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The 21st Century Classroom
80 minutes | 4 days ago
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 | a month ago
#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,
68 minutes | 2 months ago
#vted Reads about PBIS
Listener, how do you feel about positive interventions, behaviors and supports? I don't mean in general -- in general those all sound fine and dandy -- but when they come within 100 yards of a school, they turn into PBIS. And that's another ball of wax entirely. Today author Thomas Knestrict joins me on the show. We're going to talk about his book Controlling Our Children: Hegemony and Deconstructing the Positive Behavior Intervention Support Model. If that sounds like a hot n' flossy title, then listeners you are in for a treat. And even if it doesn't, you're in for a treat anyway, especially if you, like me and like Dr. Knestrict, are deeply suspicious of the PBIS model. (Spoiler: we're deeply suspicious of the PBIS model.) That said, we do try to be fair in examining what PBIS can and can't do for Vermont students. (Okay, we're mostly fair.) But I'm still Jeanie Phillips, and this is still Vermont ed Reads: books by, for and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads about PBIS, with Thomas Knestrict 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 Thomas Knestrict and we'll be talking about his book Controlling Our Children: Hegemony and Deconstructing the Positive Behavioral Intervention Support Model. Thanks so much for joining me, Thomas. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Thomas: So I am a professor of education at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and I've been here for 15 years. Previously, I was at a couple other universities you may have heard of: Miami University and then a very small liberal arts college called Mount St Joe's. I taught for 15 years before that in public schools. Mostly Special Ed. That's kind of where my interest in Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) really came from, because of the work I did in Special Education. And I had two areas of research. One with PBIS, and the other with studying families who are raising kids with special needs, and something called family resiliency. Both are related to Special Ed, but they're a little bit different. I am a professor of early childhood education though they hired me years ago as a kind of ah to infuse the program with inclusive practices and ideas of equity, those types of things. So I found a home I'm here to stay so married got three kids adult kids all graduated from Xavier, all doing well and now my wife and I we sit around and we hike and we drink wine and have great time, so it's wonderful. Jeanie: Sounds like a fun life in Ohio. Thomas: It is. Jeanie: Thanks so much for joining us to talk about your book and its relationship to what's going on in Vermont. I guess my first question is: why write a book about PBIS? Thomas: I've done a lot of teaching. And so coming from a teacher perspective, I always saw behaviorism is kind of "the poor man's management system". I saw a lot of problems with it. In my early teaching career, I taught special education. I taught kids with emotional disturbances. And it was a completely behaviorist model that we used in the classroom: it was all rewards and punishment. And what I found was that rather than teaching new behaviors? We were very good at controlling behaviors. But when we were there or when students moved on to another environment? They failed. They hadn't internalized anything. I likened it to -- and I think I do in the book as well -- to kind of a drug addiction. You get addicted to rewards (and even to punishment) and when that's withdrawn, you have withdrawals. You have difficulty dealing with things. So that's kind of where a lot of my initial thoughts came from. And as I became a practitioner of PBIS, I thought it was ironic that we called it *positive* behavioral intervention supports because it wasn't very positive at all. It was just a method I saw through practice.
67 minutes | 3 months ago
#vted Reads: So You Want to Talk About Race
In this episode, we get real about what educators can do in their classrooms to make a more equitable playing field, how to walk that fine line between supporting student activism and co-opting it, and how to juggle the competing demands of educational and intersectional change. Also, we talk local soccer. It's a full workout in this episode, listeners! I'm joined today by educator, parent and activist Life LeGeros -- who is also my co-worker -- for So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo. Because we do want to talk about race, even if we might not get it right 100 percent of the time. Neither will you, but it's vital that we keep on trying, and use books like this to nudge us forward. I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is #vted Reads: books for, by and with Vermont educators. Let's chat! The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: So You Want to Talk About Race Jeanie: Thank you for joining me, Life. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Life: So, my name is Life. I live in South Duxbury VT, right near Harwood High School up in the foothills of the Green Mountains. Lived in Vermont for about five years. I work with middle schools around the state. Mostly in the Northeast Kingdom right now, supporting them doing student-centered learning. And I have the great pleasure of working with you here at the UVM Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education. That has been one of the honors of my professional career and my personal life. I’ve loved getting to know you and becoming friends. And yeah. We help schools and then do a little blogging and researching. It’s basically my dream job. Jeanie: Thank you very much for those kind words. I have to say, same. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know you and your family. But also, I just love how you push me to think more deeply about lots of issues, but especially issues of equity. Thanks for that. And this book is part of that. But before we get into this book, what are you reading right now? I know your whole family are great readers but what are you reading right now? Life: I completed a book this morning, yeah. Not just a book but a grown-up book. A fully grown-up book. Because most of the fiction I read these days is like, YA. But I read a grown-up book: The Overstory. Jeanie: Oh, I loved that book. Life: It was just one of those deals where friend was like part way through it and they were just like you got to read this. You got to read this. I’m reading it. It took me a while to get into it because it’s like, many different stories separate ...that flow into one. And I’m not sure where I sit with it honestly. Overall, it gave an artistic kind of perspective on many things that I’ve been thinking and feeling. And I’m definitely very interested in like following up in getting a field guide and reading more about trees and their interconnectedness. But just in terms of being overwhelmed and feeling like climate change is just a horrible thing that we'll never get out of? I think it was a nice different perspective on that. I’ll be processing it or a while, so it was very affecting. Jeanie: You and I both spend a lot of time out in the woods of Vermont. And I have to say that book changed the way I see trees. It changed the way I sort of have a quiet dialogue with trees on my hikes. Life: Totally. I always feel like trees are, you know, a reminder. And then for this to say, well, they might be literally trying to like communicate something that you could tap into? Is a really cool idea. It’s true. Jeanie: I see, yeah, I love that. So, let’s talk about this book. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. I guess my first questions for you about this book are: who is this book for? And why might Vermont educators and students want to consider reading it? Life: I think broadly it’s for Americans. Part of her point is that there’s a systemic limitation/dismantling of our ability to even talk about race....
