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The 21st Century Classroom
59 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
#vted Reads: The Last Cuentista
Lovely listeners, welcome back. I'm Jeanie Phillips, and on this episode, I get to talk about "The Last Cuentista", a book by Donna Barba Higuera. It's a fantastic middle grades book that touches on the tension between technology and organic life, duty and desire, along with what we know about identity -- and how we know it. It's also a book that asks us questions, like: how are you keeping the young people in your life plugged in and growing? And: Do you know the stories they tell about themselves? And most importantly, do you know how to help them tell those stories? My guest today is Ornella Matta Figueroa, who works to support storytellers out of trauma, with Safeart, out of Chelsea, Vermont. She's also part of the Vermont Education Coalition. This is Vermont Ed Reads, a show about books, by, for and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · TheLastCuentista Jeanie: I'm Jeanie Philips and welcome to #vted Reads, we're here to talk books, for educators, by educators and with educators. Today I'm with Ornella Matta-Figueroa. And we'll be talking about The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. Thank you so much for joining me Ornella. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Ornella: Thank you so much for having me. My name is Ornella Matta, and I'm coming to you from the Vermont Education Coalition, also co-director of Safeart, which is a nonprofit based out of Chelsea. We address trauma and communities to creative expression and storytelling. Jeanie: I can't think of anybody more perfect than to talk about this book, The Last Cuentista. But before we get to this one, what are you reading? Right now, Ornella? Ornella: Right now, I'm revisiting bell hooks Teaching to Transgress, and seeing it with these eyes that have gone through the pandemic and have lived the last few years is a totally different experience. And trying to figure out how do we create liberatory classroom? So that's my work of the moment. Jeanie: We can always learn more from bell hooks I find every time I read her, I have a new full body learning experience. Ornella: Same. Absolutely. Jeanie: Well, let's it's tempting as it would be to talk about bell hooks right now let's, let's come back to The Last Cuentista, which is a book that starts the very beginning of this book, we know that the world as we know it is ending, a comet is going to strike Planet Earth in the year is like 2060 something and I wondered if you wanted to just give our listeners a little snapshot of who our main character is and what's happening in her life. Ornella: So, how old is Petra? Jeanie: I think she is like 13. Ornella: She 13 or 14 years old? Jeanie: I think she's on the cusp. She's like 13? Ornella: Yes. So, we have Petra, and the book opens up with storytelling and this very moving goodbye between Petra and her grandmother. And there is a lot of you know, anticipation of what is going to happen next? What is it that we have to do? We start and see the relationship between Petra and her family, and we start to understand the earth. It is a little bit, you know, prophetic almost in a sense of, ooh, “A lot of this introduction sounds a lot like the worsening of the earth today.” And yeah, so the main character is Petra. And we meet family. In the beginning of the story, I would, I would say that. Jeanie: And Lita, her grandmother is a storyteller. And, and Petra aspires to be like her when she grows up. Ornella: A lot of inner conflicts we're seeing between the family, what the who Petra wants to be versus who her family wants her to be? While all of this chaos is happening, and they're trying, you know, they've been selected. And there's also this new one, so who gets to live and who gets to die? Jeanie: More about the selected - what are they selected to do? Petra and her family. Ornella: Selected to be leaving Earth and one of these shuttles, that's supposed to be,
71 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
#VTED Reads: Care Work with Dr. Winnie Looby
Welcome, listeners, to another episode of vted Reads: talking about books by, for, and with Vermont educators. In this episode... we own an oversight. On this show, we are dedicated to breaking down systems of inequity in education. We administer flying kicks to the forehead of intersectional oppression! But we haven't yet talked about disability. So in this episode, we fix that, as we chat with Dr. Winnie Looby, who coordinates the graduate certificate in disability studies at the University of Vermont. Dr. Looby also identifies as a person with a disability, which is important, listeners, because the rallying cry of disability advocacy has long been "Nothing about us, without us." So we're here, we're clear, and we're talking about "Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice," by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Let's limber up those kicking legs, folks, and talk about how disability too, is an equity issue. I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is Vermont Ed Reads. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: Care Work with Dr. Winnie Looby Jeanie: Hi, I'm Jeanie Phillips, and welcome to #vted Reads. We're here to talk books for educators by educators and with educators. Today I'm with Dr. Winnie Looby. And we'll be talking about Care Work, Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Thanks for joining me Winnie, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Winnie: Yes, so my primary function, I guess is I work at UVM as a lecturer in disability studies, and also in foundations. And then I'm a coordinator for a program under the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion. And I've been working there for about four or five years. Jeanie: And so excited to have you with us to talk about this subject. One of the things I've become aware of recently, is these two schools of thought about how we talk about people with disabilities or disabled people, do we use identity first language, like, disabled person? Or do we use people first language like people with disabilities? And I wondered if you had any thoughts about that? Winnie: Yeah I think, from what I've absorbed, I think it's kind of context specific. Say, if you're talking to an individual who chooses to identify as an autistic person, that's the language you use when you're talking with them. But say, if you're talking to a government official, or somebody else like that, the politically correct thing to say now is person with a disability. So that's the language that you would use. But then say, if you're within an activist circle, you might say disabled people disabled person. So it really kind of requires us to be deep listeners um to figure out what exactly might be the appropriate thing to say in that moment. Jeanie: I really appreciate something I've heard from other people I've had on the podcast as well. This like ask people ask people how they want to be referred to. And I think we had Judy Dow who's in an Abenaki scholar on and she said, you know, we talked about do people who want to be referred to as indigenous or Native American or Indian or, and she said, ask them, and think about tribal affiliations and things like that, as well. And so it's really helpful for you to frame that, again, ask people how they want to be referred to. Thank you for that. So this book, and so our author frames, access, disability access, in this way, "access as service begrudgingly offered to disabled people by non disabled people who feel grumpy about it." And she wants us to shift to a different definition of of access to "access as a collective joy and offering we can give to each other." And I was just really inspired by the move from one to the other, and what it might take for us as educators as schools, higher ed and K to 12 and pre K as well, to embrace this shift as a challenge to move from begrudgingly giving people access and being grumpy about it to creating opportunities for collective joy. Winnie: Yeah,
77 minutes | Mar 24, 2022
#vted Reads: The Other Talk
Jeanie: In this episode, I sit down with educational phenoms Christie Nold and Jess Lifshitz. And we’re joined by Brendan Kiely, Author of The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege. Now, you might be wondering what The Other Talk actually is. As many of you know, black people and other people of the global majority frequently have to have “The Talk” with their children about how to survive when they’re stopped by police in America. That’s right, when they’re stopped by police. It’s the talk about how to survive that experience. Parents often draw the meat of it from their own experiences of brutality and loss. But what talk do white people have with their children? Lovely listeners, this episode goes out to everyone who believes in young people, as Jess Lifshitz puts it, more than they believe in adults. Don’t get us wrong, adults, you are salvageable. But boy, there is work to be done. I’m Jeanie Phillips, and this is #vted Reads; a podcast about books by, for and with Vermont educators. Let’s talk. The 21st Century Classroom · TheOtherTalk Thank you so much for joining me, Brendan, Christie, and Jess. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Brendan: Well, I’m honored to have been chosen to go first. So well, it’s great to be here. Thank you. I’m Brendan Kiely, the Author of The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege and other novels, including Co-Authoring, All American Boys with Jason Reynolds. It’s really great to have an opportunity to talk about issues and ideas and heartfelt feelings that I care deeply about. I hope to ground this conversation as often as possible in the notion of lived experience as opposed to an intellectual exercise about the damage that racism causes in our country. And I say that, because I’ve been thinking a lot about how often I didn’t think about my own lived experience when I was thinking about conversations about race and racism in America. So that’s why I’m sharing that. I also just have to share, since we’re also talking about books that I’m currently reading is The 1619 Project and I’m just taking it in chunks at a time and I’m not trying to read it all at once. I’m going in between other reading, as well. But it feels like maybe the single most important book to read right now as a grounding point and as a as an effort to say, we all should be reading this. This should be canon in our educational experience. And when I’m taking a break from that, I’m reading Love and Other Poems by Alex Dimitrov which is just beautiful. Jeanie: Well, thank you so much for that. How about you, Christie? Christie: Everyone, it is so great to be here and be here with all of you. My name is Christie Nold. I use she/her pronouns and I am zooming in today from Abenaki Land here in Vermont. I am a white educator in a predominantly white school that is less than five miles from my childhood home, which is by intention and design. And so, I’m excited to be part of this conversation and talk about one of the things that I read in the wonderful book, The Other Talk about what it means to have my whiteness show up with me every day at school. And what I’m reading right now is from the wonderful Mr. Tom Rad from Twitter, Raising Ollie: How My Nonbinary Art-Nerd Kid Changed Nearly Everything I Know. And one of the things that I love so much about this book is that on the face of it, it is the story of this one incredible kid, but in the depth of it really is truly a story about education and who it serves and who it doesn’t and why. I’m really challenged to think differently and deeply by Tom in this text. And it’s pulling at some of my heartstrings around public education, which I so deeply believe in, but what happens when that public education isn’t serving every kid. So, it’s a great book to challenge my thinking and I certainly recommend it. Jeanie: Thank you so much, Christie. Jess? Jess: Hi. I’m Jess Lifshitz.
