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Learning About Ourselves And Each Other
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Learning About Ourselves And Each Other


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  • 1. Learning About Ourselves and Each Other: How Reading Diverse Text Promotes Tolerance and Boundary-Stretching Workshop Presenter: Khadijah Ali-Coleman
  • 2. Up In My Space
    • Pick a partner who is not the exact same height as you
    • With eyes open begin mirroring each other’s movements
    • Next, close your eyes and take one step closer to each other.
    • Begin sharing with each other your name, where you are from and why you came to the conference.
    • Take one step closer and keep talking.
  • 3. Your Boundaries Have Just Been Stretched a Little!!!!
  • 4. The Book I’ve Read That Helped me Form My Beliefs On:
    • -Women and their role in the world
    • -Men and their role in the world as fathers, lovers, and religious leaders
    • -African-Americans role in the development of the United States
    • -Sexuality
    • -Relationships between men and women
    • -How to treat family members
    • -How to believe in yourself
    • -How to treat those who differently ethnically
    • Books That Introduced me to the Concept of:
    • -Different Relationship Structures (i.e. Polygamy, Monogamy, etc.)
  • 5. Save it for Later…we’re going to come back to that…
  • 6. Who Am I?
    • Founder of So Our Youth Aspire (SOYA), LLC
    • Mommy to an emerging reader
    • Playwright, poet, journalist and songwriter
    • Co-founder of Liberated Muse Productions
    • Youth development professional with over 15 years experience
    • Book Author-in-progress working on handbook Being Heard Through All the Noise: A Guide for Youth Workers Who Serve Urban Youth
  • 7. Examples of how I’ve Engaged Youth Utilizing Literary Texts
    • Developed curriculum utilizing literary texts to support positive youth development by implementing it to establish routines (safety & structure) and initiate teambuilding (membership & belonging)
    • As a modeling tool when engaging youth in free-writing activities such as journaling and songwriting
    • Engaging academically at-risk youth @ MSU through script-building & theatre
  • 8. I Believe Reading Books Is Important Because…
    • Children who read a variety of texts are more apt to critically think and take initiative in their learning
    • Children who read are more well-rounded in interests than their non-reading counterparts
    • Children who read are more apt to be life-long learners who seek knowledge readily
  • 9. In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. Bloom found that over 95 % of the test questions students encounter require them to think only at the lowest possible level...the recall of information. Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain, from the simple recall or recognition of facts, as the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels, to the highest order which is classified as evaluation.
  • 10. Bloom’s Taxonomy
    • Knowledge : arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce state.
    • Comprehension : classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, translate,
    • Application : apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.
    • Analysis : analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.
    • Synthesis : arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, set up, write.
    • Evaluation : appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose compare, defend estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate.
  • 11. Who Are You? (Stand if it’s you!)
    • Classroom Teachers
    • After-school or weekend youth workers
    • Parents of teen-agers
    • Parents of emerging readers
    • Parents of adults
    • Authors
    • Students
    • Workshop Facilitators
  • 12. This Workshop Will Not…
    • Keep you in your seat or not talking with each other for long
    • Bombard you with reading lists and website links…after the workshop, you should have an idea of how to use almost any text as a boundary-stretching tool—find your own!
    • Kill trees unnecessarily– if you want specific info you hear today, email me or visit my blog space. Contact info will be shared at the end of the presentation.
  • 13. Workshop Outcomes
    • Participants will identify instances of diversity that are not visible at first glance
    • Participants will understand the role youth development plays in student response to different text
    • Participants will participate in 2 or 3 activities and identify at least one activity that will work well with the youth population they serve
    • Participants will identify the writings that have been prominent in their formation of like or dislike for the written word and compare their personal experiences to those of their youth students.
    • Participants will be able to engage their youth students in a processing activity that will help youth connect their reading experience to their growing value system.
  • 14. Interviewed Successful Writers for Some Insight
    • Ananda Leeke
    • Life Entrepreneur l Creativity Coach l Author
    • Artist l Yoga Teacher l Reiki Practitioner l Radio
    • Host
    • [email_address]
  • 15. Interviewed Teachers, Youth, Artists…
    • Kymone Freeman, playwright, “Prison Poetry”, Larry Neale Award Winner
    • Singer & Songwriter Dee Stone
    • Co-founder of Liberated Muse Productions, Maceo Thomas
    • Bobby Dawkins, schoolteacher & visual artist
    • Young people attending Hart Middle School in Washington DC
  • 16. What is Diversity?
    • The presence of difference
    • What is some of the difference we don’t see?
  • 17. Things We Don’t Always See
    • Language
    • Interests
    • Values & Beliefs
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Health
    • Family Upbringing/Culture
    • Education
  • 18. What is Diversity as Active Concept?
    • The ideology of including people of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds
    • The ideology of pursuing interests and information that extends outside of one’s knowledge base and/or comfort zone.
  • 19. Advancing Youth Development (AYD) Theory
    • Youth Development as a concept is the development and learning that a young person is experiencing at all times. Advancing Youth Development means adding positive services, supports & opportunities in place to encourage positive outcomes.