66 minutes | 3 months ago
vted Reads: The Hate U Give
In this episode, we sit down with the executive director of the Vermont Humanities Council, Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup. The Vermont Humanities Council runs Vermont Reads (not to be confused with Vermont *ed* Reads), in which they choose a book for our whole state to read, ponder and talk about. This year, that book is Angie Thomas' powerful The Hate U Give. and that is the book Christopher and I mull over on this episode of the show. What can this popular YA novel about police violence against Black bodies teach a largely white state? I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is #vted Reads: books by, for, and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: The Hate U Give Jeanie: Thanks for joining me Christopher. Christopher: Thank you so much for having me Jeanie. It's really great to be here. Jeanie: Do you want to tell us before you read a little excerpt, a little bit about who you are and what you do? Christopher: Sure. I'm the Executive Director of Vermont Humanities. We’re the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and we've been around since 1974. And our mission is to really make sure that all Vermonters have the opportunity to read and learn throughout life. We do a lot of different programs, but one of the programs that many Vermonters are very, very fond of is Vermont Reads, where we pick one novel each year and work with that novel in communities throughout the state for the entire year. Jeanie: Excellent! I love Vermont Reads and I've been reading your selections for many years and I'm so excited to have you on the show. You indicated that you'd love to start with a little bit of a reading from The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. So I'm just going to turn it over to you. Christopher: Yeah. So this is an interesting book for these times because it addresses police brutality against African-Americans. And so I'm going to start with a short excerpt from the book. It starts with the main character, Starr, who's a 17-year-old girl, talking to members of her family the day after she has witnessed the shooting of one of her childhood friends by a policeman. https://youtu.be/NOXFofOZhis "I borrowed your hoody, Seven," I mumble. It's random, but it's better than nothing. "The blue one. Momma had to throw it away. Khalil's blood..." I swallow. "His blood got on it." "Oh..." That's all anybody says for a minute. Mama turns around to the skillet. "Don't make any sense. That baby--" she says thickly. "He was just a baby." Daddy shakes his head. "That boy never heard anybody. He didn't deserve that shit." "Why did they shoot him?" Seven asks. "Was he a threat or something?" "No," I say quietly I stare at the table, I can feel all of them watching me again. "He didn't do anything," I say. "We didn't do anything. Khalil didn't even have a gun." Daddy releases a slow breath. "Folks around here gon' lose their minds when they find that out." "People from the neighborhood are already talking about it on Twitter," Seven says. "I saw it last night." "Did they mention your sister?" Momma asks. "No. Just RIP Khalil messages, fuck the police, stuff like that. I don't think they know details." "What's going to happen to me when the details do come out?" I ask. "What do you mean, baby?" my mom asks. "Besides the cop, I'm the only person who was there. And you've seen stuff like this. It ends up on national news. People get death threats, cops target them, all kinds of stuff." "I won't let anything happen to you," Daddy says. "None of us will." He looks at Momma and Seven. "We're not telling anybody that Starr was there." Jeanie: That's really powerful. Oof, there's a lot going on there and I wonder if we might use it as a segue to ask: why did the Vermont Humanities Council choose The Hate U Give for Vermont Reads? Christopher: It's a tough book and it's very relevant at this moment, of course.
62 minutes | 4 months ago
#vted Reads with Jo Knowles
Yeah. Me too. Everything is a lot. Everything... keeps getting to be even more of a lot, and somehow we expect to throw a smile on our faces and, whenever someone asks us if we're fine, to pretend we are, instead of saying: 'I'm sad. I'm struggling. I'm overwhelmed. Please just let me lie here facedown in a carton of chocolate ice cream until next spring.' Listeners, in all these things you are not remotely alone. I am frequently not okay. I am exhausted. And I just watched my audio engineer projectile-vomit feelings of overwhelm at our colleagues. And I realized we are all in it together; we are all feeling the over-the-topness of this moment . And it's not even swimsuit season. And we're no longer 13! (Thank goodness.) Today on the show, I'm joined by one of the kindest people I know: young adult author Jo Knowles, to talk about her book Where The Heart Is. It's a book about love, loss, one-piece swimsuits, and trying to reconcile those feelings of what we think we're supposed to be for other people, with who and how we really are. Thanks for joining me again, listeners. I'm Jeanie Phillips, this is #vted Reads, a podcast about books by, for, and with Vermont educators. Let's chat. (Unless you don't feel like it, in which case that's okay too...) The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: with Jo Knowles Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me Jo. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? Jo: Hi, thanks so much for having me. It’s really an honor to be here and just talk with you today. So! My name is Jo Knowles, I write young adult and middle-grade fiction — or what we often call Tween fiction, these days. And I also have a picture book and picture book coming out next fall, my first one called Ear Worm and it’s about a little worm who gets a song stuck in his head. And he needs to try to figure out who put it there. I also teach writing for Southern New Hampshire University and their MFA program. It’s called Mountainview MFA and it’s a Low-Residency program. And so, teaching and writing those were my two things. Jeanie: So a) I can’t wait to get a copy of Ear Worm. That sounds like a great book, congratulations on that. It sounds like a great book to read aloud to our Tween readers even though we think of picture books for younger folks. Jo: I am so excited. The whole idea is such a silly story, but I had a dream that I had this great idea for a picture book. And then I, you know I got up in the middle of the night and I wrote it all down because I was so excited because I thought it was such a great concept. And I woke up in the morning and I went to find my notes and I said to my husband, “What happened to the notes I took about the picture book idea I had in the middle of the night?” And he said, what are you talking about? …I said: “Didn’t I get up in the middle of the night and write down the story?” And he said no. Then I thought: oh my gosh. Did I dream that I had this idea? I was all upset. Anyway, I took the dog for a walk later that day. I was walking in the woods and it all came back to me. So I came home and I wrote it. Jeanie: I’ve met you several times because you’ve come to my former school library and done amazing work with students around writing and talking to them about your books. And I wonder what it’s like to be a Teen and Tween author -- and now picture book author -- in a COVID world, where you don’t have some sort of ready access to readers? Jo: Yeah, it’s very heartbreaking. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. One of the biggest joys about writing for kids is meeting kids and just being able to share, not just my stories but my own personal story. Because I think when I’m doing school visits, when I talk about my own journey to becoming a published author and getting over my own shyness and things about public speaking. That’s when I really feel that connection to kids. And, you know, sometimes afterwards there’s always at least one kid who comes ...
59 minutes | 4 months ago
#vted Reads with Elijah Hawkes
Listeners, I'm angry. I'm angry about the failure of our political leadership, the unmitigated disaster of climate change, and the risks we're asking our educators and students to take right now. I'm angry, and I'm hurt, and frustrated, and I'm not the only one. I know you're angry, and I know our students are angry. Our schools have long been held to the idea of being zones that are or should be, entirely free of politics. But how does that work in the real world? Are our students free of politics when they walk through the classroom door? Do they take their anger off when they put on a backpack, or turn on their cameras? On this episode of vted Reads, we're re-joined by Vermont principal Elijah Hawkes. Hawkes has written a book called, School for the Age of Upheaval: Classrooms That Get Personal, Get Political, and Get to Work. It's a powerful, powerful read, by which I mean that you can read it as a talisman against the notion that as educators we should stand by and pretend our students don't see, hear and feel about politics as it unfolds around them. You can read it in order to figure out how to address your students' anger -- and maybe your own. I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is Vermont Ed Reads. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads with Elijah Hawkes Jeanie: Thank you for joining me, Elijah. You were very recently on the podcast at the end of last season, but I’m going to ask you to introduce yourself again, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Elijah: Hi, Jeanie. My name is Elijah. I’m currently principal at Randolph Union. I’ve been here nine or ten years now and delighted to come back for another year with this fabulous faculty, staff and community. I grew up in Vermont myself, in Moretown, and then left for college and found my way to New York City where I was a teacher and then a school principal in New York City. I also lived abroad and worked in schools and school settings in West Africa for a couple of years. well, all of that experience just affirms for me the importance of small, community-minded democratic schools and so it’s a pleasure to be here at Randolph Union and to be talking with like-minded educators. Like you. Jeanie: I’m super excited to talk about your book. But before we get to that, I like to know what people are reading! What are you reading now? Last time, I think it was The Water Dancer. Elijah: Oh, yes, it was The Water Dancer. I’m reading a book of essays, long form essays I’d never read before by James Baldwin called No Name in the Street, and it’s written much later than a lot of his other essays, so I’m enjoying reading it. It just feels like a different kind of Baldwin’s voice to a certain degree, a little bit more meandering, and free flowing but it always comes back to where it wants to go. So, No Name in the Street, by James Baldwin is what I’m reading. Jeanie: Thank you for that. I haven’t read that so I’m going to have to add that to my list. But I’m also reading essays right now. I’m reading Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights. They’re little small essays and they’re so delicious. I highly recommend it. Okay! Let’s talk about your book. There’s a lot to talk about in this book. But I’m going to start just with the introduction, because you start by talking about anger. And I think this might be a time when kids could really feel angry. I think if my own son is any indication, this is a time where you can feel really angry with society, given COVID, given the conditions of right now, given the political situation. And so, you say "We need their anger, and we need it to find its voice." I’m going to read that again, Audrey, you say we need their anger and we need it to find its voice. And I don’t think of anger as being particularly welcome in schools. So I wanted to know more about what you meant by this, and maybe even a description of what it looks like.