62 minutes | Feb 22, 2022
#vted Reads: Community Schools Blueprint with Kathleen Kesson
In this episode, we welcome author, educator, and Vermont transplant Kathleen Kesson who talks about Community Schools Blueprint: Transforming Our School Community Partnership. Kathleen and I talk about the possibilities we see for widening the cracks in traditional schooling by building opportunities for students and communities to support one another in authentic, real-world ways.
70 minutes | Jan 27, 2022
#vted Reads: Dig
Listeners, I’m going to ask you to bear with me on this one. This is one of my favorite episodes we’ve ever recorded because, in it, you’ll hear students at U-32 school in Montpelier, Vermont, get to bring their questions about the book “Dig”, by A.S. King, directly to the author. If you haven’t read it, “Dig” is a powerful young adult novel talking about white experiences of white supremacy in the United States. And from the questions these students brought author A.S. King, it resonates deeply with students as they work to dismantle racism in this country. So why am I asking you to bear with me? We recorded this conversation over Zoom, and all the students in this episode, along with fabulous librarian Meg Allison, were in their school, so all were masked. Let me draw you a picture, listeners: A.S. King in her attic bower, me in my lovely home recording space, and Meg and her students gathered around a library table in the school library in Montpelier. As the students all come up to the laptop to talk with King, you may hear chairs scraping or shoes scuffing, the laptop being jostled — the whole deal. That’s why we’ve also made this episode available as a full captioned video on our YouTube channel, so if that’s more your speed, you have that option available. Thanks for bearing with us and remembering how much educators and students have to bear right now. I’m Jeanie Phillips, and this is Vermont Ed Reads, talking about what educators and students in Vermont are reading. Let’s chat. https://soundcloud.com/innovativeed/dig?si=672b0036b26547f2b99837fbffbd90e8&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing Meg: To be able to talk to the author of Dig! We have spent the last month talking and reading about it, and it has sparked so many conversations. Students are invited to come up and ask a question. Really, thank you so much, Amy, I want the kids to take this away. Amy (AS King): I have a question, though, for you. What made you decide to do this? What made you like it, what started this whole thing? Meg: After I had read this book, I found it like it's an essential book. It's an essential book for young people to read. And so, we are hosting book groups here as well. It's just, I think it actually should be like a part of our curriculum. And I know some of our students are going to talk to you about that. But especially in Vermont, we are a school that flies a Black Lives Matter flag out on our flagpole. Amy: That’s why I want to move there Meg, that's why I want to move there. Meg: We’re a school that successfully raised a student-led campaign to ban the Confederate flag on our campus, not just the parking lot, but on campus. And it sparked conversations in our school. And as we evolve in these conversations towards equity and racial justice, really thinking about like, what is our role as white students, white people, white humans? And in your book, just like Jeanie, and I were speaking before you get on the call, we can't think of another book that unpacks the roots of white supremacy and the way that you do. So, this is a conversation sparker that we hope continues throughout our building. Amy: Awesome. All right, let's give it to the students. And thank you for that explanation, because I didn't know where exactly this started. So good morning, guys. How's it going? How's Vermont today? Students: Cold. Amy: Awesome. Throw questions at me. Ask me whatever you want. I'm an open book, no pun intended. Elijah: Yeah. So I'm Elijah. And so my question basically comes down to this. So I'm currently talking with English teachers here about putting this book as part of our curriculum because it's far better than some of the other books we're reading. But I want to know about your decision to write it as a young adult book? Amy: Ah, brilliant question. Excellent.
