About Empowering Multicultural Initiatives

Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (E.M.I.), a project of EDCO Collaborative, specializes in anti-racist education by establishing the values of racial harmony in schools in order to benefit students, teachers, administration, and the larger community.

E.M.I. originated in 1993 as a collaborative of seven school districts in the Metro West region of Boston, Massachusetts, concerned with academic achievement and equitable education. Current E.M.I. districts include: Bedford, Concord, Concord-Carlisle High School, Needham, Newton, Wayland, Wellesley and Weston.

E.M.I. facilitators work with schools and educators to help develop and implement effective anti-racist practices and programs. Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (E.M.I.) seeks to establish anti-racist school climates that offer excellence and equity for all students.

This Blog is designed to provide resources and updates on EMI activities.For Lesson Plan and Tenacity ideas check out EMI’s website http://www.edcollab.org/EMI/EmpoweringMulticultural.html

For information about EMI or the EMI 2013 - 2014 course schedules and activities contact ellistern123@gmail.com

EMI Activities

E.M.I. Spring 2014 Course Schedule

25-hour (2 credits) course

Anti-Racist School Practices to Support the Success of All Students (EMI 1)
This graduate level course is designed to introduce educators to the complex issues raised by race and racism and their impact on student learning and achievement. This course will also help increase the skills of cultural proficiency.
Course # sp14ARSPA
Course dates:
Fridays: January 31st and March 28th from 8:30-3:30
Thursdays: February 13th, February 27th, March 13th, April 10th from 3:30-6:30
Snow date: Wednesday April 16th

Course # sp14ARSP
Course dates:
Saturdays: January 25th, February 8th, March 8th and March 29th
Snow date: April 5th

E.M.I. 12.5-hour (1 credit) courses

Building Bridges of Understanding: Supporting the Development of Culturally Proficient Students
This course is for educators who want to encourage students to be culturally proficient and to successfully navigate their way in a world that is becoming more diverse. Discussion topics will include: cultural differences, stereotypes, prejudice, and forms of systemic oppression. Activities and resources from this course can be used in Advisory programs, Open Circle discussions, etc. and/or integrated into a variety of subject areas.
Course # Sp14BB
Tuesdays: March 11th, March 25th, April 1st and April 15th from 3:30 to 6:40

Strategies for Examining and Addressing the Academic Achievement Gap
This course will examine the current research on the influence of race, ethnicity and racism on academic achievement. Strategies that have been identified as successful will be studied and adapted to fit the needs of students in our schools in an effort to ensure that all students are provided with excellence and equity in their educational experience.
Course # Sp14SEAA
Tuesdays: January 28th, February 4th, February 25th and March 4th from 3:30 to 6:40

Understanding Self-Efficacy: Helping Students Do Their Best Work
This course provides participants with an opportunity to explore concepts of self efficacy and attribution theory. Participants will examine how students’ perceptions of themselves as learners influence their academic engagement and performance. Participants will learn how to use a strengths approach, create a growth mindset environment, and give praise and constructive feedback that promote student success in the school setting.
Course # Sp14USE
Saturdays: March 1st and March 15th from 8:30 -3:30

Optional graduate credits are available from Framingham State University for $75 per credit.

E.M.I. 5-hour Seminar

This 5-hour seminar is designed for grade 3-12 teachers responsible for teaching math and/or science who want to understand what “cultural proficiency” looks like in their classes. (This is included in the new MA teacher evaluation standards.)
Seminar: Math/Science
Seminar date: January 11th 9:00 -2:30

To register or if you need more information on courses, seminars or registration contact: ellistern123@gmail.com

Registration deadline is December 11th
A course may be canceled due to low enrollment.

We will continue to accept registrations past the deadline as long as there is space available.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Examples of Anti-racist/Anti-bias Lesson Plans created by educators in the EMI districts

This lesson on Teaching the Cycle of Oppression which includes: Thinking Questions, the Cycle & Books was created and compiled by JoAnne Kazis, an elementary educator in Newton MA. joanne_kazis@newton.k12.ma.us

Cycle of Oppression (4th grade version) unfortunately I could not post the graphic that shows the three circles

Circle 1: "We Learn" Stereotypes, Biased History, Misinformation, Missing History
Circle 2: "Learning is reinforced by and when...We Use (and see others use): parents, family, neighbors, school (teachers, students & other adults) media (radio, TV, advertisements), magazines, catalogs, Internet, newspapers, cartoons, mascots, sporting events.
Circle 3: "We Teach" Our stereotypes, misinformation, different forms of bias
The cycle continues, OR we can break the cycle by "stepping off" or "interrupting" the cycle by being an ally!

