Downloads: Transcript (RTF, 30 kB)
Heritage months were established to celebrate marginalized communities in the United States. Teachers tend to use these months to promote books by authors from these communities. However, this may lead to reducing or inadvertently limiting the discussion about certain cultures to only one month a year. This workshop aims to provide teachers with an opportunity to explore how they can move beyond heritage months to ensure their curriculum elevates middle school and high school students’ experiences and intersectional identities throughout the year by using the Social Justice Standards from Teaching Tolerance to frame an ELA curriculum aligned with the Common Core State Standards. This anti-bias curriculum not only engages students in self-reflection and orients them towards community activism and social transformation, but it also facilitates opportunities to respect, affirm, and explore their intersectionality as forms of self-care and ways to confront xenophobia. The workshop will share tools available to select texts that can serve as mirrors, windows, and sliding doors that help connect the curriculum to young people’s lives, rooting their concerns and daily experiences in what is being taught. Hands-on activities will involve exploring online and local resources that are available to educators in implementing the Social Justice Standards in their classrooms. Many of these tips can be used in other content areas as well.