69 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
#vted Reads: Start Here Start Now
Lovely listeners: today is a work day.Now, we all know that talking about anti-bias work is a vital component of the kind of school change that makes our classrooms safer and more engaging for students of color. Doubly so when we are white educators, and when we teach in predominantly white spaces, in predominantly white communities. But sometimes, it feels like all we do is talk, and then assure ourselves that the work is done. It’s not. It's really, really not.Real change in dismantling bias in our classrooms can only come about when talk turns to walk. When we are serious about change, we share our own journeys, with all their missteps, rocks in the shoes, and joy-filled leaps and bounds. We share, and we listen, and only when we see what the work takes can we make the change we want to see in the world. On this episode, we welcome Emma Vastola and Emily Gilmore to the show, as they share their own journeys and all the work they take on, that they do each day to dismantle bias — and before we go any further I ask that you take a moment and hold these two Vermont educators in gratitude with me. Now, we’re going to be using Liz Kleinrock’s “Start Here, Start Now: A Guide to Antiracist and AntiBias Work in Your Community” to guide our conversation, and as you listen, I want you to consider — reeeeeeeally consider — these two questions: one, how can YOU share your own work in this way? and two, what’s stopping you?I’m Jeanie Phillips. Welcome to another episode of vted Reads: a podcast about books by, for, and with Vermont educators. Let’s chat. https://soundcloud.com/innovativeed/start-here-start-now-with-emily-gilmore-and-emma-vastola?si=237070727d1c401eb7d164d96613dce7&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing Jeanie: I'm Jeanie Phillips and welcome to #vted Reads. We're here to talk books for educators, by educators, and with educators. Today I'm with two fabulous educators, Emma Vastola and Emily Gilmore, and we'll be talking about Liz Kleinrock’s Start Here Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community. Thank you so much for joining me, Emily and Emma. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Emily: I'll start off. This is Emily Gilmore. I use she/her pronouns. I am a cis, white, former social studies teacher, now working for Great Schools Partnership, as of this year. I was in the classroom for nine years. I live in Winooski, Vermont, land of Abenaki and I’m really excited to be continuing conversations with Jeanie and Emma. Emma: Thank you, Emily. So my name is Emma Vastola. I am a cis white female. I am currently teaching a multi-age fifth and sixth-grade classroom at a preK - six school in Mount Holly, Vermont. I am really excited to be here to talk with Jeanie and Emily today. Jeanie: Thank you both so much for joining me. As you know I love to read and I love to expand my to-be-read pile even though it's practically toppling over now. What's on your bedside table? What are you both reading right now? Emma, why don't you go first? Emma: Okay, so let's see. I, like you Jeanie, have a topple-like bedside table with lots of books on it. And so I'd have to say the one at the top is Dr. Wayne Dyer's Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. That is one I go back to repeatedly that's always there. Another one that I have been reading is Adam Grant’s Think Again. And I usually have a book of poetry at my bedside table, and I am not going to remember the name of it. Jeanie: What are you reading Emily? Emily: Well, I have been driving a lot more for work. So I have been shifting to audiobooks, I normally mostly listen to podcasts. So I'm super excited and started listening to Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley and it is unbelievable as an audiobook. Oh, my goodness, highly recommend. Especially since I spent time in Sault Ste. Marie two or three years ago,
60 minutes | Dec 2, 2021
#vted Reads: We Contain Multitudes
Lovely listeners: we're baaaaaaack! And we missed each and every one of you. To celebrate our return, in this episode we brought back guests from *Vermont* Reads, a statewide program that encourages everyone across Vermont to read one book each year, and then turn and, you know, talk to one another. We are HUGE fans. And yes, the names are confusing. They're Vermont Reads -- reading across Vermont -- and we're Vermont *Ed* Reads, reading across Vermont, but make it education. (Please imagine my jazz hands as I say that). Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup returns to the show this time with Lizzie Lyons, the Children's Advocacy Coordinator at the Vermont Network, an organization focused on addressing domestic and sexual violence across the state. Together, we'll be talking about We Contain Multitudes, by Sarah Henstra, a book about boys, poetry, queerness, and how the artist formerly known as Prince refuses to stop changing lives, wherever he appears. (Hint: stay tuned for dance party details.) Now, as you might've guessed from Lizzie's presence, We Contain Multitudes contains some mention of domestic violence, which we touch on briefly in this episode. It's an important topic, and part of the work this year with Vermont Reads is providing educators and other adults with tools and resources for supporting students (and more specifically LGBTQIA students) who are dealing with this issue. There are minor spoilers for the book at the 39-minute mark, but we feel like we did a great job yelling SPOILER ALERT! at the top of our loving lungs. Jog ahead two minutes and you're fine. But don't jog too far ahead, because we really did miss you, and we missed this, and we are so happy to be back having these important conversations. So! Without further ado: I'm Jeanie Phillips and this is #vted Reads: talking about books by, for, and with Vermont educators. https://soundcloud.com/innovativeed/wecontainmultitudes?si=68bfb0bdeb724a1a9237c2e0e6128c6b Jeanie: I'm Jeanie Phillips and welcome to #vted Reads. We're here to talk books for educators, by educators, and with educators. Today I'm with Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup and Lizzy Lyons and we'll be talking about We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra. Thank you so much for joining me, Christopher and Lizzy. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Christopher: Hi, Jeanie and hi, Lizzy. It's great to see you both. I'm really excited to be here to talk about We Contain Multitudes. I'm the director at Vermont Humanities. I've been around now for about 4 years. So, this is the fourth Vermont Reads book that I've worked on, and might be my favorite. One of the things that really speaks to me about it, that I feel like I should tell people about right up front, is that this is the first LGBTQ youth choice in Vermont Reads 19 year history. And maybe coincidentally, I am a queer-identified person. And so, this book speaks to me pretty specifically and reminds me a lot of some of the experiences that I had as a young person. Lizzy: And my name is Lizzy Lyons. I'm really excited to be here. I was approached by Christopher at Vermont Humanities when they chose this book. As part of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence because of some of the themes in this book. And we have been invited to be a partner in some of the programming that's happening for this book, and we're really excited about that. The Vermont Network is working alongside 15 different statewide organizations in Vermont and we work around themes of domestic and sexual violence and working toward a violence free Vermont. There’s a lot of different programs of support that are happening statewide that I am excited to talk about in relation to this book. Also to let all of your listeners know that there's supports out there, whether that's just for you or her family members and shelter and other sorts of programming available stuff exciting. Christopher: Yes. Lizzy,
70 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
#vted Reads: with Bill Rich
Back on the show: it's Bill Rich! But first: Lovely listeners, a few episodes ago, we turned fifty. Fifty! Can you imagine? It took us a hot minute (and um, more math than we'd care to discuss) to figure that out but this is the season that took us to FIFTY EPISODES. And we are so grateful to all of you for making that journey with us. It has been so powerful to hear from all of you that you are listening, you are pondering, and you're enjoying this podcast as much as we're enjoying making it. Heart. Felt. Thanks. And to that end, in this episode, we welcome back the very FIRST guest we ever had on the show: Bill Rich. Along with the redoubtable Susan Hennessey, Bill runs the Tarrant Institute Learning Lab, now accepting applications for its fifth year, and a whole riot in its own right. Bill and I talked about The Culture Code in the very first episode of vted Reads, back when it was still part of the late great 21st Century Classroom. Bill is back. And this time, we're talking about Giving Students a Say: Smarter Assessment Practices to Empower and Engage, by Myron Dueck. We firmly believe this book can help educators unlock a more powerful arena for respecting student voice, even if the title itself... just might be a misnomer. I'm Jeanie Phillips and this is the end of the third season(!) of vted Reads: a show by, for, and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads with Bill Rich Jeanie: I'm Jeanie Phillips and welcome to #vted Reads. We're here to talk books for educators, by educators, and with educators. Today, I'm with Bill Rich, and we'll be talking about Giving Students a Say: Smarter Assessment Practices to Empower and Engage by Myron Dueck. Thanks so much for joining me, Bill. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Bill: Well, my claim to fame is I was your first guest for episode number one. So I appreciate being invited back, congratulations. And I taught in Vermont schools for 16 years as Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in middle and high school. And then decided I was going to take a different path and work from outside schools to try to make them better inside. So I founded Red House Learning committed to using what we know about the brain to improve what we do in our schools. In addition to working with schools long-term and conducting workshops and writing about that topic, I am the Co-Director of the Learning Lab with Susan Hennessey, your colleague. And I'll probably say a little bit more about that program. But it really embodies a lot what this book is about, but for adults. I also co-direct with Tim O'Leary, What's the Story, which tries to put all these brain-based design principles into action in a way that can be great for students and helpful to teachers looking for a better way. Jeanie: You wear many hats, and yes, you were my first ever guest. My first pilot of Vermont Ed Reads where we talked about The Culture Code. What a fabulous book. I've actually given that book to many people as a gift. I liked it so much. And now we're at the -- this is the last episode of season three, you're our 52nd guest! Bill: Season three. Wow, I can't wait for that door prize. Jeanie: So this is our 52nd episode. And we almost -- we hadn't counted and suddenly I was like, oh my gosh, we've reached 50, who knew, I had done this 50 times. And so thanks for coming back and for choosing this book. Before we launch into it, I want to ask what you're reading right now. Bill: Oh, I'm on the tail end of a tear of reading nonfiction books about breathing and breath. That started with a book by Wim Hof, called The Wim Hof Method. And then James Nestor’s book Breath. And then a guy named Patrick McKeown in the Oxygen Advantage. I was a mediocre athlete throughout my schooling years. And I have learned, I was a horrible breather. I was never taught accurately,
69 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
vted Reads picture books!
