While Black History Month is coming to an end, there's opportunity for growth and to learn about Black History and how to be anti-racist throughout the year. Anti-racism is defined as the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance. There are many ways to practice anti-racism such as supporting Black-owned businesses (Birmingham Black-owned businesses are linked below), voting for people who are also anti-racist, and having courageous conversations with friends and family.
Below are resources for educators, kids, and anyone interested in becoming Anti-Racist.
Anti-Racism Resources for Educators, Students, and Citizens
Race and Equity Initiative Anti-Racism Resources
Let's Grow Kids: Anti-Racism Resources
12 Books For Adults About Anti-Racism And Activism
21-Day Anti-Racism Challenge
TED Talks to help you understand racism in America
17 Black-owned Businesses to Support in Birmingham
17 Black-owned Restaurants in Birmingham
Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrated annually on February 17.
Small gestures of kindness are known to brighten other people’s days. The link below has 100 examples of Random Acts to show kindness to strangers, non-profits, co-workers, neighbors, teachers, friends and loved ones.
100 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
Being kind means being aware of those around you and actively helping those in need. A nice comment, a smile, opening the door, giving honest compliments, and refusing to gossip are common examples of what it means to practice kindness.
There are many ways to integrate kindness in the classroom and the following links have resources, lessons, and ideas to teach students about the importance of kindness with multiple illustrations on how to practice kindness.
Random Acts of Kindness for Educators
Teaching Kindness in the Classroom by Celebrating the Small Things
Creating a Culture of Kindness in Your Classroom
10 Kindness Lessons and Activities for Elementary School
Kindness in the Classroom Curriculum Video
Below are links to articles that link kindness with health. Practicing kindness is an awesome experience for those around us, but there are multiple personal benefits one may experience from the act of kindness.
The Importance of Kindness
The Heart and Science of Kindness - Harvard
Click here to visit the link to a TED Talk by Rita Pierson. Throughout the video, she speaks on the value and importance of human connection in education and how she builds her students’ self-esteem and academic achievement at the same time.
Relationship Skills is one of five components that make up the CASEL’s Model of SEL. Relationship skills is best defined as the ability to build positive relationships with diverse groups or individuals by utilizing active listening, communication, and conflict resolutions skills. According to Greater Good in Education relationship skills include – initiating contact with others and forming a friendship, appropriately sharing one’s thoughts and feelings, communicating effectively, developing positive relationships, demonstrating cultural humility, practicing teamwork and collaborative problem-solving, resolving conflicts constructively, approaching relationships with respect, withstanding negative social pressure, resisting stereotypes, standing up in support for others, showing leadership, seeking or offering support and help when needed. A positive, healthy friendship among students, coworkers, parents, children, and peers is focused on the practice and implementation of trust, equality, compassion, honesty, and independence.
Below are resources for Make a Friend Day:
5 Requirements for a Strong Friendship
SEL for Students: Social Awareness and Relationship Skills
10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs
10 Ways to Make (and Keep) Friendships as an Adult
Friendship and SEL Activities for the Classroom:
Character Development: Being a Good Friend
Teaching Friendship in the Classroom
Lesson Plans to Teach Friendship
Black History Month is celebrated annually during the month of February. Black History Month is celebrated to highlight the achievements and accomplishments of African Americans. appreciate their culture, and reflect on the continued struggle for racial justice. Black History Month has greatly evolved from 1926, when this celebration was a week-long previously known as Negro History Week introduced by Carter G. Woodson (aka the "Father of Black History"). February 1st is also National Freedom Day, the anniversary of the approval of the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery in 1865.
In the classroom, while Black History Month is important, aim to reinforce that ‘Black History’ is American History. Many schools teach from Black history from a white-centered perspective, rather than tell the entire story. It is important to have truth in the classroom, as well difficult conversations about race. These conversations can build trust and respect if facilitated accurately. There are multiple websites linked below with activities to use in the classroom specifically for Black History Month, and ways to include Black history in the curriculum year-round.
The theme for Black History Month 2021 is “Black Family: Representation, Identity, & Diversity.”
Here are seven guiding principles for educators to explore when teaching Black history (recommended by LaGarrett J. King, an associate professor of social studies education at the University of Missouri):
6 Teaching Tools for Black History Month
33 Black History Month Activities for February and Beyond
20 pertinent classroom resources for Black History Month
Black History Month Activities for Classrooms (Grades K-12)
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: Lesson Plans for K-12 students
Inspire your Heart with Art Day is celebrated on January 31st and was created to celebrate all forms of art and to think about the way art has an effect on our emotions.
According to a report from the Consortium on School Research at the University of Chicago and Ingenuity, social-emotional skills are an integral part of arts education, and arts instruction is a vehicle for addressing SEL in schools. In other words, arts education is an essential part of a child's education. Children and adults can benefit from creating art, and you don't have to be an artist or good at art to do it! It also encourages creative thinking and enhances problem-solving skills.
