Racism – I’m Still Learning…My Story

I’m Still Learning…

Everyone has a story. Actually, everyone has many stories. Here are some of mine and maybe you’ll understand how I’m still learning.

   I must start this by saying I am a middle-class white person. I have blonde hair and green eyes. My grandparents lived in Montgomery, Alabama. Every summer we would travel to stay with them for a week or two during summer vacation.

My grandfather was a hard-working, kind, good Christian man. He read his big Bible every day and dropped to his knees every night to pray. We didn’t have books to read at his house so our bedtime stories were always from his Bible. We learned to kneel before God and give Him thanks.

As a very young child, I remember stopping along the way to go visit my grandparents. We needed to use the restroom and I remember almost going into the wrong restroom as I couldn’t read yet. My mom grabbed me and said, “That one is for colored people.” It was the same for water fountains. I didn’t understand. From the eyes of a child, I always wanted to go into those restrooms to see all the beautiful colors. Why didn’t our bathroom have pretty colors? I wondered, “Does their water fountain have pretty colored water?” I was learning.

Fast forward a few years. I was still young, less than 10 years old. My grandfather and I went to run errands and had to stop for gas. This was back when the gas was pumped for you. There was a crowd of Black people who were all yelling and chanting. I did not understand but felt afraid. They seemed so angry! My grandfather paid for the gas and we started to drive off. Suddenly, a bottle was thrown and shattered against the car. I started to cry in fear.

I asked my grandfather what the people were so mad about. “We didn’t do anything wrong. Why do they hate us? They don’t know us and we don’t know them. Why are they so mad at us? Why did they hurt our car? Aren’t you mad they messed up the car? What are we going to do about it?”

My grandfather asked if I noticed anything about the crowd. I said, “Yes, they are mad at us. Why?” He asked if I noticed their color. From the eyes of a child, I did not see their color until he asked me that question. He said, “They are colored people.” “Why does that make a difference?” I asked. My grandfather then replied with an answer I have never forgotten. He said, “The way you feel right now…all the questions you asked me….that’s how they have felt their entire lives. People treat them differently. They feel angry and want things to change. They are just like us except for the color of their skin. I am upset about the car but I am not angry with them. I am not as upset as they are for being treated poorly. Yes, we are going to do something. We are going to pray that God will protect them and change the hearts of those who don’t treat them fairly. We must be kind to everyone, no matter the color of their skin. It is what is in your heart and your actions that matter.” I was learning.

My grandmother had a lady that would help her occasionally with some of her heavy housework. She was a (colored) Black woman named Lucille. We loved Ms. Lucille! When we came into town, she would come over just to see us. She ate at our table. She wanted to know how school was, what kind of grades we made, and what sports we played. She told jokes and gave the BEST hugs! She sang gospels with us. From a child’s eyes, she was a friend and remained so until she passed away. Even though my grandfather’s words never left me, even as I aged, I never had a conversation with Ms. Lucille about her life experiences and what all she suffered. I’m sad about that. I was still learning.

Time went on. I was a young teen when there were to be three protest marches from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama. Even though I was still young, the news grabbed my attention because they were talking about where my grandparents lived.  They were marching to demonstrate the desire for Black people to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression. I could sense how tensions were building leading up to the marches. I felt afraid again.

When the event turned into what is now known as Bloody Sunday, I remember crying and asking what they had done wrong. I remember feeling helpless, thinking there was nothing I could do as a child to help what was going on. From the eyes of a young teen…..I wanted to scream, “THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE ABLE TO DO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE CAN! WHAT DOES THEIR SKIN COLOR HAVE TO DO WITH IT?” My heart was breaking. Why? I didn’t know these people! There were some changes made after those events. The Voting Rights Acts was passed.  I was learning.

Fast forward a few years. I was on my high school gymnastics team. There was a new member of our team who was Black. I noticed she was warming up by herself. No one would spot her. I started warming up with her and spotting her. We would work out together.

