Good Read! "Comic book artists and survivors address gun violence" by Chauncey K. Robinson (from People's World)

...

he anthology contains over 70 stories from over 150 different creators who collaborated with Las Vegas locals to come up with both fictional and eye-witness accounts. One hundred percent of the proceeds for the “Where We Live” anthology will be donated to the nonprofit organization Route91Strong, which seeks to help “survivors with support through financial assistance hope, strength, change, and love.”

One of the contributors, best-selling author Neil Gaiman, remarked about the project, “It’s a strange place, this time and this country, in which having tools that can only be used to murder is seen as human right… It’s about wounds and healing, about death and forgiveness, about pain and childhood and the dark. I hope it helps make people think, and I’m honored to be part of the conversation....."

Read the full article here on People's World

Buy the anthology Where We Live here from ImageComics

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Resource: Richmond Young Writers!

Looking for something awesome for kids to do? Check out Richmond Young Writers! 

Richmond Young Writers is a creative writing incubator for ages 9-17. We write, we read, we laugh, we cry, we get messy, we polish things up, we bond. We make each other better.

RYW offers once-a-week fall and winter/spring after-school workshops in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, journalism, comics, and other topics.

In the summer, we offer 18 different week-long creative writing camps, complete with amazing guest author appearances, snacks, deep thoughts, wordy goodness and a new crew of crazy writer friends.

About

Richmond Young Writers was founded in the summer of 2009 at Chop Suey Books with the intention of introducing young people to the joy of creative writing through workshops taught by professional writers in the community. Our workshops are now held right down the street at 2707 West Cary Street.

Full and partial scholarships are offered in each workshop to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in our programs.

We have had the pleasure of writing with young people ages 8-17 from Richmond, Henrico, Glen Allen, Ashland, Chesterfield, Midlothian, Montpelier, Powhatan, Moseley, Mechanicsville, Afton, Rockville, Gloucester, Charlottesville and more.

Learn More Here

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Great Read! "13 Books to Teach Children About Protesting and Activism" by Jackie Reeve (from Geek Mom)

"It’s a politically charged time to be alive in the US. Yesterday’s Women’s March brought out incredible numbers of people in cities and towns around the world who exercised what we consider a fundamental right in America. Maybe you had your young children with you, like I did. I realized while we were marching in a local protest that activism can be a hard thing to define to young kids. Keep the conversation going with these books that help explain and demonstrate what it’s all about...."

Read Jackie Reeve's Excellent List on Geek Mom

 

Collage by Jackie Reeve

Collage by Jackie Reeve

Creating Peace in Your Classroom- Three Things You Can Do Tonight by Amanda Baker

“Establishing peace is the work of education.”-Maria Montessori

We teachers love teacher movies. You know the ones I’m talking about- bad kids, low-performing schools, difficult administration, absent parents, and the rising star teacher who inspires the kids to “come together to learn and be their best selves.” And it works out every. single. time. “How do I DO THAT???” we ask from our post on the couch, covered in ungraded papers and potato chip dust. They make it look so good and so easy!

We want to create that sense of belonging in our own classrooms. We want to give our students that sense of peace that passes all understanding when they step through our doors. We want to be inspirational too! And so, we pack up our papers, adjust our ties and our attitudes, and head out in the morning ready to HAVE A GOOD DAY IN OUR CLASSROOMS AND CREATE OUR OWN PEACEFUL LITTLE COMMUNITY, DAMMIT.

And the same student that you normally have trouble with doesn’t respond to your smile and chirpy greeting of “Good morning! Welcome! It’s a great day to learn!” And the same skippers skip. And the same kid who is sullen is still sullen. That kid still got into a fight in the hallway. This kid still cussed out a fellow classmate. Your greeting didn’t matter. Your new lesson plan with an article about achieving inner peace, written by the Dalai Lama no less, and your carefully-crafted guided reading worksheet and thoughtful journal response flopped. Most of the kids refused to write the journal, and the worksheets had one or two-word answers that didn’t really make sense. You think, “If only this kid wasn’t in my room,” or “Uuuggghhhh… if those two kids were just different,” or instead of the awful “he’s/she’s a bad kid,’ we say the equally damning but more polite, “Well, she’s/he’s a ring leader, you know.” Insert extreme teacher eyeball roll here, add resigned slow head shake for full effect.