62 minutes | 5 months ago
#vted Reads with Aimee Arandia Østensen
This show is a little different. Listeners, I want you to think of this show... as a pre-show. Let me explain. Today I'm joined on the podcast by Aimee Arandia Østensen and we start discussing the book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I say 'we start' because once we were underway it quickly became clear that everything Aimee and I wanted to say and feel and share about this amazing book could never fit in one single episode. So I'm going to say this is a beginning of a conversation about outdoor and place-based education, the concept of becoming indigenous to a place, the magic of Superfund sites, and how we are going to encourage ourselves to hold each other *capable*, rather than accountable. And that means you, listener. I am holding you capable. I'm Jeanie Phillips, this is Vermont Reads: books for, with and by Vermont educators. Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads: with Aimee Arandia Østensen Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me, Aimee, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Aimee: Hello, I’m so glad to be here with you, Jeanie. Thanks for inviting me. So I am a first generation Filipina-American educator. I grew up in upstate New York, taught for about 20 years in New York City, as well as in the Catskill regions of New York State. And now I work for Shelburne Farms as a facilitator in professional learning and education for sustainability. Jeanie: Oh, that’s a great introduction. You are so much more than that! To me, you are like one of those wise humans that I look to as a beacon. Thank you so much Aimee, for joining me. And I have to admit, I’m really nervous about this episode. Because Braiding Sweetgrass is one of my very favorite books ever, says the person who really loves books. So I’m worried that I won’t be able to do it justice. And the only thing that is setting my mind at ease is that I’m having this conversation with one of my favorite educators ever: you. And so I feel like, since you’re here, we can do this justice. Aimee: I feel the same way, Jeanie. And the only way that I can approach this work and honoring Robin Wall Kimmerer's work is to, as a learner to sit in the seat of a learner, but know that I’m always eternally in the process, and digging more into what it means to be in this world. Jeanie: Yes. For our listeners who may not have encountered the wonder that is Robin Wall Kimmerer and Braiding Sweetgrass, let’s give a little summary or a snapshot of this book. The tagline is: "Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teaching of plants." How would you describe this book for folks who are new to it? Aimee: I love how Robin Wall Kimmerer does those three things that she put out there and she gives voice to simply being? As well as the value of Indigenous knowledge. And weaving a contemporary perspective into all of that. So that it has meaning for everyone. The thing that I love about this book is so much of what she writes in this book is simply about how to be human. And how to learn from the world about what it means to be human in its most exemplary form. And so, it’s relevant to everyone, despite your background and your perspective. Jeanie: You said that beautifully. I think what I would add is that Robin Wall Kimmerer grew up in New York State. She is an Indigenous person herself. So, she grows up with this wealth of tradition and knowledge from her family. From her tribe, from her people. And she always knew she wanted to be a botanist. And so she goes to college, and she has to really fight to get the degree that she wants. She’s not immediately like, welcomed into the scientific community, but she becomes a botanist and a lecturer. And so she has these two really deep fonts of wisdom: this scientific knowledge that she gets as a college student, and this embodied wisdom and knowledge that comes from her ...
62 minutes | 5 months ago
#vted Reads with Kate Messner
I'm Jeanie Phillips and we're back for a third season of vted Reads! Books by, for and with Vermont educators. Kicking off this season we're joined on the show by author and former teacher Kate Messner. Kate's here to talk about how we can use books about some dark topics as conduits to reach students who may not even know they can or should talk about those topics. I did just make it sound a lot bleaker of an episode than it is. Trust me, it's a good one. And Kate's a delightful guest! We'll talk about her books Chirp, Breakout, and The Seventh Wish, along with sending you away with a whole mess of new titles for your To Read pile. Plus, Kate will reveal what her favorite flavor of cricket is. Yes, you will be amazed to learn how many different ways there are to snack on crickets. Now, one content note for today's show: Kate's book, Chirp, deals with issues of grooming, which is when adults behave in inappropriate ways with children, usually as a prelude to much worse behavior. We'll talk today a little bit about that, but if you're not in a space to join us right now, that's okay. Be kind, safe, and gentle with yourselves. Welcome back to vted Reads, season three! Let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · #vted Reads with Kate Messner Jeanie: Today, I'm with Kate Messner and we'll be talking about her book, Chirp. Thanks so much for joining me, Kate.Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Kate Messner: Thank you so much! Well, I am a children's author. I've written -- as of 2020 -- it will be 50 books for kids. They range from picture books like Over and Under the Snow and How to Read a Story, How to Write a Story, The Next President, to Easy Readers like the Fergus and Zeke series with Candlewick Press, to chapter books like The Ranger in Time Series with Scholastic. And novels, and nonfiction. Books like Breakout and The Seventh Wish and Chirp. And then some nonfiction as well! Like Tracking Pythons, which is about invasive Burmese pythons in Florida, and a new series called History Smashers, which is aimed at undoing the lies and myths we teach young kids about history. Starting with: the first Thanksgiving. The first book is History Smashers: The Mayflower. Jeanie: And that book just came out, is that correct? Kate: Yeah! New this summer History Smashers: The Mayflower and History Smashers: Women's Right to Vote. Then in the fall, book three comes out: Pearl Harbor. And we'll have book four in the spring of 2021, that is History Smashers: Titanic. Jeanie: Those sound so relevant to our current moment in time. Perfect timing. Kate: I really hope so. I know so many teachers right now are looking at the work that that we can all do to dismantle white supremacy and to promote equality. And part of that work is taking a hard look at the way we've taught history. Our textbooks have long looked at things from a very white, very colonialist perspective. And these books aim to to start a broader conversation about that. The biggest thing is I think kids are gonna read them and have an amazing time at the dinner table saying, "Mom! Dad! Did you know this about Elizabeth Cady Stanton?" So I think it's gonna prompt some really great conversations. Not just in the classroom but at home around the dinner table, too. That's my hope anyway. Jeanie: This is super exciting! Before we get started on Chirp though, I always like to ask my guests what's on their bedside table what they're reading right now. Do you have any summer reading going on, Kate? Kate: I do, I actually just finished an amazing young adult novel called A Song Below Water by Bethany Morrow. It's about mermaids and Black voices, and it's just a spectacular story. I think sometimes fantasy and speculative fiction is the very best way to get at the issues that we're facing in our modern world. And this is a book that just does that brilliantly. Jeanie: Excellent! I have that on my Libro FM right now,
10 minutes | 7 months ago
