Dear SSCSD Faculty and Staff,
In this month’s The Scene with SEEN, we will highlight two important June events -Juneteenth and Pride Month.
Here’s a little local context:
Juneteenth is now an official holiday in New York State! This means that schools will have this day off (but this year June 19 is a Saturday). This is a convenient segue to talk to students about why our state made that choice and what this holiday is all about.
On Thursday, June 3rd, Saratoga Springs will unveil a new Pride Crosswalk across from the Congress Park Carousel. We can take the opportunity to talk to students about this new landmark and what the rainbow symbolizes.
We encourage you to challenge yourself to add something to your curriculum this June that you have not done before. Be thoughtful about your level of comfort, who your students are, and what discussions might bring up. Make sure to fully preview these resources before using them to make sure they are right for you and your students. If you have any questions, we encourage you to reach out to colleagues or to us!
To start out, familiarize yourself:
- Learn about the history of Juneteenth in this article from The Root, written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
- Read an overview of Juneteenth from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History.
Something to note – Juneteenth is a celebration. We encourage you to focus on Black joy and commemoration rather than the horrors of slavery. Do what you can to make this work uplifting and hopeful while not undercutting the truth!
SEEN has purchased 3 copies of each of the following books. Email us if you would like to borrow a copy for yourself and to share with other teachers at your school.
- Juneteenth for Mazie, by Floyd Cooper
- Juneteenth Jamboree, by Carole Boston Weatherford, with an accompanying teaching guide.
- This is a resource from Teachers Pay Teachers, which has a cost of $6.50. Please email us at email@example.com and we will happily reimburse you for the cost.
- Here is a learning plan from Learning for Justice. We especially like the mural or poster project. You could try a poster project this year and plan to try the mural next year!
Middle School and High School
- Here is a learning plan aimed at middle schoolers from Learning for Justice.
- This video from 2015 highlights some Juneteenth celebrations and discusses its origins and ongoing celebrations. You could play the entire video, or just a few clips.
- Here is a compilation of Juneteenth resources put forward by Teach for America. The video on the main page starts with a wonderful montage set to music. You could show the first 3 minutes and just ask students to reflect on what they see, hear, and wonder. Sometimes the simplest lessons are the most powerful.
Pride Month Resources
- Here is a lesson on pronouns and a lesson on gender stereotypes, both from GLSEN.
- Here is a lesson on identity more suited for upper elementary.
Middle School and High School
- This lesson focuses on the gay pride movement – where its been and where its going.
- This lesson focuses on inclusivity specifically in language classes which include gendered nouns.
- This video from Origin of Everything explores the history of the pride parade tradition.
Please feel free to share your experiences with us – we’d love to know how things go!