Reflections after teaching this course for 17 years

What would Jesus do?
No matter if nature or nurture, sin or no, icky or normal.  IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO OPPRESS THIS GROUP IN ANY WAY AND UNETHICAL FOR A TEACHER TO SHAME THEIR STUDENTS FOR ANY REASON. The law is not interested in your particular religious doctrine – the law IS interested if you are denying a marginalized group their civil rights. If you hold religious beliefs which will cause you to deny a student their civil rights- you do not belong teaching in public school. Go to a religious school.

I was raised Catholic. In my day we had to memorize the bible. I am well informed what it contains and I can tell you with ABOSOLUTE certainty…Jesus would not want those children in Anoka dead.

So… we are dancing all around the concept of truth.  This is the reason I bring you through all the paradigm world view curriculum.  Who’s truth is truthier?  The one with the biggest “guns”?  How about having (G)god(s) holding your gun…is that the biggest gun of all?

The GLBT community cringes because this issue, and they, is trotted out in every election year as a handy and convenient “Terrifying It”.


The content for Human Relations is extraordinarily challenging to deliver.  You can not bring someone to their own “aha”…they have to find it themselves.  I want to commend the class for the aggressive pursuit  of truth…if indeed truth exists ; /

GLBT Reflections.  Copy these fabulous ideas from your peers  to use in your class!

I can understand why you are hesitant to include curriculum on the  GBLT issue but that is the precise reason why an otherwise  reasonable people could say such toxic things about this marginalized group!  No one dares to speak about it!!!  Several of you designed very nice metaphorical and abstract lessons not actually connected to the GBLT discussion. These are great lead-ins but if you do not actually discuss the topic- many will NEVER be able to transfer that  general understanding of tolerance and acceptance  to THAT topic!

We are the most successful predators on the face of the earth.  We consume everything which crawls, flies or swims.  We even consume our own nest.  Do we really need to worry about population decline?

On the topic of advocacy and getting fired:
You ask relevant questions.  I  am NOT suggesting you throw yourself on the altar and go up in a fiery ball.  Change agents do not change much if they take themselves out of the game.  You need to live to fight another day.  You have experienced MY strategy.

ASK – do not tell.

No one can quote a statement you made if you never make one.  Get my sneaky ways?

There is no question why the suicides happened in Anoka. Michelle Backman and her husband ( on the school board) forced the district to adopt a “Neutrality” policy. This meant teachers watched students  bully the GLBT students- literally to death. In one case, a teacher participated.  That teacher is being pursued in civil court on a manslaughter charge. GLBT students who self identified were sent to Backman’s husband’s re-programming – for –profit- business. Getting it yet?


This really resonated with me:

This idea sums up a small town way of thinking, and really a common way of thinking by all. Change, or a challenge to something we believe tends to be feared because of an internal idea that different equals bad.

How did the concept of  different  and interesting  evolve into a negative here in Minnesota?  How can we, as teachers, change that?


Don’ Ask, Don’t Tell. I always advised my gay and lesbian students not to share their orientation at the interview. No one is asking me questions like this, I thought. None of their business!   However, when I consulted a gay colleague… she gave me a different view. “How would you like”, she asked me, “to need to conceal you had children in order to get a job? THEN, how would you like to have to continue to conceal that topic…to keep the job.”  That put a different spin on it for me.

This is a key point:

“This class has made me realize that people in marginalized groups are judged based on the stereotypical label of their group and not as the individual human beings they are.  ”

Anthropologists generally agree that there are three main drives in the human species.

Food, shelter and reproduction.

Can we choose not to eat.  The result?

Can we choose not to seek shelter. The result?

Can we choose not to reproduce. The result?  Many Catholic priests entered the church in an effort to “choose” not to act on their sexual identify. How is that working for them?

Most people who oppress this group have the “We’re here and we’re queer” crowd in mind.  Many folks, like Brie in TransAmerica, just want to live a quiet life and be left alone.


____________ Re: Homosexuality as  a mental illness; The APA (the American Psychological Association which has a strangle hold on our writing style and THE credible source on mental illness)  took homosexuality off the mental illness list in 1975.  Click below.

Your lesson is wonderful and really transcends what you wrote in your summary.


You are going to be teaching gay and lesbian students. The issue has nothing to do with sex. This group is denied partner health insurance (although I hear that Obama may have made an inroad here), denied access to their loved one’s sickbed and death bed, and their children are harassed. Certain individuals have been bullied to death. Literally.

I have been conducting a primary source survey for the  12 years I have been teaching this class. To date I have personally asked over 90 self identified gay or lesbian individuals when they “knew”. Most of them replied, “I always knew something was different. The two outliers married, had children and were miserable. Both divorced in their 50’s and explored the idea that sexual orientation may have been the issue.


The real question here…religious doctrine, ick factors and everything else aside… How does this group threaten the social order?

Another question to ponder:

Teachers :

show up drunk
don’t show up because they were drunk the night before
have affairs out side marriage … with each other
are arrested for DUI
tax evasion
are addicts
wife beaters
child beaters
What else?

BUT they are not fired….WHY, OH, WHY  do we fire a person for loving someone from the same gender?

Several of you were particularly articulate in explaining why homosexuals should be treated with compassion but their position is that they are not pitiful and should not “need” compassion!!!

Most of you agreed that homosexuality may be an orientation – not a choice (who would choose this challenge??!!).
If religious doctrine continues to preach that someone’s biology is “wrong”… how can students do anything but be disrespectful, critical and disgusted?  Our culture-even the mothers- reject a situation which might very well be biological (ponder on THAT!).

No matter if nature or nurture, sin or no, icky or normal.  IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO OPPRESS THIS GROUP IN ANY WAY AND UNETHICAL FOR A TEACHER TO SHAME THEIR STUDENTS FOR ANY REASON. The law is not interested in your particular religious doctrine – the law IS interested if you are denying a marginalized group their civil rights.


Just for the record , I was interested to read several statements that ” God made marriage to be between a man and a woman”. God did not make marriage. Men made marriage. Deconstruct THAT!


Idea: Why not make a list of famous GBLT people- similar to the Mentally Ill list I provided. Were you not shocked at some of the names on the list.

Re: Teachers need to thoroughly understand their own attitudes towards the issue of homosexuality and they are ethically and morally BOUND to be able to support those attitudes with hard data!  Every word and expression from you (the person of power) stays with your student for the rest of their lives. Example: When I was preparing for my  First Communion, Sister Isabelle said to me, ” Don’t sing out loud, Barbara… just mouth the words”. The message was quite clear…my singing was so bad God would not like it. I do not sing to this day.

I was concerned that several of your copped out and wanted to pass the approach off to the school counselors.

If a student declares himself to you –  you need to have already come to a place of acceptance. Any negative body language will be carried by that student for their lifetime.  You need to have investigated the world view of the school counselors and administrators. PLEASE do not send a student with an identity crisis to a counselor who will tell the parents and try to organize a “cure”.  You should NOT say, “this is against my personal moral sensibilities but you have the right to “choose” . That message may not be illegal but it IS heartless.


You brought up a exceedingly salient point. You say “As long as they keep their sexual orientation a secret, it will work for most people”.  This quiet bigotry will affect the students. Why a secret.  Consider this:  When my gay and lesbian students asked if they should conceal their sexual orientation at the interview.  I, initially,  said “Yes”.  Trying to Walk My Talk, however, caused me to ask a lesbian colleague (collecting the data!) what she thought.  She had a decidedly different viewpoint.

“How would you like to conceal the fact you had children in order to get a job. THEN continuing to conceal the fact you had children. How would that effect your comfort in the workplace”?  That response put a entirely different spin on the topic for me.
______________________________________________________________________________Sandra Peters said:
I want my students to understand that just because someone is displaying power over you, does not mean theyhave power over you.


