Thursday, November 1, 2012

Don't Call Me White!

What a crazy week! Is it over yet?!
We had our Halloween Parade yesterday (pics of my fancy costume to come) AND I got a sound system and microphone in my classroom this week. I have to admit, I was very resistant to this sound system thing. I may be little, but I can be loud. (This girl was in all the school plays growing up. Projection, baby!) But oh my geez. I tried that microphone today and it’s WONDERFUL! I didn’t realize how much I was straining my voice before. Plus the kids think it’s the coolest thing ever and therefore love to hear me teach.
Ha. We’ll see how long that lasts. J
Anywho, I haven’t shared any ideas in a while and I’m itching to write. You might have read that I’ve only lived in Utah for a year, and I’m originally from Louisiana. (Big game this weekend, folks! BEAT BAMA!!!) Well. Back down south you got lots of diversity. We learn about slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. Here in Utah (at least where I teach)…not so much. I have learned so much about pioneers since I moved here, but haven’t seen much in the diversity department. I think that cultural and ethnic diversity are what make the world go round and so I’ve tried to incorporate these things into my classroom quite a bit.
I found this website, Teaching Tolerance. It’s full of great, FREE resources! If you click on Free Teaching Kits, you can browse the things they have available to teachers. There’s this one DVD on there called Starting Small -- for teachers, not kids. It talks about how to teach diversity to the younger grades. One activity I love from the DVD (and that I’ve done with 5th and 2nd graders) is the Skin Color Paint Activity.

Here are the basics of how it works. Go to Walmart and buy several skin-tone paints. Sit your kiddos down and read a few diversity/differences-related books. (This year mine loved The Little White Owl.) Lead a discussion on how we are all different, but special the way we are. This segways in to the fact that we all have different skin colors, but none of us are actually “black” or “white.” I tell the kids we are going to use the paint to figure out what color they actually are. We go through the class, student by student, determining together what color(s) everyone is. For example, they might be a mixture of café latte and coffee bean or “fry sauce” –it’s a Utah thing—and French vanilla. The kids love figuring out what everyone is! What’s great is when a “black” kid and “white” kid are the same colors. It’s usually an “aha moment” for the kids. As we figure out what color the kids are, they write down the colors on a sticky note. Now I will admit, my 2nd graders’ parents were not as into this activity as my 5th graders’ parents were. But I feel that teaching acceptance early is super important.

You can learn more about this activity in the StartingSmall DVD, which you can get for FREE from! You can also subscribe to their teacher magazine (also free). Here’s a pic of some of my kiddos.
 The kids and I really like this activity and I highly recommend it, particularly if you’re having acceptance issues in your class. How do you promote diversity and acceptance in your classroom?


Oceans of First Grade Fun said...

Love this activity! Thanks for sharing!
Oceans of First Grade Fun

Sheree Peterson said...

Just found your blog through Lindsey. I'm your newest follower and a Utah blogger too. I have a microphone system and LOVE it. Really saves the voice. My kiddos LOVE it to.

Heather's Heart said...

What a great activity!

I think speaking into a microphone would freak me out...I hate being loud!

Blessings to you,

Heather's Heart

RealOCteachers said...

Hello! I am a new follower and found your blog through the teacher wife. So excited to read about all of your creative ideas!

The REAL Teachers of Orange County

- Miss Swanson said...

I love this and I never think I think it is completely appropriate for 2nd grade!

- Alyssha
Teaching and Tapas

Rachelle said...

So great and it's really thoughtful!

What The Teacher Wants

Em Hutchison said...

I just found your blog through the Liebster Award! I got this Teaching Tolerance a few years ago. You have totally inspired me. I will need to go back and revisit this.

Glad I stopped by.
Hope you can stop over.


Pam said...

Ahhhh! LOUISIANA!! I'm from Louisiana, and still here. Where did you live?

Brittany Chelette said...

It's such a small world, Pam! I love making these connections! I grew up in Metairie then lived in BR for 5 years while I went to LSU. My hubby is from Alexandria. You?


Brittany Chelette said...

It's such a small world, Pam! I love making these connections! I grew up in Metairie then lived in BR for 5 years while I went to LSU. My hubby is from Alexandria. You?


Pam said...

I lived in North Louisiana til 1981, then moved to Lafayette (went to USL, graduated in 1996). Stayed there and taught til 2003, then moved back to north La. I live in Ruston, and went back to get my masters at Louisiana Tech University. Yes, it IS a small world! I love BR and New Orleans, and of course I miss Lafayette.

susanlulu said...

It says you can not be followed by e-mail. Is this true since you have the button on your blog? I tried and it gave me this message. Thanks.
susan in nc

Underpaid and Overblessed said...


Thanks for letting me know. I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'll look into it and let you know when it's all straightened out. Thanks again!


LYNDSEY said...

Hi Brittany! I gave your adorable blog a little shout out over at Freebielicious! :) Love this idea, girl!


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