As we gear up for back-to-school season, we encourage you to reflect on WHY you are a part of our anti-bias community that works to bring belonging to life. Whether you’re approaching back-to-school from the perspective of an educator, a caregiver, or simply a human facing a season of transition, being able to revisit the reason we care about belonging for all can be life giving.
When we refine our WHY, our WHAT becomes more impactful. And belonging for all becomes that much more possible. At AmazeWorks, our WHAT is championing equity and belonging for all. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some beliefs that inform our WHY:
- All children should see their identities and lived experiences reflected in their learning, not just those with dominant identities.
- When we feel belonging, we are able to fully engage in learning and build trusting relationships.
- Every child and adult deserves to feel brave to show up as all their full, authentic selves – at school, at work, everywhere.
- We are all worthy of being seen, heard, and valued for all of who we are.
What makes up your WHY? In this month’s newsletter, we share resources to help you reflect more deeply on why you believe in bringing belonging to life and prepare for start of school.
Ethos in Action
Developing Your WHY
- Watch this video, “Know Your Why” by comedian Michael Jr. Did you notice a different physical or emotional response to one version of “Amazing Grace” over the other? Take note of this impact.
- Reflect on your WHY. What experiences and relationships in your life led you to value Anti-Bias Education and belonging? What parts of your identity and lived experiences led you to joining the AmazeWorks community?
- Create a visual representation of your WHY to look back on. You could create a collage, draw a picture, frame a family photo, write a poem about purpose, or anything else that feels meaningful to you.
- Display your creation in a visible place, serving as a reminder of your purpose and commitment to your WHAT – championing belonging for all.
How to Be an Ally
This AmazeWorks Middle School lesson explores what it means to show up for someone else and support them when they are experiencing bias, prejudice, or discrimination. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways.
As you go through the lesson, see if you can incorporate a journal prompt on developing your WHY for allyship towards people and communities with identities and lived experiences different from yours. While this is a 6th grade lesson, people at any age can benefit from engaging in this lesson’s journal prompts, discussion questions, and more.
The King of Kindergarten, written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
The King of Kindergarten is a great book to read to kids as they prepare for their first day of school. The king of kindergarten uses self-talk to help him envision positive outcomes for each situation, a good self-management strategy for children to learn. The book also encourages children to reflect on how a positive attitude can impact the way they experience things that are new, overwhelming, or scary.
Feeling a sense of belonging is key to a student’s ability to learn. This book shows how children can create belonging for themselves as well as others.
Back to School
- New Teacher Back to School Kit | Rethinking Schools
- Back to School Toolkit | Resilient Educator
- How to Create an Antiracist Classroom | Britt Hawthorne
- Back to School: Teach and Advocate for Honest History and Inclusive Education | Learning for Justice