Thinking Questions About Books & Articles
These questions are posted on chart paper in our classroom and we refer to them all year
• Whose story is it?
• Whose story is missing?
• Who is advantaged by this story?
• Who is disadvantaged by this story?
• How are people of color portrayed?
• How are women, men, children and families portrayed?
• Does race or racism play an important part in this story?
• Does privilege play an important part in this story?
• Have you reflected on what you have learned using:
*Note: "To Know, To Care, To Act" comes from Professor James Banks the author of Educating Citizens in a Multicultural Society and other books and articles on Multicultural Education.
'Banks stated that students should be taught not only "the ability to master, access and use factual knowledge, but also the ability to challenge assumptions, to interrogate and reconstruct knowledge" and learn "to know, to care, and to act," the three goals of global citizenship education. This type of teaching will educate "students' heads, but also their hearts," and create "transformative" citizens who are prepared to take an active role in their society and work for social justice.'

Windows & Mirrors Metaphor
We also refer to the Windows & Mirrors Metaphor as we hear these stories & listen to each other's stories.
When we share personal stories with each other it is a special gift. Some stories may be familiar to us and can act as mirrors – we look into them and see something familiar – we see ourselves in them. Other stories may not be familiar and in fact quite new, but we listen to these stories and they act as windows – we look through them and receive a glimpse into the lives of others.
“A delightful truth is that sometimes when we hear another out, glancing through the window of their humanity, we can see our own image reflected in the glass of their window. The window becomes a mirror!” (Styles, 1988)

Sequence & Teaching with Picture Books
Please Note: This is really not a complete annotated bibliography, the descriptions of the books below were excerpted from editorial reviews on amazon.com and these are a sampling of the books we use throughout the year.
ALSO Building a positive community where everyone feels safe, valued and free to take risks is very important before this work can be done. Here are some picture books which help send positive messages:

• I Think, I Am: Teaching Kids the Power of Affirmations by Louise Hay
“Your thoughts create your life!” This is the message that Louise Hay has been teaching people throughout the world for more than 27 years. Now, children can learn and understand the powerful idea that they have control over their thoughts and words, and in turn, what happens in their life.

• No Excuses!: How What You Say Can Get In Your Way by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer focuses on the topic of excuses and how they can do more harm than we realize. The book demonstrates how excuses go far beyond “my dog ate my homework,” and can actually become words that prevent your child from reaching his or her potential.

• I Believe in Me: A Book of Affirmations by Connie Bowen
Whimsical animals, characters, and angels illustrate, in full color, twenty-seven affirmations that will inspire the reader.

• Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids byCarol McCloud Through simple prose and vivid illustrations, this heartwarming book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves.

1. Topic: Stereotypes
The books we use to discuss stereotypes are written for younger grades, but they are wonderful to use with 4th graders on this topic (and many students remember reading them!)

William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
William is a boy who wants a doll. His brother thinks it's creepy and the boy next door even goes so far as to call William a sissy. William's father responds to his request by buying him basketballs, trains, and tools. The only one who understands William is his grandmother.

Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola
Even though Oliver doesn't win first prize at a talent show, his parents and classmates cease their jeering of his "sissy" pursuits.

The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein
Elmer is not like the other male ducklings. "They boxed while Elmer baked. When they built forts, Elmer made sand castles. They had a football game, and Elmer put on a puppet show." When they call him a sissy, his mother insists that he is simply special, and "being special sometimes scares those who are not." Eventually, he is threatened by the local bully, Drake, and when he runs instead of fighting, his embarrassed father declares, "He's no son of mine!" Heartbroken, Elmer runs away and sets up house deep in the forest. As the air turns cooler, he sneaks to the great pond to view his parents one last time before they fly south and sees his father shot by hunters. He takes him home and nurses him back to health, and when the flock returns in the spring, Elmer's father boasts about his son's bravery and loyalty.

A Firetruck for Ruthie by Leslea Newman
Ruthie is visiting her grandmother for a few days. Coming back from the grocery store, they pass a young neighbor, Brian, playing with a fire truck. Ruthie hopes that Nana has a truck like that at her house but she doesn't, and the woman suggests that they play with dolls instead. Before long, the girl has an imaginary fire going and turns a cardboard box into a pretend truck.