You asked such an fundamental question:
“Through this course I’ve noticed a lot of open mindedness toward the groups of people we’ve studied, yet some seem to have real issues with people in the GLBT community.  Why is that?  Could it be because we haven’t had many encounters with the other “others”, but have had encounters with GLBT people?  Is it rooted in religion?”

I designed this course very carefully-putting this group last because people just can NOT seem to get their heads around GLBT as JUST ANOTHER MARGINALIZED GROUP

This may be a GROSS generalization (something I have been trying to teach you NOT to do) but oftentimes  school admins  lean towards the conservative end of the continuum.


This following comment in a past course feed back frightened me a little bit when I have to .consider that the author of it wants to be a TEACHER. “I felt like we were being pushed to think a certain way – due to the biased literature and the thoughts of the professor.”  Since I never give up on my students…one more effort: Here are the HR learner objectives required by the state of Minnesota:

Develop an awareness of the existence of oppression
1. Identify the elements which contribute to an oppressive situation
2. Understand the concept of multiple worldviews
3. Understand the definitions of cultural institutions
4. Understand the oppressive and non-oppressive
5. Identify some of the advantages and disadvantages of being in an oppressor role.

The literature in this course was selected in an attempt to  communicate the marginalized and oppressed point of view.  Is this a bias or does it support the learner objectives of the course? Should I include writings from the ruling elite on why the oppressed need to STAY oppressed?  The voice of the professor also tried to support, re-explain, question and probe the students to think deeply about held beliefs and the MORAL, ETHICAL AND LEGAL  responsibility that TEACHERS  are compelled to support.

Yikes…I feel a deep sense of failure for my efficacy with the author of the above statement on learner objectives 2, 4 and 5.  The author clearly believe THEIR truth to be THE truth. Teachers can not hold truths which deny the civil rights of  other groups which do not share their point of view.

Re: The continued question focused on biology or choice.  Most people report they knew something was different in grade school.  If GLBT orientation IS biological … can biology be immoral?  It is MY responsibility, as the professor of this course, and YOUR responsibility, as a future teacher,  to create cognitive dissonance and this question is our best option at this time.

Re: The community resistance to starting a GLBT  support group. How very sad… it certainly goes to prove that there is nothing more frightening or powerful than a new:    IDEA

You identified the MAIN issue:
The type and severity of the bullying described in the readings, as well as the statistics describing homophobic thinking among students and teaching staff is really horrendous and eye-opening.

We must not be lost in the discussion and stay focused on the students and their growth into healthy self actualized adults!

What is love and how does it speak to our human condition and sexuality.  Should we be developing a unit on how to participate in functional RELATIONSHIPS?

BTW… There is an entire school of thought out there that love is felt when another person meets all YOUR needs!


You identified and important issue when you commented on the anonymous discussions. I added this strategy when I saw how powerful  the Mental Illness and Addiction anonymous topic proved to be.  It interested me that it looked like two different groups of people dialoguing. As teachers, one of the  things I hope all of you will take away from HR is the ability to own your biases…at least to yourself.


On the literal translation of the ancient texts:

I would advise caution in this area. If a Buddhist was to look at the history of Abraham- they might infer the following:

The father of ALL  the big three religious doctrines (Islam, Christianity and Judaism)

seems to have impregnated the maid, married his  half sister, and been willing to take his

first born son to a mountaintop and execute  him.   HUH?    Collect the data.

Re: Homosexuality as  a mental illness; The APA (the American Psychological SOciety which has a strangle hold on our writing style and THE

credible source on mental illness)  took homosexuality off the mental illness list in 1975.  Click below.

Last item from me for your cognition. You have a GLBT classmate. PONDER ON






Veronica Soine Nov 22, 2012 10:05 AM
     Where do I begin with this summary? First, I don’t think a person should ever have to hide who they are in order to keep a job. The teacher profiled in this reading was phenomenal with a passion for helping her students see the world from an open lens. August mentioned that the title of this piece alluded to an important number so I looked into the “1 in 10.” According to Gary Gates (2011), the percentage was used to let people know that the LGBT community was large enough to deserve a voice, yet small enough to “not be threatening” to an unprepared society (n.p). I think about my interview with J.Q. last year and how he has been unable to “come out” to his family. Then there is the stigma regarding the raising of children and the potential for their own sexual orientation to mimic that of their parents, which is also unfounded (Patterson, 2009). I know of many troubled children who have been raised in a heterosexual household with two married parents. The challenges faced for people within the LGBT community are large enough without having to hide who they are as a person.

My son was entering into a Civics classroom last year which was taught by a teacher who is openly gay. My hope for him was a fresh look at the issues that are currently alive in this country. I was not disappointed. The teacher in this reading reminds me of our wonderful Civics teacher. She presents all sides of the story and makes the students think about how their choices affect others. It was also my hope that my son would see her as the wonderful, caring and passionate teacher she is. This is exactly what happened. We are fortunate to have many good teachers, but we are even more fortunate when teachers don’t have to hide who they are. This way they can focus on inspiring their students.


Gates, G.J. (2011), “Gay people count, so why not count them correctly?” The Washington Post.

Retrieved on 11/19/12 from

Patterson, C. J. (2009). Children of lesbian and gay parents: Psychology, law, and policy. American Psychologist, 64, 727 – 736.


Lesson- 4th Grade

Many Kinds of Families


Students should be introduced to the concept that there are many ways to build a family. Students should also have access to a variety of books that portray those many different types of families. Here is a list to consider when building that library This lesson will take a look at the fact that families do not fit a specific mold and can be formed in a variety of ways.


Given the story of international adoption by different family structures, students will be able to describe different family structures with a partner.

Students will be able to create a collage that represents different family structures from magazine pictures.

Students will be able to write a reflection from the prompt “A family is __________________.”


·       SmartBoard or whiteboard

·       Poster Board

·       Markers

·       Glue

·       Magazines with people/ children of many different backgrounds

·       Journal page

·       Photos of specific family types as listed in the lesson. Google can be a great source for this.


·       Adoption

·       Birth mother

·       Birth father

·       Stepparent

·       Blended family

·       Multi-racial family

·       Single-parent family

·       Gay

·       Lesbian

·       Guardian

·       Foster parent


Snappy Launch:

Bring in a photo of a family that is either composed of a lesbian or gay couple you know personally or a famous couple. Introduce the photo and ask students what they see in the photo. After students share ideas, share that the photo is of a family. Ask students to share what a family provides (food, shelter, love, care, etc.) Share that these same things are found in families that may look different from our own.

Lesson procedure:

·       Read the book “The White Swan Express” by Jean Davies Okimoto

·       While reading the book, ask students to identify the different family structures. Ask students to look for similarities between the adoptive families. Point out the same love and desire to be parents in each structure as well as the needs of the children in finding a home.

·       Discuss what families provide, how they work together, problems that may arise, similarities and differences that exist. Discuss how these are all a part of being in a family.

·       Place the question, “A family is____________” on the SmartBoard or a whiteboard. Have students share ideas. Use questions to prompt as necessary.

·       Once students have shared, share photos of children being raised by grandparents or other family members, a gay couple, a single parent, a heterosexual couple, a multi-racial family and any other family represented within the classroom.

·       Introduce the poster board activity. On the top of the poster board will be the same question on the SmartBoard- “A family is _________.”  Students will work with a partner. Students will place people from magazine photos in family structures that match the families presented in the photos earlier in the lesson.

·       Assign each partner a task. Ideas are material tech and poster board artist.

·       Move between groups as needed to assist and assess partner work behavior.

·       Student posters will be displayed within the classroom.

·       Discuss how all of these families are similar.

·       Students will then write a reflection of what a family is using the same prompt. Students should be writing about the words and ideas presented on what families provide, endure and how they can be formed in many different ways.



