Find Five Student Activists Across the Country…

Student Activism (happening right now!)

Gun Control in Indiana…

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2019/03/02/march-for-our-lives-protest-indianapolis-indiana-statehouse-background-checks-gun-purchases/3038888002/

Mental Health Support in Arizona…

https://tucson.com/news/local/student-activists-take-fight-to-improve-schools-mental-health-interventions/article_16e71f1d-1bae-51b7-8a82-96d7e547d01a.html

Students in Colorado decide to support their teachers’ fight for fair pay…

https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2019/02/07/denver-teachers-strike-student-activists-letters-student-activists/

Students Fight for More a More Diverse Teaching Population in New York…

http://gothamist.com/2019/02/11/school_diversity_protest.php

Teen Vogue reflects on the change in youth activism since Parkland…

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/youth-activism-changed-the-country-in-the-year-since-parkland



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My Letter to the World: A Necessary Push for Mental Health Support and Education

It was my freshman year of college and I already knew what I wanted to do: teach in urban education. I was part of an urban public high school and it was this diversity that brought me to life. I felt that I learned so much about the world just from my classmates. I am now in my seventh year teaching eighth grade in the very school district I attended. The strength of the diverse community is still strong, but we need to support it correctly. I stand behind the belief that we need more mental health support in our middle school. Because of this, I have written a letter to the world. To capture my organic thoughts, I took to pen and paper. Here is my message:


I think about these things constantly in my career. We as a school have spent hours of trainings and meeting studying trauma and its effects on our students. Yet, our two guidance counselors are left with the task of tending to 800 students, as well as manage scheduling, plan conferences, and cover classes when no subs are available. How can we make this world better for our kids? We need to shift our focus. Now.

Here are some helpful sources:

This video breaks down the concept of ACEs and what we can do…

Pose, Wobble, Flow

How can a teacher go from posing a challenge for herself and her students to then wobbling through the growing pains and processes to finally feel a steady, productive flow to the learning experience?  This book (one I have read and analyzed over this year) teaches about the free falling feeling that comes with teaching. As educators, we can plan for hours and that lesson could have no effect on our classroom. It could show signs of potential.  And it is easiest to give up and start new, but then are we really challenging ourselves as teachers?

This week in my field, I only had two full instructional days with my students.  I suffered through some sort of stomach bug that ravaged my lesson plans for the week.  This was coupled with a snow day on Wednesday and a Curriculum Writing day on Thursday. Simultaneously, I am co-directing our school’s theatrical production of Mulan which takes place in one week! Too many things!! In Pose, Wobble, Flow, the authors promote many different metaphors for teachers.  When a teacher attempts to build relationships, craft culturally-responsive curriculum, and aid students in their journey to well-rounded human being, we definitely wobble!  

Part of the struggle I feel as an educator is that we hold a tremendous amount of responsibilities.  It is a challenge to build relationships and deep-thinking skills and collaborative discussion techniques.

I will continue to update this post as I have more time in my classroom. I will miss 2 ½ more days of instruction this week due to musical rehearsals, performances and a field trip!

Searching for 7 Sunday

  1. This connects with my idea for Stance by allowing students to bounce ideas off of each other VoiceThread.com
  2. Awesome video forum for students that is a pivotal tool for instruction Flipgrid.com/
  3. A Wonderful Example of Using the Maker Movement to also inspire community action https://yr.media/interactive/jersey-city-gentrification-illustrated-teens/
  4. A Concise Formula for Designing Virtual Discussion Forums https://dschool-old.stanford.edu/groups/k12/wiki/17cff/Steps_in_a_Design_Thinking_Process.html
  5. The Inspiration behind my app idea, Stance https://www.allsides.com/unbiased-balanced-news
  6. A Nice Little ‘How To’ for Online Discussion Facilitators https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/why-demand-originality-from-students-in-online-discussion-forums/
  7. History Teacher + Maker Movement = Historical Re-Enactments https://www.envisionexperience.com/blog/how-to-make-history-come-alive

