Everyday MAGIC Book Review

Hello everyone. I can’t wait to share another excellent book for Personal Development written by Mattie James, influencer extraordinaire. The title of her first debut book is Everyday Magic, The Joy of Not Being Everything, and Still Being More Than Enough. This is a beautiful personal development book, and in this book, I really love how she. Her message of MAGIC into her own acronym, and it means meaningful, aesthetically pleasing, goal-oriented, intentional, and consistent. How Mattie lays this book out, its efficient strategies, and the system you can do and elevate it into a new task.

Sometimes we get so overwhelmed. , even our to-do list has a to-do list. And how Maddie crafts this book makes you think about the people you’re serving daily, your family, your work, and your children. And I quote, think about the ideas that matter for herself, her family, home, life, and work.

And she says, the ideas that are meaningful to me, or someone who matters to me. And that is the goal that she’s going to take. And that’s a goal that we all can take. Maddie is a successful mother and influencer and c e o of her own business, and this book shows a culmination of her tips and tricks. On her Instagram, as well as all of her other social media platforms of practical strategies from fashion and how you dress in your go-to Blazer.

I even have my go-to Blazer and even meal planning for the week. So many of us have these big ideas and what we’re gonna do, and then we end up getting stuck by our fridge, right? So what I really want you to do is think about your prior. While you’re reading alongside this book, think about what you can do to make those magical changes.

See my little pun there and also contribute to it. Finding things to get rid of. Start to find prune things that are just taking up space. Taking up space in your mind, closet, or home life.

When you’re starting off a new year and starting a new plan, think about those things that matter. And I really love that. Mattie talks about her family life, her husband and beautiful children, her traditions with her parents, and their rituals. Saturday evenings with their family traditions and how she ties that into her new generation.

I can’t tell you enough. This book is such a great read. Anybody can read this book and put this book into practice, and she lets you take that breath. 

Thank you, Maddy. Girl, you let us take that breath because sometimes when we’re in the thick of it, you know, me as a brand new entrepreneur, working, you know, on my own, raising a family as a wife, and trying to deliver and do all the things, this book maps it out just perfectly. I’m going to have to buy a new charcuterie board. 

. So remember, get this wherever books are sold. I found this book in my tiny little town in Duluth, Minnesota. So you can see this book wherever books are sold. 

You can learn more about Mattie James’ work here:


Becoming Vanessa Book Review

Hello there! I’m a happy educator today, and I cannot wait to share with you all again another great book review, and it is titled Becoming Vanessa. It was written and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. I had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa a few weeks ago, and definitely check out her podcast episode with me on The Cultural Curriculum Chat.

I will have that link down below. Now to get started with this book. It is a coming-of-age book on the first day of school. Everybody has those jitters, especially the teachers, but we don’t wanna spill that kind of tea. Okay? So becoming Vanessa is her self-titled character, and she talks about getting ready for the first.

School, her mommy and daddy ask her, what are you gonna wear that special today? And as you can see, I got my little particular leper print cardigan on because we all have to enjoy our inner childlike energy. And what I love about Vanessa’s attention to detail. She’s got it down to the hair textures of her parents.

Even how things just come to life. Even the fashion, the feather boa that little Vanessa does. What I also enjoy in this book, it even has a mommy and a hair tie. Okay. It shows all walks of life that Vanessa brings to the pages. She even talks about her name and how long it takes to write it when everybody else is done with the day.

And you know, as a teacher, we all have those students that have those beautiful, unique, long names that take a while, but she talks about how she gets into her name. Feels in the beginning that her name isn’t that special, but her mom walks her through and tells her the true meaning of her name. You will just choke up with joy and see how this beautiful little girl takes that pride in herself.

And she sits a little taller, like I say, and talks about how her beautiful name has meaning and how she portrays herself and honors who she is just beautiful. So definitely check out this book. It’s one of my favorites. And just how colorful, bright, and childlike Vanessa has this in her book.

It’s very well done. As you can say, Vanessa is a beautiful person inside and out. And you are going to enjoy this book. I highly recommend this book, kindergarten to about third grade, for the beginning of the school year, but, Check it out now. In honor of Black History Month, she is one of the most well-known illustrators in our children’s books universe.

So definitely get this book Becoming Vanessa wherever books are sold. You can learn more about this fantastic author here: https://www.vanessabrantleynewton.com/

Barack Book Review

In honor of President’s Day, I’m going to share a great book about our first African-American President, Barack Obama.

This book, titled Barack, is a beautiful biography for students written by Jonah Winter. Illustrated by AG Ford. This story is beautiful and impactful, and it talks about our first African American president. Um, it talks about how Barack went on his own unique journey. Self-identity and belonging.

We’ve been talking a lot about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and this really does share and showcase what it means to belong. AG Ford has some beautiful illustrations about Young Barack as a baby, where he was born and grew up in Indonesia, and it parallels Barack Obama’s. He wrote a memoir called Dreams of My Father, but that’s for more grownups now.

Also talks about reuniting with his father at the age of 10 and belonging to that self-identity that many children of color have to go through. It talks about where he found himself in the community and his campaign to become the first African American president, the 44th president. So I would love for you to get this book in honor of Black History Month and to showcase another true trailblazer as our first African American president, Barack Obama.

If you’d like to learn and order more lesson plans that are culturally appropriate for your classroom, be sure to stop by my website, jebehedmunds.com/shop. You can find many multicultural activities that are companions to many lessons I’ve learned.



5 Tips to Engage Employees During Black History Month

Thinking about Black History Month,  I was reflecting on how to help you, to continue to be more engaged in this month with your Black colleagues, employees, and staff. Black History Month — also known as African American History Month — is a month-long celebration of the lives and achievements of African Americans. Every February, teachers, students, and families gather to learn about diverse historical figures who helped shape society.

The month began in 1926 as Negro History Week, an initiative by writer and historian Carter G. Woodson. Over the years, the excitement around Negro History Week programming grew too large to ignore, so many states started participating in Black History Month too! Even today, people are still striving to learn and understand the Black culture and the many contributors to our nation’s history as well as our contributors to our present society. Here are some constructive tips to keep you engaged authentically with your Black colleagues at work.

5 Tips To Keep Your Employees Engaged During Black History Month

1) Bring Speakers from your community and create a safe space for them to share and listen. Like Melody Hobson said, “You can purposefully invite diverse people into your life, and hopefully they will challenge you, and give you new insights into life. Be purposeful and respectful with your community members, you could learn a lot from them.

2) Highlight Black voices within your organization. We have wonderful resources that deserve to be recognized. You can do this in a way of recognizing their work and not their worth, clothes, hairstyle, or physical features (we’re not here to tokenize people, ugh).

3) Volunteer in your community. Take the time to be out in your community where Black people are and get to know your Black neighbors in an authentic way.

4) Support Black Owned Businesses. Black people are also small business owners. Your economic support helps them and their families thrive in our economy. Here’s a link to my favorite businesses here that you can support.

➡️ https://www.northlandbipoc.com/

5) Host a workshop by yours truly to teach you about Implicit Bias and Inclusive Workplace Strategies. If Implicit Bias & Inclusive Workplace Strategies is something that has been of interest to you, then this is your opportunity to learn ways you can help others maintain their identity while also interacting effectively with teammates and customers. Fill out my potential client questionnaire right here ➡️https://forms.gle/Eb7NpH6TewmBG8Bq6

The ABCs of Black History Book Review

Today I’m gonna chat more about this book, The ABCs of Black History, written by Rio Cortez and illustrated by Lauren Semmer. This is a wonderfully made book inspired by the late great James Baldwin.

You can see. “History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.”- James Baldwin. I just love this. Whenever we talk about black history, it’s more than just the month.

Throughout the year, we must learn about all our country’s innovators, explorers, organizers, artists, engineers, scientists, and diplomatic people. I always did that in my classroom, and I know you can do it for educators. It starts with A is for Anthem, lifting our voice strong, and it does ring true to the black national anthem.

It continues and the illustrations that Lauren has created. It reminds me a lot of Faith Ringold. I loved her book Tar Beach and Dinner at Aunt Connie’s house, which I believe was the one. Also, another black history book, one of my favorites from back in the day. Rio also talks about the diaspora, what that means, um, and it continues through.

F is for folklore, and H is for Harlem. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. My husband and I went to Harlem on our honeymoon, eh, another H word. It’s a beautiful neighborhood. It even talks about J’ouvert and Juneteenth, how the people organized and marched and stood up for themselves, and the different queens throughout Africa and our American history.

Just wonderfully done. Ooh, this is such a well-done book. Talks about, like I said, our scientists, our astronomers, our writers. It’s a good launching pad. For your research studies, every year when I taught, we did African American biographies throughout the year with my students, and I would have a list of African American contributors from the past president in the future, and my students got to pick, and this is a great launching pad to start that project as.

And then it ends with Z for Zenith, the highest peak always reminded me of Dr. King’s speech. I’ve Been to the Mountaintop. Another beautiful one is that we’ve got much more to do, grow, and thrive. Love this. It even has a glossary people of the terms and the. And figures from this book. Very well done.

I am so proud of this book, and I recommend you get it as soon as possible to kick off your learning for Black History month and beyond.

Nicole and the Fifth Grade Desk Book Review

I’m here to share another great book for your classroom and homelife: Nicole and the Fifth Grade Desk by Tiffaney Whyte, Illustrated by Christina Rudenko. 

First of all this book is really well written it talks about a little girl named Nicole who is all ready for the first day of 5th grade but still a little nervous to start a new grade. She meets her teacher who greets her with a smile and on her face Nicole feels like she could be ready but she’s just so nervous to get started.The book is perfect because it talks with a talking desk and the desk guides Nicole into what to expect in this new grade in 5th grade. It talks about lots of affirmations that are true to her as a 5th grader how she is, I quote, “special unique and beautiful” and how she will accomplish great things in life.

 What I love about this book is the desk even gives her insights of what to expect in fifth grade as far as figurative language. Which is one of our 5th grade standards for understanding what similes and metaphors would be like and helping her know even the events that she’s going to be going through, dressing for Success day and school fundraisers and fun, engaging activities that she’s going to be learning alongside her classmates. 

 Jitters and. I remember talking to Miss Tiffaney Whyte on my podcast. Go back and check it out, season 2, episode 21 and listen to my conversation with Tiffaney. 

You can listen to the episode right on the link below.


  Let’s face it, everybody has jitters no matter what grade level you’re going through, and I love how Tiffaney writes in this book that it’s a celebration of starting a new grade. You can begin this book with a new student that comes into your classroom because that new student is going into a class that already has their routines and norms set up significantly in the middle of the school year. Educators, I’ve had students come in the last week of school, and it’s always very intimidating to be the new kid on the Block, but this is a great tool to start that conversation of what to expect in fifth grade. You could read it and any grade-level to open up that conversation. I recommend ordering the book Nicole and the fifth-grade desk, written by Tiffaney Whyte and illustrated by Christina Rudenko. You can purchase this book at the link below. 


