Rethinking Red Ribbon Week

Thousands of elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation are gearing up to celebrate Red Ribbon Week with a classroom door decorating and photo contest. Other schools may use the extensive list of resources available at redribbon.org to take the annual event to deeper and perhaps more meaningful levels. But every October, I feel … Continue reading Rethinking Red Ribbon Week

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“We Can’t Vote, But You Can!”

Reflections on a Middle School Voter Registration Drive “Hello, ma’am! Are you registered to vote? Yes? Any recent changes? Address? Name? You can also change your political party.” This became the unofficial script for my 8th grade civics students spending September afternoons in front of a Save-A-Lot grocery store in Del City, Oklahoma. But the … Continue reading “We Can’t Vote, But You Can!”

The Educational Value of Wikipedia in the Age of Fake News

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a middle school student say that another teacher told them Wikipedia was not a reliable source, “I would be making money in a very weird way” (to put it in the words of the late comedian, Mitch Hedberg). When Wikipedia came along in 2001, … Continue reading The Educational Value of Wikipedia in the Age of Fake News

Dos and Don’ts of Teaching American Slavery (for White Educators)

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Teaching Tolerance recently released a report entitled, “Teaching Hard History: American Slavery.” It is essential reading for all teachers; all subjects and all grade levels. The companion podcast series of the same name is equally valuable for educators. For U.S history teachers, like myself, that teach American slavery as … Continue reading Dos and Don’ts of Teaching American Slavery (for White Educators)

Colonial Days and the Erasure of American Slavery

Of the four core subjects (social studies, science, language arts, and math), social studies is no doubt the subject with the reputation for having the most potential to be boring. The lifeless history class taught by the uninterested male coach is the cliché that every social studies teacher must work hard to avoid. Then there … Continue reading Colonial Days and the Erasure of American Slavery

There are 30 days of school between MLK Day and the anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder. Here are 30 black lives to celebrate on those days.

Day 1: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 Garrison Frazier was an enslaved minister who purchased his own freedom and that of his wife around 1857. Frazier was the leader of a group of twenty black community members who met with Union army general William Tecumseh Sherman in Savannah, Georgia in 1865. Frazier explained to Sherman that … Continue reading There are 30 days of school between MLK Day and the anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder. Here are 30 black lives to celebrate on those days.

Political Teaching – Part I

Teaching is an inherently political vocation. Every teacher, without exception, is a conduit for multiple political agendas. The Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) are the political agenda of the Oklahoma State Department of Education, with direct oversight from the Oklahoma Legislature. To be fair, for the most part, the OAS were created with input from actual … Continue reading Political Teaching – Part I

Donald Trump is President, and I am a Public School Teacher

(In my classroom, I rarely speak his name, so forgive me for repeating it here.) Donald Trump is president, and I am a public school teacher. Let that sink in for a moment… Now, allow me to explain. Donald Trump is president, and I teach my students that ridiculing people with disabilities is a sign … Continue reading Donald Trump is President, and I am a Public School Teacher

Social Justice Teaching in the Content Area

Even in the reddest of states like Oklahoma, public education still bends toward progress. It has been this way from the beginning. Educators know it. The people at Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) and Choice Remarks certainly know it. The so called “liberal agenda” of public schools is one of the favorite talking points … Continue reading Social Justice Teaching in the Content Area