woman looking into rows and columns of screens, each of which has a different person on it

11 Activities to Help Students Understand Different Perspectives

by Marsha Rakestraw In mid-January, two boys, ages 12 and 13, killed more than 500,000 bees and destroyed tens of thousands of dollars of property. Allegedly just for kicks. In December 2017, a young Muslim woman was attacked on a transit train in Vancouver, Canada. Most people watched; only one young man intervened. Incidences of…

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Human Rights Graduate Program Institute for Humane Education

8 Resources for Teaching About Unconscious Bias

by Marsha Rakestraw We all have biases. We’ve heard many times that those biases are an evolutionary adaptation that helped us survive, but even after these thousands of years, we haven’t yet learned to recognize and overcome many of our unconscious (and conscious) biases related to race, gender, disability, age, geography, and even species. Research…

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marisol doesn't match

5 Children’s Picture Books Celebrating Identity

by Marsha Rakestraw Even we adults struggle with our identity, so imagine how challenging it is for children, in a world full of mixed messages, stereotypes, and media and cultural pressures. Celebrating identity is a powerful and vital part of raising healthy, compassionate, thriving young citizens. Here are 5 children’s picture books that celebrate identity….

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anti-bias teacher resources

Tips for Selecting Anti-Bias Children’s Books

by Marsha Rakestraw Stories are a powerful tool. They teach us about the world and ourselves; they influence our values; and they help shape our worldview. With children’s books, we’re usually looking for a good story to share with our children. Less often are we paying much attention to the kinds of messages those stories…

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A group of protestors with two talking on megaphones

Don’t Fall Into the Changemaker Trap That Makes People Resist Positive Change

by Marsha Rakestraw Awhile back I had dinner with some new non-vegan friends and colleagues. I was the only vegan there, and it came out that they’d been a bit concerned that I’d pull out my “vegan police” badge and start lecturing them about their food choices. When I told the person next to me…

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4 Video Resources for Exploring Race, Racism, Stereotypes, and Microaggressions

by Marsha Rakestraw Talking about race, racism, and institutional oppression can be challenging, especially when many white people are feeling defensive, uncomfortable, and confused. Videos, including those using humor, can be a great tool for introducing tough-to-talk-about conversations, and a meaningful catalyst for exploring what can be subtle, complex issues. Here are four resources that…

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women from africa

Changing the “Single Story” About Africa(ns) … and Others

by Marsha Rakestraw Recently I read two books, each featuring a female protagonist. One was by a black woman from Barbados, the book filled with characters of color living “normal” lives. The other by a white man who wrote about the tragic (and eventually redeemed) life of a young impoverished girl in Mozambique. Two different…

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display of magazines for sale

Magazine Scheme: Are We Here?

Students explore articles, images, and ads in magazines targeted to teen girls to explore messages about women and girls and the effect of those messages on young women and men. (The activity can also be modified to explore appropriate men’s magazines and messages about men and boys.) Recommended for grades 7-12. Time: 2 class periods…

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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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bullying

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

How do our own stereotypes and judgments limit our openness and receptivity to others? This activity uses props (or photos) to explore our snap perceptions of others. Recommended for grades 4 and up. Time: 20-30 minutes   Common Core Standards for this activity (pdf): Download Common Core for grades 4-5. Download Common Core for grades…

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