Graduations in the time of COVID-19
A couple of weeks ago, we had the chance to take part in a collaboration between the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Public Radio (VPR), celebrating the strange and wonderful ways this year's graduation differs from those in years past. What do graduations look like in the time of COVID-19? The hourlong program featured students and educators from around the state, performing music, giving speeches and simply musing on the ways in which the class of 2020 made. It. Work. So as an excerpt, and leading us towards the end of the podcast's fourth season, here's the piece we produced for the show. We spoke with students, educators and families from two schools who approached graduation very differently: The Warren School, in Warren VT, and Poultney Elementary School, down in Poultney VT. This is a tale of two sixth grades. The 21st Century Classroom · Episode #47: 6th grade graduation in the time of COVID-19 The Warren School, in Warren VT, opted to host their sixth-grade graduation at a drive-in in Waitsfield, called The Big Picture, known locally as "The Big Pic". Warren School librarian Heidi Ringer says she got the idea from an NPR story, then called up principal Tom Drake with the suggestion. Heidi Ringer, librarian at The Warren School. Heidi Ringer: So about a month or so ago, on NPR, they had said something about a school in New York that was doing a drive-in graduation. And then I was scrolling through Instagram that same night. There was a headline from The Valley Reporter that said The Big Pic was doing drive-in. And so I emailed Tom Drake, our principal, and asked Tom: "Drive-in at The Big Pic for graduation?" He wrote back that he thought I was kidding. And then he said he realized that was a great idea. So then one day some of the graduation team met at The Big Picture parking lot and kind of, you know, mapped it all out. We visualized: "Okay. If they're going to drive this way, then they're going to enter this way. And then they'll exit this way. And where are we getting the cakes? Nobody in town makes cupcakes, they only make mini-cakes. And how big are mini cakes? And are they too big? How many people are going to be in a car? Can we fit more than four mini cakes in a box?" You know, it was crazy details, but it all worked. So it took probably three, four weeks of planning and thinking about it. Walking through and visualizing it and just being willing to be flexible and just say: "Okay, so what are we going to do for the kids here?" The planning team remixed a Warren graduation tradition -- the graduation essay -- by having students record their favorite memory of The Warren School in Voice Memo and send it to the teachers, then the teachers put it all together into one long (48-minute) movie. Heidi: Ringer: So in the past, Warren school's graduation has been the same thing forever and ever. The kids write an essay. So the first paragraph is how long you've been at The Warren School. Second paragraph is what are two memories of the school that you have? And what's the big global idea that you learned from those. And then the thank you. So we've always done that. They usually sing a song or something like that. And because we're in a rural place, some of these kids haven't seen each other, you know, we see each other on the screens, but that's it. The town of Warren is about five miles from Waitsfield, so all the families met in their cars at the school and drove in convoy over to The Big Pic with a fire truck escort (one of the Warren teachers is a volunteer firefighter). At the drive-in, the teachers showed the students’ movie up on the big screens, piping the audio into everyone’s car speakers. Susan Hennessey's ex-husband had a megaphone at Barre we borrowed. We got the megaphone and Tom Drake brought a ladder and stood on the ladder and did the welcome through the megaphone. Then the kids all got their certificates,
55 minutes | 7 months ago
#vted Reads: Hemingway, with Elijah Hawkes
Listeners: our hearts are breaking. Our hearts are breaking for all of Vermont’s Black students, Black educators, and Black families. But frankly, our broken hearts are not nearly enough. Right now, we need to talk about what this all means for Vermont. What it means to interrogate in schools, and in classrooms, and in ourselves. On this episode of the podcast, we grapple with a challenging short story by Hemingway (yes, that Hemingway), called "Indian Camp". Now, a content note: this story contains language and attitudes that we as a society no longer find acceptable, and in fact, one of the terms that Hemingway's characters bandy about, a derogatory term for Native and Indigenous women, we just won't be saying on this show. But. Given that this is a story that's primarily about the experiences of a young white boy, and how the death and injury of Native people reaffirms his view of himself as entitled, why does Vermont principal Elijah Hawkes use it every year in welcoming new educators to his school? Because that young white boy, and the people he injures with his entitlement? They're in your classrooms, your communities, and your homes. This remains #vted Reads. Black Lives Matter. Now let's chat. The 21st Century Classroom · Elijah Hawkes Indian Camp Jeanie: Thanks for joining me, Elijah. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? Elijah: Hi Jeanie! Thanks for having me, for this conversation. I’m currently principal at Randolph Union, a 7-12 school in Central Vermont. It serves three towns and a bunch of others in the surrounding county: Randolph, Brookfield and Braintree. About 400 students at the school. We're adjacent to the Randolph Technical Career Center and all the benefits that come with that neighborhood. I live in Middlesex Vermont; I grew in Moretown Vermont, about 20 minutes away. Began my career as an educator though in New York City and was an English teacher and then founding principal of The James Baldwin School, a small alternative public school. And then moved to Vermont about 9 or 10 years ago and I’ve been here and in this role in this place ever since. Jeanie: Thank you for that. You are also a writer. Elijah: Yes, I’m also a writer. Like conversations like these, writing is a conversation with myself and with other people and with ideas. And it’s one of the ways that I digest the work of being an educator. The work of being an educator in public schools, the work of being a public school educator in a democracy, the work of being an educator with adolescents. The work of being an educator as a father who has children. I pour that into my writing and try to make sense of the world that I’m in. And then when I can try to share that with others and have further dialogue about it. I just got a book out actually this past month. The book launch parties have been few since social distancing, but I’m excited to share that with people as well. It’s called Schools for The Age of Upheaval and the subtitle is Classrooms That Get Personal, Get Political, and Get to Work. And perhaps there’ll be some intersections with those ideas in our conversation today. Jeanie: I’m ready to get to work! Let’s see, well, one of the things I always like to ask books because I’m a librarian and an avid reader and I’m always interested in what other people are reading, do you have something on your nightstand right now, that you’re working on? Elijah: I do yes. I’m just 20 or 30 pages away from the end of The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. My brother's reading it at the same time; we’ve been having some correspondence about it. So we’ve been enjoying that novel by Coates, whose essays, of course, I’ve read in other publications. But this is his first long work of fiction. Jeanie: I loved that book, so much. Yeah. It’d be interesting to pair that with -- I don’t know if you saw the announcement yesterday but Coates Whitehead won the Pulitzer for fict...