Rubric for Partner Work        
5 4 3 2 1  
Students worked well together and shared materials. Students had a single issue and shared materials. Students had a couple of issues yet shared materials well. Students had a few issues and had to be helped to share materials. Students did not work well together and could not share materials  
Rubric for Poster Board        
5 4 3 2 1  
Family units are neat in appearance and at least 6 different family constructions are represented Family units are mostly neat in appearance and at least 6 different family constructions are represented. Family units are somewhat neat in appearance and at least 4 different family constructions are represented. Families are not neat in appearance and less than 4 different family constructions are represented. Families are not discernible on the board and only 2 or less family constructions are represented  


Reflective Journal Writing Rubric    
4 3 2 1
Journal entry illustrates student’s proficiency to modify and translate the concepts presented in class discussion and readings into practical, functional alternatives and situations by integrating hypothetical ideas, past experiences, and course-presented information Journal entry illustrates student’s ability to modify or translate the concepts presented in class discussion and readings into possible situations by integrating hypothetical ideas of past experiences with course presented information. Journal entry doesn’t illustrate the student’s ability to modify or translate the concepts presented in class discussion and readings into possible situations by integrating hypothetical ideas or past experiences with course-presented information Journal writing has not been completed.




Sandra Peters Nov 20, 2012 8:24 PM
I always struggle with how much information is appropriate to place in front of children.  I want them to have a worry free childhood, as there is plenty of time for them to have to deal with the big bad world.  I realized though that times have changed and things are happening younger and younger and they need to be prepared and knowledgeable of right and wrong behaviors that can hurt people.  Our school bullies went from picking on the small student and taking lunches to harassing gay people literally to death.  It scares me to think of what or who might be next.  Bringing awareness to the elementary level of the GLBT community and the issues they face on a daily basis may save a life in middle school and just may produce a new and improved generation of accepting and respectful human beings.

I don’t understand what is inside someone that allows them to torture another human being mentally and physically or to hold themselves at such a high regard that they will decide who belongs and who doesn’t.  How is it that they can sleep at night after bullying someone to death?  Or deciding that that a lesbian should not be allowed to teach school or even admit she is gay.  Bullying has been around as long as people have been on this earth.  The surprising part to me is that I always saw it as a childhood playground thing that went away with maturity and getting older.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.   I cannot imagine what it would feel like to work my tail off for years and finally get through this program to face the fact that unless I hide who I am and make up a lie, I may not be able to teach.  This is the exact opposite of everything our country is supposed to stand for.  I was impressed with Hope Burwell’s strength in defending herself.  She refused to cross a line and continue to live a lie and refused to let another human being bully her.  She wrote her own ending to her own story. After the readings and discussions, my goals for my classroom is to teach my students think before they speak, understand that no human being is above another, and to respect and accept everyone, including themselves.  I want my students to understand that just because someone is displaying power over you, does not mean they have power over you.

Lesson:  Toxic Words Have Toxic Affects

The purpose of this lesson is to teach kids to understand the words that are coming out of their mouths and to recognize the damaging affect they have on other people.

Objectives:  Students will analyze the meaning of commonly used toxic- words and sayings to understand the damaging affect they have on others and will promote a school campaign to stop other students from using them.

After hearing an audio and participating in discussion, students will write a reflection on what it would be like to be the one mistreated with toxic words and actions and how their own toxic words have affected someone.

Snappy Launch:  Can YOUR words kill? Read an exert from the parents of an Anoka student that commited suicide after being bullied to death.

Activity: Write down specific groups of people on the board.

·       Gay

·       Lesbian

·       Transgender

·       Bisexual

·       Obese

·       Poor

·       Etc.

·       Ask students to anonymously write down every derogatory word they have ever spoken about these people.

·       Read them out loud and break them down on the board to show exactly what they mean, and the damage they cause to the person they are aimed at.

·       Define them and use them in examples that relate to them (That is so Mike, like being Mike is the worst possible thing to be).

·       Discus the fact that they are making fun of someone for being them selves. How would they feel?

Closing:  Turn the tables-Reflection

·       Ask them to imagine being made fun of over and over.  To be ridiculed every day all day in school.

·       Have students reflect on how it would feel to be called the words on the board.

·       Have students write down how their specific words and actions affected others.

·       Have students create a school campaign to help stop other students from using toxic words and actions.

·       Post it on a school bulletin board for other students to see.


Reflection statements

Campaign against toxic words and actions



Maari Anderson Fall 2012

Lesson Plan- 

I wanted to try out a lesson that could be taught to younger audience and start by confronting our “gender schemas”, and challenging their validity. Just because boys OFTEN love girls, why is it wrong for boys to love other boys? There is no law against it, which means our country believes it’s valid, so why can’t we get past it? Just because it may make you uncomfortable, doesn’t make it wrong. I think that by seeing how trying to fit into these societal “gender genres” is harmful and limiting for everyone, we will stop torturing those who choose to share their “outlier” characteristics.  Being gay may fall into the “outlier” category TODAY for these gender ideologies, but it hasn’t always- and it hopefully won’t forever.

 3-5 grades

 “Are you a boy or a girl? Pink or blue? Does it matter?”

 Time Allotted: 45 minutes


·       Students will challenge their pre-determined gender ideologies by finding “pink” (girl) and “blue” (boy) characteristics and then using both colored characteristics to describe themselves in a drawing of their head.

·       Students will analyze examples of “non-traditionally-gendered” people by reading The Princess Boy and finding both male and female gendered qualities and listing them in a journal.

·       Students will discuss how they have both “pink” and “blue” characteristics with their families by writing those characteristics down on a homework-sheet.


Snappy Launch:

·       Students will list qualities of a boy, and qualities of a girl on post-its and then place the post-its in the correct column on the board. (The “girl” post-its will be pink, and the “boy” will be blue).

·       We will read off the post-its together.



·       I will describe a person (using boy and girl qualities) and ask the students whether this person is a boy or a girl.

o   Does it matter?

o   I will explain that I described myself.

o   Ask, “Does having the “blue” qualities make me less of a girl? Does it make me a boy? “

o   “Sometimes we think it’s “wrong” or “bad” for people to have both “pink” and “blue” qualities, why?

o   Read The Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

§  Discuss: What was “wrong” with the boy? Was it really a problem, or just a little “different” for the mom?

§  Write list of colored qualities in journals

§  What were his “blue” qualities?

§  What were his “pink” qualities?

·       Do you think we are all a mixture of both? Could there be even more “colored” qualities? What would an orange quality be?

·       Draw a picture of your head, and write different words that describe “you” inside the head. Use at least 5 words from our “pink and blue” list, and use at least two words from each color. (If students come up with other words not on the list, add them during the activity).


·       Close with discussion on bullying. “Now, we all see that we are all more than just “pink qualities” or “blue qualities”, we probably even have some “green” or “orange” qualities as well. So, why would we tease or exclude someone because they have different colored qualities, or different opinions than us? Is that ok?


·       Challenge: next time you think someone is “weird” or “wrong” because YOU think they have qualities or interests that they “shouldn’t”, try and think of at least 2 qualities others may think you “shouldn’t” have.

·       Talk with your families at home and list 3 characteristics that you or your family has that don’t fit your “gender color”.

o   Does that matter?

Other idea: It would be cool to do the original snappy launch activity with pink post-its for the male qualities and the blue post-its for girls. STudents will inevitably complain/ask why we are using the “wrong” colors- which the teacher could respond, “why is that wrong? Aren’t they just colors? Why does it matter”. (Just thought of this before submitting.)


·       The Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis


15 points for completed drawing including at least 5 characteristics (at least 2 blue and 2 pink)

5 points for completing lists of both “pink” and “blue” qualities of the character in The Princess Boy

3 points for returning homework-sheet with at least 3 characteristics listed that may not fit with other’s “gender” ideas.


James Wheeler Jul 30, 2012 8:03 PM


What is the root of homosexuality?  Well, I see three explanations: biology, some sort of life trauma, and lifestyle (acceptance in a group).  For those who never saw it as a lifestyle or choice, the overwhelming explanation is that biology was behind it.  There are asexual, bisexual, heterosexual, and homosexual behaviors in creatures all over the world.  And what about hermaphrodites?  It has been suggested that human are only a few chromosomal/genetic variations removed from apes/monkeys.  Don’t we know enough science as a human race to know that it’s possible that people who are homosexual or transgender are simply the result of genetic or chemical (estrogen and testosterone) variations?

