“Relevance, urgency, interest, and a time where change is both accepted and expected by many educators.” This is how Brianna Padilla, a Kindergarten teacher at Venetia Valley School in San Rafael, and Teacher Leader with the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project (UCBHSSP) describes her interest in the K-2 Grade Group, which she will lead with Rachel Reinhard, the UCBHSSP Director. Reinhard is a former kindergarten teacher herself and teaches the Introduction to Social Studies course for pre-service teachers pursuing the K-8 multi-subject credential at UC Berkeley. Together, Padilla and Reinhard are looking forward to discussing how to approach social studies topics like racial and social justice with younger students.
“How can I be a Changemaker in my community? And how can I work with others to be a Changemaker?’ are two central questions that the K-2 Grade Group plans to explore. In addition to fostering student identity in the early elementary social studies classroom, this Grade Group will work to “build community, create spaces to share insights, and push the questions we ask in our classrooms,” Rachel explained. Topics including respect, community, and injustice will be illustrated through lessons and investigations of people like Mala Yousafazi, Greta Thunberg, and Martin Luther King Jr. Brianna looks forward to discussions about what is working – and what is not – in her and other virtual classrooms. Rachel hopes that “This group will foster a sense of being in it together. Providing new ideas but also being a soft place to land, gain inspiration, and begin anew.”
The Grade Group series is specifically designed to provide teachers with the resources and support they will need to teach this fall. The K-2 Grade Group – like all other groups – will offer educators from across the state the opportunity to talk with each other, share new ideas, and think together about how best to teach their particular content and address students’ social and emotional needs in this new and admittedly difficult context.
The K-2 Grade Group will begin on Thursday, November 5 at 4:00 pm. Subsequent sessions are scheduled for December 3, January 21, February 4 and 25, and March 25.