All Are Welcome Book Review

All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman is a New York Times Bestseller. It comes with the cutest poster in the jacket I used to put up in my classroom.



I love how this book even starts inside the author. Suzanne got inspiration from her daughter’s school Kimball Elementary where I love that she wrote about where diversity and Community are not just protected but celebrated. I love how this book shows the excitement in the energy that families, students, and parents are also excited that I love about it. The ending sentence of each prose says, “All are Welcome Here,” for example, and I quote. “Pencil sharpened in their case. Bells are ringing. Let’s make haste.”

It’s a new family created every single year, and I feel that energy when I am with my students, so this one was fantastic to show the illustrations. They’ve got mothers in hijabs and dads wearing their religious Sikh Garb and parents of all shapes and combinations; it’s just such a joyful book. It talks about how far everyone comes, how everybody starts their day no matter how you start your day, and I quote, “What you wear when you play” it just shows that inclusivity is at the forefront of where our society is going. I love how the illustrator Suzanne’s imagery.

She’s got beautiful kids with human colors in their hair that are different textures and different styles. You know, children even wear yarmulkes in there. It was starting so students would see representations of themselves which is a very, very powerful talk about how people celebrate all cultures. You see dragons in the Asian Pacific culture and dancers in the gym. You see Lil darlings with backpacks on and getting excited about getting home to rest and starting the next day again. I would love that if more of us had these books in our classrooms. Children would be able to identify with students that maybe not reflect their own identity but show that other identities and cultural lenses exist. All people are welcome. Thank you so much, Suzanne and Alexandra, for creating an excellent book. This book is one of my favorite books.

I suggest sharing this book at the beginning of the school year and whenever you get a new elementary school-aged student in your classroom.

Inclusive Workplace Environment: The Best Way To Create It And Maintain It

"Another thing I want you to remember when you are trying to be more culturally inclusive is that your colleagues of color are not hired to do the work for you."

When we talk about an inclusive workplace environment, many words are thrown out to intimidate you. But that’s not what the process is about. When working with my business clients, my most significant push for them is to find ways of holding themselves accountable and sustaining this protocol when we move forward. Now, I will give you a taste of what I have proposed to my clients. I’m a big fan of Dr. Brene Brown, especially her hard work on vulnerability and shame and understanding us as humans. And I really love when she says, “I’m here to get it right. Not to be right.”

And that quote resonates with me to teach businesses and organizations how to get it right. And not to be correct. When we are working together, I feel that I don’t want to offend anybody or make it work. I want to make it right, which is excellent. But we know that, as human beings, it takes time. It takes a lot of self-reflection. And when we go through these practices, we must remember that we are all human beings. We will stumble. We need to give ourselves some grace. But then we also need to correct our behavior. So we’re not causing more harm to the people we work with. An excellent thing I want you to focus on when we’re talking about an inclusive workplace. It would be best if you thought about your own implicit biases in your own actions. How Let’s get inclusive at work.

Did your life experiences shape you into the person you are now? How have the attitudes you have perceived about different groups of people affected you in your workplace? So those are some questions I want you to take with you on doing your own self-work and understand that you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is a tricky subject. This is a difficult way of getting those further deeper connections with people. You also have to take into account your actions and be responsible for what you have done to move forward in the future.

Another thing I want you to remember when you are trying to be more culturally inclusive is that your colleagues of color are not hired to do the work for you. When it comes to being an ethnic month, it comes to being a particular subject in your staff meetings. It is not your employee or colleague of color that is supposed to take the reins and do the work for your office. Now, many people say, well, we’re trying to collaborate. We’re trying to get our people of color involved and have that voice. But there’s an emotional tax that people of color like myself face every day. It’s a lot of mental work. It’s a lot of mental energy; we have to put on that brave coat of armor when talking about subjects that come to intercultural relations when dealing with employees and customers. We can only bear that burden for so long and for so much. So it is up to businesses. It is up to school districts and administrators to hire out that work of someone who is not exclusively tied to your business. Who is not solely tied to your school organization? I can hear my colleagues of color around the world going. Thank you, Jeb. Yes, said what we have always been saying. I have been in those situations where we’re talking about these instances. And they’re quick to ask me. So Jeb, what do you have for us? What resources do you have for us? I am not usually the one that handles providing those resources.

If I’m a staff member and hired as a cultural consultant, I’d be happy to give you all the resources I have. When doing this work as an organization and as a business, do not expect your colleagues of color, your colleagues of those diverse backgrounds, to do the work for you, for you to go back and check. We got that done, and we aren’t usually the ones that handle that. And less we have been hired specifically to do that particular job. And I know, nine times out of 10, we are not.

We are not compensated extra for bringing up subject matter or resources, and we aren’t usually the ones that handle it. So moving forward, when you want to build that inclusive workplace setting for your business or your school organization, it is up to you to do your research, hire a different voice, and do additional research to come into your setting to do the work. I was hoping you could work on getting into this inclusive model to hire and recruit people who don’t look like you by getting those multiple perspectives. Those life experiences that we all have will lead to more innovation and more credibility. And there is research about having those multiple voices, those multiple representations in your workplace, moving many things forward.

I love when we get together. And we have our measured goals we are we got Oh, I love a good plan. You know, I’m a teacher at heart. And writing down the measurable goals I want to accomplish is all fine and dandy. But the thing is, you need to hold yourself accountable to those set goals, and you have your plans in place. It would help if you thought about, okay, these are the goals that I want for my organization or my school. But I also need to take it further and hold myself and my employees accountable for these set goals. It’s all beautiful on paper, but it doesn’t move the needle further to inclusiveness. If you’re not checking yourself periodically if you need to check your colleagues and your employees periodically on these set goals. With my business, I have an excellent format for businesses and school organizations with this model already in place.

It’s all well and good when you have a list of goals for getting your business or school organization up and running. I will walk you through those steps to make those goals actionable and hold you guys and gals accountable. And when we are talking about having that inclusive workplace environment, that your leadership is there, they are also saving themselves accountable. The employees feel like they have a space to go to their leadership if things are not working. You also need to ensure that when you are working together, you recruit people from all walks of life in your business.

No excuse anymore if we’re just not that diverse, Jeb. We don’t have these people you’re talking about. Here’s the thing. We do exist. We are everywhere. I come from a remarkable, proud immigrant Liberian family who grew up in the suburbs of Minnesota. We exist. There is no excuse for, “I don’t know, I don’t know where to begin,” or “I don’t know where to start, Jeb.” And that’s where I’m here, for I am here to get you started. I am here to set this model up for your business to get the ball rolling for your school setting.

There are many people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds in every facet of every career you can think of. We are innovators, doctors, and scientists. We are in the political field, and there are so many of us in these avenues that you can actively recruit all of us. We need to dig deeper to see where people are going and feel valuable for their time. They need to think that their voice will be heard if there is a concern. And our all begins with leadership. So, leaders must step up to the plate and open their doors for everyone to come in. Because the more you have a better representation of everyone, the more your clientele will go and be discerning of Wow, they are including everybody, wow, I see me in their ad. Wow, I actually see myself behind the desk working alongside. So it is up to us to move that needle forward and get going. And if you’re stuck, I’m here to help. So make sure we have our leadership holding themselves accountable. We have our measured goals. We have our recruitment in place. And we also have an evaluative piece to evaluate our business and our organization as a whole to become more inclusive. If you want more information, I am so proud to share my Let’s get inclusive at work. If you would love more information, you can visit my website at JebehEdmunds.com.

My 3Cs of Cultural Competency

Today we’re going to talk about all things Cultural Competency, what it is, and my famous 3 C’s to keep us all in check so we can better relate to our community members of color. I can’t wait to share tips on understanding my 3cs of Cultural Competency so you can get to work.



 What is Cultural Competency?

Cultural competence is the ability to comprehend, interact, and communicate with individuals regardless of their cultural background. Cultural competency includes:

  • An awareness of one’s cultural views.
  • Working at and developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences.
  • Knowing varying cultural worldviews and practices. 


Typically, cultural competency regarding work environments, school systems, or some other kind of organization, where such knowledge is transformed into specific policies, standards, and practices to increase the environment and create better outcomes. 



3 Mrs. E’s 3 C’s of Cultural Competency 

1) Check

2) Correct

3) Connect


 “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” Stephen R. Covey.




1. Remember the term Checking for Understanding when we’re building instruction? The same applies. We need to check our understanding of other cultures,  

2. How do you interact with other cultural groups, including immigrant groups? 

3. Have you learned from each other who their family is? If their kid plays with your kid at the baseball field?

4. Have you attended a cultural festival with which you don’t identify?



 Correct your own bias

1. We all have biases, and we know that there are systems in place in our nation that allow biases to solidify and amplify discrimination. 

2. We are all going to step into it. Have you had the feeling, oop, I shouldn’t have said that or, man, why did I ask that question?

3. Researching methods Dr. Maura Cullen “Most times, knowing what is right is the easy part; it is in the doing that tests our courage.”  

4. The last C in my method is Connect- By connecting with others who have multiple perspectives than you will help you advocate for them. There are so many hurdles for people of color and people of immigrants that hinder them from living out the American dream. Once you connect, we can speak up and say something. 


What I’ve learned from teaching online during the pandemic

From my experience this school year,  I feel like I got to play my Rocky theme song like I do every year at the end of the school year, to say. Finally, I made it to the top of the stairs in the school year. Teaching in this mode, I’m also feeling like, Yeah, I need to figure out what this looks like for moving forward?

We’ve been through teaching virtually like, you know, trying to fly a plane with train parts. And this stuff was very, very hard. I like to reflect, but I was like, dang, they didn’t even have a pandemic methods class when I went to school.  Of course, we had no idea what was happening to the world. So we were all in crisis mode.  We were trying our hardest to figure out how to translate all this stuff that we need to teach our students before the end of the school year. 


  But as educators, we’re also thinking of how are we going to get through this fall? How am I going to approach my teaching style, how is my style, my methods? So I got myself into that learning mode of literally trying to find things on YouTube to do these learning platforms. 


I spent a lot of my time trying to map out a schedule, and our district gave us that directive of how many minutes we were supposed to have live in-person training—teaching,  synchronous and asynchronous. So the student wouldn’t be in front of the computer for a long time, because you know, screen time. So then my teacher team and I  came up with an idea of planing the proper daily schedule that covered all subjects with breaks in between. 


I’m going to make this memorable for my fifth graders this year. I’ve learned that I have to keep things consistent for my students and compatible with my families. When you’re teaching, virtually, you have to be comfortable with the fact that, wow, I can’t control the other side of my screen, I can’t control what the students are going to be listening or learning or had to leave for the reason that is out of my knowledge. 


I decided to do with my love of broadcasting because I chose to double-time with my love of filming.  I would teach live. And then, I would pre-record my lessons, pre-record my reading, pre-record my math, pre-record my science and social studies. If a student is not available or didn’t come to my Google meet, I still have to teach them the standards and criteria. 