I was also a cheerleader and we were at a Friday night basketball game. All of a sudden they rushed the players to the locker room and everyone was told to go home. There was a riot going on outside the school. What were we going to do? I had gone to the game with my boyfriend who was a basketball player. As we were leaving, we were swarmed by a large group of Black students who had made a big circle around us. There were fights going on. Students were fighting with sticks and hitting each other with glass bottles. I was terrified. We continued to walk, not knowing what we were going to do. Then, I came face-to-face with my teammate. Our eyes met and what happened next, changed my life. My teammate did some special hand squeeze and the circle opened up for us to pass. We made it to the car where once again, we were swarmed and students were rocking the car. All of a sudden, unexpectedly, the swarm opened up and we were able to drive out of the parking lot. This is the day I TRULY learned the power of kindness.

I saw my teammate during practice on Monday. While we spoke unspoken words with our eyes, we never had a discussion. I now am sorry about that. Why didn’t I, as part of the “privileged” class, do something to help? What could I do to help bring justice to the Black community? While I understood the power of kindness, I still needed to learn.

Ms. Laura was my 3-year-old son’s babysitter. She was MORE than a babysitter. She was part of our family. We would visit Ms. Laura at her house. We had meals together. She always called my son “her little friend.”

We were getting ready to go out of town for my brother’s wedding and Ms. Laura came over to make sure my son’s shoes were polished and had clean shoelaces! She wanted “her baby” to look spiffy when he walked down the aisle as the ring bearer. While we were away at the wedding, Ms. Laura had a massive heart attack and passed away. Trying to explain what had happened to a three-year-old was difficult. All I remember from the conversation was him saying, “Oh no! Now I won’t have ‘fwiend’!” He had no understanding of skin color. He just felt the love. I never had a discussion with Ms. Laura about her trials or experiences as a Black person. I STILL needed to learn!

As a teacher, I was asked one day whether a certain student in my class was Black or not. I had to stop and think. I didn’t see color. My heart said he is just a precious child of God. I didn’t realize the effects of not seeing and recognizing color. I was still learning.

When I moved from the classroom to train teachers, I worked with some fabulous people of color. My boss was a Black woman who I admired tremendously. She was smart, funny, a great leader, and talented in so many ways. That is what I saw. Never once did I stop and think about all the obstacles she probably had to face to get to her position. I took it for granted. I didn’t think about how much harder it had to be for her than her White counterparts.  I was still learning.

A very dear friend of mine, Bertie Simmons, spent 60 years in education. Yes, you read that correctly…60 years! She is my hero in more ways than one. I just read her recent book  Whispers of Hope . It tells about her life experiences growing up in rural Louisiana during the Jim Crow era. In her story, she used (and continues to use) her life experiences to bring about changes in the fight for equity in our educational system. I am still learning! Her innovations to turn a school around that was a gang-infested drop-out school is nothing less than remarkable. It is because of her courage to stand up and fight for what was best for the students in her community that gives me the courage to write some of my story. It gives me courage to stand up and do my part to fight for equality. I am still learning!

I am including this poem written by Bertie Simmons. It is in her book. This too is my dream. I could never have written anything any better. Thank you, Bertie, for teaching me and giving me HOPE!

I Dream

I dream of a world full of hope
Where sunbeams sparkle with delight,
And raindrops wash away all hatred
While moonbeams wrap us at night
In a blanket of peace.

I dream of a world of unconditional love
Where no one is judged by race, color, or creed.
And the fresh breeze delivers chances
While snowfakes provide the ambiance we need
To view the world with wonderment and awe.

I dream of a world with no hunger
Where each has shelter and care,
And our doors are always open
In case someone is there
Who needs a helping hand.

I dream of a world where hope is not a whisper.
Where it is shouted around the earth,
And free to each individual
With no regard for one’s place of birth
Or the number of one’s zip code.

    ~Bertie Simmons~

In conclusion…

Please don’t hate me for being white. Please don’t hate me for the mistakes I have and will continue to make. I am still learning. I don’t “do” social media. I can’t get out and march with you. Yet, I FEEL some part of what you are feeling. I am still learning. I will never know the extent of your pain. I am still learning. All I know is your pain is more than what I am feeling and I cannot imagine that. I have sobbed every day for a week. I am an anti-racist and I am still learning.

