What Teachers Need to Know About the “Alt-Right”

Looking to learn more about the “Alt-Right”? Teaching Tolerance held a webinar recently that is excellent for those of you trying to get a grasp of what the “alt-right’ is as well as what you can be doing in your classroom in regards to this group. You can access the webinar via the Teaching Tolerance website at: What Teachers Need to Know about the “Alt-Right” As a bonus, you do get a certificate to print out certifying your participation. Ask your administration in advance if it can count toward your continuing education credits. In addition, before attending to the webinar, I would highly recommend reading: What is the “Alt-Right”?: White nationalism has come out of the basement and entered the mainstream. Would you recognize it if it came to your classroom? (Issue 57, Fall 2017) By Cory Collins This is the article that spurred the creation of the webinar and is highly useful information going into your learning session. The webinar will also give you all the additional resources but I have linked them here as well: Examining Your School’s Climate Shifting Out of Neutral: A history teacher leaves the struggle for objectivity behind. (Issue 52, Spring 2016) By Jonathan Gold 20 Face to Face […]

Quality Resource: TED Radio Hour

Do you listen to NPR? Have you listened to the TED Radio Hour? Have your students? Well, this program (along with many, many others) make for a great addition to middle and high school classrooms. If you’re looking for a new homeroom activity, one focusing on current events, or many other topics. Check out the website for archived audio. Then, use the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) website if you want to watch an entire TED talk. Students, just like you, love listening to stories and learning from others (especially when they are experts in their fields). Just make sure to listen to the content first before sharing! For one of my recent favorite episodes, check out: Rethinking School Happy listening! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Teaching about Black Lives Matter

Following up on the previous post about The Hate U Give and text complexity, I wanted to share a few resources I recently came across thanks to Teaching Tolerance. The first gives a history of the beginning, information on the hashtag, myths, criticisms, and a perspective on “All Lives Matter.” The second article gives elementary applications, middle school approaches, and teaching about Black Lives Matter in a High School. But enough of me telling you…read them for yourselves and share with anyone and everyone who may benefit from them: Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters: Part 1 (Issue 56, Summer 2017, by Jamilah Pitts) An excerpt from Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters: “Not all of us are like Thompson; the students who sit in front of us daily are not always directly affected by the killing of unarmed black people or any of the other injustices that plague our nation. But as teachers who function as caretakers, truth-seekers and advocates of justice, we can acknowledge how the threat of justice in one community is, to borrow from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a threat to justice in every community. We have a civic responsibility to be educated about Black Lives Matter and, as […]

The Hate U Give

Ever since I finished The Hate U Give, I’ve been meaning to write a post about it. This is an important novel recommended for 8th graders through adults. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, is a complex, relevant novel about 16-year-old Starr Carter who is living in two worlds…her home neighborhood of Garden Heights (mostly Black) and her school neighborhood at Williamson Prep (mostly White). Mimicking contemporary society, Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of unarmed Khalil, her childhood friend, by a white police officer. The media explodes however both the police and journalists lack the information necessary to give an honest portrayal of Khalil. Starr needs to decide if and how she will stand up against the systemic racism present in her life. Grounded in family, friendship, reality, humor, and enjoyable nods to Harry Potter, Angie Thomas gives readers an intimate look into an all-too-familiar reality for far-too-many Americans. Read the book and check out a few interviews with the author: NPR Interview School Library Journal Interview HarperStacks Interview The Booklist Reader After reading, I used TeachingBooks to see the Lexile level and what other resources were available to connect to the text. It may or may not surprise you to learn […]

Quality Resource: CCBlogC

This is not the first time I’ve referenced the CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center), nor will it be the last; however, this is the first time I’m highlighting CCBlogC. The CCBlogC is a blog showcasing “Observations about books for children and teens from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center.” It is hosted by the CCBC librarians and is filled with reviews of newly released literature. Check it out if you’re looking to stay informed about great books that have recently been published. The latest book-of-the-week highlights The Lost Kitten, a picture book; meanwhile, a recent favorite of mine they highlighted the first week of August was The First Rule of Punk, a book for the middle grades (ages 9-12). Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

