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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

It's Racial AND Social Justice!!

It's the thing to say and do now.  It seems like a lot of people are really intrigued and want to be connected to the words: "Social Justice Warrior or Activist".  My really great friend @PresidentPat (on instagram) said "Social Justice Activist/ Warrior is cringeworthy."  For me; it is a micro-aggression.  In a Facebook post I said:

There is a difference between Racial Justice and Social Justice. If you cannot say Black Lives Matter and understand why that has to be said; you are actually not here for Racial AND Social Justice. You’re just here for Social Justice and that’s not okay. Racial Justice is referring to equal and fair treatment to people of the global majority through systems, practices, attitudes, actions, etc. It’s a micro-aggression to say you’re a Social Justice advocate when you’re actually not even referring to the racial issues in this country but you just want to sound like you’re talking about racial reconciliation. When white people do that; you’re actually at the crux of the problem. So you’re either a Racial AND Social Justice Advocate or you’re not there yet. So I’m telling EVERYONE to adjust our language and say Racial AND Social Justice when we’re talking.

White people have taken the "Social Justice" and turned it into this appearance of advocacy for racial reconciliation.  It is disgusting, unproductive and just whack!  Intent vs. Impact.  The intention is to stand and work in solidarity on the side of those marginalized.  I can get with that.  What the impact is is maintaining this position of power, safety or control, specifically white power, white safety and white control.  Historically speaking; white people have no matter what; tried their very best to be in control of the narrative and the language.  The intent is very pure, genuine and seems to be about the work BUT the impact is another.  

Social Justice without Racial Justice is just white feminism and I am not here for that.  When we are talking about Social Justice; we are talking about topics like: Poverty, Human Trafficking, Religion, LGBTQ+, Feminism, and topics that have absolutely nothing to do with race.  Racial Justice is about dismantling any AND every system that oppresses people of the global majority.  They indeed go hand in hand.  As I said in my Facebook post; you're either a Racial and Social Justice Advocate/Warrior or you are not there yet.  If the conversation is about race, racism, oppression or discrimination toward people of color , in that are about racial and social justice.  Language is incredibly important and you cannot pacify the work.  When you are simply saying "Social Justice", you are furthering the system of oppression and you are indeed NOT doing "the work". There is intersectionality to be understood here.  We cannot have one without the other.  Humanity is weaved through them.  If you are for Social Justice, it is indeed time to change your language.  You are for Racial and Social Justice.  

I don't know if we realize the leadership skills we possess.  In the teaching world; we always say "MODEL-MODEL-MODEL".  For those who are not teachers; when we say that we mean whatever the expectation you have of your students, you need to be that example.  Whatever it is you want those babies to do--what you want "it" to look or sound like, you have got to model it.  I said that to say; we don't always know who we are modeling for in every aspect of life.  For the purpose of this topic on Racial and Social Justice, our co-conspirators(white people)(because "ally" is a micro-aggression) are to be following the lead of people of color in the work of Racial and Social Justice.  More than we know; white people and people of color are looking to us for solutions, ideas, articulation of a specific thought or piece, etc.  Moving through this Racial and Social Justice work requires great modeling.  Otherwise, we WILL indeed further the system of oppression, remain where we are and NOT doing the work.  Let's be about the work.  The work is:


Friday, January 5, 2018

Lift Every Voice and Sing

One of the most precious musical pieces of the American Civil Rights Movement. Dubbed as the Black National Anthem; the lyrics in this song bring about harmony, nostalgia, hope, unity and inspiration that our world so desperately needs to survive and press on. Before I graduated from college; I was in the marching band. At my HBCU; the band played and we sang this before every home football game. So this song is incredibly precious to me.

There is a very brief historical piece included to explain the origins of the song. I teach Mrs. Parker's Professors this song every year. No matter the demographic or age. I charge every teacher; elementary to high, every parent to make sure your children know this song. Everyone on this planet needs to know and digest the lyrics of this song. You can go download it right here it go to my TPT store. Enjoy!

Thank you!


Monday, January 1, 2018

Uncovering Hidden Figures Freebie

In December 2016; I fell deeply in love with Hidden Figures when it was released in theaters. I read the adult and children’s book in like a day. I brought it into my Mrs. Parker's Professors learning community. Took them on a surprise field trip to see it; DURING school. Now with my friends/big sisters Read Like a Rock Star and Education with an Apron ; who are busy working on the Social Studies units for grades 4-5! They’ve invited little ol me to collaborate with them for a special freebie that is ready for you to grab right here! Be sure to snag this freebie and share this with your students.  

We truly hope you find this download useful for bringing these amazing stories about these incredible women into your classroom, at a level your students can truly understand and connect with. There are 3 passages included with this download. You will find a page about Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and one about Dorothy Vaughan. There are mini response activities for each woman. Also included is a fun, writing activity for students to complete that requires them to send out a text-based question or comment/tweet to the three women. We threw in a coloring sheet for any little learners who you might want to teach. We hope your students love learning about this information and it is our goal to make introducing these “hidden figures” to your students easy for you!

Hope you’ll find this useful and most importantly the babies love it. Read Like a Rock StarEducation with an Apron and I would love for you to tag us on social media or email your feedback and any pictures, etc to if you use it. 
Enjoy this celebration of the hidden stars of the Space Race!