I would get full engagement with all of my students.  My biggest suggestion would be to pre-record your lessons.  I also love to read out loud. Since we had a limited amount of time reading aloud, I decided to whip up my Screencast o-Matic.  I recorded myself reading a chapter. And my students loved it. They give me great feedback when they are on the learning system. I get to have my students feel like they’re at school but in a different sort of way. 

  I created a little video tutorial for my students’ classroom and behavior expectations during our distance learning classroom. For example, you could see something on the other side of your virtual meets that you wouldn’t expect. You have to have your poker face on when you are teaching live. Those are the things you can’t miss a beat.  And that is it’s so imperative. So please put on your inner Oprah and have fun with it. And of course, as I said, set the tone, set  parameters, and stick with it. You know what is best for your learners. No matter if you are in person or teaching virtually. Thank you again for visiting my blog.  

FEBN: And Why I left the classroom this year.

 F.-E-B-N–What’s that mean, Jeb? I’ll explain in just a minute. It’s an inspiring mantra that has kept me going every time I’ve hit a crossroads in my life and career choices. 

Forward Ever, Backward Never is the mantra my maternal grandfather Anthony used to say to my mother, who inturned told it to me and my sisters, and I must say in my life, I never knew how impactful this phrase meant. Every time something happened along the path with significant decisions, this phrase would echo in my thoughts, and it helped me find clarity on what I wanted to do next. 

A Business is born

I remember walking during the pandemic and chatting with my husband about…lesson plans and things I created, and I wanted to give educators access to multicultural educational resources that were culturally appropriate because there was a lack of those options for educators at the ready. My husband said, “Definitely, go for it; I know you’ll make it a success because of your work ethic and ambition.”

The Sign

When you have those teacher nightmares, ya know-mine, was when my teeth would turn into chiclets and start falling out. Well, in 2021, I didn’t have that dream anymore, and that’s when I knew it was time to move on.

I started working on my business from the fateful walk with my hubby in 2020 to dozens of clients, and keynotes, being named top Multicultural Educational Podcasts of 2021 by Welp Magazine, and the icing on the cake, being named one of our District’s Teach of the Year Nominee…Then I took a deep breath, told the good Lord, “I thank you,” and turned into a full-time CEO of my business. I’m blessed and grateful for what this future holds for me and this business. Let’s go!!

Classroom Management Tip: Executive Desk


I want to tell you some things about when a student is misbehaving; we all have those ones. Those who misbehave the most end up being like my favorite by the end of the school year, sometimes, well, sometimes. I wanted to share with you that when I taught primary, you know, the “take- a- brake” chair, and those of you that follow the Responsive Classroom model, and I do to a degree. Still, I wanted to share with you that if there was a student who needed your extra attention, you know, even if they are negative, they always want your extra attention.

 I made a little, not necessarily a “take- a- break” desk, but I used to call the executive desk. And in first grade, when I taught for several years, that executive desk would be right at the side of my desk; this was pre-pandemic, mind you, that little boy or girl that just needed that little extra attention will extra, they would sit up even taller. Because I would say, “Oh, you newly got promoted to the executive desk.” And that kid would go up like, “Oh, yes, I did.” And they would march and sit right next to my desk, not knowing, “Oh, well, I need to do a little bit more redirecting as a teacher and keep my extra tabs on that child.”

 I’m gonna name it something where they don’t think they’re actually taking a break because they’re at the executive desk. And executives do essential things. So that’s why they’re at the executive desk. And all the other students would look at him like I wanted to be at that executive desk. I said, “no, no.” I would say to my students sometimes executives need more one-on-one time with the classroom’s boss. And that’s Mrs. Edmunds. And the other students will go, “Oh, okay.” “Make sense.” So what you’re doing at your table is exactly what the boss Mrs. Edmunds needs for you to do right now. 

But this child, I would say their name and need more one-on-one time with the boss. So that’s why they are sitting at the executive desk. Now, I call it an executive desk because I don’t want my students to feel shame, even if I need to redirect them or ensure they are on task. For me, to have that close proximity was crucial. Mind you, this was pre-pandemic. You’ll have to be a little more creative with your executive desks.   I wanted to ensure that the students still knew I was focused on them. But also, they were in a safe space away from their peers. 

Another time, I would also keep that executive child near me. Mind you,  this is pre-pandemic, so you have to use your social distance educators. But I used to call them my right-hand boy or my right-hand girl in my class, and these were first graders that I taught all the way to fifth grade. And when I would get ready out to my hallway, if that student wasn’t standing next to me, the whole class wasn’t going, and I would go, “Oh, I need my right-hand boy.” “Oh, I need my right-hand girl.” And they knew that they were. But that also gave me tabs on that student. They’re not bothering the rest of my classroom behind me. And they knew that they had me for an extra safety buffer and that they were right nearby if I needed to redirect that student. I just wanted to give you some tips and tricks on how I have used my classroom management that help my classroom community feel and run smoothly. 

Let’s Organize Our Classroom Library

We will find the right books that are culturally inclusive for your home or classroom library. We will explore some of my favorite resources about harnessing a more inclusive framework. Make sure that the books you have on your shelves at home or in your classroom honor and reflect all people. I’ve got some bonus resources that I’ve added to my show notes that you can download right now and get this process started right. Let’s get this broadcast started quickly got to get that cultural process. You know me; I have no shame. Hashtag, you’re welcome. 


Looking for books can be overwhelming. Some of us feel that if it doesn’t show up on an ethnic holiday or month, they can’t see any other original titles. Well, here’s the beauty of this. One. Amazing author Jill Eisenberg from the Peers and Pedagogy Blog says that adding more culturally responsive and relevant books to instruction does not have to be overwhelming, expensive, or time intensive. I agree with Jill, because when she says that our library bookshelves should feel intentional both at home and at school. It should be purposeful and transforming. We need to start re-evaluating our books, classrooms, and home libraries to see if our intentions cause harm to all. Okay, this all sounds well and good, Jeb. I know my listeners are saying this to me. 


And I feel like I’m on the right track. But how do I know if I’m making any progress in ensuring that my students or family members at home have books and resources that are appropriate and not causing further harm? My most extensive advice for you, my dear listener, is to evaluate what you have on hand. First, the Metropolitan Center for Research on equity and transformation of schools has designed the culturally relevant curriculum scorecard. I’m telling you, it’s like a gem of a resource. And it’s free all. This scorecard has seven categories that help school organizations and community members tailor to fit the needs of their schools and even their other organizations. as caregivers and educators. You can use this scorecard. You can print it and share it with your school districts, curriculum departments, or even your parent-teacher associations to help evaluate the culturally responsive materials they already have on hand. 


Another bonus with this curriculum scorecard is that they used research-based articles with STEAM standards and best practice focus. Suppose you’re wondering, okay, what does this acronym steam stand for, Jeb? And it stands for curricula in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. And I love some research-based practices that work. Okay. Trust me, I’ve been in the teaching scope and to see things that have been run with best practices. It gives you that insight that yes, it’s been proven, and it works. So just a reminder to all of you listening right now, I have this court scorecard in my show notes that you can download today. Now, it is a pretty big scorecard. There’s some good meat to it. There are about 30 pages, but like I said, you will thank me later.


 Now while you are evaluating the books that you already have on hand, I want you to check out the older diverse titles, books that happen to be diverse, but older than 25 years might be time for those titles to retire. Alright, last time I checked, I think Peter, by Ezra Jack Keats, is looking to get his 401k in order. So let’s make sure that our titles are relevant to our students. Now, like I said, some of us might have to let go of those book characters we loved so much as a child because it could be causing harm to our groups of students. Our BIPOC students are in different marginalized groups; stereotypes from those book characters could send a message to your current students and your children that don’t reflect how we want our classroom and home communities to feel right now. So with that being said, we have our evaluations in order with this curriculum scorecard. 


But you also have to go with your gut. And books that you remember reading as a child may not be appropriate for your students and your children now, so I was hoping you could take this next step, start searching and get some excellent books, you don’t have to spend a pretty penny, go to your public library. If you’re on a tight budget. I like to cross reference my Scholastic Book lists with the list I’m about to share. So if it’s open book night at my school, or if I am trying to make a wish list for my teacher wish list for the beginning of the school year, I will have those books on my favorite wish list. That way, if families decide that they would like to donate a book from my classroom library, it’ll be right there. Now, if you’re trying to figure out what is culturally appropriate, relevant books, my favorite blogs that have amazing resources of books are, We Need Diverse Books and The Conscious Kid. Both are great nonprofit organizations whose overall mission is to promote literacy and awareness to publishers and book lovers to provide diverse representation that reflects and honors all children. Now that’s a quote from the We Need Diverse books.org website. You will find countless book lists from both organizations with fun titles written by diverse authors. 


Some books out there have diverse characters, but it is so poignant that we go the extra step and find those diverse authors. We’re actually writing about experiences with diverse people. So please make sure you dig a little deeper when you are on your search for new books. Avoid this misstep when organizing your library by assuming a particular group shares the same perspectives.


 In the article Diversifying your classroom book collections, the author, Padma Venkataraman shared, in her 2018 blog posts, that diversifying bookshelves does not mean just checking off one book for each census category. That really stuck with me because I feel like many educators and parents at home are thinking, Okay, I have this group of people from this background. So that’s a good check. And then I have another one of these checks. And I want you to think about this that, you know, people in these various groups are not a monolith. All right, we are individuals. So you must have multiple facets of stories and narratives from different groups. So it means listening to and learning about and loving individual voices, which deliver within our race within gender, within every label that can be used to group people. This opinion is relevant because we naturally see titles and groups more by category and not by genre. 


Do you find yourself asking? Do I have enough titles that focus on that group? Do I have too much focus on this particular group of people?So you really need to be very critical. And use your critical thinking skills to help weed out the outdated, stereotyped, troped characters those need to go. And I’m not saying bring it to a donation site where you drop it off so somebody else can get you, you know, can get more harm. Get rid of it. Recycling is your friend. So bring in these new books that you know your students can access that are culturally relevant and reflective in a way that brings new voices and narratives to your students or children that you have at home that we all can relate to in a more impactful positive way.

Your Name is a Song Book Review

This book is amazing. It is a love between a mother and her daughter on her first day of school. And I have to tell you, I can relate to this little girl because she gets picked up from school by her mother. And she is upset. Is she mad and frustrated because of how her teacher made her feel about her name? She told her mommy she choked when she said my name, and the other kids in my class chuckled. I was that little girl. And I remember the day my mom picked me up, and I had that experience. Now my mom is also an educator, and knowing her and my father, when they named me Jebeh, after the chief of our tribe, who was my great aunt Chief Jebeh. 