So, in today’s age, why is it that there is still so much resistance to homosexuality and transgender “lifestyles”?  First, many argue that marriage is between a man and a woman and is intended to sanctify the act of sexual intimacy, the purpose of which is to reproduce and start families.  Homosexual couples can’t physically reproduce, which totally contradicts the intention and idea of marriage in many peoples’ minds.  However, there are options out there, such as sperm donation and adoption.  It is possible to have a family.  Those still in denial will argue that this is not the environment for a child to grow up in.  The ridicule and scorn that children of homosexual parents will endure put them at a decided disadvantage.  This argument holds little weight, since there are plenty dysfunctional heterosexual parents/families out there.  Good parenting and healthy families has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of parents.  Secondly, many of the detractors from various religious backgrounds will argue that homosexuality is admonished in scripture.  Interestingly, when I was watching “30 Days” for the marginalized assignment in which a straight man from a religious conservative background moved to San Francisco to live with a gay man, there was an exchange that touched on this.  In the conversation, a woman said to this straight man (paraphrasing here), “The Bible says that thou shalt not kill, yet you served this country and killed people in combat.  You find a way to justify killing even though it goes against the tenets of the Bible.  Why is it that you can’t find a way to justify homosexuality?”

Hope Burwell’s reflections in “1 in 10” discusses many dilemmas teachers face, not just sexual orientation or personal background.  This passage touches on school politics, freedom of speech (as written in the constitution), and the delicate balance between outspokenness and acceptance.  Yes, taking a stand against what happened in that assembly was justified and pushing her students to think deeper in her curriculum was admirable, but I believe that she wanted too much too soon.  There is the old adage that “You don’t get respect, you gain respect”.  In the process of standing up for what was right she alienated many of her coworkers.  Ultimately, she might have been able to win the respect of her peers, admit her homosexuality, and consequently feel comfortable continuing to teach in the school.  Instead of chipping away and growing on people, she went for it all.  People’s resentment towards her had nothing to do with her homosexuality, since they simply didn’t know of her sexual orientation.

Middle School (6-8) Special Education Mini-Lesson


–       To have a discussion about bullying.

–       To raise awareness among students about the presence and consequences of anti-GLBTQ bias and behavior.

–       To have students reflect on remarks made towards them that have affected them emotionally, academically, their self-esteem, etc.

–       Students will understand how common vernacular can be damaging, even if it is unintended.

Snappy Launch

From  “Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens in the U.S. experience homophobic remarks and harassment throughout the school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe. GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey found that three-quarters of LGBT teens hear slurs such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school, and nine in ten report hearing anti-LGBT language frequently or often.”


*This type of discussion will hopefully be part of an anti-bullying program in the school I work in, but if not, it will be a useful mini-lesson that can be visited and revisited throughout the year.

1.      I will show this brief video: Think Before You Speak and a Powerpoint about bullying and the use of homophobic remarks.

2.      I will introduce these homophobic words that students use in their vernacular that often has unintentional effects as well as substituted phrases that are unconventionally deragatory in place of the word gay (as in “That’s So Gay”):

3.      We will have a class discussion about what these images mean to them.

4.      Students will be given an assignment in which they briefly (in bulleted form) discuss 3 or more instances where they have used derogatory language that is offensive to some whether intentional or not.  Students will also be required to provide 3 or more instances where they were the victims of verbal harassment and how that made them feel.  Lastly, they will be required to take the derogatory remarks they discussed and reword them, or change the verbiage completely, to be more appropriate.


–       Student provided at least 3 bulleted instances when they have used inappropriate homophobic remarks – 3 points

–       Student provided at least 3 bulleted instances when they have had homophobic remarks directed at them and how that made them feel. – 3 points

–       Student provides “new” ways of saying the same thing in an inoffensive way. – 4 points

*Total Possible = 10 POINTS

Candice Howe Jul 30, 2012 10:49 PM

Is homosexuality wrong? As a human being, I have an opinion, as a teacher, I do not. I loved what the article, “I am a Christian, unless your gay” had to say. It is my stance 100%. People’s views and lifestyles have nothing to do with the way I should be treating them as a human being. Jesus himself talked about how pointless it is to just love those that love you, or to just be friends with those who are like you. I do not have to agree with a person 100% to treat them with respect and love. Giving love to everybody is a fundamental belief of Christianity, so I am astounded at “Christians” hateful behaviors towards homosexuals. I have had friends who were homosexual who knew exactly where I stood, but we were capable of having meaningful and “loving” discussions and interactions. Just like they did not believe the way I do about God, they treated me with love and respect. It is a two way street. This is the focus of what I will be teaching in my class. Respect and love does not have prerequisites. People should not have to earn your love and respect by being like you. The four boys that committed suicide because of bullying would be a great example of showing my students that one person can make a difference. What if one student or teacher would have openly stood up in the midst of the bullying and said “back off”?! What if a group of students had taken these boys under their wing and loved on them as individuals and stood with them during the bullying? What if’s are frustrating questions, but valuable tools to inspire people to start making a difference. Educating students that treating each other with respect does not mean you have to agree with everything they do. Teaching them to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is key to gaining perspective when educating about differing views. I choose to love and respect all students that walk into my class room. I choose to teach my students that giving respect and love is a requirement in my classroom. I choose to, everyday, befriend those that are different than myself, and treat them as I want to be treated. And hopefully, one classroom at a time, I can help set the tone of love in my school and ensure that all students are treated equally.


Bobby Holder

Lesson Plan: You’re Hired!

Objective: Students will learn to realize their own misconceptions about the choices people make and whether or not they should be a factor

Procedure:  Student will build their own resume, listing their qualifications, for a simple job:one that they are all overqualified for.

Students will rationalize their strengths and asked questions to support their claims as qualified candidates.

1)      Students will be asked to create a resume or list of qualifications that they have for the job of “a High School Student.”

2)      After they have been given time to right down their qualifications, the teacher will bring up ideas and, open up a discussion, so that the students can see other factors to help bolster their resumes:  Examples:  I’m a straight A student, I like to learn, It’s the law that I must be a student, I am a teenager, I do not have a HS Diploma, I want to learn, I have passed Middle school, I can succeed in these High School classes, I want to attend college someday, etc.

3)      We will discuss that there is very little room for improvement, and hopefully agree that they are all near-perfect candidates and should be allowed to attend High School. Establish there is no reason that they should not get this job!  If they don’t then something is wrong!

4)      The teacher will select 4 volunteers to represent the class as perfect applicants.

5)      The instructor will start of gently assigning eat kid a “difference” and one by one, we will discuss whether or not this affects their qualifications.  Example: Ok, Johnny is a great candidate right?  Oops, he smokes a few cigarettes now and then.  Will that affect his performance? How?

6)      We will begin with “smoking”

1.      Smoking: Will this affect them being able to perform the duties of a high school student?  Bad habits creeping in, maybe judgment. Perhaps a little, but Do-able.

2.      Plays a lot of video games:  Charles is an Honors student. Since homework is pretty easy he has free time to realax and become a 12th Level Wizard in the Realm of Magic World.  SO he plays a lot of video games.  Might interfere with homework a bit. Still gets “A’s” Do-able.

3.      Plays sports: Homework again, maybe misses a few classes here and there.  Lots of students do sports or Band or Drama.  It’s been done before. Do-able

4.      Skin color:  Ooh.  Tougher.  Jenny is a great student-Poof! Now she’s African American.  Can she read? Write? Eat lunch with us? Can she be a good student? Race might affect opportunity, depending on where you live, some marginalization, but if Thurgood Marshall can do it, so can I. Do-able

5.      Gay/Lesbian:  Will this affect their performance?  Tammy has another great student resume. Poof! She happens to be a Lesbian. Whoa!

