Creating Your Own Culture Lesson (Tailor-made For Each Student)

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There are so many powerful history lessons that we can share with our students, but what if we intentionally shared lessons that were directly related to our students’ cultures?

LaNesha and I asked ourselves this question recently, and then we created this resource to meet that need.

(Click image to be taken to resource)

Here’s how it works:

In our classes, at the beginning of each year, we get to know our students culturally with our culture cases or culture flipbooks.

We ask our students about their cultures. This typically takes a week or two to complete. Sometimes students have to ask their caregivers for information they are unsure about. These are done in lieu of traditional “About Me” activities.

When everyone has completed this flipbook or culture case, we present them to the class. We celebrate diversity and learn to value the unique experiences our classmates bring the classroom. We (LaNesha and I) share our culture, too.

We also teach our kids about cultural intelligence. Basically, we want to give our kids an understanding of their own cultures so they can see and understand why they should seek to understand and value the cultures of other people.

(Click on the image to check out the resources)

We asked ourselves, what if we take those activities/lessons we planned a step further and actually use the cultural information we learned to create social studies lessons?

We decided to create these templates for planning and teaching short lessons around one aspect of each students’ culture. If you had 24 students, before the end of the year, you would create and present 24 different lessons about each child. It would take about 20 minutes or less to plan and would make a 15-30 minute lesson, depending on how much discussion you encourage or if you add a writing component about what students learned.

This was designed for a teacher to use pictures, gathered from the internet, and information from a quick Google search, to create a short presentation about a topic. First, a teacher would explain why it’s important to know about and then give a few sentences about the history of it. To personalize the lesson, I would also add in a picture of the child who shared that it was a part of their culture. You’ll also explain the global connection and how the lesson is building your students’ cultural intelligence. Last, but not least, summarize the lesson and kids will discuss if they thought the lesson was important.

The headings on each page and the turn and talk prompts are already done for you!

You would insert your own text and picture on each slide as seen below.

In addition to the prompts on the slide, a 12 page guide detailing exactly how to build a lesson is included in the resource. Examples of what to type on each slide are also included in the download.

We hope you and your students enjoy this one!

Naomi and LaNesha

The Black Families’ Guide to Racism

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*Click ANY image in this post to download the guide.

LaNesha and I are two Black moms speaking from the heart with this guide. We know that with all of the hate and racism in the world, it can be hard to know what to say as a parent.

We don’t have all the right words to say. This guide may not be the perfect fit for your family, but we hope Black families will be able to use this free guide in some capacity to help facilitate important conversations with their children.

We created a section about racism. This will help our young kids have the language to describe things they will see and experience. This section will give you the opportunity to discuss racism you have experienced, racism they have experienced, and make a family plan of what to do every time it happens.

Because reliving such harmful and traumatic experiences can be hurtful, we included affirmations after every discussion page. It’s crucial to remind our children that no matter what the world says, they are not those things and that Black lives matter.

We included a section that may reveal some biases your kids hold- because remember, we all hold biases. We encourage you to explore these biases and where they may stem from. The guide will help you facilitate this discussion.

We included a section about allyship and white privilege. Whether they have a name for it or not, our children notice the unfair practices that take place in the world around them. They might notice how some white students are given advantages and less severe consequences in the classroom. This may make them believe the lie that it’s because white students are better or more deserving of these advantages. Helping them to understand what white privilege is will help them identify it and at the very least, be able to discuss it with you.

We also included some pages about being an ally. A true friend should always also be an ally, but an ally does not have to be a friend. We, the Black community, don’t need to seek out white people to care about us enough to stand up against racism and white supremacy. They should care because it’s the right thing to do. We don’t want our kids to ever excuse apathy from a white person about racial injustice simply because they have no close Black friends.

By the time you make it this section (remember to pace yourself), we just wanted to affirm our kids in their Blackness one last time. We wanted to remind them how much they matter, how much they are loved, and how much they should love themselves.

We hope this guide is helpful.

Black Lives Matter.

Naomi and LaNesha

Because we realize the value of important topics like this, LaNesha and I love to make sure our own students and children are exposed to a variety of much needed social studies lesson. We teach kindergarten and first grade, but our students continue to amaze us with the big ideas they are able to handle!