    • AYD does not work from a deficit or prevention stance but instead the complete opposite
    • A SERVICE is something done FOR the young person
    • A SUPPORT is something done WITH the young person
    • An OPPORTUNITY is something done BY the young person
  • 21. Reading Literature as Part of Youth Development
    • Enhances understanding of concepts and theories
    • Provides scenarios to test concepts and theories
    • Introduces historical context and cultural mores
    • Provides safe environment to explore, express and learn independently and at own pace
  • 22. Activity #1: Choosing a Book by Its Cover
    • Organize in groups of four or five.
    • Write next to the book cover picture ONE WORD that describes what you think the book is about.
    • Pass the book picture onto the next group.
    • On the new book cover picture, write ONE SENTENCE that describes what you believe the book is about.
  • 23. Activity #1: Choosing a Book by Its Cover (continued)
    • Next, pass your book cover picture to the next group.
    • Finally, look at the book cover and write down ONE FEELING WORD that you believe is the tone of the book. (Refrain from using “happy”, “sad”, “stupid”, “angry” or “upset”
  • 24. Process Activity
    • What was the initial interpretation of this activity?
    • How easy/hard was it to write a one sentence description?
    • How did the group dynamic influence your sentence choice?
    • Which was easier, choosing one sentence or one word descriptor?
  • 25. Process Activity (continued)
    • What indications on the book cover led you to choose your feeling word?
    • Which book are you most interested in reading, and why?
  • 26. Activity # 1 Outcomes
    • While analyzing book covers, students articulate their interpretation of body positioning, color use, and words.
    • Students predict story premise and outcome based on their previous interpretations
    • Students discuss their interpretations and link them to real-life assumptions and pre-judgements
  • 27.
    • Processing after or during each exercise is
    • key to helping youth connect the activity to
    • real-life application. This sharply impacts
    • value-setting and boundary-stretching.
  • 28. What literary texts impacted you the most as an adolescent?
    • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice taught me use of free indirect speech as narrative technique
    • Langston Hughes’ “ The Negro Speaks of Rivers ” reminded me of the Negro spirituals and contemporary gospel songs that my mother’s choir sang during their weekly choir rehearsals in our living room.
    • hurricane by rubin carter-- gave me the epiphany that i too could write
    • Ntozake Shange and Maya Angelou...their words helped me explain myself to myself as one of the few Black girls at a predominately white all girls Catholic school
  • 29. In other words…
    • Shared ways to Communicate
    • Helped me find my own voice
    • Deconstructed the myth of writing/telling your story
    • Showed me the connection between written words and music
    • Helped me find another source of solace
  • 30. Activity # 2 The Story is About…
    • The facilitator reads a chapter from the selected text.
    • In divided groups, without talking, each individual within the group must draw a scene that best illustrates the portion of the chapter that stood out most for them.
    • After 5-10 minutes of drawing, students are asked to put their names on the back of their paper and put down their pens.
  • 31. Activity #2 (continued)
    • The facilitator then has one person from each group collect all of their group’s papers and pass them on to the next group.
    • With a new paper in front of the, the students are to write a caption underneath the picture that they believe best fits the description.
    • After captions are written, the papers are returned to their original owners.
    • The facilitator will ask for all to stand who had a correct caption written. Volunteers will share.
  • 32. Process Activity
    • From listening to our volunteers, did there seem to be a common interpretation?
    • Did the picture you draw get explained in the way you would have explained it? Did they see something different in your drawing that you did not intend?
    • When we see something different than other people, does that mean that one perception is better or more accurate than another one?
  • 33. Activity #2 Outcomes
    • Students will meet the characters in the selected text during a shared reading of Chapter One.
    • Students will draw their interpretation of the chapter in storyboard form without the use of any words/text.
    • Students will create dialogue for the story board of their selected peer and discuss the shared (or different) interpretations
    • Students will work in pairs and create an ending for the story based on their Chapter One interpretations
  • 34. When Choosing Texts…
    • Choose books that aren’t preachy or obviously moralistic
    • Choose books that allow for different interpretations
    • Choose books that have an abundance of characters who have different voices
    • Choose books that are well-edited
    • Choose books that are age-appropriate
  • 35. When Developing Activities…
    • Make sure they are relevant to the book and not just “busy work”
    • Make sure they are activities that have well-articulated instructions
    • Make sure they have a point
    • Make sure they are outcomes-based
  • 36. When Processing…
    • Make sure that the rule on the floor is that no one publicly condemns another person’s shared item
    • Know when to move onto the next question
    • Don’t “think” for the students
    • Use it as a segue-way into the next reading/activity
  • 37. Remember That….
    • Our role as educators is not to view young people as empty vessels waiting to be filled up, but, instead, as youth in development who flourish when nourished by adults who provide appropriate services, supports and opportunities. Literature can be used as that tool that provides an opportunity for youth to express and ultimately boundary-stretch when consciously processed.
  • 38. Contact Information
    • By Phone:
    • (240)-413-1130
    • By Email:
    • [email_address]
    • Visit:
    • for monthly tips and news
  • 39. If You Are A Writer, Visual or Performing Artist—or Just a Patron of the Arts
    • Visit at
    • and Join Today!
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