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.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1495555/11874324 

  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. 

https://www.amazon.com/Nicole-Fifth-Grade-Tiffaney-Whyte/dp/B0B8BPKFZ6

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.

 

 

 Check 

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.