Posted in Talking about Books, Teaching Things

Free “Through My Eyes” by Ruby Bridges Supplementary Material Booklet

In honor of Black Lives Matter and the protests happening around the globe, I would like to share a free resource to help teachers who have student in the 5th, 6th, or 7th grades for the American K-12 education system.

I’m putting in some materials I used last year with my returnee students in Japan. These booklets ARE NOT BOOK COPIES, but supplementary materials designed to help students get the most out of the book experience. I assigned this booklet as homework for the students to do every week, collecting the booklets to mark every Friday.

I apologize in advance as I used Publisher in order to create this booklet, so I can only add PDF and image files. I’ll have the images below as previews of what the booklets give in terms of content.

I don’t need credit, I just ask that no one EVER POSTS TO A PAY FOR WORKSHEETS SITE! Please don’t profit off this booklet. I’m intending for this work to be used to help spread awareness of really serious issues involving racism and specifically education.

If anyone would like to share feedback or critiques, I would appreciate it. You can comment on this post or hit me at the email I’ll try to find a way to convert my Publisher file into Word in a way that won’t ruin the whole formatting.

Printing instructions: I made all of these for the A3 size paper. It’s quite big, but my students tend to write big so it worked out. However, note that pages 5 and 6 are meant to be copied back to back on an A4 size paper!

The booklet cover
Pages 2 and 9, which should be copied to the back of the booklet cover.
Pages 8 and 3
Pages 4 and 7 which should be copied to the back of Pages 8 and 3
Pages 5 and 6, which need to be copied back to back on an A4 (Letter Sized) paper.

After printing out the pages, staple them together and give them out to your students. I had a system where if I had to make a whole booklet all over again I took away points, but you decide what works best for you.

I apologize in advance if there are any mistakes or somehow I’ve worded something wrong/offensive. Do tell me if I need to change something. I tried to keep my language simple for kids, and as I don’t have Black co-workers to ask for feedback, I did the best I could with this topic.

Note: this booklet is meant to be used in tandem with the book and it’s supposed to have a teacher guiding students through the complex issues of racism and education in the modern era. Please don’t use this booklet as a substitute for in-depth discussion and learning! Thank you!

If you would like to purchase the book, you can get it from Scholastic if you live in the USA. If you don’t live in the USA, the Book Depository website also carries it. Of course, you can use Amazon, but remember the deals there often come at the expense of both worker rights and the authors.

I hope this somehow this little booklet makes a difference for an educator out there! Good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized

On MLK JR. and the Legacy We Need Today

Today my home country will have the opportunity to celebrate the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. This great man devoted his all to the cause of equality. Every speech and march was a crusade against tyranny. His galvanized thousands upon millions of people to come together to protest against the unjust nature of American society.

If only he could be here now…

At a time when my own so-called (but not well regarded) President calls less fortunate countries “shitholes,” enacted a Muslim Ban against Islamic peoples from Middle Eastern nations, and continuously badgers for a border wall, I wish at times we had another Martin Luther King Jr. to step up and orate the world into seeing how divisive and abhorrent racism truly is.

“I Have A Dream” is the speech many people know and love. The countless quotes pulled from it will be the main sound bites for the news features, and people will point to it as the leading example of the message Martin Luther King Jr. wanted us to learn.

But that’s oddly enough not the speech that stuck with me.

My favorite Martin Luther King Jr. speech is obscure, to say the least. It’s actually not even supposed to be a civil rights speech, but instead an acceptance letter for an honorary doctorate. For some reason, this one particular part of it resonates with me (underlined for emphasis):

As you well know, racism is a reality in many sections of our world today. Racism is still the coloured man’s burden and the white man’s shame. And the world will never rise to its full moral or political or even social maturity until racism is totally eradicated. Racism is exactly what it says. It is a myth of the inferior race; it is the notion that a particular race is worthless and degradated innately and the tragedy of racism is that it is based not on an empirical generalisation but on an ontological affirmation. It is the idea that the very being of a people is inferior.

I wish more people could read those lines. We all know the iconic lines of, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” But to lay out what racism at its core really is, as well as put the shame where it belongs is just as important as the dream. It’s pointing out the root of the problem, and demanding action.

Racism must be eradicated, but how?

This speech actually continues on to talk about it:

Well, it may be true that morality cannot be legislated but behaviour can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can restrain him from lynching me; and I think that is pretty important also. And so, while the law may not change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men if it is vigorously enforced, and through changes in habits, pretty soon attitudinal changes will take place and even the heart may be changed in the process.

Changes in law, changes in the government, changes from the top to demand that the bottom obey these laws, must be just and equal. Right now, I don’t believe my government wants equality, but instead wants to encourage that “myth of an inferior race.” The administration in the White House feels no shame in its desire to rip apart families with ICE and immigration, in threatening to take away the dreams of DACA recipients, in lambasting NFL players for taking a knee (an act Martin Luther King Jr. would’ve surely been proud of, non-violent and attention getting as it is), and the list can just go on and on.

We cannot stay silent when we see injustice, for that is how it wins. Even if all we do is call out racist behavior when we see it, it’s a step in the right direction. Call your representatives, write letters, get yourself open and vocal.

Martin Luther King Jr. wanted a world of mutual understanding and respect between white and black people, but we white people must make ourselves worthy of that respect. Until then, we can carry this shame.