiences of Central American families. Read more.
In the spring of 2016, teachers in Salem, Massachusetts met after school to learn about the history and culture of their students from the Dominican Republic. The four part series of professional development workshops was so popular that it was offered again in 2017. Their core text for the workshops was Teaching for Change’s Caribbean Connections: The Dominican Republic. Former Salem principal Jo Sullivan donated 25 copies of the book in 2016, and the Salem Public Schools have ordered… Read more.
For summer reading, Teaching for Change encourages young people to select multicultural and social justice books. See our recommendations for new (2016 and 2017) titles. For many more suggestions, see our full collection of recommended booklists and the We’re the People summer reading list. Read more.
Chicago high school social studies teacher Greg Smith said, “When I used the Resistance 101 lesson, the students were more engaged than usual. Many commented on how they were surprised to have never heard about people who had made such an impact. It began a conversation about how people have power in a way the students didn’t realize.” This is one of dozens of comments we have received from teachers about the impact of using Teaching for Change’s Resistance 101 lesson. Read more.
On May 25, 2017, Teaching for Change hosted a policy convening called “Race, Class, and Family Engagement” to nurture dialogue between frontline pre-K through 8 educators and education policymakers and influencers. Educators from our DCPS partner schools shared their strategies for improving family engagement, and recommendations for disrupting racism and classism toward a goal of equity in schools. The policy convening was sponsored by the Communities for Just… Read more.
In the fall of 2016, twenty D.C. area teachers embarked on a journey to write about their work through a social justice lens. You are invited to join our end of year celebration. You will learn how the teachers deepened their own practice, created a powerful learning community, and wrote articles that will contribute to the all-too-scarce collection of published descriptions of classroom practice by teachers. This interactive celebration will include brief readings from each of the participants’ articles… Read more.
In January, we published a new lesson, “Resistance 101: A Lesson on Social Justice Activists and Strategies” to help introduce a history of resistance to injustice. We want to hear about your use of the lesson. In appreciation for your time, we will send you a free copy of your choice of Teaching for Change titles, Beyond Heroes and Holidays or Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching. Please submit your feedback to let us know the impact of using “Resistance 101” in the classroom. Read more.
Teaching for Change has developed a highly successful approach to family engagement which successfully addresses the limitations of a one-size fits all approach. Tellin’ Stories has been recognized by the Harvard Family Research Project’s National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group as one of the most effective approaches in the country for engaging traditionally marginalized parents (2010), and in the past several years has been written about in… Read more.
Flor Santos* is a regular at the monthly Parent-Principal Chit Chat at her son’s school, Thomson Elementary (DCPS), but this time was especially important. When she stopped by the parent center the previous week, she heard that Principal Carmen Shepherd was going to address parent concerns related to rising anti-immigrant sentiments, ICE raids, and what families should expect from the school (especially during school hours). The Chit Chat, a Tellin’ Stories signature activity, was held on a blustery… Read more.
We are pleased to announce that Teaching for Change has received a two-year grant from the Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF), a donor collaborative that supports community-led organizations working to ensure healthy school climates. Teaching for Change and Critical Exposure are the two DC grantees for CJSF’s place-based initiative. We will use our funding to launch a social justice teacher network in the D.C. metro area. Read more.