66 minutes | 8 months ago
#vted Reads with Mike McRaith
I'm Jeanie Phillips, and welcome to Vermont Ed Reads: books by, for and with Vermont educators. Today on the show, we welcome Mike McRaith, who's here to talk about Nora Samaran's Turn This World Inside Out: The Emergence of Nurturance Culture. How *do* you hold harm, and harmony together in the same space in a way that protects and honors the needs of all students to feel safe, and loved? How do you talk about the needs of those students who feel marginalized, even if we'd identify them as coming from wide intersections of privilege? And how do you talk about the needs of straight, white, male, cis-gendered students without centering their needs, in a culture that marginalizes the needs of, well, absolutely everybody else? Nora Samaran has some answers. As does Mike McRaith! We here on the show love talking with smart, compassionate people, and if you do too (and we hope you do), this is the episode for you. Now, let's chat. Jeanie: Thank you for joining me, Mike. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Mike: It's my pleasure to be here. My name is Mike McRaith. I'm the assistant executive director at the Vermont Principals Association. And my job includes all different kinds of things, mostly supporting principals in many different ways: the professional learning side of things, the mentorship and a host of other things at the VPA. And I'm a former high school principal at Montpelier High School. I did the previous four years there. And then I spent six years in Franklin Northeast, in that supervisory union, as a school counselor and a middle school principal. Jeanie: You bring a ton of expertise and really relevant expertise to this book, Turn This World Inside Out. Which you suggested to me and I was really excited to read. But before we jump into that, I wonder if you might share what you're reading right now. What's on your bedside table? I suspect there might be some books for little ones, on that stack. Mike: Yeah, thanks. This book was recommended to me by my dear friend, confidant and soul leader, Sylvia Fagin, who is a teacher in the Montpelier School District, among many other things. And when she recommends something to me, I pay close attention. So, I want to thank Sylvia for this recommendation and her continued support through some really hard things, working together and just being a great person for me to turn to and to bounce things off of. And to learn with. So, thank you, Sylvia. The books that I've been reading aside from this are connected to four-year-olds and six-year-olds. I have a four-year-old and a six-year-old, and being at home so much we started reading chapter books. And so the books that I've read most recently are Gary Paulsen books. My boys were super, super interested in reading Hatchet and then Brian's Winter. And we also read Dogsong which is a very interesting and sort of, poetic book. And they hung in there. Gary Paulsen does a great job of engaging kids -- even four-year-olds (soon to be five) -- and they have tons of questions, and it comes up all the time in their language. Just last night they were talking about the size of a moose and whether or not the moose would charge them and all different kinds of things. Those books have been great for shaping their connection to nature. Jeanie: This brings me so much joy! You have no idea what I would give to have a four-year-old sit on my lap and let me read to them, like I'd give a lot. Yeah. Mike: It's real good. And we try not to take it for granted. We do a lot of it: every single day and every single night. We read and we soak that up. And you know, my wife has been great about bringing books, and our South Burlington Public Library does a fantastic job. Jeanie: Okay, you know, I'm not going to be able to resist and I'm going to send you some titles to be read to four- and six-year-olds later. Mike: Please do. *laughs* Jeanie: So, let's get to this book.
15 minutes | 8 months ago
A Quarantine Homeschooling Dispatch
Today on the 21st Century Classroom, from Super Sisters Academy: It feels really weird, because in some ways it's kind of cool to see how you can be homeschooled. But then in other ways you're like, "Ohhhhh, it’s kind of scary." Because we are staying home because of the virus that’s going around and for our safety and other people's safety and everything. So it’s mixed feelings I guess. --Ayla I’m Life LeGeros, and that's my daughter, Ayla, who is eight (Actually she turned eight during the pandemic). My other daughter, Zoe, is 10. Today on the 21st Century Classroom we're going to explore quarantine homeschooling in the age of COVID-19. What are we learning during it? And what are we learning *from* it? And we’re going to do this by talking with my daughters. Ayla: As I said it was like scary but kind of cool to see how you can actually be homeschooled. I mean, I like school? And homeschool? So I like both of them. I kind of like both of them the same, but one reason why I don’t really like homeschool, it breaks me down a notch is because I don’t get to see my friends and interact with them, my teachers and everything, so. Let's start by setting the stage with a little context. My wife and I have been homeschooling for about five weeks now. We found out on a Sunday night over dinner that our schools were going to be shut down starting the following day. The next morning we spent the first few hours trying to plan a schedule; essentially my girls did this. We found an example online and they tweaked it and messed with it and put in a shape that they thought would work (.pdf) And thus, Super Sister Academy, as my daughters deemed it, was born! Here’s Zoe to walk you through a typical day. Zoe: Morning meeting, with our family, where we do a greeting, a share, and an activity. And then we do morning meeting with our class on Zoom or... something like that. Then we have Academic Time for like two hours I think? Then we have Movement Time, where we just like move and stuff, and go outside and stuff. And then we have Creative Time where we can build, play with Legos, draw, paint, that stuff. And then we have … what do we have after that? Ayla: Lunch. The Academic Time that Zoe mentioned: that's the time when they do work that’s provided from school. Packets from the girls’ school materialized pretty darn quickly after the lockdown. And now there's a full-blown curriculum with up to 3 hours of work per day, which is great (although we did have to adjust our schedule a bit). One thing it's very important to acknowledge: My wife and I have the privilege of being able to work from home, and support our homeschooling pretty directly. That's *not* a privilege that our system affords to all families and caregivers. It’s very important to acknowledge that. We’re doing our best, and we get a lot of feedback from our class of two. Life: How did your week go? Zoe: Pretty good, I guess. Life: You had a huge, like, whole schedule from a teacher. All the stuff that you had to get done. You were able to take care of it? Zoe: Yup. Life: Do you feel proud of yourself? How did you what was your strategy for getting it all done? Zoe: Ummmmmm, I just did it one by one. Life: Super Sisters Academy is rockin'? Zoe: Mm-hm. Life: What kind of things do you miss about "school-school"? Zoe: Like seeing everyone and being able to work with other people. Like my age and stuff. Ah. That brings me to a clear drawback about homeschool, and a worry for a lot of families. Ayla: I just miss my friends and my teachers and I mean sure I can see them on like my morning meetings with them on the computer but like, I like interacting with them physically and stuff. But we can’t really, now. Governor Scott’s Stay At Home order and the release of schools means it’s incredibly difficult for students to see their friends and teachers.
