I think it is wrong when we pretend that we are neutral actors in the classroom. We are not. What we teach, who we call on, or who we allow to maintain the conversational floor are all micro, and perhaps in some cases, macro political acts.
My current YA syllabus (see link) is political and an attempt to be a more inclusive teacher of diverse books; books that more closely align with the students who are in my classroom. It has been engaging as I have spent a bulk of the summer intentionally reading more diverse books and expanding my range.
I have also spent the month of August look back at past contributions from guest contributors. I have been ignoring my own and, frankly, I tend to sing one note a bit too often. However, for the rest of this post I am going to link to a few of my posts and the post of others that have been overtly political and perhaps with a call to action is one way or another.
Past Post by Dr. Bickmore
A Diverse Reading List for Betsy DeVos
I still think she is tone deaf to the needs of diverse students in every possible way. For example, school choice means nothing if students do not have the means to get themselves to get to that school. What if the school of choice is full? What about this attend to the supposed waste in education, but fully fund education.
I think the books I suggest are good starting point.
Blood Brother: An introduction to Jonathan Daniels
I can't say enough about this beautiful and tragic work. Rich and Sandra Neil Wallace do a remarkable job of illustrating the power of being and ally and the reminder that it is not without a cost.
Say His Name!
I return frequently to some version of Janelle Monae's song "Hell You Talmbout." This post and a few other moved me to collaborate with Shelly Shaffer and Gretchen Rumohr in the production of an edited, and yes, political book, Contending with Gun Violence in the English Language Arts Classroom. What you don't have it yet? Make sure your school library has a copy or two. As you explore this book you will find an abundance of great classroom suggestions.
Posts by Other Contributors
Ugh! The No More Political Talk Except for this Last Blog about YAL & Politics & Activism
In the course of this commentary he provides a wealth of book--fiction and nonfiction that you might consider sharing with your students.
Fiction to Action: YA Literature to Inspire Social Activism by Dr. Alice Hays
Her post is a perfect companion to last week's post and fits in this group for sure.
Jennifer Cameron Paulsen
Imagining the Past & Envisioning the Present through Young Adult Literature
She can surely provide you with a wealth of resources if you want to bridge the ELA and the SS classrooms and curricula. I will be forever grateful that she introduced me to Candace Fleming.
Teaching the Angry--or Peaceful--Mob with YA Literature by Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil
Looking back at this post seem especially important since it was written before the current political wave of social unrest and protest and the political convention-or was this even the forerunner and foreshadowing moment of tensions and misunderstanding to come.
Books as Refuge: Turning to YAL During Times of Uncertainty by Arianna Drossopoulos
This is another post that shouts out to be included in this collection.
Ashley D. Black
Dreamland Burning: A Charge to Make Sense of the Present by Interrogating Our Past by Ashley D. Black
Ashley post on Dreamland Burning is a great introduction to the even and how YA fiction addresses the time period. One might ask "Is it even possible to get an accurate, unbiased report of any unsettling event?" I hope so, but it probably takes more time and patience that we often allow ourselves before we spout an opinion.
Deborah Van Duinen
Herstory YA Literature to read together during Women's History Month by Deborah Van Duinen
I think we need to constantly remind ourselves about the level of inequity that still exists between men and women--in our work places, in the number of acts of micro aggression that a women will experience compared to men, and how much of the work within most families that women are simply expected to do automatically.
YA Literature as Protest by Morgan Jackson
Are you wondering where to start? Have all of these posts troubled how you think about literature and literature instruction in the classroom? If so, you are ready for Morgan's post. If you are still wondering and pondering if classrooms are political, well you need Morgan's post.