Monday, July 2, 2018

Being the Change - Chapter 1 & 2 {#cyberpd}

I'm very thankful I had a gift card and chose to spend it on Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed to participate in #cyberpd.  I initially didn't look at this book very closely because it's marketed for grades 4-8.  When it was selected I found some tidbits that others felt things in the book could be tweaked for primary grades.  As, I finish chapters one and two I would agree.  

As I read chapter one, the sentence, "We have an obligation to make kids feel visible."  I enjoyed reading Sarah's thoughts that followed discussing how this can be done through establishing relationships.  I think if you are reading this book you are invested in communities and relationships and wonder if any of  you had thought about the work we do in these two areas as making kids feel visible.  I hadn't and I want to make sure my students do feel visible.

As I read about identity webs, I found myself comparing them to Georgia Heard's heart maps.  I was wrestling if they were different ideas and I concluded they are.  I think identity webs could help build heart maps later in the year.  I loved the idea of starting identity webs the first day of school.  Kristi Mraz did a wonderful blogpost with Heinemann where she lays out how she would adjust identity webs for her kindergarten students.  It's doable with primary students.

I drew a little heart in my book on p36 where Sara encourages us to kid-watch.  In the age of data driven meetings, reports, and testing I long for someone to justify kid-watching.  I also think the suggestions on p36 and p37 could be guidance for an Reflection/Closing Circle at the end of the day.  

I started tweaking the language used for discussing the discomfort during disagreement.  This is just a rough draft and I'm open to any thoughts for further revising for younger students.
 - Listen with an open mind and heart.
-  It might not feel right.
-  What is your body doing?
-  Others can think differently than you.
-  We can have different ideas.

Thank you Cathy and Michelle for organizing #cyberpd.


  1. I loved that line, "We have an obligation to make kids feel visible" too. We want kids to know that there ideas matter. I wonder if it might help kids to also say - I heard you say... This way they are validating the ideas of others.

    1. I think having kids validating other kids brings great power to a classroom community. Great idea!

  2. Mandy, I’m so glad you are joining the conversation. I appreciated reading your reflections from a primary perspective (and loved Mraz’s article as well). I thought about these conversations of discomfort too. I tried to think of stems for this, but so far only have come up with one: “I heard you say___, and I wonder ____.” I want to think more about that.

    1. ...and I wonder might help frame the uncomfortable or worry when we can question someone's thinking. I might try this sat home. :)

  3. I have not really thought much about the ideas that Sara presents, but I'm glad I purchased the book to get me thinking. I work with grades one through five and I definitely think the book's ideas can be applied to the lower elementary grades. Explicitly teaching listening, for sure, is needed from the start. I liked Mraz's post, as well.

  4. Mandy,
    So happy you are here sharing your thoughts through the primary lens. I think this work is doable in the early grades, but it will look and feel a bit different! I enjoyed reading your thoughts and wonderings about moving forward as well. I truly believe that we do a great job of making kids feel visible in the early grades ... giving them time to talk when they first arrive, greeting them at the door, morning circle time where everyone has the opportunity to share. I believe that is one of our strengths as elementary teachers -- genuinely caring about kids and wanting them to know we care and hear them. Do we need to spend more time doing this work? Yes. :)

    I also compared the identity webs to heart maps too! I still believe they are connected in so many ways ... I agree that the identity webs can help lead to the heart maps and sharing stories that matter. Kid-watching got a big heart from me too. Love the idea of creating a list of 10 things about a student! Powerful!

    Thanks for jumping in and sharing your thoughts!