THOSE kids just RUINED it.

Relax. Take a deep breath.

One worksheet is not going to “fix” a decade or more of a chaotic home life, undiagnosed learning difficulties, substance abuse, physical abuse, neglect, or even a rumbly tummy from no breakfast and lunch.

Banishing one kid to in-school suspension every chance you get isn’t going to help your classroom climate more than temporarily. Blaming the classroom disruptions on one kid as the “ring leader” and wishing for their family to suddenly move away isn’t going to make your classroom Hollywood perfect either.

There are some things you CAN do, however.

Things that aren’t blinking neon arrows that say “HERE IS THE WAY TO PEACE AND HARMONY!” They are subtle and quiet, they don’t require you to chang e your seating chart (which we all know is a nightmare), or for you to send out “that kid” again.

1. Do some self-care.

Normally we teachers see this at the bottom of lists like these, as an afterthought. But you know that whole “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” cliché? It works for classrooms too. If you, dear teacher, are tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out, your classroom is going to feel that stress, and your stress negatively impacts everything you are trying to do. The University of Groningen in the Netherlands did a research study on the effects of teacher stress on students. They found that teachers “…who showed higher levels of stress at the beginning of the year displayed fewer effective teaching strategies over the rest of the school year, including clear instruction, effective classroom management, and creation of a safe and stimulating classroom climate for their students, than did the teachers with lower initial stress levels” (Sparks).

So, whatever you do to get unstressed, do that. Use the “check plus, check, check minus” grading system for some minor worksheets if it helps you clear that stack off the desk. Ride your bike after class. Force yourself to stop grading by a certain time so you can have time for a bath and a book. And do not feel guilty about it at. all. If you’re less stressed, then you’ll be more at peace, which means that feeling will carry over into your classroom too.

2. Watch your mouth.

Sometimes, we are own worst enemy. I teach high school, and every year I hear stories about “the mean thing that Ms. So-and-so called me when I was in 3rd grade…” or a class reminisces about how they drove Mr. So-and-so to yelling in 5th grade and how red his face gets. Those throw-away words stay with a kid FOREVER. They internalize the “Oh my god, why are you so stupid??” comments. They never forget the “You just need to shut up” snap. The frustrated “What is wrong with you? It’s a simple word!” sinks into the deepest parts of them, and it trickles up to effect that student’s response to every teacher they have after that. It’s hard for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and think, “Ohhhh… I’m the problem here,” but many times, we are. In the article “When The Teacher Is The Bully," one teacher admits that he bullied his students, particularly special education students. He was eventually forced to resign because of parent complaints. It took him three years to come to terms with the damage he had done, and when he returned to the classroom, he said he hasn’t raised his voice even once. Your mouth can wreck a kid for life.

3. Create a space for peace to live in your room.

“Flexible seating” is all the educational rage right now, and I am lucky enough for the first time in fourteen years to have a classroom big enough for a loveseat, a rug, and a pretty floor lamp… and thirty desks. You might not. But a rug under your desk, a glider rocker in the corner, and a nice desk lamp might be do-able. Pinterest is full of ideas for small classrooms spaces. The point is to create a physical place that the kids see, can access if they need it, and offers peace and quiet when needed. That bit of peace in your room might be the only peace they experience all day. And for a kid to know day after day, week after week that that space is there for them to use when they need it gives them something special to look forward to in your room. Montessori schools are experts at creating peaceful, safe spaces for their students. Their entire model is based on the “prepared environment” that makes for peaceful, productive learning. Make time to go check out one someday and see how it’s done.