Additional Activities
• After our work with stereotypes we begin filling in the Cycle of Oppression that is hanging in our classroom all year. "Stereotypes" and "Misinformation" are added to the 'We Learn' section (then we continue to add to the cycle as we go through the topics below and refer to it throughout the year)

• A good article to read Rethinking Schools Article "Beyond Pink and Blue" by Robin Cooley (Volume 18 No. 2, Winter 2003) as you prepare for these discussions.

• Teaching Tolerance Lesson: Girls Can Be Plumbers? This activity helps early-grade students begin to think about gender roles, stereotypes and career choices. http://www.tolerance.org/activity/girls-can-be-plumbers

2. Topic: Allies (and touches on Biased History - We add "Biased History" to our Cycle of Oppression and discuss how being an ally can interrupt the cycle).

Rebel by Allan Baillie
This picture book shows the fear and repression of a society under military rule, and how a symbolic act of rebellion can give hope through laughter and impart strength through unity.

3. Topic: Bullying
Say Something by Peggy Moss (We use this book to complete the "4 boxes activity" - to identify active & passive bullying behavior, active allies and to illustrate that there is no such thing as a "passive ally" - this boxes activity is available from EMI, it can also be used around the topic of racism)
A young narrator describes different examples of bullying that she witnesses at school and on the bus, but remains silent. One day, when her friends are absent, she must sit alone in the cafeteria, and several students make jokes at her expense. In addition to feeling angry about being treated this way, the girl is frustrated with the other kids who look on sympathetically but say nothing. She is then able to empathize with other victims.

The Wild Wombat by Udo Weigelt
When the animals at the zoo learn that a wild wombat is coming, they let their vivid imaginations get the best of them. One misunderstanding leads to another, and before long the zoo animals are certain that the new arrival will be a ferocious and terrifying creature. The wild wombat surprises them all in the end, and everyone learns a lesson about jumping to conclusions and spreading rumors.

My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig
Monica and Katie have been friends since kindergarten, but lately Katie increasingly seeks to exclude and embarrass her pal in front of their classmates. Monica's despair and isolation are realistically portrayed and highlight the often-overlooked aggression between females. The child eventually shares her anguish with her mother, who effectively counsels her.

Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig
This story addresses the topic of teasing. D.J. is tired of Vince's mean-spirited comments at school. Vince knows which buttons to push, using the I was just kidding defense when he goes too far. Unsure how to handle the situation, D.J. talks with his father and his teacher and learns a few strategies to help him deal with putdowns.

Sorry! by Trudy Ludwig
This story deals with the insincere apology. Jack's friend Charlie behaves badly all the time and gets away with it by saying he's sorry even though he clearly isn't. Jack doesn't like this about Charlie, but he does like how being the boy's friend makes him a somebody. Then Charlie damages Leena's science-fair project, and she tells him that Sorry doesn't cut it! A teacher helps him understand that he has to make amends for the hurt and damage he has caused.

4. Topic: Missing History (this is just a sampling and we don't necessarily use in this order)
(We add "Missing History" to the Cycle of Oppression)

Cheyenne Again by Eve Bunting
It is a sad and frightening day when the Taking Man insists that ten-year-old Young Bull must leave his home and family on the Cheyenne Reservation and spend most of the year at a faraway boarding school, learning the white man's ways. Young Bull is very homesick at the harsh, regimented school and tries to run away back to his home. He is unsuccessful, but he learns that he can be "Cheyenne again" in his art and memories.

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle
Dramatic, quiet, and warming, this is a story of friendship across cultures in 1800s Mississippi. While searching for blackberries, Martha Tom, a young Choctaw, breaks her village's rules against crossing the Bok Chitto. She meets and becomes friends with the slaves on the plantation on the other side of the river, and later helps a family escape across it to freedom when they hear that the mother is to be sold. Tingle is a performing storyteller, and his text has the rhythm and grace of that oral tradition. It will be easily and effectively read aloud.

The Unbreakable Code by Sara Hoagland Hunter
Setting a solidly intriguing, little-known historical episode within a fictional framework, Hunter pays warm tribute to the Navajo "code talkers" who served in the Marine Corps during World War II. The Navajo language, which had never been written down and was virtually unknown to outsiders, became a "secret weapon" in preventing the Japanese from intercepting and decoding American radio messages.

