Talking about Race
Issue 42, March 2016

Issue 42 Cover

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Use this issue to teach College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards.
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Call for articles for Issue 42 [PDF].

You Want Me to Do What?
Race has shaped U.S. history, continues to shape current events, and shapes our lives and our students’ lives. Yet it is a challenging topic to bring up (not to mention teach) in the classroom. If you’re not sure race matters in your teaching or to your students, just listen to what they say about it in this issue. Race matters to our self-perception, to our children, at our jobs, in our communities, and in history. Indeed, it matters in almost every aspect of life in the U.S. It is so important that we made an extra effort with this issue to offer supports to teachers. Students themselves (on pp. 3 and 41) make the case for why race should be taught in the classroom. Educators share advice and insights on pages 40, 42, 43, and in our “Issue Extras.” Throughout the magazine, students’ heartfelt stories and penetrating analyses remind us that race manifests itself internally, interpersonally, and institutionally, and the costs of ignoring it are greater than the possible costs of taking it on.

Issue Extras

  • “Existing While Black”: A Worksheet for ESOL Learners by Lisa Gimbel
    A 4-page worksheet with pre-reading activities (including definition of expressions and practice with expressions, vocabulary, and slang) and post-reading activities (including basics, language review, and comprehension).
  • “Best Practices for Talking about Race” by Lisa Gimbel and Riva Pearson
    A collection wide-ranging tips from personal practice to curriculum to program and community-wide ideas.
  • “Who Paved the Way?” by Kathleen Budway
    Pre- and post-activities (plus handouts) you can use with a short film made by an ESOL teacher in which her students talk about how it affected them to study African-American history and current events.
  • “Preparing My Students to Write about Race” by Hazel Robin
    A teacher shares how she introduced The Change Agent “Call for Articles” on the theme of race. Rather than starting out by asking students to speak from experience, she asks them to conduct research and learn some science behind race. Creating an evidence-based context, she then invites them to respond to The Change Agent writing prompts.
  • “Exploring Racism: Police, Stereotypes, and the Possibility of a Better World” by Manny Reynoso
    A teacher-created lesson that explores the definition of racism and incorporates a first-person story by someone who grew up afraid of the police. Finally, the lesson explores the possibility of a better world — using a video and discussion prompts.
  • “The Construction of Race in the U.S.: An Early History” by Cynthia Peters
    This is a GLE 10 version of the GLE 6 article by the same name that appears on p. 22 of the “Talking about Race” issue. It includes CCR-aligned activities at the end.
  • “Using Sources: Unpacking a Well-Researched Article” by Kathleen O’Connell
    This activity, based on “The ‘Chief Illiniwek’ Half-Time Show” on p. 8 of the Race issue, helps students examine and assess sources.
  • “Race and Voting Rights in 2016: Lesson Ideas” — by Andy Nash and Cynthia Peters
    Use the context of this election year to explore voting rights in the past and present. This packet includes pre- and post-activities, the hands-on History of Voting Rights activity, a link to a history of voting rights video, an article by Andy Nash on race and voting rights, and more stories and facts and figures about current voting restrictions. Two versions are available:
    – Race and Voting Rights in 2016 for advanced learners (Level 10)
    – Race and Voting Rights in 2016 for intermediate learners (Level 6)

Table of Contents

Click on the header to sort the list by title, page or level. To listen to the audio, click on the titles with the headphone icon.