Dear Teacher, you are the author of your own peace and the peace of your classroom. I’d like to say that my classrooms are always peaceful, but they aren’t. I teach teens, notorious for outrageous language and fights and rebellions, but every grade level is challenging for different reasons. I will say that I have very few arguments even though we discuss tough and controversial social issues. In fourteen years, I’ve had only two scuffles in my room. I do yell sometimes, but it’s mostly “STOP TALKING!!!” five thousand times. Last semester a kid gratefully threw their bookbag on the floor and sank in relief onto the couch and said, “I am so happy this couch is here. I really needed it today.” You and I can’t control what is going on at home. We have very little say in what they do from 3:30pm to 8am, sixteen hours of NOT us. In many schools, teachers aren’t allowed to touch their students at all, never mind give them the hugs they so desperately need.

We have a small window of opportunity to model for them what life CAN be like, what they can create for themselves and their futures, the endless possibilities of peace for all of us. Don’t waste it.

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References

Kelmon, Jessica. “When The Teacher Is The Bully.” Great Schools, October 2017. https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/when-the-teacher-is-the-bully/

Miller, Alice Lawson. “Cultivating Peace In The Classroom.” Montessori Services, 2011. https://www.montessoriservices.com/ideas-insights/cultivating-peace-in-the-classroom

Sparks, Sarah. “How Teacher Stress Affects Students: A Research Roundup,” Education Week Teacher, June 2017. https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2017/06/07/how-teachers-stress-affects-students-a-research.html

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Amanda Baker is a member of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace. Mother, teacher, daughter, friend, writer, Amanda has been teaching high school English for fourteen years and in two states. Currently living in Southside Virginia, this Yankee transplant has been a waitress, a technical writer, a truck driver, a business owner, a corporate secretary, and an educator. In addition, she volunteers for the Halifax Dog Squad helping to rescue and transport dogs, and in the summers, she helps to sew costumes for The Prizery's Summer Theater Celebration. 

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AMAZING RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS: "Starting at the Margins: An Invitation to Writing Our Civic Futures" (from Educator Innovator)

"We invite educators to a year of social reading, collaborative web annotation, and public conversation that explores our civic imaginations and literacy landscapes. As civic engagement changes and evolves, Writing Our Civic Futures will discuss and consider implications for connected learning and teaching...

In this collaboration, we partner with—and draw texts from—a range of educators, youth, scholars, media makers and journalists to think about the landscape of civic engagement and education while imagining ways that we can engage ourselves and our students as writers and makers of our civic futures. This project leverages the web annotation platform Hypothes.is, adding multiple voices to critical conversations about equity and education...."

How it works:

  • Writing Our Civic Futures will kick off the first week of October 2017 and runs through May 2018. See the Writing Our Civic Futures Syllabus for details!
  • The first week of each month a new reading will be posted on the syllabus as a live annotatable link for sharing and social annotation.
  • Related events happening that month will also be announced. CLTV broadcasts will be aired at educatorinnovator.org; follow @innovates_ed and #marginalsyllabus (on Twitter) to keep abreast of these opportunities.
  • We encourage your participation in the week-long annotation of each text, though readings will remain online throughout for annotation and discussion.
  • We encourage you to use these readings and the opportunity to annotate however it best works for you—organize a study group, bring a class you are teaching, engage as an individual, connect it to a meeting....."

Explore This Amazing Resource Here

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RESOURCE: Free Clinic of Central Virginia, Lynchburg

The Free Clinic of Central Virginia envisions a community where everyone has access to quality healthcare services. The mission of the Free Clinic of Central Virginia is to provide high‐quality medical, dental, pharmacy and health education services to those in Central Virginia who do not have the resources to obtain these basic healthcare services. We are able to do our work because of generous volunteers who give of their time to help improve the health of our community.

Contact Info

Free Clinic of Central Virginia, 1016 Main Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504

Phone: 434-847-5866 • Fax: 434-528-2529 • E-mail: info@freeclinicva.org

Hours

 Monday, Wednesday and Friday — 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday — 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Closed every afternoon from 1-2 p.m. for lunch.