Is this a problem? How so?  Maybe a few uncomfortable classmates in the locker rooms?  Can they still study, pass a math test? Read a book? Can Lesbians, learn?

i.      How is this characteristic different form the others we discussed? More common, or less common?

ii.      Do any of you know a Gay or Lesbian person?  If so, what are they like?

iii.      Don’t they wear pants, have families, and like to text on their phone as much as you do.

iv.      Instead of justifying what makes them so “wrong”, please justify what makes YOU so “right”.  Prove that you are “Normal”.  What is normal or average?  Is it the majority?  Does that make them right.  The majority of you smoke cigarettes or do drugs according to this school’s statistics.  Does that make it right?

v.      Do you speak for everyone, or just think you are part of the majority?

vi.      Should this be considered a “mark” against her qualifications?  I mean, she is different, right?

vii.      Is this a problem?  Whose problem, mine or hers?  After all I’m normal. She’s the one who is a Lesbian. Isn’t that weird?


1)      Students will be asked to add a bunch of different marginalization to their own resumes, such as: I have ADHD, blindness, hearing impaired, being a woman, Asian, HIV positive, abnormal facial hair, a Justin Bieber fan, left-brained, Drug addict recovery, the heaviest person in school, or more.

2)      Students will then attempt to defend themselves, as a marginalized person, and sell themselves proving that these are just minor differences and have NO effect on whether or not they would make a good High School student, and succeed in life.

Kathryn Bolin Apr 19, 2012 7:15 PM


When I was growing up, I do not recall knowing anyone who was gay. I don’t know when I found out what being gay was, but I was probably just starting middle school. Now, in 2012, my son comes home from middle school and tells me what the other students have told him about gay people. It is not pleasant. I have a friend that did not tell me he way gay until we had been friends for two years and made me promise not to tell anyone. He would only see his partner if he was at least an hour away from his home. I could not figure out why he would make that choice when they lived in the same town. After the readings and discussions, I realized that that was not necessarily his choice, but the way it had to be for him. I cannot fathom a world where I could not go out in public with my husband.

As I read the article, “One Teacher in Ten”, my disbelief was high. I do not have to live my life worrying about my decision in my mate would affect my career choices. I do not have to prepare what I am going to say about my personal choice of partner when I apply for a teaching job. I really liked her idea about having the books by the population of the United States. And I also thought it was a good idea that she had students read about groups that they do not belong to.

I believe all people deserve to be treated equal, especially in schools. After reading about the 4 students who tragically committed suicide, I realize that this issue needs to be discussed more. A lot more can be done for students who are bullied because of their sexual orientation. A lot more needs to be done in the schools, so LGBT students have equal opportunity to a safe learning environment.

Lesson Plan

10th to 12th  Grade

Gay Parents/Straight Schools

Student objectives:

Students will decide if schools are straight by discussion, research and writing a paper.

Snappy Launch: Look at two pictures.


1.      Students will discuss the two tv families. (Focus on the family with the two dads and the Cleavers)

1.      How are the families different?

2.      How are the families the same?

3.      Does having two dads change family dynamic?


1.      Students will define the following terms

1.      Gender identity

2.      Gender roles

3.      Gender constancy

4.      Gender stability

5.      Sexual orientation

6.      Identification


1.      Students will research and write a paper. They will have to defend their position. They must decide if schools are straight.

2.      Extension: Should schools be straight?



25pts for defending their answer of the question.


Laura Paulson Apr 19, 2012 7:00 AM



I was very surprised by some of the information presented in this passage from Hope Burwell. It is sad to admit that I’ve never really thought about the struggles it would be for a GLBT person to get a job in a profession that might have a certain image attached to it. I don’t think applying for a cashier job at Target would be as difficult as applying for other professions, like teaching in this instance. Historically many employers or coworkers do instantly ask you about your family and home life when you meet them.

I know when I interviewed for my current job in January, and I was in the early stages of going through a divorce, I wore my wedding ring to the interview. (I obviously had a little resentment and anger about everything tied to that piece of jewelry as I put it back on my hand.) I know this is slightly off topic, but the fact that I was SO concerned about the image of whether I was married or not with two kids is difficult to deal with. I desperately needed this part-time job to help pay the bills and keep the house, so I was willing to put up a false front to somehow increase my odds. I guess I felt that perhaps they wouldn’t want to deal with the drama of a woman going through a divorce with two young children and also going back to school, which I also didn’t divulge until a month into employment, as they are completely different professions. I guess the reasons for portraying myself this way, was that I was going to be committed to this job and company while I was there, and I could do the things I needed to do personally that wouldn’t drastically affect my job performance. My home life is just that, my personal home life.

This brings us back to the reading and how Hope felt the only way she would get a job in the profession she desired was to pretend to be something else, for the benefit of pleasing others. The demographics in her area painted a pretty clear picture of what type of family life was expected as the norm in their area.

When Hope was striving hard to get her students to read about diverse information I really focused on one section. “There is a world full of people outside of this town, and you must find a way to get to know them. So you’ll read. In some small way, you’ll begin to see that being who we are doesn’t mean we are better; it may not even mean we are different” (Jennings & Burwell, 2005, p. 36). I really wish any/all of my teachers in my high school had taken that approach. The majority of them were male, and typically stuck in their “old ways” of doing everything the same from year to year.

Hope also talked about, “There were gay and lesbian kids deprived of a role model because I’d lied about my identity” (Jennings & Burwell, 2005, p. 37). She obviously felt regret about the first few years of her teaching career and not being able to help someone through the hardest years. Unfortunately, she felt she had to do be someone else to prove her abilities to administration.

In my future classrooms, I want to make sure that all students are comfortable in their own skin. It all comes back to getting to know your students, each and every one of them. You might have the quiet student that tries hard to not get noticed, or perhaps it’s the loud boisterous student that uses humor to offset the pain they have inside. Making connections and building trust are the most important things I can do for my future students. 

Glenn D’Amour Apr 16, 2012 10:31 PM


My beliefs on GLBTs have not changed much as a result of this class. However whether we should deal with it as
teachers with our students in school has changed. I believed before class, this was a subject that should be dealt with
between the student and their parent, or maybe a counselor in private. But as a result of reading everyone’s essays as
well as learning so much about where bullying starts and why, and what it does to individuals and families I now
believe it’s imperative that as teachers we do deal with this in the classroom. By dealing with this in the classroom
and discussing it with students, It’s not like were introducing students to a new lifestyle, or that the lifestyle is
dangerous. The fact is the lifestyle is here and our students are dealing with it every day with or without us. Sometimes
they are dealing with it in a mature adult manner maybe more so than us adults. But sometimes they’re dealing with it in a dangerous, negative, bullying way and people get hurt, which is why we as adults need to help our students deal with it. Now of course, we need to deal with it between ourselves in a calm mature thoughtful manner before we screw up or student’s lives with negative feedback. I believe each school is a culture unto
itself. You may have a school that is heavy Christian or Red Neck in its faculty that deals with the subject in a
dangerous way. Or you may have just the opposite end of the spectrum. I can see the importance of educating one’s self on this subject so that when they do deal with it with our sensitive students they do it with a thoughtful, caring, intelligent manner.

I found a story by Beth Hawkins | 12/07/11 titled bullying gay and lesbian kids: how a school district became a
suicide contagion area. Here is an excerpt from this story that supports my point.

“I think they don’t understand that keeping us in the closet and making us hide who we are — that’s not protecting us,”
she says. “As soon as I grew into my own skin, I realized I can’t keep living the way I was. I needed to stand up for myself.” ‘They’re letting the bullies get away with it’

References :



Beth Hawkins                                    MINNPOST


Objective: *After reading an article called Bullying gay and lesbian kids: how a school district became a suicide contagion area, from MINNPOST. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of how faculty handles sensitive situations.

