By Elizabeth Wroten
On 24, May 2016 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
I recently came across this project called The 100 Day Project. It encourages you to do one thing for 100 days, with an emphasis on making or doing something. The project technically started back in April, but I just don’t have time to do this kind of thing every day during the school year and I feel like I had my plate full this spring. So instead I decided to start late and use it to guide some (most) of my summer reading. I have a couple larger projects planned this summer, like revamping my curriculum for the library and also, with the generous help of my best friend, who is also one of the second grade teachers, weeding our Native American content in the library.
The plan is to read one diverse book a day and review it. This will give me a lot of good practice reviewing and force me to seek out a lot more diverse books. Many will be picture books (my line up is on Goodreads if you want a sense of where I’m starting out and going) because they are faster to read and a lot of these books I’m looking at with an eye toward adding them to our library collection and I do a lot of the development in the picture book section. I am really trying to hit more than racial diversity, although we need plenty more of that in our collection, so if you have any suggestions please feel free to share them.
One final note, the project asks you to document your project on Instagram. As much as I dislike taking daily pictures and as much as I dislike having one more social media account to manage I’m going to try and do this. I will be adding my Instagram account in the sidebar, but as of writing this I haven’t done it. I think I can set it up to only see the hashtag for this project (fingers crossed). If not you’ll be seeing my other 100 day project which is 100 days of simple science play with my daughter. I suppose the Instagram will serve the purpose of documenting the reading even if I don’t get around to writing reviews each and every day.
By Elizabeth Wroten
On 09, May 2016 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
Shortly after starting to look at our diversity numbers I decided that I could tackle weeding the biography collection. It was relatively small and the third grade students would be using it at the end of the school year for a project. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have the biography of Christopher Columbus removed as an option in which it states that Columbus knew the “Indians” he “discovered” couldn’t be Chinese because they were not yellow with slanted eyes (I SO WISH I WAS JOKING ABOUT THIS, BUT I AM NOT!). There were several other questionable bits of information in that book as well as some incredibly questionable other books. I also pulled biographies of people who were white and male and no one cares about. A handful of books were moved to other collections that are used for very specific units of study in the classrooms. Here are the new numbers:
Sure, they still aren’t great, but it’s a start. There is probably another stack we could get rid of, however we’ve got a decent core collection and now we can work on building it up. No more biographies of dead white men. We have a lot of those already, time for something new.
I also went back and revamped the summer reading lists before they went out to our families. I thought I was intentional last year, but I was way more intentional this year. Way more and I think the numbers really reflect that. Here they are:
Note, this lumps all the grades together. As with my last post on summer reading you can see individual grade level numbers here. I was just going to be WAY too many charts to do each one. Please do go look at numbers. It’s also telling. Also note that there was no fifth grade list last year. The teacher wanted to make her own. This year she is leaving so I made up a list.
By Elizabeth Wroten
On 02, May 2016 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
This was such a telling exercise and I’m so glad I did it. I know now how I can target my collection development dollars and attention to help build up a much better collection. It also shows me where I need to begin my efforts to really clean out our collection.
I’m aware, with all of these numbers that gender and race are only two types of diversity, but the other types are almost nonexistent in our collections. I think they appear in a very few books and maybe incidentally in a few books. I’m not quite sure what to do about that. I will be sure to purchase books and create lists that show things like disability and different family structures and economic diversity from here on out. Paying attention to this will also be really important in terms of ensuring we don’t create a false narrative about certain ethnicities (I’m thinking specifically of making all African Americans or all Latinos appear poor or part of a slavery narrative).
If I have time (that’s a big if) this summer I may take a look at some or all of these same collections again to see how they look after adding to them and subtracting from them. If not this summer I would like to revisit it next year sometime and that may be necessary as I am not sure how much time I’ll have to tackle all of this.