Hedreich Nichols

August 2020

What Child is This

Catch up on episodes 1-11 at YouTube/Hedreich

Small Bites Friday Five 08-28-20:

History – Explore US history through first person narratives with this lesson plan from EdSitement.

Language Acquisition – Integrate this resource that teaches language proficiency beginning with the question, “Where does our food come from?”

STEM/Theater – Pull from this tolerance.org resource on how power determines access.

Art/Design – Explore and discuss art and artifacts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

PE – In the wake of the brutal shooting of Jacob Blake, ask students why they believe players boycotted their games in major league sports.

This week as I settled into a new school year, I thought about my kids. I thought about the check-ins that I have done and how they have been brave in the face of so much upheaval. So many of them know someone who was sick or died from COVID related illnesses. Some of them were sick themselves. Some of their families have suffered financial or job loss.

And then, there is my own family to look after, and of course a job that, at the moment, takes and takes. All of those things should have been uppermost in my mind this week.

But what kept me up at night is the fact that with so much to think about and to do, my mind has kept coming back to George Floyd, and now to Jacob Blake.

My mind has gone back to my son’s new height and facial hair, and how that has caused him to suddenly be a target.

I thought about how many of my colleagues can think about school reopening and never consider the upside of COVID: In a year when my child is driving, I am thankful that he’s mostly home.

As you move toward school reopening, remember that equity practices are not something that you can put on the back burner until you get Schoology sorted out. You have to make them a priority every single day. You have to move forward with the same urgency that you did after George Floyd’s death.

You have to do it as if your child’s life depends on it–because my child’s does.

What Child is This Read More »

Everybody Everybody

Small Bites Friday Five 08-21-20:

PE – Adapt this lesson about being a team player and fairness from Tolerance.org to your grade level.

Math – Expose students to diverse math experts with this A Not Old Dead White Dude Mathematician list from Annie Perkins.

Science –Teach about Race as a social construct using the Smithsonian Institute’s Evolution of Human Skin Color. (Courtesy of Bonnie Nieves)

ELA – Choose great new classics from the We Need Diverse Books extensive list of, well, diverse books.

Fine Arts – Visit Tolerance.org and do a content search for theater, art or lessons like Sounds of Change for secondary music.  

On the weekend I borrowed a few historical books for my son from a dear friend. My son is more into reading notes on a page than words on a page, but this really caught his attention. As he finished the first 30 or 40 pages, he told me not only that he was learning a lot, but also that he had never learned any of what he was reading in school. By now, you may have guessed, this was a book on prominent Black Americans.

It seems that my son has learned little more about people who look like him than I did many moons ago. He’s learned little more than he would have, had we still been living in the Alps where he was born. He’s at an age where his own thirst for knowledge led him to finish the book in a record 3 days and oh the stories he’s regaled me with!

I wonder, how many students leave high school never knowing about Fannie Lou Hamer who endured child labor, forced sterilization and life-long injuries for being beaten for trying to vote; but went on to found the Freedom Democratic Party and the Women’s National Political Caucus.

How many students eat PBJs for lunch without knowing that scientist George Washington Carver found over 300 other uses for the peanut and introduced farming sustainability to the south.

How often are Black hairstyles the topic of conversation while early Black female tycoons who revolutionized the Black hair industry go unknown? How about watching the Netflix movie on Madame C.J. Walker to start you off?

The point is, America is diverse and so are her stories. Don’t wait until November to honor the stories of the indigenous peoples of North America. Don’t wait until September to honor Hispanics or February to honor Blacks. Most of all, don’t wait on your humanities department to provide knowledge that we all need to celebrate diversity and move towards more equitable campuses and communities.

Whatever your content is, you can help your students to be more knowledgeable and more inclusive. All you have to do is start.

Everybody Everybody Read More »

(#TeacherTurnout) Tuesday

#SmallBites e10 LIVE! Watch the latest episodes on my YouTube channel.

Small Bites Friday Five 08-14-20:

20-30m – Sort through resources at NEA’s Black Lives Matter at School site and choose activities for the coming school year.

15-20m – Watch episodes 3, 4 and 5 of Small Bites. Use the info to make an impact on Tuesdays (see below).

10-15m –Listen to the brilliant young voices of the Social Justice Poets on NEA’s Youtube channel.  

5-10m – Paste your latest 10 social media posts into WorditOut.com to get a snapshot of what’s important to you. Use the information for crafting your Tuesday message.

0-5m – Introducing #TeacherTurnout Tuesday. Make Tuesday your day to let elected officials know what they are doing well and what they can do better.

If there is one unifying theme in my blog and in #SmallBites, it’s social action. There can be no equity without action. There can be no inclusion without each one of us pushing for social justice. Maybe your pushing is marching with a sign. Maybe your pushing is ordering a novel by an author not on the “classics” list. Maybe your pushing for social justice is coming here to read and listen until you feel brave enough to step out.

Whatever your brand of pushing for equity is, it’s for sure easier when we do it together. The loud ones and the quiet ones. The ones who have been at the party forever and the ones who just arrived.

Tuesday is our chance. You’re on social media anyway, so whatever your platform of choice is, make Tuesday your day to tell elected officials how they are excelling or how they need to change to better meet the needs of the communities they serve. Educators wear so many hats, we have our fingers on the pulse of our communities in a way that no politician ever could, so here’s my ask:

Every Tuesday, send a post, tweet, email, letter or make a call to an elected official. It can be someone local, state or national. We may not all agree on what’s going right and what’s going wrong, but if nothing else, COVID has shown us that our voices are too often not taken into consideration even when things directly affect us.

Using the hashtag #TeacherTurnout, let’s make sure that our voices are heard and that the people we elect know that we are a creative, powerful, force to be reckoned with, unafraid to stand up for what we believe in.

(#TeacherTurnout) Tuesday Read More »


Diversity is NOT Equity. Watch Episodes 1-8 at Youtube/Hedreich

Small Bites Friday Five 08-7-20:

20-30m – Watch the rest of Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise on PBS.

15-20m – Check out Burbank High School’s curated Justice in June resources.

10-15m –Reflect on Kellie Bahri’s ITEA (Inquiry-Truth-Empathy-Action) learning framework and article.

5-10m – Watch Kenyona “Sunny” Matthews talk about how she hates diversity. Funny and poignant.

0-5m – Pick a Small Bites episode or blog you missed and catch up.

While talking to Chuck Poole on a recent episode of his Teacher Summit live series, we started talking about the HUGE difference between two words that are often used interchangeably, ‘diversity’ and ‘equity’.

When talking about education in the classroom or workplace, the Big Three, diversity, equity and inclusion or, ‘DEI’, are always a part of the conversation. So often do we use the three terms together, in fact, that they have come to mean the same thing in the hearts and minds of many.

Let’s be clear, those terms are not coequal. Diversity means we all have a seat at the table. But equity means that each person at the table is being served dinner. Further, the dinner meets the unique needs of each individual. Is it equitable to serve a Philly cheesesteak to someone who is gluten and lactose intolerant? Umm, no. Is it equitable to serve turkey and dressing to a vegan? Again, no. Well meaning offerings to diverse students without understanding and considering their unique needs will never lead to equity.

Some ways to better understand the needs of diverse students:

Until we start focusing on the needs of diverse students in all the ways they are diverse, we will be able to celebrate diversity but not reap the benefits of equity.

Small Bites Episode 10!

Next week, join me for a frank conversation on equity and social justice for the new school year. Bring your questions and I’ll see you on YouTube at 8PM Central–LIVE!

Different Read More »