*The student will show appreciation for the importance of the subject by discussing their beliefs about the article.

*The student will demonstrate concern for the principal of treating people with respect by articulating their thoughts on the article.


Snappy Launch:

Procedure: When students are ready will show the staff the launch video.

Students will take 20 min. to read the article, and then we will have a discussion for 45 min.

after discussion students will answer these three questions.

1.      What did Shelton do to make headlines around the world

2.      How did faculty handled the situation

3.      How could’ve faculty handled the situation better

Assessment: Rubric

Quality reading time read the article but mind wandered and may now finished totally                                       25% Read article fully and intently



Quality discussion time Took a small part in the discussion                                25% Contributed a great amount to the discussion                       33%
Thoughtful answers answered with one short sentence                                   25% Answered with full thought out paragraphs                            33%


Authored by: Christine Flugga
Authored on: Apr 17, 2012 3:47 AM

The controversial issues surrounding GLBT people’s rights seem endless. Each and every day they struggle with others not accepting them for who they are and pushing for a so called cure, when one is not needed. Scientists do not know what specifically causes homosexuality or heterosexuality alike. Some think it is genetically encoded or hormonally determined, while others believe that all animals, including humans are prone to all deviations of sexual and/ or loving behavior and choose a preference or sexual orientation.

Gays and lesbians alike come in various shapes, colors and sizes as do heterosexuals and any other people on this Earth. Most GLBT people create a relationships based on equality and mutual respect, love and appreciation for who each of them are. It is no wonder they want the same rights and expectations any heterosexual couple has.

Scientifically speaking it is “natural” and expected that all animals will respond to sexual stimuli, including humans, including homosexual stimuli. Homosexuality is virtually unanimous among all species and tends to be more frequent within species of higher intelligences. If one just looks at the history of human civilization, they will see homosexuality within every human culture throughout. “In fact, one anthropological study of non-Western cultures found that 64 percent of their sample considered homosexuality “normal and socially acceptable” for certain members of the society.” (encyclo)

Many churches play a detrimental role in perpetuating the marginalization of those who chose to be happy in a relationship that is outside of the normal heterosexual lifestyle. Since it is against the churches belief to “lie” people tend to not question what the church is saying. Shouldn’t we stop and question the motives behind this type of propaganda? What did any group of people ever do to be treated with such distain? We need to start switching the focus from what causes people to be GLBT, and start looking at accepting and understanding the complexities of sexuality.


Title:                                       Field Trip to the MN Zoo

Grade Level’s:                       Middle School

Content Area:                        Life Science Class

Time Frame:                           1 day


·       Students will reflect on their ideas of normal throughout the field trip. This will be done by filling out a
worksheet based off of the guided questions.

·       Students will then correlate the similarities and differences of their observations to those of humans and will
write an essay on it.


Snappy Launch:                     I will create a cd with various fun songs on it, including popular ones regarding
tolerance and differences like Pink: Perfect

Overview:                               Students will study various animal species where:

·       males take a leading role in raising young (emperor penguins)

·        discussions on different family structures

·       same-sex parents;


Each student will be given a handout to jaunt down observations from the various exhibits we will be looking at throughout the visit.

I will be guiding the students around to exhibits and will be initiating discussion questions throughout.

Sample Questions:                 What parental roles do these animals display?

Are they typical for animal species? Why or why not?

What do these species eat?

Where do these species live?

What signs of aggression did you observe?

What signs of affection did you observe?

What does their body language, gestures and facial expressions state?

Are same sex forms of affection normal for this species? Why or why not?

How does this species gestures and facial expressions differ from other species?

The possibilities of these question are endless.

Assessment:                           Students will hand in their worksheet that they made reflections on at the beginning
of the next class period.

For homework students will reflect on the animal behavior observations and correlate
that with human behaviors.

·       500-700 word essay on observations.

·       Reflections on all of the key topics from worksheet

·       To be handed in 2 days after the field trip at the beginning of class

·       _______________________________________________________________________________

Manuel Cuevas Apr 18, 2012 10:59 PM


Manuel Cuevas
Human Relations
Dr. Bridges

GBLT Summary

That’s so gay!  I don’t know who taught me that saying in elementary school and at the time it was very funny.
You’re gay!  If someone told me that in elementary school, my feelings would be quite hurt.  Not because I thought
they thought I was a homosexual, but just because it was a derogatory word and was really mean.  Now, I take two
steps back and put myself in the shoes of a homosexual.  How could you ever come out?  Just hearing those types of
comments would make a gay person feel badly.  My AHA moment was when I watched the YouTube video entitled
“When did you choose to be straight?”.  Most anti-gay people are so adamant that gay people choose to be gay, but
then they also claim to be born heterosexual.  Really?  So first let me say I am sorry for hurting anyone with those
words.  Secondly, let me propose two questions: 1. What has changed?  2. Where do we go from here?

There have been little to no improvement with the acceptance of homosexuals in mainstream society.  Of course improvements have been made, but if our children are a reflection of society, we have a long way to go. We are seeing more and more teenage bullying of homosexuals.
We are seeing an uprising of the far right to fight what is billed as Satan’s campaign to destroy the family and turn our youth to homosexuality.  Studies show that the majority of the educators in the schools are homophobic and/or have negative attitudes towards homosexuals.  There are intense debates over nature vs. nurture.  Gifted and talented human beings like Hope E. Burwell are pushed away and out of our schools.  We are a country
where all men should have equal rights and church should be separated from state, yet Christianity and military are
intertwined and create less than equal and marginalized groups.

We as new teachers must be advocates for our students.  No matter the issue we need to be supportive and give our
students the opportunity to learn.  In the case of the GBLT community, it means raising awareness, putting a stop to
bullying and creating a classroom of equality and understanding.  To be able to replicate what Hope E. Burwell did is
what we can all hope to accomplish in our careers.  She provided an absolutely outstanding for teaching acceptance
and diversity.  Present challenging questions.  Stand up for your rights.  Have students learn about other cultures,
religions and life styles.  Have the library books reflect the population of the U.S.  Preach advocacy.

Lesson Plan- 8th Grade Computer Explorations


·       Students will demonstrate communication skills, by participating in a class discussion.

·       Students will write a reflective essay in MS Word with proper syntax and formatting.

Snappy Launch: (15 Minutes)

·       Show pictures of the following:

o   Snoop Dogg

o   Paris Hilton

o   Lindsay Lohan

o   Tiger Woods

o   Snooki

o   Ask how these people have made bad choices?

o   Show Pictures of the following:

§  Ellen DeGeneres

§  Lady Gaga

§  Jane Lynch (Glee)

§  Ask students if they think that these people have been good role models?

§  Inform students that these women are gay or bi.

Vocabulary: (5 Minutes)

·       Bad

·       Good

·       GBLT

·       Role Model

Class Discussion: (30 Minutes)

Ask the following questions:

·       Why bad people/characters that are idolized in popular culture?

·       What are your thoughts on GBLT people?

·       Why are GBLT treated any differently than any other person?

·       Why are some people who are blatantly “bad” celebrated, while other “good” people that happen to be
GBLT are condemned?

·       How can we make sure that everyone is treated well in this classroom?

·       How can we make a difference outside of the classroom?

Reflective Essay: (50 Minutes)

·       Students will provide write a reflective essay on GLBT and include the following:

o   3 comments on what they learned in the discussion. 25 Points

o   2 reasons why GBLT should be treated like everyone else. 25 Points

o   1 way we can ensure equality in our classroom. 25 Points

o   1 way we can make a difference outside of the classroom. 25 Points

Student Assessment:

·       Reflective essay to be grade by percentages listed above.