Below are some resources for SEL and Art:
5 SEL Lessons That Actually Work with Secondary Students
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL AND THERAPEUTIC USE OF ARTS
Social Emotional Learning and the Arts | Institute for Arts Integration
“I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.” -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Cornell College, 1962.
Monday was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and it’s celebrated as a day on, not a day off, for many people. It’s a day of action and service to achieve King’s dream. Below are resources to help you think about the role race plays in your life and in society, resources for how to be anti-racist, and resources to cope with racial trauma.
Questions to ask ourselves about race:
1. How many people whose race or ethnic identity is different from your own are you friends with?
2. How many people whose race or ethnic identity is different from your own live in your neighborhood?
3. Do you have conversations about race or ethnicity with your friends, family, or with people whose race or ethnic identity is different from your own?
4. What role does power play in determining our cultural spaces?
5. What commitments can you make this year to try to listen to and understand a person or people you fear or don’t know?
6. What commitments can you make this year to actively be anti-racist?
Coping Skills for Racial Trauma:
Ways to Be Anti-Racist:
In recognition of the trauma caused by yesterday’s violence at the US Capitol and continued unrest we want to provide resources that may help you for your response.
In Caring for Students in the Wake of a Traumatic News Event, Evie Blad writes about 4 things, we as adults and educators can do right now:
The month of December, the last month of the year can be considered “the world of holidays.” Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and Omisoka are holiday traditions celebrated during the month of December. Christmas is celebrated in North America, Australia, England, Iceland, and more. In North America, Christmas is a religious holiday in the Christian faith as the historical celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ; or Christmas is a cultural holiday celebrated with Christmas trees, visits from Santa Clause, and dreams of snow. In Australia, Christmas falls during the summer months, where popular traditions involve going to the beach or camping. In England, Christmas traditions are similar to those in the United States, rather they leave mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas instead of milk and cookies for Santa Clause. In Iceland, their capital city turns into a winter wonderland and Yule Lads (like thirteen Santas) leave small gifts in shoes every night for thirteen nights before Christmas.
Click here for pictures of how Christmas is celebrated around the world.
Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is an eight-day Jewish celebration that commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt. Those who took part in the re-dedication witnessed that even though there was only enough untainted oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued to burn for eight nights. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah celebrations revolve around lighting the menorah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown. The ninth candle, called the shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others. Typically, blessings are recited and traditional Hanukkah foods such as potato pancakes (latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot) are fried in oil. Other Hanukkah customs include playing with dreidels and exchanging gifts.
Learn more about Hanukkah by clicking here.
The name Kwanzaa comes from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, families gather, and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara; then one of the seven principles, values of African culture, is discussed. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.
Click here to learn more about Kwanzaa.
Boxing Day takes place on December 26, is a tradition that still happens in some places; it was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were opened and their content distributed. It was also the day off servants were given to celebrate Christmas with their families. Boxing Day has now become a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and other countries. In England, soccer matches and horse races often take place on Boxing Day. The Irish refer to the holiday as St. Stephen’s Day, and they have their own tradition called hunting the wren, in which boys fasten a fake wren to a pole and parade it through town. The Bahamas celebrate Boxing Day with a street parade and festival called Junkanoo.
To learn more about Boxing Day click here.
Ōmisoka, New Year’s Eve, is considered the second-most important day in Japanese culture, as it is the final day of the old year and the eve of New Year’s Day, the most important day of the year. Families gather on Ōmisoka for one last time in the old year to have a bowl of toshikoshi-soba or toshikoshi-udon, a tradition based on eating the long noodles to cross over from one year to the next. At midnight, many visit shrines or temples for Hatsumōde. Shinto shrines prepare amazake to pass out to crowds and most Buddhist temples have large cast bells that are struck once for each of the 108 earthly desires believed to cause human suffering.
Learn more about Ōmisoka here.
"Look on the bright side" is a phrase coined to tell people to be cheerful and optimistic despite difficulties they may be facing throughout the day. Being optimistic all the time is difficult, especially when we are coping with tragedies, yet this phrase aims to push us forward and look at positive events that have happened to us. To look on the bright side comes with time, when life is difficult, remaining optimistic is hard, but by remembering to “look on the bright side” you are reminding yourself that this isn't forever and it will pass. Making sure to maintain a positive attitude is known to benefit in the following ways - increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological and physical well being, reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and better-coping skills during hardships and times of stress.
Below are resources for increasing your ability to think more positively:
In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The adoption of this document is now observed every December 10, commonly known as Human Rights Day.
Typically, those who experience discrimination belong to the targeted group of one or more of the following groups -- age, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual harassment, and race, color, and sex.
There are eight ways that a individual may use to fight and prevent discrimination.
Here are some resources to help fight for human rights and against discrimination!
8 Everyday Ways to Fight Racism
Recognizing Discrimination Lesson for Grades 3-8
6 Ways to Stand Behind Your LGBT Students
Fighting Prejudice and Discrimination of Differently Abled People Lesson for Grades 6-12