Things that Made my Brain Explode: January 4, 2019

screen shot 2019-01-03 at 7.41.29 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:

  • Happy New Year! Let’s make 2019 the year we refuse to settle for the single story. If you click on just one of these links this week, I hope it’s this one.
  • When I went into the teaching profession, people told me it would be difficult. […] Nobody prepared me for the fact that every year, the students would become MINE. Their happiness? Mine to celebrate. Their despair and sorrow? Mine to bear. Their anxieties? Mine to worry about. Nobody told me that I would lay awake at night sometimes feeling crushed under the weight of all their stories. I didn’t realize that their hearts would become so intertwined with my own that I sometimes didn’t know where one ended and the other one began. No one ever mentioned how burned out this would make me feel. Probably because it sounds awful to say out loud. But it’s true. And it’s real. Sometimes the weight of the world on your shoulders just becomes too much.” This is not exclusive to Title 1 schools, as this author states, and as I thought when I worked in one. Poverty is indeed so difficult for children, but the truth is that children from all backgrounds have heavy stories. I Received Devastating News about a Past Student of Mine.
  • More than 4 million children endured lockdowns last school year, a groundbreaking Washington Post analysis found. The experience left many traumatized. This piece was absolutely heartbreaking. The goodbye letters created by children, crouching under their desks, telling their parents they love them and leaving their Playstations to their siblings? Those images will stay with me for a long time.
  • “There’s a shift happening in the Marvel universe.” And it’s about time. Marvel Comics Is Calling Black Minds To Breathe New Life Into Its Heroes.
  • Kids need to understand that people come in all shapes and sizes – and all deserve respect, rights, and kindness. If you’re looking for resources to foster self-acceptance and respect for others – these are the books for you.” Wheelchairs, prosthetics, hairy legs, a wide variety of weights, shapes, sizes, and colors – these things are all out there in the real world, but almost impossible to find in kid lit. Raising Luminaries has put together a list of books that can help young readers to understand that there’s more out there than just tall, thin, white bodies: Radically Body-Positive Kids Books. (It’s pretty crazy to me that a book about body positivity could be called “radical”, but here we are.)
  • ‘We didn’t expect this reaction. We were doing it for love. If 100 kids picked up our books, we would have been happy,’ said Rodriguez.” Definitely crying. Moms start companies to meet demand for Spanish-language children’s books. (Hi, publishers! Are you noticing a pattern here? Here’s your weekly reminder that books by and about people of color and a variety of cultures sell. A lot. So PRINT THEM.)
  • Healthy Teachers Make Healthy Classrooms. Oh, you’d like teachers to set boundaries, connect with other teachers, work out before school? I’d be happy to do that as soon as you create a systemic change in education that makes ANY OF THESE THINGS REMOTELY POSSIBLE. Don’t throw buzzwords like “self care” and “boundaries” out there to shame teachers into feeling like their exhaustion and burnout is because of their own choices. This is not a teacher problem: this is a systemic issue in the world of education. Articles like this really get my blood boiling. I expected better from Responsive Classroom.
  • Dear white moms, what I need you to know.
  • Have you been keeping up with the hype surrounding the new members of Congress? No other Congress has ever looked like this.
  • So I guess 2019 is the year of two things: the year we refuse to settle for the single story, and the YEAR OF THE LIBRARY! One easy resolution to save democracy in 2019: Go to the library.
  • Civil Discourse Exists in this Small Corner of the Internet: This made me cry. It’s like somebody scraped out the inside of my brain, stated it far more eloquently, and used it to build something incredible. My life goal is that my space becomes the physical version of this website for developing kids and teens.
  • If you’ve ever been on the internet, I’m sure you’ve seen a meme or post or product about how much mommy needs wine after a long day with the kids. It seems cute and harmless, but last week Self went into more detail: Becoming Sober Made Me Realize How Problematic ‘Wine Mom’ Culture Really Is.
  • Speaking of parenting, have you seen this viral piece on the Relentlessness of Modern Parenting? This was sent to me by so many people, from so many different phases of and walks of life. Everyone seems to have one thing in common: nobody really likes how modern parenting works, but nobody has any idea how to change it.
  • Chronic illness is incredibly common, but rarely talked about. It’s everywhere and nowhere all at once. And if you’re one of millions of Americans living with one (or more) of these countless incurable, lifelong disorders, the lack of representation can be so isolating. Three cheers for Self magazine for sharing Sarah Hyland’s journey with chronic illness, instead of just her fashion choices or newest film. I’d like to see more stories like this, please.
  • ALERT: An excerpt from Angie Thomas’ new novel, On the Come Up, has been released. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Read it via Entertainment Weekly here.
  • 5 Meaningful Ways to Teach your Child about Disabilities. I LOVED this no-nonsense, straightforward guide to moving past tolerance and into acceptance and love. Kind, empathetic, inclusive children do not happen by accident. Do the work, model the behaviors, and reap the benefits when your kid grows into one of the adults that makes the world a better place.
  • Nerdy Book Club, one of the nerdiest, loveliest, and most well respected literacy education blogs on the internet, has released the 2018 Nerdies – the best books of the year (split into many categories because true nerds can’t have just one top ten!). I’ve shared a few top ten lists this month, but this one is worth bookmarking and taking with you the next time you go to the library. This list was created by teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, and hardcore readers.. so you know that the books listed here are the best of the best.

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