What I CAN do is use my words. I CAN write letters to demand change. I CAN make suggestions about how to make things better. I CAN vote for those who will make change. I CAN have tough conversations to continue to learn. I CAN teach my grandchildren about kindness and how not to judge anyone for the color of their skin. AND believe me, I CAN get down on my knees with you and lift you and our country up in prayer…just as my grandfather taught me so many years ago. I am STILL learning!

Written by Susan
The Fun Factory
Please send comments or questions to thefunfactoryontpt@gmail.com

4 Reasons We Love Memes and Quotes

We all LOVE mems and motivational quotes, especially teachers. We use them to inspire, motivate, to make a point or bring an awareness, make fun of ourselves or situations, and just for a good old-fashioned belly laugh! The memes and quotes below could probably be in several categories…you decide!

Reason #1 – Inspire

What teacher doesn’t want to inspire or be inspired?  The fairy tale quote is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve used it in my classroom for administrators and parents for many years. Genius from a genius!

Reason #2 – Motivate

Every teacher knows that once a student is motivated, learning will happen. Here are some of my favorites!

Reason #3 – Awareness

There are so many controversial topics in our world today. We, as teachers and humankind, need to bring awareness (in developmentally appropriate ways) to tough questions, topics, and situations. Here are more favorites.

Reason #4 – Laugh

Sometimes we just need to laugh. Not always because something is funny, but to help relieve stress. A global pandemic is nothing to laugh at but we can relieve stress by laughing at ourselves while going through it. I hope some of these make you laugh out loud!

There are probably dozens of other reasons we use memes and quotes but these are my favorites. What are yours?

Susan, The Fun FactoryWhere We Play to Learn!

email me at thefunfactoryontpt@gmail.com

School Closings – Coronavirus – Free Teacher Resources

As the coronavirus continues to spread, more and more schools are closing for an extended period of time. This is leaving schools and parents frantically trying to come up with a plan to keep students learning and engaged while schools are closed. We are here to help with FREE resources.

If you or anyone you know needs to know what to say to children preschool (PK) through second graders, here is something you might find helpful. It includes original handwashing songs to teach children (other than singing Happy Birthday 2 times).

This is a homework calendar with developmentally appropriate activities that caregivers can do with young children, preschool and Kindergarten. This calendar is completely EDITABLE so you can change any of the activities. One version is ready to print and hand out! Go HERE if you need the March version. 

If you would like monthly calendars sent automatically  to your inbox each month, go HERE to tell me where to send them. I also send special freebies out during the summer months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These times are unprecedented and it is scary for all of us all over the world! Because of this, we want to save you time hunting for activities to send home. Several Teacher-Authors have come together to give you some FREE resources to help you plan for the extended school closures. Many of us have waived our Terms -of- Use so that you can share resources with families through email or a secured online platform.

Just click on the logos below which will take you to each store’s FREE category. Download away. Additionally, there are links below which will also take you to FREE resources. I hope these will help you. 

AND….Please remember to be kind and leave the authors nice feedback. It is VERY much appreciated!

Fabulous Teacher-Authors Offering FREE Resources 

More FREE Resources!

PK-1

Primary Economics 

Fruit and Vegetable Sort

Sight Words, Level 1

K-2

Plants Graphing and Writing

Animal Classes Reference Chart

Spring Math Games – First Grade

Linking Language to Math

2nd – 4th

Dog or Cat Journal Activity

Word Search Puzzle

Multiplication Math Fact Practice

Thank you Teacher-Authors!

FREE Valentine’s Day Activities & Printable Resources For Teachers

Teachers if you are looking for some FREE  Valentine’s Day activities, printables, and resources I have you covered!

Take a  look and find resources that will meet the needs of YOUR students!

PreK and Kindergarten teachers check this out! If you would like FREE PRINT & GO EDITABLE Developmentally Appropriate Homework Calendars delivered to your inbox each month, go here to tell me where to send them!

See your FREE Valentine’s Day Activities, Printables, and Resources below.

