Where The Conversation Might Start

There is a lot of conversation about where the conversation might start.

This conversation is the conversation surrounding race in the elementary school classroom.

We approach these topics through a lens of inquiry and discovery — through a critical lens that allows the formation of opinions. Biases that are then examined and challenged through classroom discussion. When approached this way, students then have facts and observations to draw upon to justify their stances.

Maybe we take a note out of Making Thinking Visible 1 and attempt a routine placing two side by side primary sources, photographs, perhaps, and guide the students in identifying similarities and differences both in the content and technique of the images, charting their thoughts for the class to examine, consider, and debate. This is the example that I used in my fourth grade classroom the day following the death of George Floyd and surge in Black Lives Matter protests.

This is one of my biggest failings as a teacher. Following the death of George Floyd. One of any teacher’s greatest challenges is creating balance between the pacing of standards provided by the district, what is developmentally relevant for their students, and managing the classroom. It’s relatively easy to be reactive as a teacher. There are no shortage of incredible and rich learning experiences being designed by teachers. The sublime teacher figures out a path of guidance that that incorporates aspects from our nation’s dialogue before our nation experiences landmark events, not after. The sublime teacher is the proactive teacher.

Sublime teachers held conversations about xenophobia before 911. Sublime teachers examined the rate of change in civil rights before the death of George Floyd. Sublime teachers are currently teaching about _.


  1. Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making thinking visible: How to promote engagement, understanding, and independence for all learners.