21 minutes | 8 months ago
Hunter education in Vermont
In this episode of The 21st Century Classroom: I don’t think a lot of people think that I’m a hunter. I feel like when I have like a good connection with my teachers, they will get to know me and realize that I hunt and fish and do a lot of outdoor stuff, but like the teachers that I’m not really like always with and I don’t think they know like I hunt and stuff. --Liam Whether for sport or subsistence, hunting is a big deal in Vermont. And doing it safely is an even bigger deal. In Vermont, fishing and hunting license sales have taken off since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Turkey hunting license sales increased by 26% for the recent start of the spring turkey season. Combination hunting & fishing licenses are up 24%. It seems like since the Stay At Home order, where our work, school and social spheres got smaller, Vermonters have been heading outdoors to hunt. Not just adults but whole families. Which bring us to two questions: What does it take for a young adult in Vermont to get a hunting license? And what do young Vermonters find so engaging about hunting? Especially as it’s an activity they do with their families? Meet Henry. Henry: My name is Henry Parent. I’m 13 years old and I go to Dorset School. Henry’s a seventh grader in rural Dorset VT, and he has a new interest in hunting. Henry: I kind of like it, because you’re just like you’re out in the woods usually, not always though. We were outside walking around sometimes, but usually walk to a spot or something. And – yeah, and then once you get some – then once you like get something or shoot something then its like – I don’t know, I don’t know how to describe it. One time I shot – well, first time I shot a pheasant and it was… Well, it was kind of cool, because like you shoot and then when you see it go down, it’s kind of like you feel relieved like you didn’t miss it and then you got it. It’s a good feeling. Henry’s also the son of returning podcast contributor and Vermont educator, Rachel Mark. Rachel: Hello! And Rachel’s here to tell you about Henry’s emerging interest in hunting, and her own experiences in a hunting family. Rachel: I’ve been an educator in Vermont for 20 years, and it’s taken me this long to realize how much learning takes place when young people earn their hunter safety certification. Students do a ton of work, both online and in-person, to get certified to hunt. Now let me tell you about my son. Henry loves to be outside. He is creative and adventurous, often building things outside or whittling objects from wood. He came to me about a year ago and asked if he could learn how to hunt. Among the people in our two extended families, only my father has any experience with hunting. But when we asked him, Henry’s grandfather happily agreed to mentor him in small bird hunting. The next step was to find a hunter safety course in Vermont. Rachel: Okay. So what was it like to get a license to hunt? What – tell me about that process? Henry: It was hard. I did the online course where you have to do a lot of reading and there is this test and it takes a lot of time. Rachel: What do you wish your teachers knew about you and your hunter training? Henry: That it takes a lot of reading and it should count for like, if you have to do a reading at home. In 2019, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department issued almost 71,000 hunting licenses. And of those licenses, 13% were obtained by Vermonters 18 years of age or younger. That works out to just under nine *thousand* young Vermont hunters. 9,000 young Vermonters who choose to complete the State’s hunter education course. So how does that course work? In order for a young Vermonter to obtain a hunting license, they must first complete the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s *free* First-Time Hunter Education course. The course is recommended for every first-time hunter, regardless of age.
65 minutes | 8 months ago
#vted Reads: Stamped, by Jason Reynolds
I'm Jeanie Phillips, and this is Vermont Ed Reads: books by, for and with Vermont educators. Today we're joined by Philadelphia-based educator and "Learning Maximizer" Erika Saunders, to talk about the book Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me, Erika. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? Erika: Hi! Well, first of all thank you so much for asking me to join you. My name's Erika Sanders. I’m an educator here in Philadelphia. I've been working in urban environment, educating for about 17 years. I’m a special education teacher and I call myself The Learning Maximizer. Because what I do is teach children how to maximize their learning. So, I’m thrilled to talk education. And clearly, this book hold very dear place in my heart. *laughs* So, I’m excited to chat with you about it. Jeanie: I am so excited that you’re joining me. And I also just want to say you are also on the Middle Grades Institute faculty. And we’re delighted to have you as a faculty member. Erika: Thank you. Yes, I am. That’s a new one for me. Thank you for reminding me. Jeanie: So, I always ask this question at the beginning because I’m a librarian at heart and I’m curious about it. But: what else are you reading? Or what other books might you recommend? Erika: Wow, that’s an excellent question. So, sort of in general? I started We Got This: Equity, Access, and The Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us To Be, by Cornelius Minor. Which I’m looking at sitting right over there. I highly recommend that book. It’s accessible. And digestible. And yet has some pretty powerful pieces to it. For leisure, I am a huge young adult fiction fan -- not to mention I worked with middle school students often -- so a lot of what I read is sort of the middle school literature. So, if you want to relax and enjoy and just sit back, I highly recommend grabbing some of that really good juicy middle years literature that’s out there. Because it’s really gotten pretty exciting over the years. Jeanie: I couldn’t agree more. Some of my favorite books are middle grades and young adult books, absolutely. Erika: Absolutely. Jeanie: And I love Cornelius Minor's We Got This. I think it’s so practical. Erika: Yeah. When I picked it up I found that it was something that was also accessible. With my focus being Special Ed, sometimes when I’m looking at a book, I look at it through that lens. And whether or not even the formatting of it and how it’s presented is something that feels accessible to a lot of people? And there was something about this that had that feel. Where, especially around race where it can be very emotional and dense and sometimes academic in a way that’s unaccessible? When I looked at this I thought, wow, this is something that has lots of access points. Visually, how it’s laid out, how you can sort of digest pieces of it, and not feel overwhelmed. So, I’m very, very excited about that one too. Jeanie: That’s a great lead in to this book: Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and You. Because Ibram X. Kendi, the co-author of this book, wrote a really dense -- really, really, really dense -- book called Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. And I read about, I would say a third of it before finally I was like I can’t do this and be in a doctoral program too. That book's been rewritten, or remixed as Jason Reynolds says, for young people in such a way that it’s really accessible, is what I found. Did you also find this to be very accessible? Erika: I did. And accessible to young people too. And I love the way you mentioned it remixed. You know you’re really tapping into that young adult audience, and inviting them in, in a way that feels connected a bit to them. And I loved that about this book. Because these are important topics. And these are topics that often hit very deeply, in ways that we might not even realize?
61 minutes | 9 months ago
#vted Reads: Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
I’m Jeanie Phillips and welcome to #vted Reads, we are here to talk books for educators, by educators and with educators. Today I’m with Meg Falby and we’ll be talking about two books by Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak, and Speak: The Graphic Novel. We’ll also be mentioning Shout, Laurie Halse Anderson’s memoir in verse. Lovely listeners of #vted Reads, welcome to another episode. It is currently the first half of April, 2020, a challenging and re-defining moment for all of us. One that's unsettling us in ways good and bad -- okay mostly bad -- but. But. As we all wrestle with the pandemic and how it's moving around and through our lives, I'm struck by how much we are all turning to art. We are turning to books and painting and crafting and making and books and music and cooking (did I mention books?),and it's really reaffirming for a lot of us the vital role art plays in our lives. The ways in which it carries us through dark times and helps pull us toward the light. Which brings me to this episode. On today's episode, I'm joined by Vermont health educator Meg Falby, and we talk about Laurie Halse Anderson's incomparable books, Speak and Shout. For those of you who are wondering, we talk in the episode about sexual assault and its aftermath. We're not graphic, but we will talk about emotional impact as it's portrayed in the books. While we're using these books as a platform to examine how educators can talk about consent -- living breathing free and thriving consent -- this topic might be challenging for some folks, especially the survivors. We want you, as always, to put your own health first and make an informed decision about listening to the episode. Whatever you decide, we're proud of you for making it this far, and we hold a space for you to listen, or read, or paint or craft, or sing or ...speak. I'm Jeanie Phillips. I'm awfully glad you're back for another episode of Vermont Ed Reads, the podcast by with and for Vermont educators. Let's chat. Jeanie: Thank you so much for joining me Meg, tell me a little bit about who you are and what you do. Meg: Thank you for having me, this is really exciting! I have been a teacher, this is my 18th year of teaching, a bit of a combination of what we call "family and consumer sciences". It’s kind of a new age home ec, and my real focus has been on health education. I started right out of UVM. I got my undergrad in family and consumer sciences education -- believe it or not it exists -- and I taught in both Barre Town School and Barre City School. Twelve years in and then a job at U-32 High School opened up, which was really exciting for me because I hold this school in really high regard. And I’ve been here now for six years. I teach 7th and 8th grade health. I also teach high school health, and that typically is grades 10 to 12. And I teach 8th grade living arts class: sewing, cooking, all that good stuff. Jeanie: Oh that sounds like so much fun. Meg: It’s such a fun class! Such a fun class. Jeanie: I'm really excited to have you on the podcast! I follow you on twitter and I am a fan, but also I just think you’re going to bring a lot to this conversation about these books, so welcome. One of the things I like to ask us right away is: what are you reading? What’s on your bedside table? Because I’m always looking for the next best book to read? Meg: Well, the number that I came up with was 17? But I think I'm now over 17. I’m one of those people -- at least in the last year -- I’ve become "The Collector". You know how there’s different types of readers? I’m The Collector and I am also a reader that has multiple books going on at one time. Right now I’m reading this wonderful book called Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids About Sex, Love, and Equality. It’s by Bonnie Rough and she is an incredible writer. You know, to me it’s an adventure story. She and her husband head over to the Netherlands and ...
