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Dedicated to Teachers

PLC Series: It All Begins With Acquaintance

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month, we learn how to open discussions about sensitive topics, and hopefully help bend our world toward social justice.​

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What is the narrative of your classroom? 

Harvey “Smokey” Daniels and Sara Ahmed, co-authors of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry (2015) talk about the cycle of building community among classmates that starts with acquaintance, moves toward friendliness, and leads to supportive classroom behavior.

As you watch the clip, pay special attention to Sara’s words about using a person’s story to build empathy and a sense of obligation. In what ways can you give students more opportunities to hear stories to expand their perspectives?


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Looking for more PD on this topic?

Off-site:  Learn more with Smokey and Sara, along with Nancy Steineke, Donalyn Miller, and Kristin Ziemke, in a Multi-Day Institute in New Orleans, LA., January 13-16, 2017:  “Inquiry, Literacy and Life: Cultivating Student Engagement, Curiosity, and Collaboration”. Get more information here!

On-Site: Take a look at customized seminars, consulting authors, and speakers, and residencies available to you by clicking here.

Online: Heinemann’s Digital Library features a Social Justice category full of content to support your thinking and conversations, in addition to numerous complete professional titles. Learn more here!


***Join the November book study (in the Heinemann PD Teaching & Learning Facebook group) centered on Smokey Daniels’ and Sara Ahmed’s book Upstanders.***

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Sara Ahmed (@SaraKAhmed) has taught in urban, suburban, public, independent, and international schools. Sara is coauthor with Harvey "Smokey" Daniels of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry. Sara's classrooms are designed to help her young adolescent students to consider their own identities and to take action in the world in socially responsible ways. She is a long time member of the teacher leadership team for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization devoted to developing critical thinking and empathy for others. Sara will be spending the 2016-2017 school year at NIST International School in Bangkok,Thailand as a PreK-6 Literacy Coach.

Harvey “Smokey” Daniels (@smokeylit), a former classroom teacher and college professor, is a full-time author and consultant. He offers demonstration lessons, workshops, and school improvement support, showing elementary and secondary teachers how to build students’ literacy, engage them in inquiry, and strengthen the social-academic skills kids need to become lifelong learners. Smokey is the author/coauthor of 20 bestselling books, including Subjects Matter; Best Practice; Comprehension & Collaboration; and Literature Circles. His book The Curious Classroom: Ten Ways to Get Started with Inquiry will be published in 2017.


Topics: Heinemann, PLC Series, Amy Bauman, Bank Street, Digital Campus, Professional Development, Social Justice

Date Published: 11/14/16

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