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Books I read in February 2021

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Critical Race TheoryBooks I finished reading (or rereading) in February 2021…

Hope you’re reading something fun too!

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Books I read in April 2021

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The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

The Spy Who Came In From the ColdBooks I finished reading (or rereading) in April 2021…

Hope you’re reading something fun too!

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Full

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Some faculty members are like race horses out of the gate. They’re focused Assistant Professors, they’re publishing immediately in ‘top tier’ journals, they’re presenting at conferences, they’re connecting strategically with grant funders and research colleagues, and they slide right into the tenure track slipstream and travel quickly through the Assistant Professor / Associate Professor With Tenure / Full Professor pathway.

Other faculty members start ABD (all but dissertation) in 1999, get off to a really slow start at University 1 because they need to complete their dissertation and are overwhelmed by department-level service commitments, switch universities in 2001 because of a gracious offer to start over, get ‘distracted’ at University 2 with exciting new opportunities that aren’t valued that much by the institution, extend their slow start even further because their focus is in non-rewarded areas, switch universities in 2007 because of a miraculous tenure offer, finally start to find their way a little bit at University 3, switch universities in 2011 because of a miraculous offer to do some really interesting work elsewhere with some amazing colleagues, find out that University 4 is an extremely poor fit and leave in 2012 after one year, drop out of higher education completely for four years, switch universities in 2016 because of a miraculous offer to return to higher education, successfully receive tenure again at University 5 despite the long absence from academe, and finally find a place that feels like the right balance between research, teaching, and service to the field. These faculty members also may struggle to juggle the demands of the professorship with family commitments, raising children, service to practitioners, a growing social media presence, and innovation in realms that most postsecondary institutions fail to value.

This second path would be me, of course. Which is why it was so gratifying to receive notice yesterday from the University of Colorado system that I was promoted to Full Professor (aka ‘Professor’). The (large p) Professor rank is ostensibly the highest level that a faculty member can achieve short of an endowed professorship or going into university administration. The label is intended to recognize a career’s worth of good work and to validate excellence across all areas of the professorship. I don’t know about all of that, but I am deeply grateful for the recognition.

In addition to my P-12 experiences, I now have been a (small p) professor at five major research universities. They’ve all taught me something, good or bad, and I’ve honed my institutional survival instincts over the years. So much of the tenure and promotion process is a hoop-jumping game (How many peer-reviewed articles do I need? We won’t tell you… In which journals should I publish? The very best, most selective ones, of course…) and/or a political arena (Keep your head down… Don’t make any waves… Watch out for that person if they’re on your review committee…). My journey is not the only long, twisty, bumpy one in higher education (and, unfortunately, we lose too many faculty along the way). And, as longtime readers know, I’ve struggled mightily with the lack of engagement, interaction, and visibility of writing for academic audiences versus what I can accomplish in practitioner outlets, on my blog, with multimedia, on other social media platforms, etc. Every time I publish in a walled-garden, paywalled, inaccessible-but-peer-reviewed academic journal, it feels like I’m burying my thinking and writing in a deep hole. I’d much rather be working with educators, creating new resources, or sharing and interacting with others.

But somehow I made it through and checked all of the boxes necessary for the final hoop jump. I’m incredibly grateful for my colleagues at CU Denver and for the opportunity to do good work here. The School of Education and Human Development is a very special place and I’ve experienced nothing but good will and deep, caring support. I’m also grateful for all of you. I started to blog back in 2006 because I was desperate to find ‘my people’: folks who cared about the same things that I did and who were trying to dramatically change things for P-12 students and educators. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my people. I learn more from you monthly than I’ve learned from an entire academic career’s worth of journal articles and research conferences. Most of all, I’m thankful for my family and some key supportive colleagues (you know who you are) who have had my back the entire way. Everyone should be lucky enough to have the support networks that I’ve had. I’m beyond blessed. 

