We know we’ve done something right when readers share their excitement for our books with the entire Internet. Amy Cheney, librarian at Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, is one of those excited readers: she made a video with other staff at the ACJJC, all explaining why they love Yummy and why it’s great for the kids they work with every day.
Jen Cullerton Johnson is an educator and the author of Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, a biography of biologist, environmentalist, and activist Wangari Maathai. We asked her to blog about ways teachers can bring awareness of nature and environmentalism into the classroom; here are her five key suggestions. We hope you find them useful, and of course, feel free to add your own suggestions and methods in comments!
Green teachers everywhere know that students can’t become stewards of the environment without hands-on interactions with nature. Describing the root system of plants puts third graders to sleep, but if you bring in several plants and allow the students to feel, see, and discuss, the room becomes atwitter with curiosity. Active learning impresses the mind. Passive learning depresses it. Green teachers facilitate a nature-based experience for their students. In each lesson they teach, in each interaction with their students, they look for ways to connect the environment with other subjects.
The odd and the beautiful are photos taken from the streets of New York City, our commutes, and our travels. Sometimes humorous, often times unusual, they offer a taste of life in the big city and beyond.
An old but good video this week, featuring a teacher who split classes—here a group of corrections officers being trained—into brown eyes and blue eyes and used that as the basis for (temporary) discrimination:
Most of the country looks poised for a hot weekend, so here are some pieces to read while you lurk in the air-conditioned splendor of indoors.
Hampton Stevens, guest blogging for Ta-Nahisi Coates, shares a story of a child trying to puzzle our increasingly globalized world, courtesy of the FIFA World Cup, and points to the communication issues inherent in terms like “African American.”
The oil spill in the Gulf has been all over the news lately, and, frustrating though the lack of progress has been, there have been many efforts to stem the oil geyser. What about oil spills that don’t have a large impact on Americans? The Times looks at the Niger River Delta, which has seen the equivalent of the Exxon-Valdez spill a year every year for fifty years, with little attempt at cleanup or attention to the disastrous effect on the area’s ecosystem or economic future.
Children become aware of gender, race, ethnicity, and disabilities before entering kindergarten. They form views at a young age, absorbing any bias or judgments from the adults in their life. It is important for parents to teach their children how to respect and appreciate others, creating a positive habit to take throughout their life.
Creating an environment for children to interact with kids from other backgrounds and cultures is important to their healthy development. It allows them to see the differences among each other and value them, instead of judging or turning away.
It’s starting to feel like summer, and that means summer movies! We start this week’s diversity linkup with a post from Feministing pointing out the whitewashing of Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan.
Speaking of beautiful women of color, the newly-crowned Miss USA is a Lebanese American immigrant, Rima Fakih! It’s not clear if she’s the first Arab American or the first immigrant to win, but it is a movement toward a society in which all little girls can dream of being crowned for their beauty. Of course, we’re not there yet.