- How can we help students see how forces within their control help determine their social identities?
- How can we help students see how forces beyond their control help determine their social identities?
- What are the larger “systems” at play here and how do those systems drive students’ identities and cultural literacies?
Concepts and Key Terms
- Archive: noun a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people:
- Archive: verb place or store (something) in an archive
As noted by Racial Equality Tools, “the lack of a common understanding of even the most frequently used words in any discussion on race can easily cause misunderstanding and confusion, and often lead to controversy and hostility.” This glossary is probably the most important first step in helping students and teachers become comfortable discussing race in the classroom.
Materials and Resources
- This idea is modeled on a Library of Congress lesson plan.
- Mrs. Hudak’s archive:
- Michael Jackson and Roberta Flack sing “When We Grow Up” in the Marlo Thomas project, “Free to Be You and Me.”
- Instead of ignoring the controversial issues that emerge from discussions of gender, race, and sexuality, my friend and former colleague John Gaughan addresses these issues head on in the literature and writing he assigns. This is the kind of teaching Gaughan advocates in Reinventing English—teaching that occurs in the contact zone.
- Alix and Lulu from NPR’s Invisibilia podcast examine how categories define us — how, if given a chance, humans will jump into one category or another. People need them, want them. This show looks at what categories provide for us.
- Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers writes a thoughtful and considered opinion on the Confederate flag.
- What is privilege? This Buzzfeed video helps make it visible.
- Are comics like Amy Schumer responsible for being culturally sensitive, or is it OK to just be funny?
- “Fascinated by the evolution of identity, the photographer Cyjo, who styles her name CYJO, has created a series of portraits that examines how race, ethnicity, and heritage contextualize a person as an individual, and how they coexist within the framework of a family”
- Jay Smooth of Moving the Race Conversation Forward in a brief but concise discussion of how talking about race productively means talking about systems, not individuals.
- Cultural appropriation made visible in an art installation.
- Why is the information about this civil rights pioneer so sparse? If the Smithsonian can’t find it, it’s not out there, right? Thoughts?
- Students in a NC school district are asked to help create a more culturally sensitive classrooms throughout the district, with statistically significant results.
- A new research-based book for teachers to become more comfortable talking about race in class. Includes classroom ideas and exercises.
- A writing assignment that considers goal-setting and identity in direct ways that resulted in greatly minimizing achievement gaps in one study.
- A film and study guide that “uses Hawaiian polyculturalism as a model for a diverse world”
- Additional texts from Asian American seminar: The Grace Lee Project, Grave Goods, Off the Menu, “Chinese New Year,”
- Elements of Poetry: analysis
- Elements of Poetry: writing
- Narrative/personal writing
- Peer evaluation and feedback
- Research skills
- “Reading” images as text
- Primary sources
- Business/professional letter writing
- Grammar skills
Sample Assessments/Activities and Skills Targeted
- Annotation checks (Analysis)
- Think/pair/share (Communication)
- Class discussion (Communication)
- Round table (Harkness-based) discussion (Communication)
- Formal presentations (Analysis, Synthesis, and Communication)
- Informal presentations (Analysis, Synthesis, and Communication)
- Using vocabulary in context (Synthesis)
- Vocabulary recognition (Identification)
- Grammar recognition (Identification)
- Timed critical analysis (Analysis)
- Personal portfolio (Analysis and Synthesis)
- Formative assessments (ongoing—various)