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solutionary congress

Students Compete to Create a Better World in First Solutionaries Congress

by Marsha Rakestraw Many schools have debate teams that choose an either/or side regarding a current event and then gather evidence and argue against other teams to support their chosen side. But what if instead of just discussing important issues, students were challenged to develop realistic, meaningful solutions to our pressing global problems? Students did…

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ethical clothing

5 Tips for Keeping a Sweatshop-Free Closet

by Marsha Rakestraw We’ve all done it: Seen a nice shirt or must-have pair of pants or shoes. We buy them (usually at a discount price, because we’re bargain hunters after all) and take them home. We wear them for a bit, and then the new and shiny wears off. We get bored with them…

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newspaper racks

Who’s Missing From Mainstream Media? (lesson plans)

by Marsha Rakestraw A few years ago at our graduate student residency, one of the students led an activity in which small groups looked at the prevalence of men, women, and people of color as authors of articles in different sections of the newspaper, such as Style, Sports, Business, and Arts. They found that men…

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beauty in nature

10 Reasons to Take Your Students Outside (& the Research to Back It Up)

A lot of teachers want to offer their students experiences in the natural world, but because of strictures on curriculum, the prevalence of standardized tests, and other challenges, encounters with nature can fall into the category of “nice but not necessary.” But we know from a plethora of research that we humans desperately need that…

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Giving In to “Bad Guys”: The Parental Struggle of Making Choices That Support Our Values

Image courtesy of mikecs83 via Creative Commons.  We’re swamped with some exciting projects (stay tuned), so please enjoy this repost from 11/23/10. by Mary Pat Champeau, IHE’s Director of Education “Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates us to invention. It shocks us out of sheeplike passivity,…

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girl with blocks

12 Children’s Picture Books That Challenge Traditional Gender Roles

by Marsha Rakestraw Each May and June in the U.S. we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Moms usually receive pretty, smelly, “girly” stuff, and dad’s get yet another manly tie, cologne, or something to BBQ. Just one of the countless ways we perpetuate the stereotypes and biases about what women and men are supposed…

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privilege

13 Resources for Teaching About White Privilege

by Marsha Rakestraw “…the single greatest advantage of white privilege is that a white person may be completely unaware of its existence.” ~ Michael Spangenberger, educator Many of us can go into a store and browse without worry that we’ll be monitored or accosted. We see people who look like us in the media. We…

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Palm oil pods and seeds

Exploring the True Price of Palm Oil

by Marsha Rakestraw Last updated 1/31/19 Look in your shopping cart, and you probably see soap and other beauty products, baked goods and other processed foods, perhaps some cleaning products. What you don’t see is that about half those products contain palm oil, which means they are contributing to the destruction of forests and communities,…

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children & nature

Why We Need Humane Education: Study Shows Children Don’t Get Outside Playtime

Research has repeatedly shown that we need regular exposure to the natural world. We’re happier and healthier when we’re connected to the natural world. Studies also show improved cognitive function and stress management and lower obesity levels in children who get time outside. But according to a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics…

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bully free

We Need Pro-Hero Schools Instead of Anti-Bully Schools

by Matt Langdon It is very easy to find the term anti-bully these days. Look in any school and there’s a good chance you’ll see it on the walls. Look in the news and you’ll see governments (state, local, school) using it. It’s a term that has started making me cringe. For four quite different…

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