45 minutes | 10 months ago
#vted Reads: Guts, with Lindsey Halman
I'm Jeanie Phillips, and welcome back to #vted Reads, the podcast for, by and with Vermont educators. And I? Am still here. As are you. Now, we recorded this episode with our lovely friend Lindsey Halman back in February 2020, a time that at this point feels almost like a long-ago Camelot, or perhaps as the late great Hunter S. Thompson put it, "that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back.” It's the end of March -- same year! -- and so much about what we do, and how, and where, has changed. But not the why. In this episode, we talk about a book called Guts by Raina Telgemeier, and a lot of what we discuss centers around what the main character learns about herself and her body's reactions to anxiety. So first and foremost: if you're not in a space for that right now, I *completely* understand. Put it down. Go meditate. Bake cookies. Take a walk with a child in nature. Listen to 99% Invisible instead. But for everyone who's sticking around (and those of you who eventually make it back from the nature walk), thank you. Thank you for being around, and thank you for staying around. It's okay to feel whatever you're feeling right now. It's okay to be overwhelmed, it's okay to be anxious. But if nothing else, this period in our history has shown us that when the going gets tough, #vted gets tougher. (Y'all commandeered *the buses* for delivering food! The buses!) Anyway, the work has always been hard, and now it's just hard in new ways. Ways we'll find our way around together. Now: let's chat. Jeanie Phillips: 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 Lindsey Halman and we’ll be talking about Guts by Raina Telgemeier. Thanks for joining me, Lindsey. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Lindsey Halman: Sure. Thanks, Jeanie, for having me. I was a middle level educator for 15 years and my heart is always with young adolescents Those were my people. And I currently am the executive director of Unleashing the Power of Partnership for Learning --also known as Up for Learning. So I have the privilege of working with schools across Vermont. Jeanie: Excellent. Well, I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. And you brought this book to my attention: Guts. Although, as school librarian who’s worked K-6 and 7-12, I have to say Raina Telgemeier has been a big hit with my previous students for many years. And her books were always hard to keep on the shelves. Always books I had to have multiple copies of. But I’m really excited to talk about this one. Like Smile and some of her other books it’s a memoir, told in comic or graphic form. And I wondered if you introduce us to the Raina in this specific book. Lindsey: Sure. So, I should also I mention that I’m a parent. That’s probably the most important piece! Parent of a nine year old. o, this book really resonated with me and my daughter as we read it together. So, I just wanted put that piece in there. And so Raina, the author and Raina, the character, we see her between 4th and 5th grade in the story. So, she is nine. And she describes herself as nervous, self-conscious, shy and quiet. Except when she’s with her close friends, Jane and Nicole. And I would say that that’s maybe what people when she’s in school are those qualities of just maybe being shy and quiet. But she has so much more to her. She’s a Girl Scout. She’s an artist. She loves to draw, create comics. She’s an older sibling; she has two younger siblings. She lives in an apartment with a family of five. And her family feels very well connected and supportive of one another, both in the sense of they live in a tight space and so they’re sharing and in close quarters. But also they are sharing and in close quarters as in their relationships. So, they have very supportive relationships with one another. Jeanie: Yeah.
55 minutes | a year ago
#vted Reads: The Standards-Based Classroom
I'm Jeanie Phillips and welcome back to #vted Reads: books by, for and with Vermont educators. Today is a little of all three, as we welcome instructional coaches Emily Rinkema and Stan Williams to the show. They're the authors of The Standards-Based Classroom: Make Learning the Goal, and have been working on implementing and assessing proficiencies at Champlain Valley Union High School, in Hinesburg Vermont. Proficiency-based education is something of a hot topic in Vermont. In 2013, the Vermont legislature passed Act 77, which required schools around Vermont to implement personal learning plans, flexible pathways and proficiency-based learning for students in grades 7 through 12 by 2020. That. Is. Now. (Or at least it was at the time of recording.) Anyway, Stan and Emily are old hats at the proficiency game, and their book is a valuable resource for working with educators who are new to proficiencies, especially as they relate to assessment. This is #vted Reads: let's chat. Jeanie: Thanks for joining me, Emily and Stan. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. Emily Rinkema: We are proficiency-based learning coordinators. That's our current title, in the Champlain Valley School District. We have been in this role but with many different names for approximately 10 years, I think, now. We also teach. So, we've been teaming together as humanities teachers for 22 years, a long time and we still teach a course together now at the high school. We each spend half of our jobs at the high school supporting the continued implementation of standards-based learning, and the other half of our jobs are now at the middle school, supporting the implementation there. Stan Williams: Yeah, we’ve taught from the ninth grade core program to this job and are now teaching a course called Think Tank. So, that's been our fun new challenge. Emily: We also about two years ago, wrote the book for Corwin, and since then we've had the opportunity to work with a lot of schools and districts not only in our state but around the country. And then most recently even internationally working with a few schools. So, that's been really amazing to see how different school districts interpret the same principles of learning. Jeanie: Yeah, I went to a workshop with some of the teachers I work with that you two had, on proficiency-based learning or standards-based learning. And one of the questions I know you must hear and that I hear all the time is: How long will it take before we get there? And what I'm hearing from you in your role as coaches in this work is that it's not a one and done but it's an ongoing process to getting there. Stan: Yeah, I think that any time if you actually ever think you're there, there's probably a misunderstanding, because I'm not sure there's ever going to be a "there". But yeah, that's one of the big things that we've had to grapple with and that especially adults, as educators, have to grapple with. The fact that it is *not* "here's the box, open it up, take it out, and now you are a standards-based teacher!" And I think that's often what the thought is" give me the program, give me the answer, and I'll do it. Or: give me the sheets and I'll do it. Which is not the case. I think that also is one of the things that leads to some difficulties. People will look to change the grading and the reporting, but then not get to the fact that it's the instruction, it's the assessment -- it's all the work in the classroom that needs to change as well. So yeah, I think that's the biggest part of our job, probably, dealing with that other part. Emily: Yeah, it's really changing the fundamental beliefs about teaching and learning. I think we often hear teachers will say, “Oh, it's another initiative coming along,” and thinking that we can have some professional development around it and we'll just add it to our bucket of other initiatives.