Listeners! Today I'm joined by Jaida and Emma, two marvelous students from Southern Vermont, and the three of us share our love of picture books. The art, the messages, the emotions, the relatability... the art. So we're going to be asking you to listen to this episode with both your ears and your eyes -- in some capacity. (Also there are PIES. I should mention the PIES) I had such a lovely time talking with both Jaida and Emma, and hope this conversation makes you too, think of your favorite picture book, what you got from it, and how it helped shape you as a learner. One content note: one of the picture books and our discussion around it, deals with animal death. We understand if that's not a topic everyone's comfortable with. This is #vted Reads, a podcast by, for, and with Vermont educators. I'm Jeanie Phillips! Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: picture books! Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me Jaida and Emma. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Jaida: Hi Jeanie and listeners, I'm Jaida Greeley. And I love picture books and reading. Emma: Hi! My name is Emma and I love writing and reading. I like to read fantasy, fiction, and romance books. Jeanie: Three readers talking about books. Nothing could make me happier folks, the three of us having this conversation. Thank you so much. Do you have some books you'd recommend for our listeners of any kind? Emma: Yes. I would recommend these picture books and then I'll get into like chapter books. But Journey is a wordless book with pictures, but it has such deep meaning. Part in the Bottle? The Undefeated? I just read American Royals, which is a romance book and Harry Potter. Jeanie: How about you Jaida, what would you recommend? Jaida: I think for picture books all Patricia Polacco books are really, really good books for all ages. And a poem book, Woke, is a really strong book about social justice and other books than picture books. I don’t know. I read a lot of different kinds of books? But lately I really like A Good Kind of Trouble, which is not a children's book. And I read a lot of Percy Jackson. That's a fantasy Book. Jeanie: Those are fabulous recommendations. Jaida: And A Girl at Heart. Jeanie: A Girl at Heart. Thank you for adding to my summer reads list. I appreciate that. Well, the three of us chose four picture books that you have been using in your classroom and that you loved. And we're going to talk about them one by one. This is our first time doing four books in one episode. And it's our first time talking about picture books. I *love* picture books, so I'm really excited about this episode. The first one we're going to discuss is called Something Happened in Our Town, (A Child's Story About Racial Injustice). It's written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard, with illustration by Jennifer Zivoin. Could you tell me a little bit about what this book is about, Emma? Emma: This book is about the aftermath of a Black American who was shot by a white police officer. This story shows harsh reality to two kids' questions and their fight to be inclusive and aware of their community and their actions. Jeanie: Thank you for that. I was really intrigued by this book because somebody gets shot, a Black man gets shot by a police officer but that doesn't happen within the pages of the book. The book happens after the media has covered that. It's been on TV and radio and the internet. And these kids who -- I don’t know, what grade would you think they were, Emma? Emma: Third. Jeanie: Yeah, you would say like second, third, or fourth. They're on the younger side and clearly heard it either on the radio or on TV. Or they heard people talking about it. And they have so many questions. Who do they ask their questions to? Emma: They ask their parents. We actually read another book and I'm going to -- it's off script -- but we read another book ...
63 minutes | May 24, 2021
#vted Reads: Flight of the Puffin
On this episode… we have Ann Braden!!!! Ann is one of my favorite authors, and she’s also a former Vermont educator with a new book out, The Flight of the Puffin. Flight of the Puffin truly feels like a middle grades book for our time: it’s the story of four completely different middle school students, in completely different circumstances, and completely different areas of the country, and how random acts of kindness wind up tying them together. The book is based on Ann’s own experiences in responding to the 2016 election (and all that came afterwards) by putting massive amounts of love out into the universe, and quite possibly in your mailbox. Listeners, we are DELIGHTED by this. All of it. I’m Jeanie Phillips. Let’s chat. The 21st Century Classroom · Ann Braden Flight Of The Puffin Jeanie: Thank you so much of joining me Ann. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Ann: I’m so excited to be here, any time I get to spend with you is a great time. Jeanie: Same for me. Ann: I used to be a middle-school social studies teacher and then I turned to writing. The Flight of the Puffin is my second book. My first was The Benefits of Being an Octopus. I’m so excited to have books. Jeanie: Congratulations on your newest book! We should also say, because the primary audience for this podcast is Vermont, that you’re located in Brattleboro, Vermont. But before I get to anything else, how is Zoey doing? Ann: She’s having a rough year. I think about kids like Zoey who are trapped in their little four-walled spaces with a not-awesome family relationship. And I’ve been thinking about them all this year. It’s one of those things where if we didn’t get it before, we’d better get it now. Jeanie: Zoey, listeners, is the main character of The Benefits of Being an Octopus. I’ve been thinking about Zoey too, because she was already suffering under economic hardship, in difficult family circumstances. The stress and pressures of COVID have to have made that harder, for Zoey and kids like Zoey. I’ve been holding her in my heart. Thank you for that book. That book has been such a gift to me and to Vermont educators. I know it’s been used and is being used all over the place. Kids are loving it, so thank you for that. Ann: My pleasure. Jeanie: I also know you’re a great reader. As many writers are, as most writers are. What are you reading now? Ann: I am in the middle of the Burnout book about the stress cycle, because as we all know there’s little bit to be stressed about these days. I am someone that often internally processes my stress. Like, I will seem all happy and feel all happy on the outside. And then I develop all these chronic stress-related medical issues. I’m like, “Okay, I’ve got to figure this out.” It’s very good about releasing the stress and creating opportunities for your body to recognize that you are okay. I’ve been working through that one. Jeanie: I just listened to a podcast about that book! Just an hour-long podcast that was just so helpful about hugs and exercise. All of the ways you can let your body know that it’s okay again. Ann: I’m not an exerciser. I’ve never been like, “Oh yes, exercise makes me feel good.” Now I’m like, doing slow Qigong is telling my body that I’m okay. It’s just as good as other exercises. Jeanie: That’s so interesting. For me, one of the ways I manage stress is reading. Like reading, to me, and being engaged in a book? That's deep relaxation. I like living through stories. Ann: I love that. Jeanie: Thank you for your books, because they relax me. Let’s jump into The Flight of the Puffin which is such a delight. Would you introduce us to the four characters in the book? Libby, Jack, Vincent and T? Ann: Sure, do you want me to just read or just tell you about them? Jeanie: Both, whatever works for you. Ann: I think I will read first.
