As a member of this Online Book Club, you are expected to post to the book blog at least once per week between now and July 11 -- that's six weeks. You should finish your book before then, and you will meet during the Institute in your groups to extend the discussion and plan how to present the book to the others in the Institute.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thoughts on Chapter 1

This chapter reminds me of ideas we explored during my teacher training at DePaul University. Yet at the time I didn't realize how challenging culturally proactive teaching would be in the real world. I hate to admit that in eight years of teaching I haven't come close to being the revolutionary, culturally responsive teacher I planned to be in those days.

I appreciate the authors' acknowledgment of the "wobble," because I feel that wobble a lot. Unfortunately, I don't always push through that wobble to achieve "flow." Too often I back off when certain things get too difficult (and cultural issues can be very difficult). This book is reminding me of my original ideals and plans, and I feel that it's putting me back on track.

The chapter reminded me of one my favorite teaching books from back in my early days, Teaching Stories by Judy Logan (1997). In it the author quotes another teacher, Emily Style, who says, "students should be able to see themselves mirrored in the content of the curriculum, in terms of gender, ethnicity, race and class. At the same time students should also be able to look through the windows of curriculum into stories of people who are 'other' to them." One idea from our book that fits into this idea very well is the praise poem assignment on page 26. I love the idea of kids writing poems that give praise to their identities and having an opportunity to challenge misconceptions about their identities.  I'll be teaching 7th-grade social studies next year, and it seems an appropriate setting for this type of activity. I can see having these poems all over my room. However, I'm sure it would take a lot of trust building work to get some kids to open up.

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