I chose to do an English content with racism weaved into the curriculum for third graders. I picked to incorporate racism because the problem in society is big and addressing it to younger children will have a greater impact on their future as well as others. Having to teach about the issues of racism to third graders is a great thing because as a future elementary teacher, I will be the one helping to set their foundation for life. Younger children are usually more open-minded where as older children usually already have a set mindset that is more difficult to change.
On the first day of my unit, I chose to incorporate prejudice into my curriculum because that is a huge piece that ties into racism. I decided to use the orange activity as an opener to get my students to critically think about how everyone may look different but it doesn’t make a difference when you look “inside” them or get to know them. This teaches using critical multicultural education because like on the CME handout, one of their goals is to broaden students’ perspectives about others and of themselves. I thought it was a good idea to have them distinguish the difference between race and ethnicity is like we did in class (while also knowing what those words mean). I decided after to address racial profiling because that goes a long with race and it is a problem in society today. I figured if I came up with examples and scenarios of how people are racially profiled then the students could relate and get their emotions and opinions going. I picked the book Smoky Night by Eve Bunting because I thought it was a good choice having the main character go through the story of at first not liking some people because of their race to accepting all cultures and ethnicities the way they are. I thought it was a good way to introduce how racism relates to violence.
On the second day of my unit, I chose to read the book “Black like Kyra, White like Me” because I thought it would fit perfectly into addressing issues of racism. Having read this story, students can understand an example of how people are being racist while discussing how to overcome the problems. I thought this book could lead into a great discussion about how racism and being prejudiced affects everyone around them.
On the third day of my unit, I chose the movie “Groark Learns About Prejudice” because I thought it would fit perfect for addressing about the issue of people being prejudice. Like from our notes in class, I want the students to know everyone has some degree of prejudice but we want to get rid of the negative aspect. One of the main goals of teaching through a CME lens is decreasing oppression and all that is associated with it (oppression=race + power). I wanted to show this video also because it shows great examples of people being prejudice against different “races.” I wanted the students to know that being prejudice/racist is different than just not liking someone. The overhead questions I made were to get the children critically thinking about how to act if they see or experience racism. I also included a handout for the students to bring home to their parents/ guardians because I learned from the speakers in this class that the parents are a huge part in the process.
On the fourth day of my unit, I decided to get two stories (both of which show racism) even though one is an animal it still has the same concept of being excluded from the group because of the color of his beak. I chose the story about Asian Americans because we talked about in class that some people deny the experience of racism for people of Asian decent and Asian Americans. I thought these stories would really open up the students eyes about the verbal abuse that some people receive because of their race or culture. I also wanted the students to talk to their peers in a group to discuss how they can make their school a safer place without racism. This fits into the SJE category because we want everyone to be treated equally as human beings not only in schools but society.
On the fifth day of the unit, I wanted to address to the students that eliminating racism is possible but it all starts with their actions. The main goals I am trying to address to the students are through Social Justice Education (off the SJE handout) which are student empowerment, and social responsibility. Student empowerment means that students have information and they know what to do with it which ties right into my action piece of this lesson. The social responsibility goal is for students to feel responsible because they know they are a part of the whole and have them act to transform their world. I had them think about all the books they’ve ever read up to third grade and to identify any stereotypes that they have seen because it’s very important that we start decreasing those books in schools. I wanted to talk a lot about stereotypes and to get across to them that most the time, they are just ridiculous and they shouldn’t believe them. For an action I chose to have the students write a letter to the principal because I wanted them to see that there are actually things they can do to help raise awareness for the issue of racism. I had them also make posters to put around the school because I have affected my student’s knowledge and I wanted them to include all the other children and adults to get involved for social change.