You Want Me to Do What? [Read][PDF] 3 5
headphonesWe Were on Our Honeymoon 4 6
Existing While Black [Read][PDF] 5 6
headphonesA Muslim Crossing the Border 6 3
“You’re on Your Own, Son” [Read][PDF] 7 5
The “Chief Illiniwek” Show [Read][PDF] 8 11
I Am Not a Model Minority [Read][PDF] 10 12
They Bullied the White Kids [Read][PDF] 12 4
Fear and Confusion [Read][PDF] 13 4
Growing Up with Racism [Read][PDF] 14 7
Fear of Police [Read][PDF] 16 6
Defending Myself Against Racism [Read][PDF] 18 6
Boy Blue [Read][PDF] 19 1
Divided We Fall [Read][PDF] 20 7
The Construction of Race in the U.S. [Read][PDF] 22 6
White Is Not Just Skin Color [Read][PDF] 24 7
headphonesInstitutional Racism 25 5
headphonesBlack People and Institutional Racism 26 6
headphonesRace and Voting Rights in 2016 28 10
Being Black in the Welfare Office [Read][PDF] 30 3
The Colors of our Flesh [Read][PDF] 31 2
Racism at Work [Read][PDF] 32 3
headphonesHispanic People Do the Harder Jobs 33 8
They Called Me Stupid [Read][PDF] 34 8
Is Race Real? [Read][PDF] 36 9
headphonesRacism in Schools 38 4
headphonesDefending My Son Against Racism 39 5
A White Teacher Reflects on Race [Read][PDF] 40 5
ESL Students Reflect on Race [Read][PDF] 41 6
A White Teacher’s View of Racism [Read][PDF] 42 12
Classroom Strategies for Talking about Race [Read][PDF] 43 9
We Thought the Time was Past Forever [Read][PDF] 44 6
Black Lives Do Matter [Read][PDF] 46 9
Stop and Frisk [Read][PDF] 48 7
Latinos & Police Violence [Read][PDF] 49 7
headphonesWhy I Don’t Watch TV News 50 7
headphonesDivision among Us 51 7
We Are Country Folks [Read][PDF] 52 7
headphonesI Celebrate My Race 53 6
Strategies for Healing [Read][PDF] 54 8


Use “Talking about Race” to teach College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards

The following chart is also available as a printable PDF.


Anchor Standards In Everyday English TCA Excerpts
Key Ideas and Details (R.CCR.1-3) What does the text say? What does it not say? What does it mean? How can you prove it? pp. 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 32, 38, 45, 50, 51, 52, 54
Craft & Structure (R.CCR.4-6) How does author use language to communicate? How is the text organized? Who wrote this and how/why does that matter? pp. 4, 9, 33, 47, 52
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (R.CCR.7-9) How does this connect with other sources? Does it measure up? Is it valid? pp. 9, 21, 25, 47, 49
Range and Level of Text Complexity (R.CCR.10) Can students read widely and deeply from a broad range of high-quality texts? pp. 21, 23, 25, 29


Text Types and Purposes (W.CCR.1-3) Write arguments. Write explanatory texts. Write narratives. Stress complexity, reasoning, evidence, and details. pp. 18, 29, 33, 47, 53, 55
Production and Distribution of Writing (W.CCR4-6) Know your audience. Speak clearly to them. Plan, revise, re-write. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to collaborate and interact. pp. 30, 34, 38, 39, 45, 55
Research to Build and Present Knowledge (W.CCR.7-9) Research. Gather information from various sources. Assess credibility of those sources. DO NOT plagiarize. pp. 18, 27, 30, 35, 37, 45, 53


Comprehension and Collaboration (SL.CCR.1-3) Be able to converse by expressing yourself and building on others’ ideas. Integrate information from diverse formats. Be able to evaluate a speaker’s point of view. pp. 12, 13, 15, 18, 21, 41
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas (SL.CCR. 4-6) Present information in an organized way. Use various media in your presentations. Use formal English when necessary. pp. 21, 54, 55


Conventions of Standard English (L.CCR.1-2) Get that grammar down! And spelling and punctuation too!
Knowledge of Language (L.CCR.3) Choose words, phrases, and punctuation for effect. Vary sentence patterns. Notice how language is used in poetry, drama, etc. pp. 12, 18, 19, 31
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (L.CCR4-6) Use context clues to determine meaning. Use a dictionary. Understand figurative language and nuance. Use academic and domain-specific words. Be able to independently acquire new vocabulary. pp. 24, 26, 35, 39, 49


Real world applications for calculating probabilities as fractions, decimals or percent; statistical analysis of rational data. pp. 11, 16, 27

Adapted from “College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education,” Susan Pimentel, 2013; and with thanks to