Monday Musings

from The Kravis Center 

Monday, December 10, 2018 

Dear Colleagues,


Equity and inclusion remain foremost on our minds this week as we head into today's convocation with Holocaust survivor Dr. Leon Chameides, which comes on the heels of a recent incidence of hate speech on our campus and the December 7 re-release of Schindler's List. I've also been marked by the energy and ideas shared by some the attendees of the NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC). If you've not yet had a chance to explore the resources included in last week's Monday Musings or to speak to one of the recent attendees about their experience, I urge you to do so.

In talking to Harrison about an independent study he's directing on comparative genocides and in thinking about the necessity of combatting not only antisemitism, but all forms of intolerance, I was reminded of Michael Rothberg's Multidirectional Memory, a book I drew from in my dissertation research. In contrast to the idea of the world stage as a space in which victimized groups compete for recognition and the world's empathy, Rothberg promotes a view of the public sphere as a space in which persecuted groups draw strength through interaction with one another.

While it is sometimes tempting to decry the current state of the world and retreat into a cocoon, I take heart in the inclusive nature of Michael Rothberg's theories, the affirmation of students and faculty of color that occurs at the PoCC, and the courage and dedication of people such as Dr. Chameides. I am heartened that we study the Holocaust in the context of other genocides and that we are considering the most recent swastika incident alongside other examples of hate speech, such as the use of the "n" word.

We wish you all a peaceful, loving, and affirming holiday season.

Rachel, on behalf of the Kravis Center


Equity and Inclusion


During our discussion of the swastika incident during last week's faculty meeting, I referenced an incident that occured in my parents' neighborhood in Brooklyn in which a swastika was found graffitied in a playground and the powerful ways in which the community acted to reclaim the space. The day after the incident, after the swastika had been painted over, children added paintings of flowers to the playscape. The next day, hundreds of community members joined in a "rally against hate" at the park, asserting and affirming their values of peace and mutual respect.  

Dr. Chameides is involved in an organization called Voices of Hope that "raises social consciousness by connecting people to the inhumanity of the Holocaust and other genocides by providing quality educational and community programing in order to ensure future generations will never forget." Visit the website to learn more.  


from Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman's address to the school on November 19; I'm so struck by how she was able to turn such a horrible act into what seemed like a significant teachable moment.

Here are a number of classroom resources from Facing History on Anti-Semitism.

Improvisation, innovation, and pedagogy

At the end of the article shared by David McCamish in advance of last Thursday's workshop on improv, author and workshop facilitator Maya Bernstein discusses links between improv and education. For more on these themes, see How Improv Can Improve Your Teaching from the HuffPost.

Participants in David's improv workshop report that the experience required overcoming one's discomfort and clearing one's mind in order to be fully in the moment. As you can see here, they were rewarded with many laugh-out-loud moments. Many thanks to David for facilitating this workshop; we hope to offer more in the future.

Spotlight on… New Faculty Cohort and Instructional Coaches

We're inaugurating a new periodic feature in this edition of Monday Musings in which we will shine a spotlight on interesting PD occuring on campus.

The instructional coaches - Allison Beason, Joe Cleary, Hudson Harper, Martha Ince, and Kate Saxton - have been hard at work identifying their core values as they relate to teaching and coaching teachers. This is a challenging, but worthwhile, exercise for any educator. Click on the link and check it out!

In last week's New Faculty Cohort meeting, participants discussed how to prepare for a new unit and began to work with the Kravis Center's Toolkit for Unit Planning. Starting a new unit after break? Check out this great resource.  

Wellbeing: On the importance of breaks


The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly - vacation is almost here. While you've got breaks on the brain, you might be interested in reading about how work breaks boost productivity and creativity. If so, check out How Do Work Breaks Help Your Brain from Psychology Today or this one about Mindfulness at Google from Wired.

Ever notice how much material students seem to forget over vacation? Would this be mitigated if we went to school year-round and had more frequent, shorter vacations? Check out this Research Spotlight on Year-round Education from the National Education Association, which includes links to several related studies.

Professional Development Opportunities


Kravis Center portal page


Please fill out this form for suggestions for Thursday morning PD opps.




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