PreK-Kindergarten Teachers:

FREE Patterning Center Activity

Free Heart Pattern Center for PK-K FREE Patterns | Repeating and Growing Pattern Center | Hearts

CvC Word Work Worksheet Free Sample Heart Theme

Kindergarten-1st Grade Teachers:

Valentine's Day Activities

Candy Hearts Graphing Fun

Valentine's Day Sound Boxes (Elkonin Boxes)

First and Second Grade Teachers:

Valentine's Day Activities No Prep Fun and Writing Pages FREEBIE

Place Value Color by Code Mardi Gras Picture Activity FREEBIE

Valentine's Day Math Worksheets: FREEBIE

Any Grade!

Valentine Treat Bags Freebie Craft

If you are interested in reading a post on Digraphs and Blends (with freebies), click this link.

Celebrating the 120th Day of School in February? Check this out!

FREE 100th Day and 120th Day of School Resources!

I have teamed with some other authors to bring you FREE resources for your 100th and 120th Day Celebrations! When teaching PreK and Kindergarten, the 100th Day of School was one of my favorite days of the year to celebrate! Whenever teaching 1st and 2nd graders, 120th Day became one of my favorites. While teaching as an Interventionist for K-2, I got the best of both!

We did all sorts of things for those numbers. One of my students’ favorites was having a “Mad Minute”. This is where we came up with as many things our brains could think of for one minute that had to do with 100 or 120. Kiddos are so funny and would think of things (besides numbers) I never would have thought of. One of my favorites of all times was, “My mom says my dad acts like a 100-year-old man when she asks him to wash the dishes but acts 20 when he drives too fast!”  

Here are some FREE resources for the 100th and 120th Day of school to help you celebrate and keep $ in your pocket!

Here is mine from The Fun Factory. Click HERE to see other 100th Day and 120th Day resources.

FREE 120th Day of School | Read and Color to Follow Directions and Math

100th Day of School Activity MOBILE FREEBIE

100th Day of School Activities Color by Number & Writing Pages FREEBIE

100th Day of School Writing Prompt (Before I'm 100 Years Old, I Want To...)
FREE 100th Day Mini Activity Page Series Pack {Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs}

Teacher Appreciation for the Holidays

Spread the Holiday Cheer for Teachers!

Teachers HURRY and get your🎄 #HolidayHappiness 🎄ON! Enter now for a chance to get one of FOUR gifts we are raffling off because YOU deserve it! What a great way to start the new year.

We will raffle off:
❤️1 $250 TpTGift Card
❤️1 $250 Amazon Gift Card
❤️2 MYSTERY Cash Prizes
Please share a photo of your Christmas tree or holiday decorations in the comments! 🙂 🎄

Enter the raffle HERE.

Raffle Ends at 12:00 AM EST Thursday 12/19/19. The winner will be announced by 12/21/19.

👉You must be an educator to win and provide proof by providing your school name and grade level within 48 hours after contacted or a new random winner will be selected. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this page and not to Facebook, Instagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers. No Purchase Required.

EDITABLE, FREE, Developmentally Appropriate Homework Calendars

PK-Kindergarten Homework Calendars!

I just want to share this with you in case you want to print them and have them ready to hand out when you return from the holidays. If you want a different activity, simply click and make your own.

Enjoy and have a GREAT break! You deserve it. P.S. Please be kind and leave feedback if you download. It is very much appreciated when we give FREE items! Thank you in advance.

If you would like these calendars sent directly to your mailbox each month, click HERE to tell me where to send them.

Developmentally Appropriate activities for PK and Kindergarten. Real-World learning!!

Christmas FREE Printables and Lessons for Kids

FREE Holiday Printables

This is such a busy time of the year and we ALL need a little break! It is so hard to keep our kiddos focused and still learning. It is especially hard for teachers but our students struggle too!

For this reason, I have teamed up with some great TpT authors to give you FREE TEACHING CHRISTMAS resources!

Just choose what you would like and click on the photo. It will take you to that resource to download from TpT! Please be kind and leave feedback for the author. Let them know how much you appreciate their hard work in your feedback or blog comments so we are encouraged to keep the freebies flowing! Have a great holiday season! I hope we have made your life a little easier!

