By Eileen Carr

I live on a remote island in Hawai’i. We have one gas station and zero stoplights, Starbucks or skyscrapers. Teaching on a remote island in Hawai’i has its benefits, even now. Fresh breezes blow through from the mountains, our open campus provides plentiful options for nature breaks, and most importantly, our isolated island has maintained an incredibly low case count (at the time of writing, four total since March).

All of our state’s public schools started the school year virtually, except for my island’s (and two on Maui). My school, because it’s public charter, started before anyone else.

My school…

colorful graphic of different arms and hands holding different colored books
colorful graphic of different arms and hands holding different colored books

By Sunday Cummins

Like many of us, in the past few months, I have found a greater and greater need to read more than one source on a topic, whether it’s a topic related to COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter protests, or how schools will re-open in the near future. A range of sources has helped me make sense of a turbulent world and informed important decisions I am making. This begs the question: Who would make a big decision based on just one piece of information?

Yet, in classrooms — whether they are face to face or virtual, it’s…

by Monique Marshall

Eager to tell his story, Paul rushed into our second-grade classroom from recess. “He called me dirty!” Paul, a typically introverted, quiet, light-skinned Black boy was incensed and hurt. Josh, an often impulsive, excitable white boy was one of Paul’s friends but had chosen to use racially charged words as a weapon. Or had he?

As so happens in the heat of teaching, I was caught off guard and found myself hopeful that this incident was about something other than race. I scanned Paul’s body for signs of “dirty” — maybe the boys had been digging in the mud? My…

By Tiffany Palmatier

In my teacher training program, my professors emphasized the importance of selecting diverse books for our future classroom libraries. In one class we created a list of thirty titles by having each student share one “diverse” book. I remember scribbling down each title, planning to feature all of them in my classroom library, but that book list got lost. When I (excitedly) entered my own classroom, I spent countless hours trying to assemble a new list of diverse titles for my classroom library — books that showcased children from different parts of the world, children who looked…

by Kassandra Minor

As a white educator who works to build inclusive spaces with many teachers, students, parents, and school leaders, I grapple with the concept of critical humility: the paradox of knowing and not knowing at the same time (European-American Collaborative Challenging Whiteness 2005). I accept that my knowledge is partial but continue moving forward with the body of information and experience around teaching and learning that has carried me where I am today. But it’s hard. It’s hard to be critical and humble when the kinds of systemic change our students need is urgent. It’s hard when the folks I am…

My Italian mother has been known to denounce, fervently, any recipe that claims to have a “special twist.” She prefers dishes that are simple and straightforward, that get out of the way of the main ingredient and let it shine. In response to dinner party guests oohing and aahing over a bowl of pasta, she shrugs. “It’s just four ingredients.”

Recently, I’ve adopted my mother’s way of thinking in my own work designing a novel-based curriculum. I’ve come to think that a unit of study should get out of the way of the novel so that kids can experience it…

Xicana, Not Mexican-American, Latina, or Hispanic

I am Xicana. If you press me, I will admit I am a mixed-race Xicana, but I am Xicana. It’s taken me forty-four years to be able to say that and unapologetically claim my identity, because for too long my identity was labeled for me by peers, family members, and teachers. My teachers saw me as another brown kid; there was no nuance or mixed-race identity acknowledged by my teachers. I was brown. My peers also saw me as a Mexican-American peer until they found out I didn’t speak Spanish. …

Making Math Worksheets Worthwhile

A few months ago, I asked people on Twitter, When you think of math worksheets, what word or words come to mind? The results are represented below.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

By Melissa Adams Corral

While looping with students from third to fifth grade, I realized their parents were not represented in our school’s PTA or any other school-wide decision-making body. Our school had been gentrifying rapidly, and as it did, many parents of color began to feel actively excluded. After trying to attend PTA meetings with parents from my classroom and seeing firsthand that those spaces were not welcoming, I realized there needed to be space where Spanish-speaking parents could meet comfortably. I decided to hold monthly parent meetings for our classroom. …

Photo credit: Dingzeyu Li

By Christina Torres

Print rosters. Decorate classroom. Send follow-up emails. Update class website. Email tech about getting access . . .

It is the day before school and, looking at my to-do list and everything else in my life, I am overwhelmed. My chest flutters and I have a hard time seeing straight. I know this feeling — panic. I’ve been managing anxiety since I was a kid and I’ve learned the warning signs. I stop what I’m doing, close my eyes, and take a few deep breaths, counting to four each time. …

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