Discussing racism with students requires thoughtful sensitivity and an awareness of the differences between the students, as well as their interactions with each other. Different ethnicities and genders can present additional challenges when discussing race in the classroom, and cultural differences can sometimes prompt seemingly prejudicial actions that can be mistaken for racism. To avoid the discussion of racism with students, however, may unintentionally suggest that it’s a topic that is too difficult or “wrong,” and best ignored. Diversity should be celebrated – a concept sometimes easier said than done, but essential to the fabric of strong schools and communities.
The resources chosen this week focus on different aspects of racism, from a lesson on discrimination based on appearance for younger students to a high school lesson on the legal implications of racism in the U.S.
This week’s Joann’s Picks column on the Gateway’s home page, www.TheGateway.org, focuses on resources to help your students learn about racism and how to address it. Peggy’s Corner will discuss online tools and providers that can help you tackle this important subject with your students. Additional resources on the topic will be presented and discussed on the Gateway’s Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TheGateway.org) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/Gatewaytoskills) pages.
Discussions will also continue on last week’s theme of avoiding plagiarism by students on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the following blog site: http://thegatewayto21stcenturyskills.blogspot.com/.
Resources covered in this week’s columns include:
Anti-Racism Activity: The Sneetches
Subjects: Language Arts, Social studies
In this early grades activity, students learn about unfair practices in a simulation exercise and then create plans to stand up against discrimination. This activity is a produce of Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The project offers free educational materials aimed at reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences in the U.S.
We All Have a Race: Addressing Race and Racism
Subjects: Social studies, English
This lesson plan helps students to understand the concept of race better, to distinguish between prejudice and racism, and to learn ways to stand up against racism and to act as allies with students of different races. This is a basic beginning unit to consider race and racism with respect and discovery. This lesson was produced by RaceBridges for Schools, a project that provides tools and resources for teachers and students to motivate them to build stronger and more inclusive communities.
Racism: Law and Attitude
Subjects: US history, US government
In this lesson, students will learn the difference between de facto and de jure discrimination in the United States, and understand the challenges in creating and enforcing laws that make certain racist actions and speech illegal. This lesson is a product of Discovery Education, which provides educational digital resources with the goal of connecting classrooms and families to a world of learning.
About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway has been serving teachers continuously since 1996. It is the oldest publicly accessible U.S. repository of educational resources on the Web and the oldest continuously operating service of its kind in the world. The Gateway is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and supported by over 700 quality contributors. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is the cornerstone of the Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) which is a JES & Co. program.
About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks
Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.
About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner
Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work evaluating and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!
About the GLRC
About JES & Co.
JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research organization, is a leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives. Since its establishment in the early 1990s, JES & Co. has led and managed The Achievement Standards Network (ASN), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (formerly known as GEM), the Dell Academy, the Intel Student Certification Program, and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. For more information about JES & Co. or the Global Learning Resource Connection, visit www.JESandCo.org.