And this book also depicts the same love and confidence that this mother only pays to her daughter. She has it in a lyrical rhythm that your students can tap into the syllables of each name. And the names that the author picked are names spoken throughout the world. Some names are in Arabic. Some names are in Vietnamese, and some names are Nigerian and Ghanaian. Some names are African American. And what I love about this book is that it has a glossary at the back. Before reading this book out loud to your students, I recommend you read the love glossary and practice the names because when you’re reading the book out loud.They’re gonna sit up taller. They’re gonna feel proud. They’re gonna love that their name is actually in this book. Hey, I must admit, the day I have my name written in a book, I am going to fall over with joy. Hopefully, it’ll be a name I wrote myself because I am also a writer. But I want you educators to take this book and read it. Like I said, it will be music to your ears. It is a beautiful, well-written story. 


I’m going to share just a couple names in the book that you have to read because once you read it, you can feel the rhythm of The fire the stars. In this story. We have Lamika, Kwaku, Born on Wednesday, and Ghanian names. I have Ta’ Jae, and I also have Ngozi. Have a cousin named Ngozi, Ngozi girl, your name is in this book, she’s gotta love that too. Also, you’ve got names, like I said or done. And you’ve got Ha, that is Vietnamese. Another thing that I want you to see at the end of this book is she shares her name in a song. She is practicing her classmates’ names in a song and how that teacher changes her attitude towards this girl is also very powerful. The name she is in this book is about the little girl. Her name is Kora-Jalimusu. Now the meaning Kora-Jalimusu is after the harp instrument played by a female griot. A griot is a West African storyteller. 

Not everybody gets the honor to become a griot in their tribe in the western part of Africa. So for her to have that name of a harp, Kora, the harp is just beautiful. And if it wasn’t for my mother and my father giving me the name of my great aunt, I don’t think I would have felt as strong and important and validated with the identity that I do now. It takes your parents and your community around you to learn your name and understand your identity and take pride in that. And it also depicts the beauty of names that, although you’ve never heard of them or are unfamiliar with these names, names are so beautiful, and they are music to everyone’s ears. So when you’re reading a story the first time, enjoy it, learn from it. 


You might not have a student in this book that will go, “oh my goodness, that’s me!”  It is beautiful. And I tell you, I cannot wait to meet this author and say thank you to all the children out there. I cannot wait to personally find the author and thinker because I am one of these names in this book, feeling despair at first and discouragement. And then my mother and father brought that pride back into me because I was named for a reason.


 My name is also a beautiful song. It is titled Jebeh, written and performed by the African icon Miata Fahnbulleh, so look it up and listen to Jebeh. The melody of the son of Jebeh is owned by son Jebeh, which means my heart is pleased to meet you. I play the song in front of my students every year I have taught. I even played it and performed it in my community. My name is a song. Your name is a song. And we need to have our symphony of names together, united and understood; Jamilah, I hope to meet you one of these days because I am a huge fan of your work. Educators, please get this book on your bookshelves.


 Study the glossary for others like myself; you need to learn how to say our names correctly, like Jebeh. I can’t tell you how many times my name was mispronounced by my teachers growing up, and some of them practiced really hard. Some of them didn’t. So please don’t be those who didn’t teach and read this book to your students. I am so excited that I also have a companion lesson plan with this book. So check it out on my website to order the lesson plan and more information on where you can find Your Name is a Song written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

Ruth & The Green Book: Book Review

Hey, educators, I have a very poignant book to share today, Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Gwen Strauss, and Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. It’s a beautiful story about African Americans and their struggle to travel down south. Because of Jim Crow and segregation laws. Ruth and the Green Book share those perspectives of back in the 1950s. This book talks about those trials and tribulations for students to understand. It’s about a young girl named Ruth who travels from Chicago with her parents to visit her grandmother in Alabama.

What is very interesting about this story is it talks about the actual trials and tribulations of African Americans trying to travel across the country in the early 30s, 50s, and even the 70s. From a child’s perspective, this book lays it out beautifully to show all of the roadblocks African Americans had to face to travel safely to visit family. Victor Green, who invented this guidebook, The GreenBook for Negro Motorists, was a safety book. This book was so vital for the safety of African Americans to travel and know that at any checkpoint or stop that they had to make, there was a haven for them to eat, sleep, and use the washroom without being in danger. And this book talks about that very thing. I love how Ruth’s parents put her in charge of this book when they could purchase it. This book was in such high demand in our country with African Americans that they could only buy it. This book will open your students’ eyes to understand what oppression looked like and felt. I also liked how the author talks about African American Veterans. Her father fought in World War Two, and their expectations of being respected for fighting for this country and coming back home, getting this unfair treatment with Jim Crow. So I want you, educators. To read this book, study more about Victor Green and why his purpose was to make this guidebook for other African American motorists to travel safely and be with their families. I am so excited to share that I also wrote a companion lesson plan with this book on my website Jebeh edmunds.com. This book is essential to read to your students and order my lesson plan in my Shop tab. Check it out today!

My Favorite African Books for Young People

Today, we will talk about some inspirational African books needed at home and in your classroom. There are many false narratives about African culture, and I wanted to showcase lots of positive images and relevant stories about the vast tapestry of African life in our stories.

For me telling stories is as natural as breathing. I’m a storyteller at heart, and I grew up listening to my mother share her favorite Anansi the spider stories, or she and many Liberians would call him Spider. This story sparked a love to search for more stories about our wide variety of African stories, both fiction and nonfiction. Understanding one’s story gives you a deeper understanding of who we all are in this human experience. I’m going to share my favorite African storybooks that you can grab today. No, I’m not getting any special commission or affiliation. I have to share with you to find a copy and share it with your classroom and your families.

My K-2 Crew, I love. We all went on safari by Laurie Krebs & Julia Cairns. It’s a great counting in Swahili book to help students get familiar with learning a new language. Which ties into Jambo means hello by Muriel & Tom Feelings. I genuinely like this Swahili alphabet book because it shows ordinary daily life with words and phrases spoken in Swahili. Boundless Gracy by Mary Hoffman is a great story of our Favorite character, Grace from Amazing Grace, who goes on a journey to visit her father in The Gambia.

For my 3-5 kids, I’d recommend One Hen by Katie Smith Milway, which shows the framework of how microloans work and how sustainable it can be with our main character Kojo purchasing a hen to support his family in Ghana. I also love Ashanti to Zulu African traditions by Leo & Dianne Dillon, which showcases 26 different African ethnic groups and their cultural values. Bonus my ethnic group Vai is featured in the book. I tell you, representation is so important.

For Middle to High School students, this book series Kings & Queens of North, Central, East, and West Africa by Sylviane Anna Diouf gives a great depth of cultural traditions and royalty that many of our students don’t know. Another great read, Of Beetles & Angels: A boy’s remarkable journey from a refugee camp to Harvard by Mawi Asgedom, is an inspiring memoir that every High school student should read. This book will give you the feeling that anything is possible. I just wanted to share with you some of my favorite titles. I’ll have the reference list in my show notes that you can download and search independently. I also created lesson plans that go along with these books. Some are in the process, so keep a lookout as well.

5 Easy Teacher Tips to help cultivate a positive Culture in your Classroom

I can’t wait to share five easy teacher tips to help cultivate a very positive cultural classroom. I love morning meetings, especially at this time in our lives, are more critical than ever. So greetings are my top pick to help out. If you use Google Translate, you can find languages from all over the world just for a simple Hello or good morning.

My family comes from the Vai tribe in Liberia. So in my classroom, I’ve always used the Vai greeting of Hello, “Yahkuneh,”(phonetically spelling-sorry grandma LOL), which means hello. It always gets us on a very energetic date. After my greeting, I love to do an enjoyable sharing activity. One of my favorite activities I love to share is when one of my students can pick a country of the day. And then they can research one remarkable fact that they’ve never heard of before. To make my students dig a little deeper. You know, we always love that higher-order thinking y’all. We always eliminate an animal or a portion of food. I want them to find out more facts about countries. We love fun brain breaks. And I love finding enjoyable multicultural games as well.

One of my favorite multicultural games. Well, it wasn’t really a game kind of punishment. But I digress. We call it Pump Tire. Now, some of y’all Liberian folk understand when we would get in trouble, our grandmothers would say, Go pump tire. No, there wasn’t an actual tire anything, so calm down. But it was kind of like a yoga pose, or we cross our arms and tug at our ears, and then do squats. So I think our grandmothers were way beyond their time. When I get ready for lunch and recess, every teacher’s favorite part of the day. I call this song a very fun traditional lunch song. It doesn’t really have a name that I know of mainly, but many Liberians grew up singing this song, and it’s between a mother and her children. And it’s a fun call and response song. And it gets my students that signal that it’s time to line up for lunch.

Next is finding quotes. I love famous quotes by multicultural people from all over the world, and one of my favorite resources is finding quotes from our Nobel Peace Prize winners. And like I said, these are winners from all across the humanities, and what I do, and then my students and I discuss the importance of that quote and how it can help guide us for the rest of the week. So there you have it, five easy teacher tips to help keep that positive cultural vibe going in your classroom. Because the more we know about each other, the better we can understand who we indeed are.

10 Steps for an Inclusive Workforce

Today’s blog post will focus on my top 10 steps to create a more inclusive workplace environment. One of my biggest pushes in life is to help people gain more cultural understanding of each other. We need to self-audit ourselves and self-audit the places where we work. Much of our transformative work starts from looking within with our own unconscious biases, which turned into more micro and macro aggression. Many of us can’t prevent the harm that we see today.

Step number one is your job description. The usual sentence and phrase we all are too familiar with are we are an equal opportunity employer, and that phrase just isn’t cutting it anymore. Your team needs to go back and check out the language that you’ve posted.

I want you to look at your job descriptions. See if the vocabulary that you have written is welcoming for all. But when you have that welcoming for all, make sure your workforce mirrors what you’re putting out there. And let’s say this if your ideal crew to have more BIPOC employees isn’t there yet. Put that in your statement. We are looking to diversify our Staff to be more accommodating to the people we serve. There. There you go. Free little information for you right there.

I want you to think about looking deeper into your job description. The second thing I want you to do is check where you are posting said job descriptions, okay. Are you going outside of the box and posting job sites that are in allyship with our BIPOC job applicants, alright, a lot of us are in our default, and we are doing the same traditional things that we did 25 years ago.

If COVID had taught us anything, it could tell us now that we can step outside the box people can work from home and do a fantastic job at what they do. So that also means you, as the employer, need to step outside the box and see where you are posting these job descriptions and these job postings.

Please make sure you meet them where they are, go to your community’s multicultural centers, and go to the universities with international student departments. Go to those universities. There are so many multifaceted groups on many college campuses that you need to step into those places and show us what you have to offer. Step three is to audit your website. Yes, I’m a solopreneur. And I am constantly checking and correcting my website. Does my language portray the message I want for my audience? Those are the questions you also need to ask yourself, business owners. Does my speech on my website provide a more inclusive allyship?

