January 31, 2017

Black History Month

Build the house on a strong foundation…

Carter G. Woodson is known as the father of Black History month with the initial event being held in February 1926 and was called Negro History Week. The week in February included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809) and Frederick Douglass (born in February 1818).  In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford asked Americans to "…honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”  

It’s a beautiful thing to learn about the many different contributions that African Americans gave to our country and the world.  However, it’s time to take that learning up a level and really delve into more complex issues that are addressing our nation.  I know it can difficult to do this with younger students but it can be done.  It helps if black history is incorporated throughout the year and not just one month.  This helps students realize that Black History is American History and it’s important to more than one group of people.

 Make sure to teach leaders as they relate to the time period in which they struggled.  It’s great to teach who Ruby Bridges is but you must also address the issue of Jim Crow and the era of segregation in which she lived.  It’s getting away from the “holidays and heroes” teaching.  Absorb students in seeing people along with concepts, issues, and themes.

Black history is not all about oppression and the fight for rights.   We don’t want to focus solely on racism and discrimination during Black History Month, however, these are important aspects of the black experience and it is critical to address.  It is an opportunity to celebrate those moments in which we overcame obstacles in order to succeed. 

So where do you start….

It starts with a good book! 

 Fill your classroom with a variety of African American literature that you have access to throughout the school year.   Books are excellent teaching tools that embrace our students’ diversity.  Make sure your selection doesn’t reinforce negative stereotypes.  Students want and need to see themselves in the literature we present in class.  It is a celebration of our culture and heritage. 

I hope you agree that black history should be taught throughout the curriculum, year round.  It’s how we can build racial and cultural understanding and that’s necessary if we are to survive and thrive as a nation. 

How do you teach Black History?

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January 3, 2017

Acts of Kindness!

I know that the holiday season is over and we have started the quest for a NEW everything!  A new body, a new mind, a new job, you name it, we want it!  Let's not leave the message of caring for others in this month of ME.  I'm going to give out this calendar and challenge my students to complete the task for the day.  I'm blessed in the fact that the majority of my students are kindhearted anyway.  However, I want them to keep that spirit of kindness and become aware of the feeling they get when they do something nice for someone else.  Try it with your class and let me know how these small acts of kindness transformed your students!!

January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

New beginnings and a fresh start!  
I always want to rebuild, rethink, refresh, and reinvent myself!  Actually, I don’t even wait until a new year to switch things up!  I’m constantly rearranging things in my life.  March is just as good as January to make changes.  However, the listiness (is that a word) in me would never pass up an opportunity to create a new To Do work of art.  Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but it’s true.  I stopped creating a yearly Vision Board and now I have a Vison Wall!  I add and move things around as the year goes by.  It’s a beautiful feeling to see ideas and goals come to fruition.  

Here are my top 5 to start off 2017.

      Complete the Daniel Fast   
This fast is great to jump start healthy eating habits.  It’s also great because the focus is not just about the food but renewing my relationship with God. 

 The Daniel Fast cheat sheet
The Daniel Fast Cheat Sheet

       Read a book a month 
I came across a 52 Week Book challenge and it was pretty cool, but I know I would not be able to keep up with that schedule.  I’ll just pick out one book a month to read.  I notice that I don’t read e-books as much as a hardcover book.  There is something about the feel of a book and the turning of pages that excites me.  I will continue to use my Kindle, but I think I will go back to paper books this year.

 The Alchemist
The Alchemist
Real Heroes 

         Count it all joy
I ended out the year looking for the positive in every situation.  Sometimes it was a struggle but I tried to find the silver lining in everything that happened.  I want to continue that this year.  It sounds cliché when you hear it’s not what happens to you but how you react, but it’s really true.  It helps to know that there is a bigger picture and things happen to grow my faith.  So I started saying, “Count it all joy”, when situations made me angry or when things did not go as planned. 

My happy place

      Pamper and Invest in self
We tend to confuse the two.  I want to be pampered but I need to invest in myself.  So this is the year of learning a new language (or maybe some phrases), learning more about blogging and creating digital products, examining my retirement options and savings plan.  I also want to take time to relax and enjoy myself this year.  Take in a movie, get a mani/pedi, indulge in a massage, or have my tresses twisted by a licensed hairdresser!!

        Make a monthly ‘What did I accomplish?’ list
I guess this would be the To Do list’s fraternal twin.  Sometimes I beat myself up because I feel like I didn’t accomplish the items on my To Do list.  I have to realize that there are steps to be taken in reaching the larger goals and many times I don’t itemize each action.  So when I complete a stroke to finishing the big picture, it gets lost.  Does that make sense?  I want to celebrate the baby steps and moves it takes to reach that higher goal. 

This is just a sample of my changes for 2017.  Now, let me get back to making lesson plans…winter break is coming to an end. 

What are your plans for this New Year?