23 minutes | a year ago
#vted Reads at Teen Lit Mob 2019!
I'm Jeanie Phillips: welcome to #vted Reads, the podcast by for and with Vermont educators. And today, with Vermont students as well! We recorded this episode at last year's Teen Lit Mob. What's Teen Lit Mob, you ask? Teen Lit Mob is Vermont's only book-related conference specifically for young adult readers. Students from all around the state converge in a big joyful mass and squee about what they're reading. They meet authors and get free books and did we mention the squeeing? So. Much. Squeeing. And Teen Lit Mob is super important. Here's why. Close your eyes. Close them! (Unless you're listening to this while driving; safety first.) Now think back: what was your favorite book when you were in, say, 8th grade? Did you have folks you could tell about it? Folks who'd grasp your hands and just bounce wildly up and down sharing the absolute JOY of finding and loving, that one perfect book? So that's Teen Lit Mob: squee! bouncing! friendship! books! a bedazzled megaphone! books and squee. *deep breath* So *we* showed up at Teen Lit Mob last year, and asked some of the attendees one simple, VITAL question: What book do you wish was being taught in your school? Warning: #vted Reads assumes no responsibility for how badly this episode messes up your To Be Read list. *whisper* Let's chat! My name is Sloan and I go to CVU. Jeanie: Sloan, thank you for talking to me. What book do you wish your teachers were teaching? Sloan: Probably American Street by Ibi Zoboi. Jeanie: Yeah. Sloan: I think it's such a beautiful like, story, about somebody who goes to, like America. Somebody who's really open-minded and really kind and really sweet. Everything is set up for her not to succeed and it shows how many people in this country, like, even if you come in with the best intentions, how the system is kind of setup against you. Like there's more than one perspective of how you experience. I'm Celia and I go to CVU. I wish that my teachers would teach the book Black is the Body by Emily Bernard. She's a professor at UVM of English. And her book has a lot to do about Black identity, especially in Vermont. I can imagine those essays fitting in in a class that has anything to do with diversity and race -- like a social studies class -- but also, in English class. Because not only does Emily talk about her experiences in her books, she talks about teaching English classes and the relation to race. How her students learn about it and become uncomfortable intentionally. And I think that's a really unique perspective we don't hear a lot in Vermont. So, I think any student in Vermont would benefit from reading the book but I think especially in English or social studies class. My name is Christine. I go to school at Peoples Academy. I wish that my teachers would teach Stalking Jack the Ripper, which is a new book that came out. It's kind of like a fantasy while also historical. So I think it's really interesting. At our school, we have a sci-fi and dystopia class? So, it would probably fit in there. But also, my English teacher does a lot of creative things. So, it's not just the classics, like Great Gatsby, which we're starting right now but it's also some of the more interesting things. Hi. My name is Isabel and I go to school at Peoples Academy High School. I think it would be What If It's Us. I just really like the book, and because it's by two different authors who write two different like, styles? And then it goes back and forth and it's really good. My name is Steven and I go to Peoples Academy in Morristown, Vermont. I really wish we were teaching The Count of Monte Cristo, one of my favorite books by Alexander Dumas. I just love how the whole entire aspect of the book is created and like all the different characters, the main character gets to play as. It's super exciting and I really think that a lot of people could learn from the book. It's so good.
48 minutes | a year ago
#vted Reads: Juliet Takes a Breath
Welcome back to #vted Reads! The podcast for, with and by Vermont educators. I'm Jeanie Phillips and in this episode, we're joined by Dolan, in talking about Juliet Takes a Breath, by Gabby Rivera. Along the way, we talk white fragility, preferred pronouns (and how your students can let you know what's safe and appropriate for them in different settings), we learn about Gloria E Anzaldúa's Borderlands, and answer the question: 'What can adults do to support students in their activisim?' Plus, I confess my shortcomings as a meditator. It's #vted Reads. Let's chat! Jeanie: Thank you for joining me, Dolan. Tell us a little bit about who you are, and what you do. Dolan: My name is Dolan and I go by they/them pronouns. I currently live in Vermont, and I'm in a doctoral program with Jeanie, which is really lovely, in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Before that, I worked for six years coordinating and directing LGBTQ resources and services on college campuses. On different campuses across the country. And most I recently moved here from California. Before that was Missouri, before that I was here in Vermont, doing my master's program in the Higher Ed Student Affairs HESA program, just a really transformative experience for me. I love reading, especially queer-trans, people of color or QTPOC Fiction. It's really fun to get lost in a book, especially a book that pushes me, or resonates with me, or one maybe I feel seen in. I am biracial. I'm white and Latinx. My mom was born in Cuba. And I definitely feel that I have a lot of white privilege and white-passing privilege. I am queer. I'm bisexual and I'm non-binary. Which is why I go by they/them pronouns, although some non-binary people go by different pronouns as well. And I'm excited to be on this podcast today. Jeanie: Oh, I'm so excited to talk to you about this book. We talk about books all the time. One of the questions I asked my guest is what book are they reading now. And you are always reading a ton of books! As you walked in, you are like, I just now finished The Water Dancer -- a book I adored. So, I wondered if you wanted to share any other highlights from your reading list? Dolan: Yeah, I literally, as you said just finished The Water Dancer moments before this podcast recording. It was a beautiful read. Really beautiful POC fiction that I recommend to everyone. Also right now I'm finishing up Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower. And also finishing Ibram X. Kendi's, How to be an Antiracist? And I have a few more that I'm about to read but I can't remember the names of. I use the Libby app and love downloading audiobooks and listening that way. I'm supporting my local library. This past winter break since I'm a student, I read a lot of really fun books and one that sticks out to me is Darius the Great Is Not Okay. I loved that young adult novel. So. Definitely recommend that one too. Jeanie: That's a great one. And yay, public libraries! Yay libraries. I also just want, for listeners who may not be familiar, could you talk to me a little bit about the shorthand you use? You just used "POC" and that stands for People of Color. Is there other shorthand you might use that we could spell out for listeners as they listen? Dolan: Yeah! So like I said I sometimes say "QTPOC" for Queer and Trans People of Color. I found living on the East Coast people pronounce it "P.O.C." for People of Color and living on the West Coast, I found people pronounce it "POC" [pawk] for People of Color. So...I don't know. I've bounced back and forth because I've lived in both places. And I'm still readjusting to the East Coast lingo. But when I say POC or P.O.C., I'm referring to People of Color. So, what I mean by that personally is non-white people. That can be people mixed with white like myself, or others who are not mixed with white, people who are mixed or not mixed in general. So,
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