Being the Change (paperback)
by Sara K. Ahmed
I was really excited to read Being the Change, because social comprehension is something that seems hard to teach. I always combined it with common sense, as far as how people treat others. I know we’re living in a world where it is important to be politically correct, but what exactly does that mean? It isn’t just about saying and doing things so you don’t offend someone or come off as being a jerk, but actually trying to understand where someone else is coming from and what you really believe. When I taught about the Civil Rights Movement, I noticed a lot of my students were using the term “blacks” and “negroes” but I wasn’t exactly sure how to talk about that terminology. I think I will start off early next year and teach each lesson in this book, and make sure to apply it to junior high when they’ll need to be socially competent. There are too many adults who can’t navigate life well socially.
Here are my big take aways from the book:
- I love that she talks to her students like people and doesn’t talk down to them. She doesn’t shy away from personal information (unless it’s too personal), and respects their privacy if they choose not to share. This builds rapport with the students and they’ll be more likely to be honest.
- The first lesson on Identity Webs is something I will definitely do. I have done things similarly, but this ask students to dig deeper and look at what influences them and not just what they like. It digs deeper and helps me to have a better picture of the child, and make personal connections.
- I definitely plan to use the Our News activities, and I will have a spot for students to post news items they’d like to talk about with the class, or maybe get more information on. I have used a news activity for writing during ELD, but that wasn’t so deep and didn’t give students to speak what was on their hearts.
- There are several lessons in the beginning that require students to write about themselves, like the history of their name and where they’re from. These will be great ways to introduce the autobiography I have my students write each year. It has motivated me to change up the writing assignments for each chapter.
- Finally, the bridges to addressing bigger topics, like bias, racism, the scary topics in the news, and personal fears will be great to use with students in sixth grade. Most adults don’t know how to properly conduct themselves in a situation where they realize they have bias and the lessons will help students so they’ll grow up to be decent human beings.
Book 12 of 20 (summer goal)
(Book 58 of 2018)