71 minutes | May 10, 2021
#vted Reads with Jess Lifshitz
Chicago-based educator and twitter wunderkind Jess Lifshitz joins Jeanie on the podcast to talk about Dr. Gholdy Muhammad's seminal text on equity and criticality: Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: Cultivating Genius Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me, Jess. Just tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Jess: Thank you for having me. My name is Jess Lifshitz. And I teach fifth grade in a public school in the suburbs of Chicago. I teach ELA, so I get to teach two groups of fifth graders; I teach literacy to them both. And I am mom to an eight year old who's in second grade. So that keeps me busy when I'm not in the classroom. Jeanie: I see all around you, Jess, on our Zoom call, books, books, and books, and more books. It's like a room after my own heart. I recognize things I've read even! What are you reading right now? Jess: Right now I am in the middle of a book that I know my fifth graders will love. It's called The Jumbies at least that's how I say it in my own head by Tracy Baptiste. And it is a creepy, super creepy fantasy, and I am loving it, but I've been reading it before bed and it, it creeps me out -- which means my fifth graders will love it. Then teacher-wise, the most recent thing I read that is The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop and that's by Felicia Rose Chavez. And I finished that probably a month or two ago. And it was one of those transformative books. So that has stuck with me as well. Jeanie: Thank you for those suggestions. I'm totally adding those to my, to be read list. Yeah, Jess: I sure that I will bring up the anti-racist writing workshop again, at some point in this conversation because there's so many connections to cultivating genius with the book. Jeanie: Excellent. Well, this book, Cultivating Genius, came my way via a tweet. You put out saying you were revisiting it. And I, I just want to start by saying we haven't met in person, but I'm a huge fan of yours and the Twittersphere. And one of the things I love so much is the way you publicly share your work on Twitter. You're often sharing plans. You share examples of student work and most especially you share charts that you're using with your students. And like, it's such a deep and thoughtful practice. And I'm so grateful that you put it out there. I wonder: I think that's really scary for a lot of teachers. What was your journey to making your practice public like that? How did you come to have the courage to do that? And what does it mean to you? Jess: It's so funny because it doesn't at all feel courageous. It feels like it has enhanced my teaching in so many ways. I can't even remember when I first got on Twitter. Maybe six years ago? Maybe it was longer than that? I don't know time is weird now. But when I first got on, I was at a point in my career where I had sort of plateaued in terms of my own development. I think I, you know, had sort of gone as far as I could in terms of what my district was offering. I just sort of felt stuck. And I remember we had some PD where someone had mentioned twitter and I was like, Oh, well I'll try that. And when I first got on there, I just thought the world it opened up in terms of the voices that I was hearing? Was really powerful. For a long time, I didn't necessarily share my own practice, but just learned from the practice of others. And the more that I, I think I learned from others, the more I wanted to grow my own practice. And the more thinking that it led me to, the more I wanted to, I don't know, cultivate my, my own teaching in a way that I could share it with others in the way I was gaining from teachers I was reading about. So I guess I just started sharing and it led me to connect with people who thought similarly and also thought in a different way, but that enhanced my own thinking?
59 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
#vted Reads: with Alex Shevrin Venet
Today on the podcast, Alex Shevrin Venet joins us to talk about her new book, Equity-Centered, Trauma-Informed Education. How does it work in classrooms? How can you, as an educator, use your own coping strategies to dismantle inequity at your school? Will action research help? And what does convincing your landlord to let you have a pug have to do with it? Alex Shevrin Venet explains. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: Equity-Centered, Trauma-Informed Education Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me, Alex, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Alex: Thanks for having me, Jeanie. I am an educator based in Vermont. For those of you in Vermont, I'm in Winooski and I've lived in Winooski for a few years and been in Vermont for, I guess, 12, 12 or 13 years at this point. It flies by when you live here. I say educator because that's easier than explaining what I do on a day-to-day basis, which is I wear very many different hats all under the umbrella of education. So one of the things I do is I teach at CCV -- the Community College of Vermont. I teach sort of interdisciplinary humanities courses there. I also teach teachers through Castleton's Center for Schools and through Antioch University. And those are kind of professional development courses for teachers. I do workshops and professional learning for educators, which lately has meant being on zoom a lot. But pre COVID , I got to drive all around New England (and sometimes beyond) working with teachers in schools. And of course, I'm often writing for my own blog and for a few other websites. All connected to trauma informed education. So it's easier to just say educator than to give the whole list. And I'm sure I left a few things out. Oh! And my background, I should say, is in teaching middle and high school. I worked at an alternative therapeutic school, which I talked a lot about in the book. And that really sparked my passion for trauma-informed education. Cause that's what we were doing day in, day out. Jeanie: Thank you so much for sharing all of that. I sort of know you in lots of those different places, but not all of them. And you're certainly the first person that comes to mind when I think trauma-informed education. When I want to look at an expert I think of you. I'm delighted to have you on the podcast. So you have told us a little bit about yourself, but you really begin this book, Equity-Centered, Trauma-Informed Education by positioning yourself in relation to the work. And I wondered if you wanted to share a little bit about your positionality and what brought you to both trauma informed work and equity work. Alex: Okay! So where I come to this work from is as a teacher. And I try to say clearly in the book that I'm not a mental health clinician or therapist or psychologist. I do sort of inhabit an interesting space, which is that I went to college to become a teacher. I got my teaching license in secondary education with an English endorsement. And then I ended up working straight out of college at this therapeutic school. At this therapeutic school, we cross-trained in educational professional development and also professional development from the clinical director in counseling techniques. And our role was called "counseling teacher". So over the eight years -- including summers -- that I worked there, I tried to add it up once, but it's really hundreds of hours of counseling-focused professional development. In addition to also hundreds of hours of education-focused professional development. I kind of wished that all teachers had that because there are so many tools from counseling that are so helpful in teaching. But even with all those hours, I still do not hold any type of clinical license. And I think that's important to say because I wanted to write a book that was about being trauma-informed, but not trauma specific.
64 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
#vted Reads: The Shape of Thunder
Oh lovely listeners, we are all still here, and we are all noticing the change of the seasons. This year the melting of the snow and the return of the sun are coinciding with a COVID-19 vaccine becoming available. We know, lovely listeners, that you are all feeling that complicated mix of joy, sorrow and wonder, as you get your vaccines, and we are right there with you. Speaking of a complicated mix of feelings, in this episode we talk about the new YA book, The Shape of Thunder, with the book's author, Jasmine Warga. It's a tale of love, loss, theoretical physics, and how we interpret our students' behavior. Specifically, how those interpretations shape the way we structure learning challenges for our students. Listeners, we get emotional. That said, let us give you a quick content note: listeners, this book and our discussion touches on school shootings, and sibling death. If those topics won't work for you right now, we still love you and want you to take the best care of yourself you can. (Hint: see our earlier talk about vaccines!) I'm Jeanie Phillips and this is #vted Reads, a podcast about books, by, with and for, Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: The Shape of Thunder Jasmine: So, thanks so much for having me, Jeanie. I'm so thrilled to be here. So, I'm Jasmine Warga and I am an author of books for young people. My first two books were for more like teens, and my next couple books have been for middle graders, but I'm interested in writing like complicated and messy and challenging books for young people that really speak to the world that they're living in and help them to build an emotional vocabulary to discuss those things. Jeanie: I'm trying so hard. That's a fan girl, but I love your book so much. The first book I read of yours was My Heart and Other Black Holes, and I just felt like you understood and got on the page depression so beautifully and so honestly, and I just so appreciated that. When I was a high school librarian, I shared that book with so many kids and it meant a lot. And then I got a copy of Here We Are Now and I just felt like you were in my soul, the way you wrote about music and about this girl and her relationship with her estranged father and her mother. That book just got so under my skin. And then Other Words for Home was like one of my very favorite middle grades when it came out. It was like my book of the year. And now we have this beautiful book. So, I'm going to try hard not to gush all over you. Jasmine: Thank you. Thank you so much for your support of my work. And I just, I really, really appreciate that. And I especially appreciate you loving Here We Are Now because I feel like of my books it's like my niece known or loved books. So, it's always special to me when people also understood kind of the soul and heart of that book. Jeanie: I love them all. And I'm so excited about this book The Shape of Thunder. I read it so quickly because I couldn't stop and I'm eager to talk about it. But before we do, what are you reading right now? Jasmine: Okay. So, I'm actually reading something really exciting right now. I have an early copy of Mariama Lockington. So, she is the author of For Black Girls Like Me which was her debut in 2018. She's a new book coming out in 2022 called In The Key of Us and it is a really warm poetic. I mean, Mariama, I think she has a background in poetry and you see that show up in her prose and it's this really gentle, but also complicated queer first love story. And I feel like I haven't seen that a lot in middle grade. It's starting to black girls who both have agency and are very different from one another, but are finding their way to one another, and I'm just loving it. I can't stop reading it. So, it's definitely something to look out for in 2022. Jeanie: Oh, I can't wait. That sounds perfect. Fabulous. So, could you, let's dig into this one.