Step number four, language matters. And interviews. I can’t tell you how many job interviews I walked in, in did myself growing in my own as a grown Liberian American woman, and going through the interview process, having a great time feeling that I’m clicking with that potential employer. And before we leave, that individual shakes, my hand says to me that dreaded fate phrase. Oh, you are so articulate. I’d tell you that phrase still makes my toes curl. Oh, it’s so so wrong. It’s like,  nails screeching on a chalkboard. And the famous one that we always hear. I know, a lot of my BIPOC friends and people in a family can relate to that sentence that, uh, we don’t see color in our office? Oh, that’s a second double whammy. You know, these things. When the employer, future employer, the future colleague is saying these statements. They think that this is a compliment. But as the exact opposite is a huge insult to people of color. And of all groups. You know, when you’re thinking about me and my shoes and my perspective, I’m doing this interview. I feel like I have a good collaboration good energy with this prospective employer. when that prospective employer tells me that I speak so well, it gives a signal to me by saying, “wow, they have such low expectations of you, Jebeh, even looking at your resume, that the only compliment they could give you is how well you speak or write.”

When I am communicating with another human, speaking should be so not even in the stratosphere of your thoughts. Like, of course, I’m speaking, you understand what I’m saying. So telling me that I talk so well makes me feel that no matter what I show you of my accomplishments and accolades, the best thing you can say to me is how well I speak. Yeah, I don’t want to work for this organization. Okay. As I told you, the second point is that we don’t see color in this office, right? That is dehumanizing. When I say, dehumanizing is when you are a person of color. We take our identity as a badge of honor. I am a proud black woman, okay. You see me as a black woman. You don’t know me as a Liberian American because the first person you see first and foremost is a black woman in front of you.

So when you tell me you don’t see my skin tone, you don’t know who I am. That means that you don’t see all of me. For example, get this phrase out of your brain-“you are so articulate.” Okay? Phrases like this. Oh, what a wonderful conversation we had. Thank you for your in-depth analysis of data, data data, or thank you for contributing to this beautiful conversation on data, data data. Alright, those are the types of things you’re setting starters. See, as a teacher, I got my sentence starters right there for you.
Now, when it talks about that phrase that we all can’t stand, we don’t see color in this office, I was hoping you could change that sprays to we are welcoming to all people in this office, okay. I value my ethnicity and my heritage, my blackness. So when somebody thinks that they are giving me comfort by saying that it doesn’t have any value, that does not want me to be motivated to work for a business that doesn’t see all of me. So language matters. So very much.

Number five, retention through mentorship is vital. All too well, we know the ceiling of achievement for BIPOC Staff. Okay, more opportunities for advancement through mentorship from our upper management will lead to higher retention rates. Now, if your work culture is negative, your BIPOC Staff will feel like there isn’t any room for advancement, so they’ll go. So when you have these mentorships in place, it will give us more feelings of Wow, this company has confidence that they want me to move up. They don’t want me to stay in this lane. They want me to advance by giving me more mentors to see what it’s like to be at this next level. That is what I mean by mentorship is essential.

Step six set the right DEI goals. If you’re not sure about it, D is diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals. So many times, we get the motivation to write these goals out. But then we leave to revisit it on a particular month, and you all know that month. Yep. February, you do your work. In February, you have your one diversity training, and then you’re done. No, no, no, not working today. As I said, we are in a movement, not in a moment. Alright, for cultural understanding. So what I want you to do business owners, even you solopreneur I’m a solopreneur. And I do this to make sure when you’re working on your DEI goals that you revisit them quarterly. We are already reviewing our budgetary goals quarterly. We are already revisiting our use O’s quarterly and our other plans. Add that to your list because the more we can check and correct our practices, the better off we are will be for more positive


. Step seven is provide more training opportunities for advancement that goes hand in hand with our mentorship opportunities.
The old saying of Jeb, we can’t find any. That means we can’t find any individuals of color who will cut it anymore. We’re here. We exist. I always tell people that my Liberian parents did not move to the states for the weather. Okay, they did not come to America to see snow. We are at your football fields with our kids screaming and shouting because our kids are on the same team. We’re at your places of worship. We are literally in your neighborhood. There’s no excuse you can’t find us. We are here. To provide more training opportunities for your Staff to continue learning how different groups are and their distinct cultural differences and getting more opportunities of your existing BIPOC staff.

Your ideal future workforce will provide them the skills needed for advancement because as small business owners, even big organizations, it is way more economical to retain your Staff of color than going through the systems and processes of hiring out a right. So we need to focus on that.


Step eight, survey your organization and your public. If you want to know how your business is faring with cultural competency, you got to look within survey your Staff with Google Forms, anonymously, please. There have been so many Google surveys out there for our organizations that expect you to have your email address and name. Suppose you want that authentic, straight-to-the-point opinion where your staff members and employees feel that they’re in a safe space. Leave that anonymous. Make sure they feel comfortable sharing what they think will be best to help your business move forward. Also, survey your client and consumer base. I know we have a lot of feedback forms and things.

See if you can add some culturally specific questions to understand what your consumers need at this time. And to keep moving forward.

Step nine-Show and Tell. I know you’re thinking, it’s like hiding behind that cloak of disappointment. You might think, “Jeb, we don’t have enough women in our workforce,” or “Jeb, we don’t have enough LGBTQ people in our workforce, or We don’t have enough BIPOC Staff .”I get it, but you need to show and tell us where you are because we’ve got to go and start moving somewhere. Don’t feel that your vulnerability and guiding us and telling us your demographic numbers will hinder; it will be more positive. Because you’re telling me as a consumer, you’re telling me as that future business partner, that this is where you are. And that’s okay. I want you also to recognize that share who you are as an individual because that also speaks volumes of who you identify. And that will also gain more cultural understanding and acceptance.

And step number 10. Prove it. It will hold your organization accountable to get it to the number that reflects your goals. And also, it will show us, the consumer, the employee, the future collaborator, that you know what you need to do to be that beacon to be that authentically for your workforce and show us what your organization represents

Am I Being Punk’d?!

I was doing some reflecting the other day. And when you aren’t educated, you do have those moments where you’re thinking to yourself, okay, am I punk’d? I gotta tell you this story, and it is just gonna make you laugh. So before I became a licensed teacher, I was, I would say, in my district, I was the cultural specialist for the African American cultural center in my town. And my main job was to go district-wide, share my cultural experiences, and do multicultural lessons for kindergarten through 12th grade.

I’m doing my business because I’m sharing all my tips and tricks. Ever since I was in the fifth grade, I shared my love of education with others and taught people who don’t look like me that people who look like me are valued in our scene. And there are a plethora of educational lessons that I have created.

Wink, wink, and you can do it in your classroom every day. But I digress. I have to tell you this story about having that teachable moment where I felt like I was being punked. I was doing this lesson; it was a third-grade lesson. And it was a geography lesson. And the title was called, they have cities in Africa.

I showed my third-grade students in this classroom that I was presenting that Africa is modern. Africa has light poles, streets, cars, you know, we kind of had this, Oh, Ah, and Africans, like myself know that to be true. But the sad thing is the majority of Americans still don’t know that. It’s a fact. Yet, in America, people always look at you like they have electricity? I wanted to show these students in my area that, yes, we do exist. I showed my PowerPoint slides of Oh, look at, they even have golf courses over there. Oh, look at they have streetlights and Oh, look at the tall buildings they have.

You know, it’s not just huts and primitive things that we have stereotypes about Africa. I kid you not, I thought I was punked because the teacher in that classroom that day looked at me seriously as a heart attack and said They have cities in Africa? And I looked at her like this, blinking, thinking, trust me. Am I being punked? Is Ashton Kutcher gonna come around and go, “Ha, we got you!” No Ashton Kutcher, and I’m there the only black girl and like a two-mile radius? And these little cherubs looking up at me thinking, Okay, do not panic, do not call this woman out. But then I basically looked at her.

I said, Yes, let me show you that we have cities in Africa. My literal friends sat her down at her desk gave her a political map of Africa like I did with her students, her little third graders. And as soon as I called the city and the country name, I did it like a bingo game. You’ll see more of that on my website of how to do the same lesson that I have titled they have cities in Africa, because of this teacher as my inspiration. And it was like a bingo game. I would say the city name and the country. And this woman had to color that country and write down the city name. So even when our eight-year-olds were in her class, that woman learned something that day. And to me, I thought to myself, yeah, I have to do more.

This is my purpose of keeping sharing with the world. And all of you that yes, we do have cities in Africa. And yes, people live there every day, doing the best they can like we are doing the best possible. Thank you. Thank you, third-grade teacher, you know who you are, and I will keep it locked and key. I hope you learned something that day. Because you taught me more in that time than I feel like I realized coming into your classroom. Signing off again. And yes, there are some moments where you feel like you’re being punked. Just keep it going because your students are watching how you react.

Let’s Get Inclusive at Work

Let’s Get Inclusive at Work

One of my biggest motivations is to get businesses in schools on the right path of understanding each other interculturally.   I was hoping you could learn some practical ideas and some great strategies to have a more multifaceted lens on understanding your co-workers, colleagues, and employees in a more actionable and respectful way. When we talk about having an inclusive workplace environment, many words are out there to make you feel intimidated. But that’s not what the process is.


When I’m working with my business clients, my most significant push for them is to find ways of holding themselves accountable, and find ways of sustaining this protocol when we move forward. Now, I will give you a little taste of what I have proposed to my clients. 


When we go through these practices, we need to keep in mind that we are all human beings. We will stumble. We need to give ourselves some grace. But then we also need to correct our behavior. So we’re not causing more harm to the people at work. It would help if you thought about your own implicit biases in your actions. How did your life experiences shape you into the person that you are right now? How have the attitudes you have perceived about different groups of people affect you in your workplace? So those are some questions that I want you to take with you on doing your self-work and understand that you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Racial bias is a challenging subject. You also have to take into account your actions and be responsible for what you have done to move forward in the future. Now, I was hoping you could keep in mind when you are trying to do the work of being more culturally inclusive because your colleagues of color do not do the work for you. When it comes to being an ethnic month, it comes to be a specific subject that comes around in your staff meetings. It is not your employee or colleague of color that is supposed to take the reins and do the work for your office. Now, many people say, well, we’re trying to collaborate, we’re trying to get our people of color involved and have that voice.


 But there’s a thing called an emotional tax that people of color like myself face every day. It’s much mental work. It’s much mental energy; we have to put on that brave coat of armor that when we are talking about subjects that comes to intercultural relations when dealing with employees when it comes to dealing with customers. We can only bear that burden for so long and for so much. So it is up to businesses. It is up to school districts and administrators to hire out those services. 