When you realize classic books are racist

PBS recently aired a clip of Grace Lin talking about: What to do when you realize classic books from your childhood are racist  There are SO many books that fall into this category and many times people don’t even think about it because the book is so familiar and beloved to them. Next time you’re reading books from your childhood, or even earlier in time, take a critical eye and evaluate the words AND illustrations contained within the story. You have the freedom to read what you choose. Please, please, take the time to discuss the topics within these classic stories with the people in your life. If you’re interested in more resources of how to talk about these issues please email me, happy reading! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Quality Resource: American Indians in Children’s Literature

American Indians in Children’s Literature is a blog that is maintained by the amazing Debbie Reese. Her site is full of highly useful information regarding children’s literature that is by or about American Indians. She started the blog in 2006 and since then has become a go-to source for many librarians and educators when it comes to the evaluation of books including American Indians (or representations of sovereign nations and peoples). Some highlights of the resources you will find while visiting AICL include: Best Books Native Writers, Illustrators, Scholars, Activists…on Twitter Revisions to Racism in Books Books that Reference Racist Classics Plus, I even made her blog back in 2013 thanks to Debbie video-chatting with our Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (TLAM) class at the Information School @ the University of Wisconsin – Madison with the post, Indigenous Knowledge and Children’s Literature. Have a wonderful day and happy reading! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Quality Resource: The Climate Reality Project

The Climate Reality Project began in 2006 when, “Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore got the world talking about climate change with the Academy Award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth. It was just the beginning of a climate revolution, and later that year, he founded The Climate Reality Project to move the conversation forward and turn awareness into action. The Climate Reality Project is a diverse group of passionate individuals who have come together to solve the greatest challenge of our time. We are cultural leaders, organizers, scientists, and storytellers, and we are committed to building a better future together.” The mission: To catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society. The wonderful part about this project is that it completely relies on you, and me! The resources available will assist you in learning what you need to know in order to go out and education your friends, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, elected officials, and anyone else you’re approaching. You can download the “Truth in Ten” slideshow as well as the “Make it a Reality: Action Kit” at: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/  Finally, I’ll have a learning guide ready focused on […]

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Last weekend I was able to watch An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power complete with a panel afterwards that even included Al Gore himself! I appreciated the story grounded in truth, hope, and possibility, as well as the cinematography of the film itself. We all need to fight like our world depends on it, because it does. Though this documentary is a follow-up to the 2006 An Inconvenient Truth, it is its own story. As in, the prior film is not required viewing before watching this latest installment; however, I would of course recommend both of them to see what has happened in just the last 10 years. In terms of learning… Pairing An Inconvenient Sequel (2017) with Before the Flood (2016) would make for some amazing discussions and creative future planning within any middle school, high school, or adult learning group. Both of these documentaries have wonderful resources via their websites (linked below). In addition, I’m working on a learning guide that will incorporate both films that should be ready soon! Please email me if you’re interested in its progress. Check out these website resources to learn more about our climate and what you can do: Climate Reality Project (An Inconvenient Sequel) – https://www.climaterealityproject.org/  Before the Flood […]

Wind River

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Wind River complete with a panel after the screening that included Gil Birmingham (actor), Jeremy Renner (actor), Elizabeth Olsen (actor), and Matthew George (producer). I didn’t really know what to think coming into the movie other than the fact that it was from the same writer as Hell or High Water. This was definitely one of the most memorable movies I’ve seen recently and truly hope it receives nominations for Academy awards. Moreover, I couldn’t help but think of the movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner as I left the theater. Congrats to writer Taylor Sheridan on integrating so much into one cohesive story line. One of the central issues within the film is murdered and missing Native women. This is an issue far too few people are even aware of here in the United States but is none the less ever present. Some of the articles  and resources I’ve found helpful include: ‘Sing Our Rivers Red’ March Casts New Light on Intergenerational Crisis from April 5, 2016 ‘We All Know Someone’: Tribal Community, Advocates Seek to Honor Missing and Murdered Native American Women from March 21, 2017 National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Native Women and […]