As the gentleman says in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I’m not dead yet!” This latest professional milestone is achieved and I’m looking forward to whatever lies ahead. I know you’ll be plotting and scheming right alongside me. I can’t wait.

Professor Letter REDACTED

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Empower Communities with New Culture-Based Prevention Resources

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Discovery Education, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), have launched “Good Medicine Bundles,” a set of hands-on, standards-aligned resources for elementary and middle school students to address the nation’s opioid crisis and encourage resiliency through a Native approach to balance and wellness.

Launched this spring, the no-cost digital program is designed to help students understand how their connection to community and nature can restore balance and support better decision-making. These bundles combine traditional storytelling, the medicine wheel, and other Native practices of wellness with the insights of modern science to help students form a better response to trauma and stressors.

“This expansion of Operation Prevention will allow an underserved community to receive important, potentially life-saving information,” said DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans. “In collaboration with Discovery Education and the National Indian Education Association, the “Good Medicine Bundles” component aims to prevent substance misuse and abuse by reaching this vulnerable population at an early age, educating them about the consequences of bad decisions that lead to substance misuse, and offering alternatives that are in line with their cultural practices. DEA will continue to utilize outreach and prevention strategies as part of our broader mission to protect the public from the dangers of substance misuse and the violence associated with the demand for drugs in this country.”

The “Good Medicine Bundles” are an extension of the Operation Prevention educational initiative created by DEA and Discovery Education. Operation Prevention is a nationwide program that educates students about the science behind addiction, and its impact on the brain and body. Operation Prevention interactive resources help promote lifesaving discussions in the home and classroom. With the assistance of NIEA, these drug prevention tools have been tailored for culturally appropriate use.

“Native communities still experience the impact of historical traumas. To find healing and balance, we must teach our young people the ways of the medicine wheel and the cultural practices of wellness that help us feel balanced in a traumatic world. These lessons are critical for all students as a response to the crises in our nation,” said Diana Cournoyer, Executive Director of the National Indian Education Association.

The online curriculum includes classroom activities, an educator’s guide, and shareable PowerPoint presentations for elementary and middle school students. The program is available at operationprevention.com and on Discovery Education’s flexible K-12 learning platform in the Operation Prevention channel.

“Research has shown the best way to prevent substance misuse is through intervention at a young age,” said Lori McFarling, Discovery Education’s president of corporate and community partnerships. “Experts also understand the important role educators play in preparing students to deal with difficult situations. This partnership by our three organizations – each with a unique perspective on our country’s opioid crisis – holds great promise for directing resources where they have tremendous potential to be effective.”

Share these all new resources with your students and communities to encourage healthy choices that last a lifetime.

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What I’ve been up to: 5Sigma EduCon scavenger hunt keynote

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[I’ve been fairly quiet here during the pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy. I thought that I would share a little of what I’ve been doing for the past year…]

2020 5Sigma McLeod Keynote SlideMy very last face-to-face engagement with schools before the pandemic was for the 5Sigma EduCon at Anastasis Academy. Kelly Tenkely is the Founder and Executive Director of this very innovative private K-8 school in Centennial, Colorado. Michelle Baldwin teaches there, so I have two good friends at Anastasis and always love visiting the school. Their students are doing absolutely incredible work.

The conference was a blast. I told Kelly that I wanted to try something different for my ‘keynote’ on Saturday morning. Instead of standing and delivering, I put attendees into small groups and sent them on a scavenger hunt around the school. Each group was given a ‘mission packet’ with ‘top secret’ instructions. Inside the packet was:

  • a Team Directive document with instructions (“You are an elite team of code crackers and problem solvers…”) and warnings to beware misdirection from other groups,
  • a Mission Checklist on which they could mark their completion of each mission,
  • a Code Card for deciphering clues to their next mission,
  • a packet of stickers that designated their team (e.g., Team Zebra, Team Tiger), and
  • an initial coded clue that, when deciphered, sent them to their first destination within the school.