 I will walk you through those steps of making those goals actionable and how it can also hold you guys and gals accountable. And when we are talking about having that inclusive workplace environment, that your leadership is there, they are holding themselves accountable as well. The employees feel like they have a space to go to their leadership if things are not working. You also need to make sure that when you are working together, you recruit people who represent all walks of life in your business.  Leaders need to step up to the plate and get our doors open to everyone to come in. Because the more you have a better representation of everyone, the more your clientele will go and be perceptive of “Wow, they are including everybody”, “Wow, I see myself in their ad”. “Wow, I see myself behind the desk working alongside”. So it is up to us to move that needle forward and get going. And if you’re stuck, I’m here to help.   I can’t wait to share more things with you.

Because once we know what is right in our hearts and minds, we can move forward. Schedule a free consultation appointment right here


“It’s up to us to move that needle forward and get going.”

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To Be Free: Understanding & Eliminating Racism Book Review

 Today, we will focus on a fantastic read called To Be Free: Understanding and Eliminating Racism by Thomas Peacock and Marlene Wisuri. I picked this book as a really great guy to help you on your journey of multicultural awareness and talk about the social construct of race and the systems in place. And it’s not just a black and white issue. It’s a multifaceted issue that needs to be addressed. And what I love about this book is The chapters are very, very well written. 

They are very straight to the point. It talks about how we are all related and finding our own identity as a people and as an individual. Racism throughout history and no group in here has been left out, and it’s talked about a lot of unconscious and unintentional racism biases. It is Minnesota-focused because the Science Museum of Minnesota did an excellent exhibit on race several years ago. But it talks about the history and the social constructs.

Many of us in this space right now that are not in the marginalized group come and ask me all the time, Jeb, where do I get started? I don’t even know where to begin. I’m overwhelmed. I’m not sure of my place and being an ally. How can I make those authentic connections with people that don’t look like me? And I really do recommend books like this. It does answer a lot of those questions that you might have. And you don’t have to be from Minnesota to really enjoy this book. It talks about, you know, what does superiority means, and, you know, terms like ethnocentrism and biases.

 It also goes in-depth about what the terms institutional racism are. Internalized racism, you know, many people get hung up and stuck on the vocabulary. But the most significant piece about being hung up and stuck on the language is the fact of not knowing what they mean. 

 It is a tragedy and the loss of land of our indigenous people. And, you know, there are some graphic pictures in here. So that’s why I talked about it being for adult education only. This is not a book I would recommend in the classroom setting. First and foremost. It is a well thought well-written book. It has even talked about racial incidences. People believe that lynchings in our country’s history were primarily in the south. But that is not the case. 

Where I am from Duluth, Minnesota. There was a lynching in Duluth in 1920 that lynched three young black men in Duluth, and we do have a memorial site for the lynchings of Clayton Jackson and McGee. There is talk about boarding schools with indigenous people. African Americans were denied positions and opportunities. Thomas Peacock’s memories about his life are crucial about lived experiences. It is so important. I mean, they talk about the LatinX, the Jewish faith people, the Hmong people, their stories, African American heritage, the Muslim Islamic people’s faiths, and just talking about how we still have a long way to go. But to move forward, we need to understand people of all walks of life, and they’re in their experiences as well. They talk about people of the Asian Pacific heritage. 

They talk about white supremacy. In the whole circle moments that go hand in hand, they have activities that you can talk about with your families at home to promote more understanding. You know, for instance, writing down as many stereotypes as you can think of and sharing those out, you know, searching things online about things that have happened and dissecting and auditing the different viewpoints. As adults, we need to start by researching and reading books that will help cultivate conversations with our children. I think that is really important.

Another thing I really want to stress out is we need to have our own self-reflection, our own self-audit of our own overt and implicit biases, to check and correct our own authority. To review and update our own preferences. We have to do the work internally. I’m not sure if you can find it in more local bookstores in your area. But check out Afton press.com. See if you can snag yourself a copy. 

I highly recommend To Be Free: Understanding and Eliminating Racism by Thomas Peacock and Marlene Wisuri. It’s forwarded by Eric Jolly. I cannot stress this book out enough. Please get your hands on a copy share it with your book circles.

Like I said, a couple of graphic elements are not suitable for children, and they will cause harm. But as an adult, I really would love for you to take a look at this book, journal about it, process it. This will help us move forward as a society. This is all that I have for you today. Definitely check it out on Afton press.com. See if you can get yourself a copy and start the process of your own identity healing and your own community-building process of how can you be authentic. So thanks again, everyone, for joining me today on the cultural curriculum chat. Be sure to check out more resources for you on my website.

Change Sings Book Review

Are you looking for a great children’s book focused on inclusivity, or I’ve got the book just for you?


Today’s blog will share a fantastic poetic book called Change sings and children’s anthem written by Amanda Gorman. I’m a massive fan of her work. When I saw her speak and read her beautiful poem, we climbed the hill at President Biden’s inauguration. It was an amazing, fantastic poem that I shared with my students. Hopefully, every year moving forward. I love how she writes. I can hear change humming in its loudest proudest song. I don’t fear change coming. And so I sing along. I love to see how the narrator in this text talks about basically changing the world as she sees it. And having friends along with her who are helping, you know, speaks about helping our planet. This book talks about strengthening our hearts and minds and even how to take a stand poetically and peacefully. She talks about adding, you know, any person she comes in contact with, they have an instrument to help play, and it just becomes this beautiful melody of partnership and kinship. All under the same premise of everyone, no matter you’re able this, no matter your, your religious affiliation.
“Everybody belongs in this melody together. And by even singing about change, we can all have a better place, a better world.” My students loved this book, they loved how it would rhyme, and just Amanda’s poet poems are excellent. I also love how she shows the children and says, “you know, we are the change we are.” I quote, “We are the waves starting to spring, For we are the change we sing. We are what the world is becoming. And we know it won’t belong”. Oh, if I could get a t-shirt just on that quote alone, y’all. It is so good.


This is what I always tell my clients and people that know me. It’s like, it’s not a moment. It’s a movement. And this book is the first catalyst for forgetting that movement started. Get this book Change Sings: A children’s anthem, words by Amanda Gorman, pictures by Loren Long.
My students love that it repeats, just like I said. It’s a significant part of your poetry unit. If you have a poetry unit coming up, educators, it’s just a great read-aloud when your children are sitting and having a snack in front of you. And even as a parent, this book should be on your bookshelf. No, I don’t have any affiliation with the publisher. I just love sharing my favorite culturally good books with you all. You know, I don’t need a partner to share that I vetted it. I’m a researcher. I’m an educator.


 And you know, my students always are honest with me. If they don’t like a book, they’ll let me know. Such a book like change scenes is beautiful. It’s got a great representation of all walks of life featured in this book. So kudos to you, Lauren long, and Amanda Gorman keeps shining. I know she will be the Maya Angelou of our next generation. I’ve got many multicultural educational resources and lesson plans that you can find and download today on Jebehedmunds.com.

How can a teacher promote Multicultural Education?

Teachers can use these tools to promote multicultural education in the classroom. There are so many strategies that it could feel overwhelming where to start, and access to diverse resources in your classroom is just the starting point. I will share how you can bring this philosophy to life with multiple perspectives at the forefront.


Students need to connect to their teachers, to their fellow classmates, in a way that is in a belonging classroom. Teachers need to create a classroom environment where children feel safe and have a sense of belonging—the way a classroom is decorated with posters that reflect the different ethnic and language groups. Simple greetings and phrases from multiple languages will help foster that sense of belonging.

Next, teachers need to better understand their students’ backgrounds by developing those relationships with their students. Because all students are different and learn differently, we must encourage multiple concepts to accommodate different learning styles. In my own classroom, I love teaching project-based units of study. One of our Units was titled African American Biography Hall of Fame. I gave my students a list of different African American leaders, scientists, activists, lawmakers, and other contributors and researched their person. They could create a poster, skit, or slide presentation when the research was over. Allowing students to choose to examine the names given opened their eyes to people they hadn’t learned about yet in school.

Educators need to look into historical and current events from books, project-based units, and assessments using multiple perspectives. What group was harmed or affected could be a person who identifies with that group? Educators know this can be hard to discuss or scramble to have a one-sided approach to teaching. We need to know that uncomfortable events required to teach are critical in bridging the gap of understanding. There is still a divide in even teaching a particular event with the notion of ‘let’s not and say we did’ Crossing our fingers to see if they’ll cover this subject next year is not productive.

When studying and researching specific topics, make sure that you have multiple resources to help show the event from all the affected groups’ lenses. For example, when I teach about slavery, I first start with the unit on Ancient African Kingdoms. We often begin with slavery in our educational system, which broaches stereotypes that Africans deemed less than human. I then intertwine the lens of the Age of Exploration with the perspective of what motivating factors were for the Europeans to colonize the Americas. I then combine that with the Americas’ Indigenous peoples and their traditions and life before European contact. Then we delve into what happens when these groups all encounter each other.

Foods and Festivals are great but let’s take it up a notch.
My students study a particular country to learn about their resources, cultural qualities, and governments system before celebrating with foods to share. I can’t tell you how big a fan I am with food and celebrating, but what good does that do to my students if they have no context of why we are eating or celebrating a particular holiday. Teachers, this is where things could fall flat if you don’t have your students take the adequate time to study these events, or you might end up with (Wow, hummus and falafel day, then back to algebra) Students need to know the importance of where that food originated from and why.


Invite families and community members

Our families are a great resource to continuing your Multicultural knowledge that should be used all year long, not just for ethnic holidays or months. Families really love to be included in their child’s learning. This also allows all students to see different groups and their roles in our community. This helps dispel many stereotypes of what a person of color as a parent is. The more our students see people that may not reflect who they are, this is an excellent way to continue the experience of what our world actually looks like.

Make sure that you make your curriculum rigorous that engages the social classroom community. If we want our children to learn to be critical thinkers, we must give them tools to learn from multiple perspectives to be culturally proficient. These are just a start to get you on your way to begin your Multicultural educational journey. You can find out more resources on my website.



I’m going to share with you some key takeaways from my experience this past school year.  Finally, I made it to the top of the “Rocky” stairs in the school year. I really had to learn how to advocate for myself, and I feel stronger doing it that way. I feel like in the world of education, we are at the cusp of concierge-type of instruction. You could do the traditional in-person schooling, or if your families are jet-setters, they will keep their lifestyle of traveling, and students would learn wherever they were.  I feel like we have to get comfortable with this new model of education and education as a whole. 


So my whole purpose of this blog is to share my love and passion for Multicultural education and cultural competency. 


We’ve been through teaching virtually like, trying to fly a plane with train parts, right? And this stuff was very, very hard.  I like to reflect, and I remember thinking to myself, we need universities to start teaching Plague classroom management courses in their education departments. Of course, we had no idea what was happening to the world. So we were all in crisis mode. When we shut down in Minnesota, I felt that we were trying our hardest to figure out this system of how are we going to translate all this stuff that we need to teach our students before the end of the school year?

 And how are we going to navigate that? Traditionally in August, I’m searching Pinterest; for fun ideas for revamping my classroom. That’s when I read my favorite classroom management book, The First Six Weeks by Harry Wong. I have it tabbed and highlighted.


