Things that Made my Brain Explode – November 20, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 12.12.09 PMArticles and news stories are constantly pushing me to consider something new, broaden my perspective, or change the way I look at an issue. My husband likes to joke that my brain explodes with something new on a daily basis. These articles – and the brain explosions that result from them – are so beneficial for me that I wanted to create a place where I could share them, in case you might want to read them, too. Learn more about Things that Made My Brain Explode – and see past posts – here

Here’s a recent batch of Things that Made my Brain Explode:

  • Please start your reading with this HILARIOUS list from McSweeney’s called If People Talked to Other Professionals the Way They Talked to Teachers. As a teacher librarian, I get all of these, plus the assumptions about librarians, plus some more extra bonus content. I laughed so hard, I cried!
  • “Students pay attention to everything we say and do. They particularly pay attention to our silence. We may be uncomfortable talking about race, but we can no longer afford to be silent. We have chosen a profession, which—like parenting—requires that our comforts come second to those of children.” Don’t Say Nothing, from Teaching Tolerance.
  • Gun control is a fascinating debate on both sides. Because of my experience with Heterodox Academy, I am learning to approach even the most sensitive of issues with the intent of learning the facts, instead of searching for opinion pieces that further strengthen my own beliefs. This Vox piece, titled America’s Easy Access to Guns is Enabling All of these Mass Shootings, is certainly editorialized, but if you focus on the statistics, there’s a lot to learn.
  • By now, you’ve likely heard about the Halloween controversy in the Middleton School District, which drew national attention after the holiday. Almost immediately following, this letter from a collection of remarkable Latinx authors was shared. “We take you at your word that you would like to learn from this and change. In that spirit, we would like to help you.” Say it with me here, people: STORIES CHANGE LIVES. I hope the school takes these authors up on their offer.
  • This selection of resources from Scholastic called Stories for a More Tolerant World showed up on my newsfeed this week, and I appreciated looking through it. Although I professionally haven’t had the best experiences with Scholastic, this  is a far cry from the white-bread Scholastic of my childhood. I’m glad to see they’re working so hard to be inclusive, and to help guide readers and teachers in a positive direction.
  • I was lucky enough to read Jarrett Krosoczka’s new graphic memoir, Hey Kiddo, last week, and it felt me speechless. The memoir, which tells with unflinching realness the story of Krosoczka’s childhood with his heroin-addict mother, has gotten a lot of flack for being “too dark for children.” In his recent article, What’s Appropriate for Kids to Read? There’s Value in Exposing Them to the Tough Stuff, he deals with the negative reactions head on. This is an issue I care deeply about, and I’m looking forward to sharing more resources on darkness in kid lit in an upcoming post.
  • Girl Scouts Sue Boy Scouts over Planned Name Change. I hated being a Girl Scout as a kid. My friends in Boy Scouts got to build stuff and chase wildlife as my troop sat inside in the school’s art room, sewing and chatting. I’m sure the program has changed since then. But perhaps, if the Girl Scouts are concerned about the new Scouts BSA program sniping their members, they should change their program to make girls want to stay?
  • Something I’ve thought about often: racial literacy. In this fascinating article White people are still raised to be racially illiterate. If we don’t recognize the system, our inaction will uphold it, author Robin DiAngelo takes just one example – Jackie Robinson and his legacy – to explain what racial illiteracy is and how it impacts everyone it touches. I know now that I was most certainly raised to be racially illiterate. The headline may be touchy, but the article is absolutely worth reading and pondering.
  • [This] study is probably the most rigorous test we have to date of the hypothesis that early childhood trauma has these strong, independent effects on adult outcomes. […] The childhoods of participants who went through traumatic events and those who didn’t were markedly different. When these children grew up, psychiatric problems and other issues persisted.” Should Childhood Trauma be Treated As A Public Health Crisis? If you’re looking for more clarity on what defines childhood trauma, this infographic from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration was really helpful for me.
  • 9 Things Teachers Need if the United States Ever Wants Another Globally Competitive Generation. I read this one twice.
  • There’s a lot of talk about what will change in education in the next ten years. But what about the things that are sure to stay the same? Focusing on What is Going to Stay the Same in Education.
  • Having another educator in the room while you teach is different for everyone – as a beginning teacher, I remember my imposter syndrome running the show. But my current library is a big, beautiful, and unforgivingly open space where I’m almost never flying solo. So I had to learn to love it, and fast – and luckily, I’ve gotten much better about it. (Teaching in front of parents, though? Still terrifying to me.) Reading Open Your Door: Why We Need to See Each Other Teach was a nice reminder that I’m not alone in my intimidation, and that so much good can come from inviting other educators into your classroom.
  • “This isn’t about shoes, this is about who belongs in ballet and who doesn’t,” said Virginia Johnson, the artistic director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, in a phone interview. “It’s a signal that the world is open to you.” Brown Point Shoes Arrive, 200 Years after White Ones.
  • There are so many things that I miss about working in public schools, but standardized testing that feels pointless and insulting is NOT one of them. In Common Core Testing and the Fracturing of Literature, from Forbes, author Peter Greene dives into the way the Common Core Standards push teachers to teach reading – and the impact that it has on students’ lifelong reading habits.
  • Ever wondered what this whole library thing is about? Here’s What It’s Like to Actually be a Librarian. This isn’t exactly my day-to-day reality, but it’s a lot closer than what most people assume. (If you’re curious about the life of a school librarian, my Instagram feed provides daily snapshots that capture at least 14% of the insanity.)
  • Confirmation bias is real, ya’ll, and it’s HARD to get away from. Even if you are doing your research, your research may not be giving you the full picture. From The Conversation, You can’t characterize human nature if studies overlook 85 percent of people on Earth.
  • Teachers and school officials report that violent student behavior is on the rise. Is there a solution to this growing problem? How do we protect students and their teachers?
  • It’s almost Thanksgiving! If you’re looking to dive past Native American stereotypes and pilgrim hats this year with your learners, check out Medium’s Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools. Great for anyone who might want to deepen their conversations with a kid this holiday. Happy Turkey  Day!

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