All posts by Morgan Harrison

A Thirsty Fox Getting Its Tail Cut Off & Naked Ghostly Geese

After looking at a variety of books relating to economics, Dr. Stohr made a point to read two books from the collection that may seem to have questionable storylines and/or illustrations. The first book was One Fine Day by Nonny Hogrogian, which is a retelling of an Armenian folktale story about a thirsty fox that gets its tail cut off by a woman (who also refuses to sew the foxes tail back on) after she catches it drinking her milk. Although I believe its important to include diverse literature; as an adult, I can’t help but view this literature with some negativity regarding the concept of animal cruelty, which made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Thus, my immediate thought was not to consider including this book as it might send messages about negative treatment of animals. Yet, I am still unsure of which way I’m leaning more toward on whether to include this diverse literature in my future classroom instruction. The second book Dr. Stohr read was Agatha’s Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story by Carmen Agra Deedy. I appreciated the honesty in providing readers and Agatha the reality of where the feathers came from, but the illustrations of naked ghostly geese might feel frightening for some students, regardless of the message that “everything comes from something.”

A combination our most recent class discussion and Erika’s post on book banning led me to the question: “Are there resources that provide educators with diverse, un-bias children’s literature that focus on the topic of economics?” And, fortunately, I came across a variety of booklists on the Social Justice for Change website for educators to consider.

Link: https://socialjusticebooks.org/booklists/

Further, as I explored the “Economic Class” booklist, I noticed that there were some of the same books from Dr. Stohr’s collection included within this booklist , such as A Chair for My Mother and Tia Isa Wants a Car.

Are there books within the “Economic Class” booklist from the Social Justice Books website that you might consider including in your economics-related lessons? Further, as you explored the other booklist topics, are there specific books from other booklists within this website that you might consider including within other lessons pertaining to social studies, and does the literature you came across provide cross-connections between other core subjects? Also, have you found other websites particularly helpful in providing un-bias literature on any topics within elementary social studies?

Current Events in the Elementary Classroom

https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/opinion-seven-ways-to-bring-current-events-into-the-classroom/2020/01

During class discussion this past Tuesday, we talked about the negative and inaccurate portrayal of American Indians in children’s literature, both in writing and in illustration. It should be noted that Dr. Stohr provided us with an authentic connection between American Indian history and a current event occurring in Ukraine. Moreover, Dr. Stohr said (not in these exact words), regarding American Indians and colonists, “How would you feel or what would you do if someone tried taking something away that belonged to you? Then Dr. Stohr connected this question to the statement, “We’ve been seeing this happening to the people of Ukraine.”

Our class discussion regarding current events continued as Aiden mentioned the topic of immigration status in the media. Further, how do we address this with students who may be exposed to the images and videos of “migrant children in cages” at the United States southern border in an appropriate manner?

With the goal of creating a positive and welcoming classroom climate, teachers must provide a safe space for their students to ask questions about current events. How can we best support students who are might be affected or knows of a friend/family member that is directly affected by a current event? How can we effectively and appropriately connect current events to what we are teaching in the classroom? Which grade level, within the elementary school, do you believe teachers should start including current event topics into their teachings?

As I thought about these questions, I came across an article titled “Seven Ways to Bring Current Events into the Classroom” (link posted at the top of the post). This article provides examples of different ways to get students engaged in their learning, so they make connections between academics and what is happening in the world around them. Although most of the examples of learning opportunities involve secondary level students, there are links within the article that could be useful for primary school teachers. One resource mentioned is “Project Look Sharp,” which provides K-12 resources for building media literacy. Another resource, that focuses on positive human interactions, is the “Good News” page in the Huffington Post.

Did you find this article to be informative and helpful? Were there any Project-Based Learning experiences within this article that you might consider using in your classroom – and in which grade level would you provide these learning experiences? Are there other learning structures that you might use to introduce current events? Have you found any resources related to integrating current events into student learning within the elementary classroom? Have you come across resources that provided you with insightful information on what to avoid when introducing current events into the classroom?

I look forward to reading your comments!

Formative Assessment for Students with Disabilities

https://ccsso.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/Formative_Assessment_for_Students_with_Disabilities.pdf

Earlier this evening, I attended my Diverse Learners class (along with a few other of my classmates enrolled in this class), in which we all presented our “Mini-Disability Presentations,” providing information on a specific disability, effective teaching strategies, and signs/symptoms for teachers to look out for. With this and the assessment in mind, it led me to the article listed above and the following question:

What are your thoughts on allowing your students “re-takes” on formative assessments?

During our most recent class meeting, Dr. Stohr provided us examples of assessments for us to critique. I honestly was surprised with how many common errors the examples contained, especially the fact that these assessments continue to be used and sold to other teachers. I understand that we, as lifelong learners, can use these examples to help in developing and designing our own assessments, but how can we respectfully and constructively communicate and promote awareness to teachers about less-effective assessments?

Further, as mentioned in the article, it should be noted that students with disabilities are NOT low-performing students, similarly, students that are low-performing do NOT have disabilities. So if they don’t do well, how will you go about assessing their learning? Would you be willing/prepared to provide a different form of the assessment, for a specific individual, that might produce better results?

With so many personalities and individualized learning needs, how will you best “take notes” on these needs when planning and creating assessments? Have you found resources that have the foundation of “universal design”? How will you keep track of the effectiveness of different items within assessments on an individualized level?

I also wanted to mention that if you visit the https://www.ccss.org/instructionalsupport website, in my personal thoughts, a very helpful resource because it has tools, ideas, and resources regarding history and social studies around a different theme each month.

In closing, did you find this resource helpful, too? Was there a specific video example that you found especially insightful?