 We were trying to grapple with things that were happening socially. We’re trying to grapple with things that were happening with our health and our neighbors and friends. And we were protecting our own selves and our own little bubble. But as educators, we’re also thinking of how are we going to get through this fall? How am I going to approach my teaching style, how is my style, my methods? How are my kids going to interact when we’re in the middle of a pandemic in the fall? So when I came into the notion of, 


Okay, I’m going to be teaching distance learning. I got myself into that learning mode of literally trying to find things on YouTube, on how to do these learning platforms, that would be easier. We didn’t know what type of learning platform we were going to start out within the fall. But when we finally got to that, I spent a lot of my time trying to map out a schedule. 


Then I thought about what my three mentors & Oprah would do in this situation. My three mentors were Mr. Martin, my high school business teacher. Mr. Rob Tronson, the news director at our local tv station where I interned my senior year of high school, and Mr. Goodspeed, the news director and my boss at an ABC news affiliate where I went to college.  

These three mentors really believed in me, and I know Oprah will too when we meet, LOL.

 When this pandemic hit, I decided, you know what, I’m going to use my first loves, broadcasting & producing. This was my first career before I became a teacher. It felt like riding a bike again. Producing a broadcast is very similar to teaching online. You have to keep things in perfect, consistent time.  At the beginning of the school year, I noticed that my SEL (Social Emotional Learning)strategies were the primary production to start my students’ day when I’d have my morning meetings.

I took it upon myself, and when I was teaching my live synchronous lessons, I noticed that the kids had the power to log off.  I can’t control what the students will be listening to or learning or had to leave for the reason that is out of my knowledge. So what I decided to do with my love of broadcasting was that I chose to double-time with my love of filming. So I would teach live. And then, I would pre-record my lessons, pre-record my reading, pre-record my math, pre-record my science and social studies. So if a student is not available or didn’t come to my Google meet, I still have to show them the standards and benchmarks. I still have to teach them the standards and criteria.




 Because in person, if they’re not physically in your classroom, they are not present, they are not participating. So all those recordings that I would have, I would push out. If my students there at my synchronous live class forgot something, they could always replay it back. And that’s something I found very valuable. 


Another thing that I love to do is read aloud. Since we only have a limited amount of time To read aloud, I decided to do it like a podcast. I’m going to whip up my GarageBand. And I’m going to record myself reading a chapter. And my students loved it. They give me great feedback when they were on the learning system.


 Those are my tips and reflective practices of keeping communication open for your families. Put on your inner Oprah, believe in yourself, and have fun with it. You are your best advocate educators; you know what is best for your learners. No matter if you are in person or teaching virtually. You know how you want your classroom run, and you run it well. Thank you again for reading my blog.

The People Could Fly Book Review

I wanted to share with you a fantastic story. The People Could Fly, written by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. This book is also a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. So you know, it has to be good. The People Could Fly is a fantastic depiction of African folklore and African American history. It talks about the mythical feel of when things were hard. There was a slave who had the feeling and notion that people could fly. The story’s hardships would be too much that they wanted to fly away into the heavens and escape the harsh punishments of slavery. I have created an excellent companion lesson plan that goes along with this book. 


So if you have this book on your shelves or in your library, or if you don’t, you can order it online and check out my lesson plan that goes along with this book. I recommend this book to be read to students in second grade and up. I feel like primary is not quite there yet when we’re trying to understand the history. I know our history is arduous to share and talk about, but I think it’s appropriate for a second grade and above developmentally. 


I use this book when I’m talking about slavery in my classroom because it shows students the harsh reality of what slavery was like in a way for elementary students to comprehend and process. I use this book to showcase the African folktales because, you know, as well as I do, oral tradition is one of the fabrics of African culture. This book is beautifully illustrated and shows black people in the regalia and wings of angels flying in that magic. I also want you to see that you have checked out the words and understand them when reading this book to your students. I want educators to be mindful of how students could react to the story. And this also opens up an excellent discussion. If you’re not quite sure of what discussion questions that you need. I already have that written in my lesson plan for you. Take this book and take all the other multicultural resources that you can find in my shop. I have lots of curriculum guides and lesson plans. I even have available presentations, and you can listen to my podcast Cultural Curriculum Chat with Jebeh Edmunds wherever you listen to podcasts as well.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Book Review

I wanted to introduce one of my favorite autobiographies, the Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer. I love this book because it talks about a boy’s determination to solve a problem. Does that sound like engineers out there? It’s a great story of engineering, perseverance, and resiliency. There are two versions of this story. And I forgot to mention it is written by the Boy himself, William Kamkwamba, and he is a native of Malawi. I love that it has two versions. You could get to the chapter book version. And I use a chapter book version when I teach my fifth-grade class for my read-aloud. When I use the picture book, it is perfect for primary-age students because they can see the illustrations and make those connections. The text with my expertise in finding multicultural books throughout the world incorporates that in my classroom, students get a different perspective of how day-to-day life is for kids worldwide. I use this book as an example. Because traditionally, throughout the continent of Africa, students have to pay for their elementary to high school education and even in college.

My parents were born and raised in Liberia. And they told me growing up that they had school fees and tuition that they had to pay for things that we take for granted in the United States. There was a natural disaster of famine in his home country when we have free public education, and 1000s of people die during that big famine. What I also wanted to show my students is with hardships and challenges, you can still persevere. And this book really gives you that firsthand account of what it’s like to strive. This was one of my students’ favorite books that I read out loud to them. And I wanted to share with you all one of my famous autobiographies. William Kamkwamba also did a TED talk, which I think is very important to watch. I even made a curriculum lesson plan that is a companion to this book. So when you get your book, wherever you find it, please go onto my website, order your lesson plan that goes along with this book. I have many standards that are compatible with your needs in the state that you belong to.

And I also have great thought-provoking questions that will help you from primary to upper elementary, even middle school to help you form good discussions around this book, no matter how hard he worked. He had people in his community, even his mother, who doubted his hope and dream to get a windmill into his town to irrigate. The crops drying out and die by students were rooting for him every page of this book. It is so important to show your students different perspectives around the world. And great discussion of what you can do when you put your mind to something. This book has to be on your shelves. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Check it out and check out my companion lesson plan in my Shop.

The Undefeated Book Review

I wanted to share with you one fantastic poetry book called The Undefeated. Kwame Alexander writes it. I’m a massive fan of his books.  This book of prose is illustrated by Kadir Nelson, a big fan of his beautiful students and teachers’ beautiful artwork. Understanding what African Americans faced during this time and during our time now, I would recommend you use this book for your poetry unit within your curriculum talks about lots of repetition, rhyme, and alliteration. It does show with the illustrations—the breadth and the depth of the feelings and the emotions with these different people. I tell you, this book is, of course, believable see, I got a “Un” for you right there; it is unbelievable to get the book The Undefeated. You will not be disappointed. So check out my shop on my website  so you can order your companion lesson plan The Undefeated is a great book to have in your classroom library. 

My Favorite Multicultural Book List to Boost up your classroom library

I’m sharing my favorite multicultural books to boost up your classroom libraries. The first book I’d love to introduce to you is a true autobiography called The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind. Now I recommend the picture book for primary-aged students. And for secondary age, there is a chapter book version. William Kamkwamba, who the story is about, and Brian Mealer; pictures are by Elizabeth Zunon. The cool thing I like about this book is it talks about one engineering, how do you solve a problem? And another exciting thing about it is how this boy used his engineering skills to help save his village. Now there is a movie, but I highly warn it to have you watch it at school. I recommend that they scan it at home with their families because there are some themes about tragedy and hardships that are not suitable for the classroom.


I love Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson.  I’m a huge fan of Jacqueline Woodson. It talks about a new student coming into a new school and how her peers treat her also gives a great discussion on how we treat each other. Now, for your secondary kids, I always start where my favorite read-aloud of all time is One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia. It’s a great read. It’s got elements of trying to connect with your family’s self-identity and social justice. And it takes place in the 1960s in Oakland, California, during the Black Panther movement is Nelson Mandela’s favorite African folktales. There are a  plethora of folktales from all over the African continent. Also, what I love to read is, there’s small enough that you could do a quick read-aloud while your students are eating their snack. It’s funny. It’s a lot of fun. And then you can have the children pick up the book and read it themselves.


I love books with characters in them, but this one, in particular, is Ell Ray Jakes. It’s by Sally Warner.  I recommend this book for middle readers. I would say probably between second to third grade. What I love about EllRay Jakes is he’s a great pal. But the themes about this book, what I like is that kids like him that look like him or not can relate to his ups and downs in elementary school. So definitely check this book out. I’m a dancer. I love doing ballet when we grew up. That’s all we did. And I always am a big fan of Misty Copeland. The book she wrote with Christopher Myers is called Firebird after one of the most famous productions that put her on the map. It talks about Missy Copeland talking to another young girl who’s a ballerina and helping her achieve her dreams. And another one that doesn’t have to wait till February is young, gifted, and black. What I love about this book, it has pages of black heroes from the past and the present.

 But there are some people that you probably never even heard about before. I love that there is one page you can have students use as a starting point for their research. And what I also love about it, it’s fun quick. You get to know factual people who do exist. And what I also love is this from contributions of every facet of humanity. So these are my favorite must-have books that you have to have in your classroom library. Because like I always say, the more we know about each other, the better we can understand who we are. If you’d like more, I have a whole library of lesson plans and multicultural material to help you build your classroom community right here on my website.

Cupcakes & Teacher Contracts

 I just wanted to share one of my favorite rituals in my classroom with you. It’s birthdays, and everybody loves birthdays, especially my students. They love to be celebrated on their special day. In my classroom management handbook that I send to my parents, I expect what to expect when it comes to birthdays. Yep, I’m a mom of two busy boys. And I get it when students want to share their birthday with a treat. And I’ve got a story for you that I will never forget for my classroom management plan. I always let my parents know right up front what my expectations are for the school year, from assignments to get in touch with me during the school day, and even birthdays, yes, birthdays. Now my colleagues always give me a hard time in the right way. Because they know there’s a ‘no cupcake rule’ in my classroom. And why you might add? Oh, Jebeh, it’s their birthday, don’t you want to celebrate them and have them have a sweet treat just a little bit. Listen,


I love some good buttercream. And I love cake like everyone else. Even my husband got me a cake that literally was the size of his truck bed.


I love the cake. But to me, as an educator, the cake can go. I wanted to promote something healthy and fun and activities for all of my students. Let me give you an example. In my first year of teaching, I  had the conviction of knowing that food sensitivity on the rise; I thought to myself, my ideal classroom will be inclusive for all of my kids. So I decided to get rid of the birthday cake rule. I didn’t say we weren’t going to celebrate their children in my classroom. Oh, we’re gonna celebrate. But we don’t need sugar to honor them for that day. Think of this as an educator, especially when I first started teaching six and seven-year-olds. When I taught first grade, parents will go down the hallway with their big sheet cake, and in my colleagues’ classrooms, bring a knife. The teacher ended up cutting up all the cake pieces for the students, and the parent leaves. And they’d show up at like 8:30 in the morning. To get the kids sugared up, say,” bye.” And go.