Stance: A Vision of Political Stepping Stones

Name of App:  Stance

App Motto: A Collaborative Political Forum for Students

This app is on that fosters the importance of studying politics from a variety of perspectives.  It also makes sure to prepare a facilitator-monitored tolerant, respectful discussion community. My inspiration comes from my teacher-centered interest in a website called AllSides.com.  This app uses a site like  AllSides.com to generate topics, but it is the teacher’s responsibility to assign discussions to students.  The teacher chooses a topic of discussion and provides students with a wide range of articles, spanning the political spectrum.  Students are instructed to read a number of viewpoint articles and then comment on their own personal stance in the discussion board.  The teacher can then facilitate discussion among students. Each student would have a log-in, like google classroom or canvas. While in this forum, the teacher can provide students the option of posting anonymously to the sites.  There will require a vast amount of teacher modeling and monitoring to assure a tolerant, respectful discussion environment. Laying ground rules and establishing a respectful, comfortable classroom community is essential.

Searching for 7 Sunday

For this week’s list, I tried to find sources that were closely related to my subject area so that I can attempt to add more play in my middle school history classroom.  I also spent time researching the benefits of constructionist gaming because I personally find it as a creative outlet for myself. I wondered how others thought of it. Lastly, I tapped in to my own experiences in the roleplaying world during my adolescents.  I was a competitive member of my high school’s DECA program, a club where students act out varying careers in business. Today, I teach in the same school district from which I graduated. I encourage my own students to take part in DECA, and it is delightful to see them achieving in the club via NAHS Twitter.  I am a proud alumni!

Roleplay in the History Classroom

Constructionist Gaming

The Power of Teams

Six Reasons Why Team Sports are Good for your Health, Forbes Magazine https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/03/21/six-reasons-why-team-sports-are-good-for-your-health/#5e58334c6e25

Competitive Roleplay

– 6-7. DECA for high school students https://www.decadirect.org/2018/11/09/deca-role-play-roadmap/

– NAHS DECA on Twitter  https://twitter.com/nahsdeca


The Celebration Feast

My mother turns 70 years old today.  To say she hates celebrations would be a grand understatement.  For weeks now, she would not tell us how she wanted to celebrate, and as of last week, she ordered me to never ask again.  The truth is, she deserves a superb celebration, but something low key and meaningful. I decided I would cook us a feast. Now, I was raised in a house where my father cooked all day, every day.  It was his passion. I have an underlying skill set, but it is surely out of practice. Yesterday morning, I had a coffee date with my new cookbook, Joanna Gaines’ “Magnolia Table” and built the following (ambitious) menu:

  • Roasted Cauliflower Soup
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts with salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar (my own creation)
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Meatloaf

This was most definitely my “Play of the Week.”  In reading our Monday Post, I really wanted to try to challenge myself.  I teach my students to “step out of their comfort zone,” but how often do we do that as adults?  I knew there was only one attitude to take: calm and collected. I braved the aisles of the grocery store on a Saturday at noon.  Though one could see this as a mistake, I chose to view it as just a more challenging level in my “Play of the Week.” I used my carefully-organized grocery list and navigated my way to my items and then to the checkout line.  Off to the kitchen we went, and the real craziness began.

Dinner was planned for 7:30 PM.  I had other work to do and did not begin until 5:15 PM.  I had a little more than two hours to prepare the menu. The first task was to create an easily accessible inventory of necessary tools, pots, and pans  I then started prep work for the soup, meatloaf, and potatoes: chopping, roasting, measuring, preheating. I then made those three items simultaneously, because they required the same amount of prep and cooking time. This I had never done before.  It felt like trying to conduct an orchestra of varying instruments. My efforts to clean as I went, diminished within the first 45 minutes. Thankfully, my husband stepped in as lead dishwasher. Brussel Sprouts came last, and I enjoyed the element of improvisation they brought. The other recipes required exactness.  

Thankfully, the food turned out okay! Clearly, it was a miracle.  My mom loved it and my husband even ate the vegetables. I accredit the recipe’s success to my careful measuring of ingredients, my precise heating and timing, and my choosy selection of ingredients.  What I found most challenging was keeping clean as I went. When one cooks a singular recipe, cleaning is simple. When there are four recipes in rotation, it is in no way simple to keep clean! I am so glad I challenged myself  because it built my confidence to cook again! This “Play” was engaging and purposeful. I was actually fighting through a challenge to produce a result — celebrating my mother’s 70th birthday. It is so important for children, adolescents, and adults to take time to “play”.  Experiencing challenge, failures, and triumphs brings out our truest selves.