39 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
#vted Reads: Brave Like That
Are you wear-your-mask-in-a-pandemic brave, listeners? Or get-vaccinated-when-needles-scare-you brave? On this episode of the podcast, we're joined by Vermont author and educator Lindsey Stoddard, who's here to talk about her new middle grades book, Brave Like That. We'll talk about the many different kinds of brave you can be, along with how students know that tiny acts -- of kindness, of effort, and of honesty -- make all the difference in the world. I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is #vted Reads, a podcast of books by, for, and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: Brave Like That Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me, Lindsey. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? Lindsey: Hi. Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m so honored to be here to chat with you about Brave Like That. I’m Lindsey Stoddard. Now, I was born and raised in Vermont and then spent 12 years living and teaching in Washington Heights, New York City and have since returned with my young family back to Vermont which feels it feels really wonderful to be here. And I have a three year old and a four year old son. So I’m very much a full time mom. But I’m also a middle grade author. Brave Like That was my third middle grade novel. The fourth one comes out in May. So, that’s exciting too. Jeanie: Congratulations! Can you just name for us your other two books and your forthcoming book? Lindsey: Sure! Yeah, my first book was called Just Like Jackie and the second one is Right as Rain and the next one that’s coming out in May is called B Is For Blended. Jeanie: Beautiful. So, were both of your previous books on the Vermont Middle Grades Book Award list? Lindsey: Just Like Jackie was. Yes. Jeanie: I thought it was excellent. Thank you so much for joining us to talk about this book which I loved. But before we get to that, what are you reading right now? What’s on your nightstand table or maybe what are you reading? Lindsey: You know I just finished last night the amazing All Thirteen by Christina Soontornvat. It’s the true account of the Thai Boys soccer team rescue from a flooded cave in Thailand. It is riveting. She does a wonderful job storytelling. Even though I like, I knew the ending because I had followed the story in the news, it was just like edge of your seat reading. She did a great job. That was wonderful. Jeanie: Oh, my goodness, thank you for adding that to my to be read list. It was really good. So, I just loved that this book just captured so much about middle school. But before we start talking about the way in which it just rang so true, could you introduce us to Cyrus? Our main character in the book? Lindsey: Of course. Yes, Cyrus is the main character in Brave Like That. The book opens on his 11th birthday. We know that he, as a baby, was dropped off the on the front step of a firehouse in Northfield, Minnesota. He was adopted by one of the firefighters inside, Brooks Olson. And Brooks Olson is not just a legend in this town for being a brave firefighter but he’s also a legend for being an amazing football player. He holds records in the middle school and in the high school in town where Cyrus will be attending. Everyone just sort of assumes that Cyrus will be the next best wide receiver in the league. And no one knows that Cyrus doesn’t have any interest in being a wide receiver at all. He just doesn’t feel like he’s brave like his dad. Like, he’s not brave like run-into-burning-buildings brave or brave like full-tackle-football brave. So, this is a story about him figuring out what is really deep down in him. What kind of brave he really is. Jeanie: That’s just so middle school, right? Like, this is really a story about Cyrus finding who he is apart from his family. Apart from his father. And also feeling good about that as opposed to feeling like, "What if it’s not okay if this is who I am?
63 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
#vted Reads: The Successful Middle School
We're here to talk books for educators, by educators and with educators. Today I'm with Dr. Penny Bishop and we'll be talking about The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, by Penny and her co-author Dr. Lisa Harrison. Thanks so much for joining me, Penny. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: The Successful Middle School Penny: Well, thanks for having me, Jeanie. I'm delighted to be back. I'm Penny Bishop, as you mentioned. And I'm a professor of middle grades education at the University of Vermont where I teach teachers -- especially those who want to become middle grades teachers. And I conduct research on responsive learning opportunities and learning environments for young adolescents. Jeanie: Last time you were here was over a year ago and we talked about Personalized Learning in the Middle Grades. And we're so glad to have you back. So, I also know that you're an avid reader and you and I have swapped books suggestions before. What are you reading now? Penny: Yeah, I love that question, thank you for asking. I just finished last night, The Vanishing Half. It's by Brit Bennett, and it's a really interesting take on racial identity and gender identity and follows the lives of a set of twins from the 1950s to the 1990s and how their paths diverged in pretty significant ways. I was up late finishing it. Couldn't put it down. Jeanie: Oh, that was such a good read! I loved that one. That book really helped me sort of understand colorism a little bit more. The way that colorism plays out in people's lives and their experience. Penny: Yes, yes, the whole idea of passing was quite a, quite a new one for me as a white woman here, so. Jeanie: There is a book that sort of touches on similar themes by Brandy Colbert. And it's called The Only Black Girls in Town. And so, The Vanishing Half is obviously an adult book, but if you wanted to talk about issues of colorism in passing in the classroom, this book would be an excellent one to share with young readers. Penny: Great, thank you, I'll have to check that out. Jeanie: But this book ,which is all about identity, sort of intertwined with identity in all sorts of ways, is the position paper for the Association for Middle Level Educators (AMLE). Is that correct? Penny: It is! And it's the fifth edition of that position paper, actually. The first one I think came out in 1982, so a long time ago. Jeanie: The one before this came out in 2010, is that correct? Penny: That is correct, yes. Jeanie: So, it needed some updating. Penny: It needed quite a bit of updating. The association recognized that. They were eager to have that happen. Absolutely. It has been updated, as I mentioned, five times now. And each update reflected important societal shifts. Important changes in what we know, based on research, about what is effective teaching and learning for young adolescents. And I think there was a general consensus [at AMLE] that it was overdue, in fact. Now, you've had Kathleen Brinegar on previously, and she has talked about her terrific book, also with Lisa Harrison, and with Alice Hart: Equity and Cultural Responsiveness in the Middle Grades. In some ways the themes are related. Plus, there's been a pretty strong critique of the middle grades movement as one that was very much rooted in white, cisgender, middle class, Christian perspectives. And male perspectives to some extent as well. The first four iterations of the text represented the best of what developmentalism can offer. That's really encouraging teachers to take into account developmental perspectives of this particular time in one's life. But unfortunately that came perhaps at the cost of thinking about more diverse populations. So I would say that the most significant shift in this text was to ensure that there was greater attention to diversity. And equity in particular.