Become a Patient

Free Clinic of Central Virginia provides expert care with superior treatment results to patients at all points in their care from diagnosis to treatment and ongoing wellness.

Make An Appointment

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Ways You Can Support the Free Clinic of Central Virginia

Volunteer

Volunteers keep the “FREE” in The Free Clinic. Volunteer support keeps costs low, enabling us to provide quality medical, dental and behavioral health care for those who might otherwise go without care. More Here

Donate

Your gift will help provide medical, dental and behavioral health services in our community. Our work is only possible with generous support from those who share our commitment to making health care available to all. Donate Here

 

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Henrico County Seeking Advocates for Children--CASA Program

WANTED: Mature, responsible adults with a profound sense of caring for children.

SKILLS NEEDED: Willing to study laws, regulations, child development, interviewing and report writing techniques. Requires listening, writing and computer skills, and the ability to work with other professionals.

APPLY TODAY: To volunteer your time for a child, please complete our CASA volunteer application. 

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Getting started: Prospective volunteers can obtain an application by clicking here or by sending an email request to Jeannine Panzera, the Program Manager, at pan01@henrico.us.  Applicants must complete an interview and undergo finger printing, criminal, and child abuse registry checks.

Training: Volunteers attend at least 40 hours of pre-service training which is scheduled in the evenings after work hours and on Saturdays. The trainees learn about the court process, the social service system, child development and educational advocacy, domestic violence, substance abuse and the special needs of children who have been abused and neglected. At "graduation," CASAs become sworn in as officers of the court. As many children are waiting, new volunteers are likely to be assigned a case very quickly.

Time: Typically, a CASA Volunteer spends several hours a month on a case. Volunteers will complete home visits, follow up with case collaterals, write a report to the judge and attend court.  The CASA's time commitment is dictated by the complexity of their assigned case. Volunteers are asked to commit at least one year, but many stay longer, knowing it is best for the child to stay with the case until it is fully resolved.

Support: CASA volunteers work closely with social workers, attorneys, treatment providers, and others involved in helping children. Each volunteer is guided and assisted through the complexities and challenges of his or her case by a member of the Henrico CASA staff.

MORE DETAILS & APPLICATION HERE

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EVENT: Pop-Up Drop-In Day for Homeless Youth in Richmond Hosted by Advocates for Richmond Youth, Richmond, VA, Dec 16, 2017

Saturday, December 16th 2017, from 1-7pm, at the Trinity Family Life Center (3601 Dill Road, Richmond VA), Advocates for Richmond Youth will be holding a pop-up drop-in center for youth ages 14-24 who are experiencing housing instability, homelessness, or just need resources to get on their feet. Free food, clothing, hygiene items, and resources. Workshops will be offered every hour from 2pm, and include topics like housing rights, make-up, self-care, and succeeding at job interviews.

Advocates for Richmond Youth are a team of young adult researchers who have been homeless themselves, and are conducting a survey on homeless youth in Richmond. See their Facebook page for more info.

To get to the venue by bus, take the #34 from the transfer plaza.

 

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Remembering Sandy Hook Five Years Later

All of us with the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing For Peace honor the lives that were lost on this day five years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary. We honor, too, those who survive, their families, the community left behind, all who have been victims of the rising tragedy of gun violence in the United States. 

Today, we will be contacting our elected representatives and demand that they take action to make sure that this kind of heartbreak never happens again. What are your reps doing to stop gun violence? Call and demand that they keep our children safe. 

Use This Quick Script for Calling: Today, on the anniversary of the deaths of so many at Sandy Hook, I'm calling to ask what you plan to do to address the growth of gun violence in our country. What will you do to protect our children? What will you do to honor those, the children, who needlessly died at Sandy Hook? 

Read them this list of names.

- Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female

- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male

- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.

- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female

- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female

- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female

- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male

- Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female

- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female

- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female

- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male

- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male

- James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male

- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female

- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female

- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female

- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male

- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male

- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female

- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female

- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female

- Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)

- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female

- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female

- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male

- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

We will not forget. We will never stop fighting.