What are your children learning in school for social studies? How diverse are the books being presented to them at school? It’s important for parents to continue to take an active role in what their students are learning!

You can push for culture nights at your school. Ask what anti-racist work your child’s school engages in. You may also want to ask how important inclusion and diversity is for every classroom in your child’s building.

Together, we can make a difference.

Click here to check out the social studies resources we have created. Consider purchasing a unit for a teacher to use. They are K-2 friendly!

K-2 Social Studies

The POC Families’ Guide to Racism (That Affects the Black Community)

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*click ANY image in this post to be taken to the product.

If you are a POC Family in need of assistance in obtaining this resource, please click here.

LaNesha and I created this guide after many requests for this version. We created The White Families’ Guide for Racism: How Can We Grow to Be Anti-Racist and heard from non-Black families of color that realized the need for a guide like this for their families. Black, Indigenous, and other people of color also face discrimination and racism. We recognize that. This book is focused around equipping your children to understand that as well as the racism that affects the Black community.

If you are a white mom, but have children of color, this is not for your family. You should not ever process your racism towards people of color in front of children of color.

We have built-in opportunities for your family to share experiences with racism and discrimination that are unique to your community. This will help them compare and contrast the experiences that are unique to the Black community.

Remember to encourage your children to be honest. They are young. They can unlearn anything harmful they have learned. Be honest about your growth, too. Talk to them about feelings you have about the Black community and how they may have grown or changed over time. Talk to them about negative stereotypes you’ve heard that you know are not true.

Your child might be tempted to keep interjecting about the discrimination or racism they have faced. Validate their feelings. Hear them. You do not have to dismiss their feelings to teach them that Black lives matter, too.

Make sure you set a clear purpose for the discussions and lessons you will be having over the next couple of days or weeks.

We included icons to serve as visual cues that will guide your conversations.

We need you to know that you and your kids can do racist things, even if you don’t identify yourself as a racist person and even if you are a family of color (Indigenous, Asian, Latinx). In the same way that a nice person can sometimes do or say mean things that are out of character, so can you or your children when it comes to doing or saying racist things towards the Black community. Now that you’ve committed to being more aware, you may notice things more clearly and be able to call it out every time you see it. And you’ll be able to change your behavior and apologize when you need to. This will also help your children recognize when they are on the receiving of racism or discrimination and empower them to speak up.

When defining racism for your kids. Please be sure to talk to them about microaggressions. Some kids (and adults) only think of racism as the really big and violent acts Black people face. It isn’t always easy to spot if you don’t know what all forms of it look like.

The conversations can get as deep and as real as you allow. Try to provide many examples from real events, especially if they are personal events, when you can.

When learning about the biases your kids hold, remember to thank them for their honesty. You can help them become aware of their biases so they can work on not acting on them.

Make sure to also tell your kids WHY you all are focusing on being an ally to the Black community. Remind them that, everyone matters, but right now, you are focusing on the Black community and the racism they experience.

Your children will learn about white privilege and you can equip them to teach others about it. Your family can commit to being an ally to the Black community and help to be a part of the solution. Imagine the impact of families all over the country holding each other accountable and engaging in this work with their children.

We are sure you already do, but remember to continue to affirm your children. Remind them that the discrimination or hate they may endure is also wrong.

If you are a POC Family in need of assistance in obtaining this resource, please click here.

Here are some articles and book links that will help you with this resource:

We hope you can shift away from thinking these conversations are too hard to have, to realizing these conversations are too important NOT to have.

Best,

Naomi and LaNesha

Because we realize the value of important topics like this, LaNesha and I love to make sure our own students and children are exposed to a variety of much needed social studies lesson. We teach kindergarten and first grade, but our students continue to amaze us with the big ideas they are able to handle!

What are your children learning in school for social studies? How diverse are the books being presented to them at school? It’s important for parents to continue to take an active role in what their students are learning!

You can push for culture nights at your school. Ask what anti-racist work your child’s school engages in. You may also want to ask how important inclusion and diversity is for every classroom in your child’s building.

Together, we can make a difference.

Click here to check out the social studies resources we have created. Consider purchasing a unit for a teacher to use. They are K-2 friendly!

K-2 Social Studies