Muslim American Educators Driving Change in the Classroom

Nagla Bedir and Luma Hasan (pictured above), both social studies teachers in New Jersey, co-founded Teaching While Muslim to help address some of the challenges and frustrations they experienced as students growing up as Muslim Americans.

Trying to articulate a complex identity when faced with peers and educators who have a limited understanding of what it means to be Muslim often left Nagla and Luma on the defensive, responding to micro-aggressive questions and bigoted accusations that would not be necessary if school curricula were fully inclusive.

twm-logo.pngNow as educators, they are driving the change to address this lack of inclusion.The Teaching While Muslim site is a space intended to deepen understanding of the complicated identities of Muslims in the United States, including the diverse experiences of Muslim educators. It is also a platform for resources and tools.

Bedir and Hasan took a few minutes to talk about their efforts and where they see their work headed.

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Grant Opportunity for SEL Projects

Education First is now seeking applications for teacher-led projects that foster social and emotional learning (SEL) skillsin students in grades PK-12 through the NoVo Foundation Social Emotional Learning Innovation Fund.

Deadline: April 20

They will award up to $5,000 to individual teachers or groups of teachers to implement an innovative project in their classrooms and schools in the 2018-2019 school year. They are also looking for applications from districts and charters to support innovative social and emotional learning in students grades PK-12. They will award up to $25,000 per year for applicants selected for district-level work.

Though all proposals are welcome, Education First is seeking proposals that specifically serve one of the following student populations:

  • Students from indigenous communities
  • New arrivals (such as refugees) or immigrants
  • English learners
  • LGBTQI students

>> Learn more and apply

Teaching Empathy

Check out these two new lessons created by the grand finalists of the Facing History and Ourselves 2017 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants. Today’s world calls for more empathy and these two winners have worked hard to develop approaches that help your students understand empathy and how to consider other points of view that may differ from their own.  Explore them today and see how you can create a more compassionate world with your students.

>>  Download Lessons

Millennium Villages Traveling Education Exhibit

Get on the Bus! Millennium Villages Project Traveling Educational Exhibit is an opportunity to take students on a journey of exploration, education and inspiration – it’s a human rights learning experience. An interactive classroom curriculum​ that highlights the connections between global human rights issues and local community issues, through the lens of poverty.  The in-classroom program is enhanced by a traveling art exhibition in a converted bus that comes to your school.

This program rolls out across the US in September 2018! For more information and to sign up go to Get on the Bus!

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Generation Human Rights, the VII Foundation, and United Photo Industries have come together to bring lesson plans and visual storyteller documentation of the Millennium ​Villages ​Project​ to youth in the US.

Human Rights as a Tool to Address Climate Change

Professor Rebecca M. Bratspies of CUNY Law School has published a timely new article in the current issue of the University of Miami Law Review, titled The Climate for Human Rights.  Here’s the abstract:

Climate change is the defining challenge of the 21st century.  The United States government is currently ignoring the problem, but wishful thinking alone will not keep global mean temperature rise below 2ºC. This Article proposes a way forward. It advises environmental decision-makers to use human rights norms to guide them as they make decisions under United States law. By reframing their discretion through a human rights lens, decision-makers can use their existing authority to respond to the super-wicked problem of climate change.

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Girl’s Rights Platform

Plan International has developed a new Girl’s Rights Platform that consists of a vast searchable database of a variety of human rights documents and conventions by the UN and regional bodies. There’s also a UN debate tracker planned. That platform has been developed for human rights activists, NGO staff, and academics and is also a useful resource for educators who work with girls and on human rights. The platform includes an online learning experience with modules on different aspects of girls’ human rights. To find the modules, follow the link to the quiz section where you can test and increase your knowledge.

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