Coolies by Yin
Yin illuminates a dark corner of American history, describing monumental labor of the thousands of Chinese immigrants who helped build the transcontinental railroad.

Ten Mile Day by Mary Ann Fraser
In the context of building the entire Transcontinental Railroad, a detailed account of April 28, 1869, when--as the result of a $10,000 wager--Central Pacific crews laid a record- setting ten miles of track. In her well-researched text, Fraser incorporates fascinating detail concerning building methods, engineering challenges, and the people involved, while honestly addressing the prejudice faced by Chinese laborers and acknowledging the railroad's role in ending Native Americans' way of life.

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
During World War II the author's parents were sent to an internment camp in Idaho. That family history led to this poignant story about a young Japanese-American boy in an internment camp and the baseball diamond that gave the internees a purpose in life and a way of passing the time.

So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting
Nine-year-old Laura recounts her family's 1972 visit to the site of the former Manzanar War Relocation Camp in eastern California.

Heroes by Ken Mochizuki
A moving picture-book story about a Japanese American child who is treated as the enemy in his own country. The time here is the 1960s; the Vietnam War is on. In the schoolyard war games, Donnie is always made to play the bad guy "because I looked like them." He begs his father and uncle to show the school that they fought in the U.S. Army during World War II. The strong, brown-shaded pictures show the pain of the outsider and his loneliness in the crowd.

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter
When war seemed imminent, Alia Muhammad Baker, chief librarian of Basra's Central Library, was determined to protect the library's holdings. In spite of the government's refusal to help, she moved the books into a nearby restaurant only nine days before the library burned to the ground. When the fighting moved on, this courageous woman transferred the 30,000 volumes to her and her friends' homes to await peace and the rebuilding of a new library.

Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting
This book is inspired by a little-known chapter of American history. From the mid-19th century until after World War I, thousands of homeless "orphans" were sent West by charitable agencies to find homes with families seeking workers, children to adopt, or mother's helpers. In telling the story of one child, Bunting encapsulates the fears and sometimes happy endings of those fateful trips.

Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne
In a world where history is often seen through the prism of war, Hearne introduces seven women of peace who also shaped history--through their creativeness, imagination, and, yes, bravery.

Black Cowboys, Wild Horses by Julius Lester
This is a retelling of a story of a wild horse hunt by the black cowboy Bob Lemmons. He and his stallion, Warrior, wander on the prairie until they find the tracks of the animals they seek. Bob then spends days in a very slow approach to the herd. Horse and rider finally join the herd and are accepted by the wild horses, until at last Bob challenges the lead stallion for control

5. Topic: Prejudice/Race/Racism (we define these terms and hang them on our classroom wall)

The Araboolies of Liberty Street by Sam Swope
When the colorful, noisy, multihued Araboolies move to conventional, quiet Liberty Street, General Pinch and his wife are horrified. And when the Araboolies paint their house in bright zigzags, camp on the front lawn, and engage the neighborhood children in wild and joyful games, General Pinch calls out the army. Quickly the children decorate every house with paints, banners and balloons, leaving the General's house as the "weird one" on the block. Following orders to find the house that is different, the soldiers tie up the Pinch's house and drag it away.

Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester
This stunning picture book introduces race as just one of many chapters in a person's story. Beginning with the line, "I am a story," Lester tells his own story with details that kids will enjoy, like his favorite food, hobbies, and time of day. Then he states, "Oh. There's something else that is part of my story…I'm black." Throughout the narrative, he asks questions that young readers can answer, creating a dialogue about who they are and encouraging them to tell their own tales. He also discusses "stories" that are not always true, pointing out that we create prejudice by perceiving ourselves as better than others.

Additional Activities around Prejudice/Race/Racism
We view the following videos (over several weeks, because we stop throughout for discussion)
Find the 'ISM' Activity *This lesson comes from the book Open Minds to Equality: A Sourcebook of Learning Activities to Affirm Diversity and Promote Equity by Nancy Schniedewind & Ellen Davidson. Rethinking Schools, Ltd. 2006

EMI is looking for other examples of anti-racist, multicultural and culturally relevant teaching practices. I would appreciate it if you would share your ideas and send them to ellistern123@gmail.com