And then that teacher has to deal with the sugar crash before lunch. And as a teacher myself thinking about this and visualizing it. Oh, my goodness. I’m not a teacher. Now. I’m like a Chuck E Cheese, and I did not want any part of it. With the rise of food allergies and food sensitivities. Can I imagine myself cutting a piece of cake for one child and tell the other one? Oh, no, because you can’t have it, you don’t get it. Do you really want to see a six-year-old kid cry? Do that to them. So I decided I’m gonna do a fun little Liberian birthday dance. It’s not patented. It can be any song you want. But what I decided to do for all of my students when I first started teaching was a birthday song. My favorite birthday song that I’ve used, and I don’t have any rights to it, is Prince Nico Margba Happy birthday. And that is the title of the dance that we dance to. And it can be fun and festive. And I tell you my students loved it every year because we are doing the birthday dance, Mrs. Edmunds, and that’s what I wanted to instill in my students. Let me tell you when I implemented my no cupcake rule.

  I was the only black teacher in the building. It was my first year teaching in the classroom with my own group of ducklings. And that mama came up with her Angry Birds cupcakes. And I looked her in the eye and said, No, cupcakes are not allowed in this classroom. What?! she got mad. She was furious. You’re telling me my child can’t have cupcakes? It’s his birthday. And I looked at her, and I said, Yes, ma’am. He can have cupcakes at home. And you did sign my parent handbook saying that you read my expectation was no cupcakes and that your child will still be celebrated, but just in a different way. She huffed and puffed went right to the principal’s office. And I handed her a copy of her signed expectations that I told her that “you said you read it, you signed it. And now, cupcakes on you. ” And I marched back in there. And I tell you, butterflies in my stomach. 


I am not confrontational at all. Her little boy was none the wiser. We played our music, we started making our dance moves to my made-up choreography names like “wash the windows” and “sweep that floor.” And we “broke our back and then break it.” We did the “Shaky- shaky.”  Then we went back to do our Dolch words.  She saw the contract that she signed. She saw her signature. And she left that day with those Angry Birds cupcakes and didn’t look back. That was my first year of teaching. But I guarantee you every single year that I have that no cupcake rule, there’s always one parent, and my colleagues and principals, and I just laugh,because Jebeh has copies. Jebeh has proof that you signed it, knew the rules, and still thought you could sneak one past her. 


And so to me, teachers and educators, whatever you decide, do it. And you know what I know for a fact, some parents probably told my principals, we don’t want to be in her class because she’s got a cupcake embargo. And you know what, I feel sorry for your kids. Because if that was the only thing you didn’t want to have me in? Well, they missed out on a lot. And you know what, go with grace. That’s all I have to say on that piece. But I will never forget my first year teaching my little firsties that year. And she came in angrier than those Angry Bird rings on those cupcakes. But I stuck to my guns. I knew what I was doing.


Because first and foremost, I wanted an inclusive classroom community that didn’t have to worry about their own dietary restrictions or sensitivities to make themselves feel othered. Because of what the norm was, it’s time to change the standard, people. And we can do it. When my principles in my building knew my expectations from the jump. They were there to support me as an educator. And I even made little quip cupcakes that aren’t in my teaching contract. So I don’t need to have cupcakes in my classroom. And you can hem and haw all you want. But trust me, my students are happy, they’re engaged, they are getting recognized.

I’ve taught in buildings where the poverty rate is over 85%. I cannot tell you how many times families have come to me and say, Thank you, Jebeh. I can’t afford to get cupcakes for 22 kids in this class. 


That’s one less thing I need to worry about. of all the stuff I need to deal with. When you are an educator, you cannot assume that.  Because I’m in where I’m at, as an educator, not all of my students, families are in that same boat. Not all of my students, families are thinking, Oh, my son’s birthday is coming up, I have to deal and get my son or my daughter’s birthday set up for my family in any way that I see that is okay. But then I also have to do the exact expectations at school. That is really very sensitive. And when you feel like a parent that you can’t provide for your child, and you’re barely making it at home, you have that extra stress on top for school and alleviates that pressure. 


As an educator, first, I implore you to think about how you do celebrations in your classroom. Also, keep in mind, families come from different religious backgrounds. Families probably don’t celebrate their birthdays. So you also need to be sensitive to the fact and ask your parents how you would feel if we celebrated your child in an appropriate way for your family? Because the last thing we as educators want to do is we always have our good intentions. But we do seem to trip over that as well. When you move forward, especially in a time like this, you can still celebrate your students in a fun, engaging; you can do dances that are different genres. It doesn’t have to be an African song, but I want you to think outside of the box for once and leave the treats at home. 

How to be a culturally responsive educator

There’s a big push for social justice and activism, which is fantastic. I also want you to think about this movement. How can you as a teacher be culturally appropriate and culturally present? How do you respond to situations when it comes to educating your students? I want you to learn today when it comes to being a culturally responsive teacher doing a self-audit.

Self-audit can help us determine our own implicit biases. We all have implicit biases. We are born with these file folders in our brains, where we have been receiving messages since we were young children. Messages through media, your family members, and your community as a whole influences your implicit personal bias. Subconsciously, we are reflecting those biases out loud with the community around us.

Educators need to learn through this process to be culturally responsive. We need to see what you are doing that could be causing harm to your students? Ask yourself, what am I doing that is subconsciously harming my students that I would not intend?

Perhaps your students received your words or actions in a way that could be culturally insensitive. Take the time to reflect and do the work. You know, you can’t move forward in life if you don’t do the work yourself.

“Self-audit can help us determine our own implicit biases.”

What is Multicultural Education?

In the 1960s, African Americans and other ethnic populations started to create a movement away from what was being taught. The biggest challenge was going against the normative assimilations shown to students and the rest of society. 

By the 1970s through the 1980s, the term Ethnic Studies rose with more opportunities for educators to connect their ideas and resources that went far beyond college campuses around the country. In 1992, more publications based on Multicultural Education became one of the requirements in the Educational field. Over half of the teacher education programs in the United States were required to implement these multicultural education programs to get accreditation. 

The 5 Categories of Multicultural Education 

  1. Teacher Learning: First and foremost, educators need to have a deep understanding of the various ethnic groups in our society in terms of race, ethnicity, language, and social class and ways how it interacts with student behavior. 
  2. Student Learning: A good school climate weighs how the building uses all of its students’ learning experiences. Great examples would include understanding multiple perspectives when learning about historical events like the westward movement and learning about the various points of view from all the different ethnic groups at that time.
  3. Intergroup Relations:  Members of various groups should work within to improve relationships. Educators can use flexible grouping methods to combat stereotypes within the group for better understanding. 
  4. School Governance, Organization, and Equity: Describes how a school’s policies and practices are implemented to promote a more inclusive balance with approaches that engage in service to both the community and school organization as a whole. 
  5. Assessment: Teachers know that we need to use multiple systems to understand students’ areas fully when we assess our students. The knowledge base teachers have with formative and summative assessment practices are highly encouraged to use project-based assessments beyond the traditional measures of student ability. 


I highly recommend that you read more about Dr. James Banks’s work and please discuss these principles with your staff. I remember going to professional staff development, reading, and studying these principles. I wish that we all can do more and use the steps to better understand and help our students from diverse racial, cultural, ethnic, and language backgrounds. 

Our society is changing rapidly. It’s up to us to better understand how to accommodate those changes and practice equitable ways to dispel stereotypes and keep our implicit biases in check when interacting with our various groups in the classroom. 

"Red wall background with peeling plaster in the shape of Africa, has great patina"
Close up of liberian post stamp showing a butterfly




The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Book Review

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Book Review

“The importance of sharing different perspectives worldwide is vital to your classroom community.

The Boy, who harnessed the wind by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer, is one of my favorite autobiographies to teach in my classroom. This book is about a boy’s determination to solve a problem. It’s a great story of engineering, perseverance, and resiliency. William Kamkwamba writes it, and he is a native of Malawi. I love that it has two versions. I use a chapter book version when I teach my fifth-grade class for my read alouds.

I use the picture book version because it is perfect for primary-age students to see the illustrations and connect with the text.
With my expertise in finding multicultural books throughout the world for my classroom, students get a different perspective of how day-to-day life is for kids worldwide. I use this book as an example. Traditionally, throughout Africa’s continent, students have to pay for their education. My parents were born and raised in Liberia. They told me growing up that they had school fees and tuition that they had to pay. The story’s premise was a natural disaster of drought, which brought famine to William’s home country.

What I also wanted to show my students is with hardships and challenges, you can still persevere. And this book gives you that firsthand account of what it’s like to strive. This story is one of my students’ favorite books that I read out loud to them. William Kamkwamba also did a TED talk, which I think is very important to watch.

I even made a curriculum lesson plan that is a companion to this book. I have many standards that are compatible with your needs in your state. I also have great thought-provoking questions that will help your elementary and even middle school students form good discussions around this book. No matter how hard he worked. He had people in his community, even his mother, who doubted his hope and dream to get a windmill into his town to irrigate.

The importance of sharing different perspectives worldwide is vital to your classroom community. This book has to be on your shelves: The Boy Who harnessed the wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Elizabeth Zunon illustrates the book. Check it out and check out my companion lesson plan for purchase on www.jebehedmunds.com.

What kind of a name is that?!

What kind of a name is that?!

How changing an implicit bias question into a positive cultural interaction with your students.

I dreaded the first days of school because I knew my teacher would have a hard time pronouncing my first name. It always started with the teacher nervously chuckling aloud while trying to pronounce my name.  When they gave up, the teacher would ask, “What kind of name is that?” At first, I felt ashamed of my name, I remembered why my parents chose my name in the first place. I was named after Chief Jebbeh Ijay of the Vai People of Liberia. She was my great aunt. My father said Aunty Jebbeh was highly respected and well known throughout our nation. My parents told me that you name your child after someone who had played an essential role in your life in our culture. My father saw the reverence in his aunt in a nation where women were highly revered and respected (as they should).

“I was this little immigrant from Liberia in Minnesota in Middle School. I was the only black girl in my class with a name that my teacher couldn’t keep a straight face with. Can you imagine how our students feel? They are already nervous about their first day of school. They didn’t name themselves, but the people who did call their child that name for a reason should be respected.”

I have been an educator for well over a decade, and I’ve been to countless cultural competency and bias training with my colleagues. I’ve even trained organizations in both the education sector and governmental departments. Each time I teach others, it all boils down to one philosophy about how you can improve your classroom community with diversity and inclusion. Here it goes….”Assume nothing, learn everything.”  If my teacher on that first day of the school asked me about my name without any assumptions and intending to know my name, it would have made me and other students like myself feel welcome.