Hanukkah  FREE
Christmas Activities | 3D Tree
Free Holiday Christmas Cards
Christmas Activity with Reindeer ABC Order FREEBIE
Winter Math Worksheets Free
'Twas the Night Before Christmas- I Have Who Has {Freebie}
Snow Globe Narrative Writing Freebie
Free Number Sense and Number Gift Coloring Game!
FREE Christmas Multiplication Activities
Making Ten to Add  Holiday FREEBIE Mega Math Practice CCSS 1.OA.6A
Christmas Memories Ornament

Why Singing, Chanting, and Moving are Important for the Classroom

Must We Sing and Dance?

In today’s academic world riddled by standardized testing and accountability, administrators and teachers sense there is no time to sing or use movement during the school day.  It tends to look like we are “just playing” when we should be learning.  When teaching our youngest learners, this could not be any farther from the truth.  Having fun is not only beneficial academically but emotionally and physically as well.

Brain Development Research is on Our Side!

Within the last twenty years, brain development research has given credibility to our profession as Early Childhood Educators.  We no longer have to “gut-teach” (teaching intuitively), which was the way we taught because it “seemed” to work or because it “felt” right.  We now have the advantage of all the exciting new information which allows us to truly understand the meaning of “developmentally appropriate”.  Therefore, we are empowered to offer children the best possible strategies for learning new information.

Play is the Most Vital Element in any Early Childhood Program

According to developmentally appropriate practices, play is the most vital element of any early childhood curriculum.  Through play, children develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills.  Music and movement are interrelated with play.  Consequently, they are essential to a child’s development.

Play is the most vital element of any early childhood curriculum!

One of the best ways to incorporate music into the early childhood classroom is to relate it to other areas of the curriculum (Spodek & Saracho). Dodge and Colker agree that children’s exposure to music can have an impact on three key aspects of development. These three aspects are cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development.  Music also allows teachers to cultivate the emotional development of their students.

A bird doesn’t sign because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

Songs and chants can make transitions engaging so that children pay attention.  They teach children what, when and how to do something. Songs can also introduce new skills and concepts.

Click the picture below to sign-up to receive your free resource of 14 songs and chants.

Sign up for this FREE resource with more to come!

Music helps children hear rhyme and since music has a rhythm, they learn to hear patterns created by the beats (or syllables) in words. This builds early-stage literacy. Add movement with the songs and you are adding the kinetic modality to language acquisition. Every time we use a movement for words and phrases, you are adding to their knowledge about language.

According to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the more senses we use in the learning process, the faster we learn the information and the more information we retain. Use finger plays, chants, and songs!

Follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers to receive freebies and announcements of newly listed resources at half price for the first 48 hours!

Here is a freebie you might enjoy. Feedback (especially on freebies) is always appreciated but not required. Enjoy!

Teacher Deals!

$100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card


Add to your classroom files with over twenty resources perfect for any K-2 teacher!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway starts 5/6/19 and ends 5/13/19 and is open worldwide.

Co-hosts:  The Fun Factory, An Apple for the TeacherMrs Wenning’s ClassroomThe Chocolate TeacherA Plus KidsKamp KindergartenSamson’s ShoppeHelping Kids ShineTheBeezyTeacherKelly McCownCatch My ProductsThe Cozy Crafty ClassroomChocolate 4 TeachersJackie CrewsStar KidsThe Fun FactorySandra NaufalThe Best Days by Julie Santello180 Days of ReadingRoots and WingsGlobe Trottin’ KidsPriscilla Woodard – Tasked 2 TeachMs. KGlistening GemsJosie’s PlaceThe Froggy FactoryMickey’s Place, and Guide Teach Inspire.

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

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So what will you find from The Fun Factory this week?

Literacy, Math, Science, Songs, Worksheets
Memorial Day for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades

FREE!

FREE! Completely editable, developmentally appropriate homework calendars sent right to your inbox each month of the school year with a special “freebie” will be sent in June and July. Click HERE to tell me where to send your calendars. NO SPAM, I promise!

Two versions of the calendar. One ready to go and the other editable for you to type in your own activities.

I will update this post each time I am part of or know of a new giveaway, freebie, or sale that will be helpful to you!

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