Monday, September 25, 2017

180 Days of Gratitude

I've heard alot of people say "Kids these days think they are entitled to everything". I'm sure you've heard it and if you're like me, you've probably said it a time or ten lol. Occassionally, it is the truth. There is indeed this sense of entitlement amongst humans in general. I was raised by a incredibly amazing single mother. My sister and I are 14 years apart, my brother and I are 9 years apart. So as you can imagine, I am a little bit spoiled. (read alot of bit in place of little bit) In my family though; I am not spoiled in a materialistic way. I was raised and reminded DAILY to be thankful for what I have and not just be thankful but to express my gratitude. The church I went to when I was in college; the Pastor always said it this way: "It could always be the other way." When she said "it". She meant life, work, health, finances, friendships, just whatever your "it" is/was. I do my absolute best to provide the very best learning experience for Mrs. Parker's Professors. I am a firm believer that it takes a village. The village surrounding my professors is exemplary. There are opportunities that are afforded to the professors simply for being their amazing selves. All of these opportunities are truly extraordinary. So, it is easy for them to forget humility and gratitude. One of my friends, @msadamsteaches on instagram, created a "180 days of gratitude" challenge. I borrowed it from her and utilize it in my learning community to help my professors remember all the things we must be thankful for on a DAILY basis. Kinda like how we should celebrate being thankful everyday not just at thanksgiving type deal. So; I made it out of a door. In the middle of the door is the "180 Days of Gratitude". When a professor finds something to be thankful or grateful for; they grab an index card. On the side with the lines, we write what we are thankful for. On the other side, we draw a picture describing what we wrote. This also gives us more practice with writing in and out of context. It is now a constant reminder for us to flashback on. This door is also the door to the classroom bathroom and sink, so everytime they go to the bathroom or to the sink; they can be reminded of the little things. It also is a heart warmer for me that maybe I am not doing so bad after all and seeing what they like the most. Am I saying that this solves all our non humble stuff; absolutely not. However; I am also really not a fan of complaining AT ALL. Like it truly truly bothers me. So I can't complain about a problem and not at least do my best to do something about it. We all have so much to be thankful for and again; things could truly be the other way. It is my duty to pass this mindset onto my professors, so that they might do the same. P.S. That door is green and orange, shoutout to all those F.A.M.U. Rattlers :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Daily Affirmations

There are tons of challenging aspects of teaching. Scratch that; teaching as a whole is challenging. But as my teacher union president Bryan says : It is the hardest, most important job in the world. It is really challenging to sustain the attention of ALL of my professors. I think in large part to the fact that they are budding little humans and still have a little firstie or second grade or fourth grade in them, whatever grade you teach. So, it is a case by case style of learning and teaching as they progress into full bloom ______ graders. With that being said; they are also being thrusted into the Mrs. Parker's Professors maturation school lol So they are juggling, learning and sustaining multiple tasks right now. I am so proud. However; I am patient with them. I am a hot mess, I need someone to be patient with me. Lord HAVE MERCY, I need it lol So I have to give it back to my babies. For this 2017-2018 school year; I teach second grade. My professors are 7(with a few just turning 8)---They are babies. They need brain breaks, flexible and outlandish learning activities to help them reach all their goals. Each of my babies are all so different and special and unique. It is challenging yet incredible. I do my best to plan high high HIGH engaging, no room for boredom, an agenda for what's next ,what's next and what's next so my early finishers don't get bored and my more vulnerable learners feel protected and safe too. So; if you are that teacher that feels like you are failing your students. Remember this; it is not that you failed. When my professors are teaching me and I am teaching them; I am incredibly flexible. I can't be mad with them. They are doing their absolute best but just like me, they just need a break sometime because life is hard and not to be taken too seriously all the time. I am trying to teach them balance as well. It is my job to grow the whole child. Dear Teacher reading this; You did not fail today. At all. The affirmations/guiding principles of the Parker's Professors Learning Community in place truly guide all of our work. I am a fan of the restorative justice model. Huge Huge Fan actually. It is my job to grow the whole child. 99.9 % of the time; I do not send babies out of my classroom to the office for a not so good choice. When they are out for a not so good choice; their brain is not growing. I need them, they need themselves, their family needs them, their community needs them, our world needs them TO BE IN CLASS. So; like one of my favorite PJ Morton songs; we can work it out. I simply refer back to the affirmations from our morning. If a Professor is not making a good choice; Me: (professor name); your life? Professor: My goals Me: Who do you represent? Professor: My family and my friends Me: I take my education Professor: Seriously Me to the whole class: Who are we? All Professors: We are Leaders, We are Learners, We are a Family, We are Mrs. Parker's Professors Just hitting back to our affirmations, our guiding principles. It is helpful. Now; we've all been reminded and felt welcomed and respected back into our learning community. I'll share more about what I mean when I say "affirmations/ guiding principles" a little later!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How to Change the World!

My Professors have been learning about how to be a responsible citizen.  I turned this into a "How to Change the World" Project!  The project started with the Professirs utilizing the graphic organizer to organize their thoughts and the direction they want to go in.  That graphic organizer then turned into a writing piece telling the reader how they will change the world.  Then they traced each others bodies, cut them out, decorated/described/built the ideal citizen we need to change the world.   Their projects turned out absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  They are on display outside of our classroom and My! My! My!  What a display!!   I am incredibly proud of the hard work they put into this!  There is an immense amount of creativity, passion and intellect in their writing prep, final writing piece and "ideal citizen"!  Mrs. Parker's Professors ROCK!