75 minutes | Feb 25, 2021
#vted Reads about Equity & Cultural Responsiveness in the Middle Grades
In January 2020, the Vermont state legislature proposed a resolution formally apologizing for the legislature's role in passing a 1931 law making eugenics perfectly legal and encouraged in the Green Mountain State. Meanwhile, on the Standing Rock Reservation, in South Dakota, the future of the Dakota Access Pipeline is in doubt, but only at the cost of continued vigilance and advocacy on the part of concerned citizens. How do these two events tie together? In this episode, middle school equity scholar Kathleen Brinegar joins us to talk about her new book, Equity and Cultural Responsiveness in the Middle Grades. We step through two chapters in particular that provide roadmaps for educators to move into being 'co-investigators' with students. Co-investigators f work that is powerful, authentic, and above all, personally relevant and meaningful. We also talk about how we'd really like to do our first year of teaching over. Like, entirely. Fortunately, as educators, we get unlimited do-overs. Today, for instance, is another opportunity to be better, both to one another... and to ourselves. I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is Vermont Ed Reads: a podcast about books by, for, and with, Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: Equity & Cultural Responsiveness in the Middle Grades Kathleen: Thanks Jeanie. I’m happy to be here. So, I’m an Associate Professor of Education at Northern Vermont University. I coordinate our middle and secondary teacher education programs. I also serve as the co-editor of the Middle School Journal, along with my coeditors of this book Lisa Harrison and Ellis Hurd. And I serve as the program chair for the middle level special interest group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). But I’m also a mother, a partner, an avid reader and a runner. Jeanie: I am so excited to have you on for the second time. We got to be in person the last time we recorded and we talked about Cornelius Minor, We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us To Be. It’s one of my favorite episodes. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: We Got This, with Kathleen Brinegar And so, I’m really excited to have your experience showcased on the podcast again this time. Thank you so much for agreeing to come and talk to me about this book, which I love and which I think is really important right now. But before we begin that: you’re an avid reader. What are you reading right now? Kathleen: Yeah. So, I tend to always have two books going at once, a young adult novel and you know, a “grown up” book because I think young adult is for grownups as well. But in terms of young adults, I just finished Chlorine Sky by Mahogany Browne, which was just beautiful. Such a gorgeous debut novel by such a talented poet. I love her middle grades picture book of poetry called Woke: A Young Poet's Call to Justice as well. I highly recommend that one. And then I’m also reading Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson. Which I find beautiful but in an entirely different way. Jeanie: Yeah. I love Wilkerson’s writing. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration was such an education for me. And I’m definitely going to have to add Chlorine Sky to my "to be read" pile. Thank you for that recommendation. Kathleen: Yeah. Jeanie: I love talking with you about books, but we’re going to get to this particular book. Could you give us a little background on this book? Why this book? And why did you organize it the way you did? Talk a little bit about how it’s organized for our listeners. Kathleen: Yeah, absolutely. So, this book came about through a long-standing desire to create a book for a mainstream middle grade audience that centers equity and cultural responsiveness in the middle grades. Because it’s something that I and my coeditors felt like,
60 minutes | Feb 15, 2021
#vted Reads: All-American Muslim Girl
Are you there, #vted? It's me, Jeanie. On this episode of the podcast, we're re-joined by one of the very first guests on our show, Jory Hearst. She returns to talk about All-American Muslim Girl, by Nadine Jolie Courtney. Jory shares her own journey through and relationship with Judaism, and the ways she found her own feelings and questions reflected in this text. But in addition to talking deeply and reflectively about religion, All-American Muslim Girl presents us with some powerful ideas about flexible pathways for learning, identity, and consent. This. Is. A good one. I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is #vted Reads: a podcast by, for, and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · Jory Hearst All American Muslim Girl Jeanie: Thanks for joining me, Jory. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Jory: Hi, Jeanie, it’s so nice to be with you. I’m excited to be back on the podcast because I got to do this once in the early phases of your podcast! It’s cool to see now you’ve interviewed all these like amazing famous people around Vermont and beyond, so I’m excited to be back. I am a teacher at Burlington High School (in Burlington VT) currently. Although I have to admit that my first teaching job was with Jeanie at Green Mountain Union High School, where she was the librarian and I was in ninth grade English teacher. But I am an educator, I teach reading and journalism and I do other things that at the high school. I always come back to books and I really love engaging with teens about young adult literature and also reading them myself. Jeanie: I think you were my second guest on the podcast. Jory: That might be right! I used to be on Green Mountain Book Awards I think when I first got interviewed by you. I’m no longer on the committee so, I do read more adult books now, but that was my connection to you back then. Jeanie: Okay, thank you for all that. So, before we start talking about All-American Muslim Girl, I just want us to be really honest that neither of us is Muslim. That we both love this book and we both want to talk about it and we want to do that well and gracefully, but we’re not Muslim. Jory: Yes, Jeanie when you asked me to talk about it with you, I was like I loved All-American Muslim Girl! And I was also like: I don’t think I’m the person you want to talk about it. And you said, well no, we can both love it and talk about it. So yes! Part of what was really fun for me about reading this is I lived in Jordan for a little while: Amman, the capital, and also other places in the Middle East. Lebanon, for a little bit. Morocco. And there’s lots of references to things in here that were really fun. I studied Arabic for a while so there’s connections. Also I am a Jewish American white human and not a Muslim American. So thanks for letting me put that out there up front. I am not the authority on those characters' lives, just an appreciator of her life. Jeanie: Yes. Well, same. I actually have way less experience than you do. I am also white and of a Protestant background although definitely not practicing now. So we’re going to talk with deep appreciation about this book and listeners if we missed up we hope you’ll let us know because we can learn from that. Jory: Yes, thanks for saying that. Jeanie: Could you introduce us to Allie Abraham, the main character of All American Muslim Girl, Jory? Jory: Yes! So: Allie Abraham is a high school student. She lives in Georgia, in a sort of Atlanta suburb with her parents. Mo Abraham, her dad, is a professor and her mom -- I think her name’s Elizabeth -- she’s a cop. Allie converted to Islam when her parents got married. Her mom was not raised in the Middle East or with the Middle Eastern culture. And Allie, her real name is actually Aaliyah. And I love it. At one point she says, "Our real name wasn’t Abraham, it was Ibrahimi." So her real name is Aaliyah Ibrahimi,
73 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
#vted Reads: The Dark Fantastic
On this episode, it’s the return of Aimee Arandia Østensen! She’s here to talk with me about The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games, by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. We reflect on what we read growing up, and have deeply spicy thoughts about fan fiction, Island of the Blue Dolphin and what, specifically is the correct pronunciation of G I F. (It’s G-if.) Oh yeah, we go there. Plus: who gets to opt out of reading certain books in the classroom? And who, specifically, can opt in? I’m Jeanie Phillips, this is #vted Reads, the podcast by, for and with Vermont educators. Let’s chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: The Dark Fantastic Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me, Aimee. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Aimee: Hi! My name is Aimee Arandia Østensen. I am a Filipina-American educator. And I currently am working at Shelburne Farms as a Professional Learning Facilitator in Educating for Sustainability. In general, that means we work with teachers and schools to support their process and practice and to integrate concepts of sustainability and equity into their work. Jeanie: Aimee, you were on the podcast not long ago, in the fall, talking about one of our mutually favorite books: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. And I remember that conversation so fondly, so I’m super excited to have you back on. https://youtu.be/RlctiWRtrIQ Full disclosure: Aimee and I have been working together on a webinar called Who’s Outside? Building an Anti-Racist Bookshelf (video). And this book, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s The Dark Fantastic has been crucial, as we’ve been thinking through how to go even deeper thinking about what books are we getting into the hands of students. That’s been super fun. So, I’m really excited for this conversation. And I’m a little bit daunted and nervous about it, too, but we’ll get to that in a minute. So, I’ve been really overwhelmed by how to ask intelligent questions about this book. Because it is so smart and brimming full of insights and provocations, and has me thinking so much that I was almost not even sure where to begin. But I’m going to start at Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’s starting point, which is that she begins the book by talking about herself as a young reader. It's on page one. "Even," she writes, "magic was inaccessible to me." There was a lack of Black characters in general and Black girls in particular in books about the magic and the fantastical, she writes. And she begins with this premise that even though that wasn’t available to her in characters that look like her, she needed magic. That all children really deserve magic. Yet, it’s been disproportionately distributed, if you will. So, I’m wondering, Aimee, if we might start with stories of ourselves as young readers. If we might step back and imagine just the way Ebony Elizabeth Thomas does, ourselves as little people looking for magic. Aimee: It’s such an interesting thought. And I did have a childhood that was written books and storytelling. It was just one of those things that my family did together. Every night we got into bed and read books together before we went to sleep. Every single night. And I distinctly remember my dad reading to my brothers and I. We read the entire Hobbit series. We read the entire Wizard of Oz series. And so, there was a lot of that magical fantasy land. Interestingly enough, I remember a moment in school when our teacher was reciting, or starting to recite certain, what do you call them? Nursery rhymes. And I grew up in a largely white suburb of Syracuse, New York. There were literally four families of color that I was aware of in the entire school. Ours being one of them. And out of those families, three of them were first generation or second generation Black Americans. So our teacher was starting to recite nursery rhymes, and she invited us to, like,
80 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Children of Blood and Bone on #vted Reads
On this episode of #vted Reads, we welcome Erika Saunders back to the show! Erika agreed to guest-host an episode, talking about Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi. She's joined by Philadelphia-based educator Monique Carter, as they talk about: the emotional resonance of your own language, especially if it's lost and you ache to find it; what it feels like to finally (!) see yourself represented (right there!) on a cover of a book; and why everyone -- especially in Vermont and Vermont schools -- should read this book and others that bring us closer to understanding multiple perspectives, histories and stories. As 2021 has not shown its best face to the world in this first half of January, this is a good and powerful listen, most especially about Monique's dad's advice to "never yuck someone's yum..." Enjoy! The 21st Century Classroom · vted Reads: Children of Blood and Bone Erika: Hi everyone, I am so excited to be here. For those of you who don't know, I am guest-hosting this time on #vted Reads. My name is Erika Saunders. I am a recent addition to the Vermont area. I moved here about just almost seven months ago now in the June from Philadelphia and I'm now a proud member of the Burlington School District. And I'm going a little crazy because I am here with my sister friend. For those of you don't know what that term is, sister friend, she is more than a colleague, she is more than a friend, she is practically family at this point. And I am so happy that she agreed to be a guest here for us to discuss today's book. Without further ado I am honored, thrilled and beyond excited to introduce to you all my sister friend and fellow educator Monique Carter. Monique, please introduce yourself to everybody here. Monique: Hi, my name is Monique Carter. I am a mom, first of two lovely girls. Hopefully you will not hear them in the background. I am a school teacher. And I teach students math in this school district of Philadelphia. I've taught in a friend's school before, taught in a charter school in one of the most challenging school districts in Delaware County in Pennsylvania. Now I teach in Philadelphia. This is my fourth year with the school district of Philadelphia and I teach fifth graders and sixth graders math. Erika: Thank you. Monique is being extremely humble, everyone. She is a beyond-phenomenal educator and teacher; she is extraordinary. We met when we were both working at Science Leadership Academy Middle School in Philadelphia, a project-based, inquiry-driven school. That's how we met. And like I said, we have become sister friends at this point. Thank you so much, Monique, for joining us. So, let me get started so that everybody understands what we're going to be talking about today. I have to give just a little bit of background. So, I would often go to Barnes everybody or a bookstore. The only one around in Philadelphia was that one. And my son and I both love to go to bookstore. We would just spend hours in the bookstore, right? And even before I was a teacher I tended to go towards the young adult fiction because, you know, there was a certain point in time where the quality and the interest level of it just ratcheted up. You know, before our day. I don't know about you but I remember the Judy Blume days, which again was phenomenal but nothing like what we have now. Once I started teaching, I was always looking for books that kids would be interested in. And I remember walking into the store seeing this cover and honestly feeling like... drawn to it. As if the book was reaching out to me to say: come and pick me up. Do you see this gorgeous, gorgeous representation? Never before had I seen a cover that represented us in such exquisite ways. I mean: from the gorgeous white hair, reaching up to the sun the way our hair, you know, will go up. To the exquisite skin color and everything. And when I purchased this book,
50 minutes | Dec 11, 2020
#vted Reads with Jason Broughton
Lovely listeners, we have such a treat for you today. Joining us on this episode of the show is Vermont State Librarian Jason Broughton. Now, when I asked him to be on the show, I also invited him to choose the book we'd be discussing, and he chose the wonderful graphic novel 'Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me', by Ellen Forney. And I learned so much, both from the novel, and from Jason Broughton. A content note for this episode: as the title of Ellen Forney's book suggests, we're going to talk about mental illness. If you're not in a space for that right now, we still love you but want you to take care of yourself, and understand completely. That said, we had a wonderful conversation, about art, about teaching, creativity, Led Zeppelin, getting to know your parents as an adult, and what, specifically, the Vermont State Librarian gets up to. And on that note: I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is VT ed Reads, a podcast by, for and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads with Jason Broughton, VT State Librarian Jeanie: Thanks so much for joining me, Jason, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Jason: Hello, my name is Jason Broughton. I am so thrilled to be with you today to talk about a book. And this case is a very interesting book. But about me, per se, I am your State Librarian for Vermont, and Commissioner of the Department of Libraries. And within that, my role is to assist our department, assist the libraries of the State and we act as a State library for State government. We like to call ourselves "the library for libraries". Jeanie: Well, as a librarian I’m super excited to have you on! I feel like I’m having a celebrity on, so thanks so much for joining us. Do you want to talk a little bit before we jump into this book? Do you want to talk a little bit about what you’re reading right now? What’s on your nightstand? Jason: Oh my goodness. Well, right now, there’s a couple of things. And one of them I’ll probably bring back up. One of them is a book, can’t think of the author right now [EDITORIAL NOTE: Jenny Lawson] but it’s called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. And it really is a conversation about a woman talking about the experiences of her father. I haven’t finished it completely because it’s quite amusing. She brings out her history in which her father was a taxidermist. You have to imagine him, she says, basically, in the middle of the night going out or something hit an animal like roadkill he’s dragging it home. He’s reconstructing it. Once she talked about an example of she was reaching in the refrigerator, and he had put a snake in there so it could die and she was trying to find a sandwich. So, she pulls out this half alive, half frozen snake. It’s a weird thing. But it’s really a conversation about when people think they know their parents, and they tend to want to say, "Well, you don’t understand: my parents are much worse than yours." Jeanie: That sounds like a lot of fun, actually! Jason: It’s a really comical book, yes. It’s really light-hearted and funny. And it just makes you get a sense of: if you think your parents -- which we all do at a certain point in our lives -- don’t understand you as an adolescent. As you age, you’re like, "Wait a minute, my parents had to be teens as well. What am I talking about? They too had these situations!" So, she kind of helps people recalibrate their understanding of their parents a bit when they want to complain. I know my parents were very different, but my father never took on taxidermy to explain things to me, so… Jeanie: This sounds like a great gift for my son, actually. Jason: Correct. Jeanie: You said you were reading something else? Jason: Yes, I have a book that was recommended because of the visualing images of it; it’s much more sobering. It talks about the transatlantic slave trade,
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