At each destination, there was an envelope with their team logo on it. Inside each team’s envelope was a Mission Document that explained the conversation station at that location (i.e., their ‘mission;’ an example is below), a sticker for their Mission Checklist, and a clue to their next destination. As you can see if you follow the link on the Mission Document below, the goals were to spark rich discussion and for each team to complete all six conversations. 

We had about 90 minutes total for the keynote session, and teams were created randomly to spark learning across different school systems. Instead of them sitting and listening to me for that time, they got a little exercise, laughed a lot, and had some amazing dialogues. I am appreciative of Kelly’s willingness to let me try something different. Our time together was super fun and everyone really enjoyed their six conversations. Thank you, Kelly!

2020 5Sigma McLeod Keynote Scavenger Hunt Example

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This School District Erased All Holiday Names After Dropping Columbus Day

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Some institutions have scrapped Columbus Day or switched to celebrating Indigenous Peoples

Some institutions have dropped the name Columbus Day or switched to celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day. One New Jersey school district came up with a new solution: eliminate all holiday names.

(Image credit: Olesya Semenov/EyeEm via Getty Images)

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Support Families & Help Students Build Confidence this Summer

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Parents and caregivers have a huge influence on their student’s lives. With all of the challenges students have faced over the last year, the collective efforts of teachers and parents will be necessary to ensure student success. Educators can help families easily integrate lessons on self-esteem and body confidence with family resources from Amazing Me. Developed in partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, this program delivers social emotional learning (SEL), health and confidence-building resources for students in grades 4-5.

The collection of family activities are easy to access, all-digital and easy to integrate into students’ summer learning adventures! Read below for a few of our favorite Amazing Me resources for families.

Positive Affirmations: This activity helps students understand how words can impact their feelings. Each member of the family will leave positive messages for other family members to see each morning. Families will then meet to discuss how seeing the daily messages affected their feelings or mood for the rest of the day.

Appreciating Our Bodies: Consistent exposure to affirming language related to body image can help students feel comfortable and confident in their own body. As learned in this activity, hanging those affirmations around the home can go a long way to creating lasting change for family members.

Body Talk in the Home: A body talk handout, provided with this activity, helps parents and adult family members discuss how their language about their own bodies can affect the children in their home. Each family member will create a list of things that they love about their physical appearance and share their ideas.

A Plan to Stay Positive: In this activity, families will identify norms – traditions or situations where they are expected to “conform” or “fit in” by looking a certain way. Families will recognize a positive trait or characteristic about someone else and make a plan for recognizing these traits more often.

Embracing Our Differences: Acceptance and inclusion have been major themes of the year for students. This activity gives families an opportunity to discuss how a person’s background can inform their perspective and help them embrace diversity.

My Body Can…: Celebrating all of the things that our bodies can do on a daily basis provides a great foundation for building body confidence. In this exercise family members will collect images, words, or pictures to describe the things that their bodies allow them to do and create collages.

A confident student makes a happy, healthy, and successful student. Focusing on building self-esteem, promoting positive body image, and countering bullying can help support building that confidence in students, even in elementary school. Explore these and more SEL resources at AmazingMeSelfEsteem.com or on the Amazing Me channel in Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform.

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Books I read in March 2021

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The Sand SeaBooks I finished reading (or rereading) in March 2021…

Hope you’re reading something fun too!

Time To Teach reviews each blog post by our contributors but if you feel this is a blog post better suited for another page please let us know. Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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How To Be A Citizen: Education

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NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Kenisha Tucker, co-founder of the Hidden Figures of Madison, a project that highlights the contributions of African Americans to the history of Madison, N.J.

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A Student Was Denied His Diploma For Wearing The Mexican Flag At Graduation

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Ever Lopez, 18, wore the Mexican flag over his graduation robe at his high school graduation ceremony. The school withheld his diploma, claiming he violated the dress code.

School officials claimed the North Carolina high school senior was in violation of graduation dress code.

(Image credit: Rachel Berry/The Courier-Tribune)

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