Sarah Wojciechowski-Prill Jul 11, 2011 11:00 PM

Here are some other things that the Bible says that are immoral:

Round haircuts. Eating pork flesh or touching it. Making any cut in your body. Wear any clothing with
2 types of material mixed together. Wearing gold. Women must not braid hair, wear gold, pearls or costly
garments. No eating: shellfish, camel, rock badger, rabbit, eagle, vulture, falcon, raven, ostrich, owl, seagull,
pelican, stork, bat, heron, winged insects that walk on 4 legs (unless they joints to jump with,
like grasshoppers), bear, mole, mouse, lizard, gecko, crocodile, chameleon, or snail.

The bible (and other religious books) has lots of rules. The ones that organized religions choose
to follow seem completely arbitrary yet convenient to me.

What rules will you “choose?”




Erika Westby Apr 18, 2011 9:26 PM


It makes me sick to hear about the harassment and torture that GLBT people undergo on a daily basis. It shouldn’t matter if this lifestyle is a choice or a genetic predisposition or a population-controlling mechanism sent down by aliens. Who cares?!? Why in the world would you judge someone based on who they love or which gender they identify with? Is it hurting you? Doubtful! If you don’t like to see them, walk the other way. If you have some religious conviction that says that you are supposed to mock and harass and shun people because of their sexual orientation or preference, then maybe you should spend more of your time re-examining your beliefs. Everyone knows that people who are dark-skinned are born that way, and yet they are still discriminated against. People who just happened to be born in Mexico didn’t do so by chance and they are still marginalized. So I doubt that a scientific breakthrough that could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that GLBT people are genetically born that way would change a lot of minds.

When I read “Diversity in Public High Schools: A Look at the Experience of Gay and Lesbian Students,” it just made me angry. Looking at these quotes from homosexual students and the statistics about GLBT students and the way educators and public school staff feel about homosexuality was shocking. The statistics about the educators’ feelings towards homosexuality were only from three states, but they were still shocking and I would have never guessed that the percentages for those that harbor negative feelings about homosexuals would be so high. It really opened my eyes to how easily some kids can get away with bullying GLBT students if the school staff doesn’t intervene because of their own negative feelings towards the group.

The 1 in 10 article was heartbreaking to read. I can’t imagine having to withhold information in a job interview because I knew I would be unfairly judged and probably rejected because of it, but I was proud of Hope for holding her ground. I guess sometimes I live in a fairytale world where I don’t believe it’s possible to cause someone so much pain that they would have to hide part of who they are, or tragically, take their own life in order to avoid such hurt on a daily basis. But as I am made well aware of every day, especially recently, there are students out there that are being bullied and judged and tormentedevery single day that they come to school. School is supposed to be a safe haven – a place where they can learn, grow, and find themselves. It is not supposed to be a place to dread, a place to fear, or a place to avoid. And for a tragic number of GLBT students, it seems to be exactly that place.


Lesson Plan/Activity

Have students listen to the radio novela “Bienvenidos a Casa”:

This radio drama hopes to break the silence about homosexuality. The episodes follow Carlos, a homosexual teen, through his confrontations at school and at home, as well as the issues that his family has with accepting his homosexuality. In the end, aggression and fear are replaced with understanding and protection.

Before each episode, I will tell the students about the theme that it will cover. The students will have a listening activity worksheet to go with each episode to ensure that they are following along.  After each episode, we will utilize a think-pair-share strategy for discussion about each theme and how it relates to students around the world.



30 points: Completion of listening activity worksheet (10 pts per episode)

20 points: Participate in think-pair-share discussion


Elizabeth Murray
Authored on: Apr 18, 2011 2:03 PM
Subject: Murray Summary & Lesson

Lies – about whom you really are.  Lies – to get a job.  Lies – to protect yourself.  Lies – to protect others.

Hope Burwell’s experience in Taer, Iowa is amazing.   Amazing in a sad and awful way.  It is unfortunate that Hope Burwell felt the need and was compelled to lie and omit facts in order to get a job.  Was she protecting herself or her potential employer or even her future students?   Does it matter?   YES!

Lies are never appropriate, especially to a prospective employer – that can never end well.   Is omitting a fact the same as lying?   The bigger question is:   In 2011, why does anyone have to lie/omit truth in order to be selected for a job?

Hope Burwell lied and omitted facts to obtain a job and eventually the truth came out.  The employer did not fire her, but had every right to (for lying).  Sadly, Ms. Burwell resigned.  The fact that the locale of this situation was rural Iowa made no difference; this could have occurred in St. Cloud, Minnesota or Topeka, Kansas.

The federal government recently revoked the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in hiring military personnel.  What does this mean?  Does it mean interviewers can ask if someone is gay?  Does it mean an interview can and should state they are transsexual without fear of discrimination?    What does it matter if I am a woman and prefer an intimate relationship with another woman and not men?   Does that mean I cannot teach a student how to type or how to balance a spreadsheet?  Of course not.  Does it mean I will “turn” other female students into lesbians?  Of course not.

can see the point of view of a hiring board/administration in being reluctant to knowingly hire someone that is GLBT….but that doesn’t make it right.   Is not selecting a candidate because of gender “easier” than facing the wrath of students, parents, and community?

If one in ten of my students will be GLBT.  I wonder what percentage of those will be consumed in lies – to themselves, their peers, and parents.   School should never be a place where students feel unwanted or unsafe.  Educators need to ensure that bullying and harassment does not happen and swift repercussions for those that do.   Whether a student is disabled, ethnically different, or GLBT, they should feel safe at school.   Educators need to individually connect with students and form an open relationship to keep the lines of communication open.  Students should never feel marginalized, especially at school.
Students shouldn’t have to live a lie or feel they must be “stealth” (as used in “TansAmerica”) to those around them.  Neither should adults.



10th grade Consumer Education & Economics

SNAPPY LAUNCH:  Have the song “Lies” by the Thompson Twins (audio only) playing in the classroom as the students enter.

Inform students they will receive a different type of reading assignment and follow-up questions to do in class, alone.  Questions will be handed in before they leave.    Each student will read Hope Burwell’s story in “One teacher in 10” during class.     Thank each and every student for their responses on the worksheet

NEXT DAY:   Have the song “Lies” playing again as students arrive to let them know we will continue with this topic.   Allow as much class time (the whole period if necessary) to discuss the reading, the questions, and anything else students wish to discuss on this topic.    Keep conversation on track and make it clear that hate and derogatory remarks will not be tolerated.


  1. What lie did Hope Burwell tell during her interview?   Why did she lie?
  2. Was it right for Hope Burwell to lie during her interview?   Justify your answer.
  3. How would you feel if you found out I was a lesbian and never told you?    Be honest.
  4. Would it make a difference if you knew I was a lesbian before you started this class?
  5. How about if I was a man and was gay?
  6. Think about the biggest lie you’ve ever told – you don’t have to tell me about it.  But, please do reflect on why you told it.   Was it to protect yourself or someone else – please describe THAT to me.
  7. What would you have done differently about your lie?
  8. Your best friend tells you they think they are attracted to the same gender (but not you).  What are your gut reactions?  Do you think it will hurt your friendship or make you better friends?  Why do you think your friend trusted you enough to tell YOU?
  9. Thinking about what we’ve learned in this Consumer Education class – does it make a difference if a worker at Target is gay?      How about if a police officer?        Justify your answer.
  10. Could you name a job where it WOULD matter if the worker was straight or gay?

BONUS:   What can we do to help everyone in the school feel safe and never have to lie (about anything) – be creative!


_____/100          10 points per question

BONUS:   10 points for super-awesome idea to make schools safe.



Sam O’Brien  Brilliant Curriculum to support GLBT Day of Silence
Activity: 7-12 art

It is documented that approximately 1/3rd of the population percieves the taste of Cilantro (a fresh herb usually found in Mexican and Spanish cooking) as being the same as dish soap. Using this as a starting point, my activity focuses on the invisible differences we use a starting point for discrimination in society.

