Christopher, SEL Coach, works to incorporate lessons that reflect the world in which we live in: the theme for this year is black joy. The idea around focusing on Black Lives Matter during January and not February, is that lessons are not necessarily about history but more about black voices, allyship, representation, inclusion, and empathy. Essentially, the theme of Black Lives Matter is seen through the lens of SEL with compassion and empathy being the key entry points. Christopher looks at his lessons as the “primer” prior to Black History Month! And of course, many of the themes and discussions will be ongoing throughout the year and years.
Christopher spent the whole month of January working on Black Lives Matter and also sharing stories by black authors. The students read many books together, and also watched Lupita Nyong’o read her book Sulwe, on screen. It’s very important for the kids to see a black author reading their own book, just for them! Sulwe is the first book which touches on colorism and the importance of seeing the beauty and value of having dark skin. It was a great addition and really spoke to the students.
Another book shared was Sometimes People March, which discusses the need to march together when needing to resist injustice. It also talks about the importance of communal allyship and the need to rally against or for a common cause.
Mae Among the Stars is the real life story of Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American astronaut. The message of the book is that if you believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible!
For the second year, Christopher also followed the Black Lives Matter movement in the school curriculum, where the children learn how to make posters based on the 13 principles of Black Lives Matter. What Christopher says he enjoys most of all is that the Black Lives Matter in the school curriculum is so inclusive! The children also get to walk by their beautiful pieces of art every day which gives them a sense of pride and that they are part of a common cause. They will be invited to take their art home this month to put up in their windows if they so desire, The SEL program provides a great framework through which to study Black Lives Matter, as well as Black History Month, and allows us to tie in important themes from the world around us directly into the curriculum.
Tags: SEL BLM black lives matter curriculum