Resources for your Building

Big picture

For higher engagement with the activities below, you may want to meet with a team and/or a partner to discuss the Connection Questions that are provided.

"Toward a Critical Theory of Blackness in the K-12 Classroom" EDTalks: Dr. Keith Mayes

Connection Questions

1. When Dr. Mayes talks about “pulling out all the stops, procedures and knowledge to save that person” - what might that mean as it relates to our equity work in the Lakeville Area Schools?

2. What measures are you taking currently in your classroom, PLC, and school as it relates to ensuring that ALL students have access, opportunities, and support to succeed?

3. Why do we not have the sense of urgency “life and death” when it comes to serving our students of color?

4. What strategies “remedy” do you use to ensure that your students of color are not “disengaged” in your classroom? What is in your toolbox?

5. Who are your “Devin(s)” in your classroom/school? And what are you doing as a school community to ensure that you are not cultivating a culture of Devin(s)?

6. Our Devin(s) are deserving of an education that includes clear and high expectations not a “wrench of low expectations, a hammer of oppression, or a tape measure of failure.” How are you utilizing relationship building strategies (SEL), so that you are “preoccupied with connecting to students?”

7. How are you first peeling back the layers of the inspiration, motivation, engagement and relationship gaps, rather than solely emphasizing the numerics of the achievement gap to better support opportunities for the whole child?

8. What are your actions steps moving forward? What will you do on Tuesday when your students return to your classroom?

Waking up White ( Tedx Talk)

1.) Please watch the TED talk we have included by Debbie Irving

What was your initial reaction to the video?

What did you notice about it?

What feelings were brought up by the video (uncomfortable, excitement, etc)? Why?

Do you remember being socialized by ideas of natural order/level the playing field? How?

What did you see that reinforced these ideas?

What were you taught growing up about who was in charge?

What were you taught about social identity groups like impoverished peoples or peoples of color?

Who was primarily in charge of teaching and then reinforcing those ideas?

2.) She observes that her hometown was not randomly white, but those intentional policies had kept people of color from buying homes there (GI Bill). Does this mirror anyone else’s experience?

3.) She names 3 practices that help her in this work (“individual work to think about our own belief systems is a crucial piece of moving beyond racism”). Which of the below strategies seems easiest or hardest for you?

Curiosity – We’ll always make snap judgments, but it’s important to ask: which voices are present, what messages are sent, whose perspective am I not hearing?

Courage – being courageous makes it easier to continue to be courageous

Tolerance – for her own discomfort with imperfection’

The Danger of a Single Story

Connection Questions

  1. Create an identity chart for Chimamanda Adichie. Which labels on the chart represent how she sees her own identity? Which ones represent how some others view her?

  2. What does Adichie mean by a “single story”? What examples does she give? Why does she believe “single stories” are dangerous?

  3. Is there a single story that others often use to define you? Can you think of other examples of “single stories” that may be part of your own worldview? Where do those “single stories” come from? How can we find a “balance of stories”?

  4. Adichie herself admits to sometimes defining others with a single story. Why is it that people sometimes make the same mistakes that they so easily see others making?

First Generation - First Generation tells the story of four high school students

Teaching strategies from Teaching Tolerance

Classroom activities “Moments of Courage”