Class begins with all students eating cilantro. Anonymously, they write on a piece of paper if they found the taste “good” “ok” or “dish soap yucky”. Then, we tally the total at the front of the room. Then, I announce that all students who were willing to eat a bowl full of cilantro would have no homework. Students who chose to remain silent could choose just one assignment from our work list. Students who wished to vocalize how cilantro tasted gross and this was unfair could do so, but would also be required to finish all three assignments for the following class.

We would then discuss invisible characteristics and the choice to identify with one. What is it like to be the person who has this choice? What is it like to be the person who doesn’t have to make this choice? What is it like to remain silent? I would also like students to read an article like our 1 in 10 reading, but prefereably about someone their own age. (article needs to be found)

After presenting a small Power Point on the history of activist art around civil rights issues (posters, painting and sculpture) the assignment given to the class would be to choose one medium – posters or sculpture – and make a piece that answers the question “What is important about you that the world cannot see? ” This would be accompanied by an artist statement from the student explaining the significance of their specific choices around the work.

assessment: analytic peer-graded rubric concerning 4 areas: reference research of art/artists; attention to craft; artist statement; use of the elements and principles of art

A particularly poignant authentic voice: Authored on: Apr 13, 2009 10:06 PM    Subject: Brian – Gay

Hello,  I want to first say how excited I am that future scholars are interested and taking time to listen and learn from the experiences of individuals and minorities. The effort in itself says a great deal about how much the educational system has progressed since I graduated high school in 1999.

I went to school in a town of just over 2,000 people; the total size of my graduating class was just over 160 students. The majority of the graduating class had started school and finished in the same town, myself included. When you spend twelve years going to school with the same students you get to know each other pretty well. You get to learn who you like and what you like about these people, at the same time you learn who you don’t like and what you don’t like about people, and what people don’t like you. By the time you hit fifth grade the social cliques have formed.

Elementary school was fine for me but as I entered middle school my popularity had begun to fade. By the time I was in high school I was somewhat of an outcast.  It was common to hear a few people call me a fag or queer regularly. Not everybody was like this but there were definitely groups of people I knew to avoid. I denied being gay all through high school, yet despite my refusal to admit who I was and my attempts to mislead people; some of mannerisms and my voice were just too obvious. For some people you just can’t hide who you are no matter how much you want to or try to.

Unfortunately my fellow classmates were not the only ones who were naive or narrow-minded. There were also teachers. One instance that comes to mind was a discussion of gays in the military. The truth is it was not much of a discussion but more of a one sided attack on homosexuality led by my sixth grade teacher with no opposition. I was too concerned with keeping who I was a secret to argue out against him.

He ended the classroom discussion with him in front of the entire class mimicking a soldier trying to shoot across a ditch at an enemy with a fake machine gun in his hands while fending off a gay guy next to him who was suppose to be part of his platoon. After the teacher killed his enemy he then took his imaginary machine gun and shot at the imaginary gay guy. The rest of the class burst into laughter as he performed this mini-skit in front of the class, but the humor was lost on me. He ended by saying, “when you are fighting for your country, you shouldn’t have to fight off some gay guy trying to get on top of you.”

Another incident at my school did not involve me but two of my friends. They were two straight girls who were accused of being lesbians; the rumors in the school were very intense and got as far as to the faculty itself. Instead of the faculty putting a stop to the kids spreading the rumors the school actually called in both of the girls and the girl’s parents in a group meeting to discuss the rumor.

The worse thing in high school for me though was the fact that a teacher actually had been disciplined for having a gay speaker come to one of her classes to educate the children on issues that faced gay people. One of the students who had been in that class had told her parents about the speaker and the out-raged parent went to the school to demand a stop to this, the school complied.

The reason this is so upsetting is because it was one of the first times for me that a teacher had approached homosexuality in a positive light trying to educate people on the issue and she was punished for this. It is sad when someone dislikes you because they don’t understand you, it is worse when they hate you so much they refuse to let their ideals be challenged or take the opportunity to learn anything about you as a person at all.

That is why I find this exercise so inspiring because it promotes education into an area that many people simply do not understand. Understanding is the key to acceptance. I know a lot has changed for the better since I graduated high school. I think this will help to further those efforts for people of all types.

Good Luck in your Assignment.

David’s thoughts went over the word limit but are particularly poignant and alternative approach.
David Zuck Apr 21, 2011 10:33 PM


My “attitude toward differences” survey results gave me something to think about. I stopped just short of being willing to join and participate in advocacy for full rights in all parts of life, not because I don’t support the ideas but rather because of my personality. I generally don’t express my views in that public of a way, but maybe as a teacher I now have to think about what role I need to play in my job. What I can’t do for personal reasons, I sometimes find myself able to do because it’s my job role.

I empathize with the GLBT marginalized group, especially because of the “choice versus born this way” issue. And the choice part, I feel, can be further complicated by consideration of environment. Maybe outside influences can have a strong enough power to affect choice in some way that is contrary to what we really want? I thought of this also while watching the Coal Miner episode of 30 Days, when the coal miners all said that they did not really want to be coal miners, but still, in the end, “chose” that career. It tells me that making choices is a hard thing to do sometimes. And then throw in the fact that students brains are still developing into their 20’s. I do believe though that there’s not much choice in being GBLT. Maybe it is even God’s purpose for you, your part in the diversity of being human? I empathize because I am a bit of an outsider myself, especially as it relates to art in my life. Below, I include some comments about art because when I was young I noticed a connection, and although I’m not gay, when I talked to others about my art I felt like I was treated as an outsider. So maybe I saw a bit of myself via the GLBT marginalization.

People tell you to be positive, moral, and always move ahead. And don’t dwell on the negative either. To be or do less is to allow “drama” into your life. And yet, when you follow your God’s calling, when you follow your passion, when you find true love, if you are GBLT then you don’t get that chance – to do what people are telling you. Well, in the same way as others. That door is supposed to be closed, locked, never opened – sexual taboo. But then, why is there that door then? And how would you like to do what you think is right and natural, and never be allowed to have an echo of that experience resound in the world because it’s judged to be wrong by others? I hear that echo in the story of the lesbian teacher in Iowa. I see what’s going down when the kids are killing themselves. And when the mob goes unchecked and is allowed to bully, and try to stop that echo. Because my art was marginalized when I was younger, I empathize too.

We’ve talked about art in this class too, and hopefully my “final” project will show up on it’s appointed Saturday. I’m working on it, and uncertainty is part of the fun. Things that are emergent, things that can’t be planned totally in advance, things that are more feeling based, can be marginalized. I read in an Elliot W. Eisner book about the ages and stages when the brain can start to do different kinds of art if it gets different kinds of experiences. In theory, the same goes for math and science, but my guess is that most parents sigh when their kid says “I want to be an artist.” Unless they too, are artists. I bet it’s the same for GLBT kids. And it’s easier to cover it up because the artist or GLBT thing must be something claimed by the individual, alone. Society doesn’t help out. And also, nobody gets hired because they say they know something good will happen if you just let them do it. The art part of art. I think artists are a marginalized group myself.

Should we be teaching about GLBT in public schools? I think we should be doing more than that. It’s time we start educating kids about “love” relationships, how to develop, cultivate, end, reconcile, avoid, respect… start to think about relationships in a practical way. Otherwise, kids grow up fast, and arrive at an adulthood where they then have to learn this stuff on their own. Again, society doesn’t help out much. Yes, the church and family plays a role too, for some. But in the U.S., the divorce rate is over 50% now. And I think, in the context of learning about relationships, there is a place for respecting the GLBT marginalized group. It’s not about some demonic indoctrination. It’s about that echo – allowing some kids to pursue their different path, and hear their own positive voice instead of the mobs’, the bully’s, and a God’s negative voice that you aren’t allowed to listen to first-hand, but must play on “continuous repeat” from somebody else. (Maybe some say: Your dad was a coal miner. Art is a good hobby. Just put those GLBT thoughts out of your head because the Bible says so. I fear for you so I don’t want you to learn about that stuff.) I bet teaching a hetero about GLBT relationships would be easier if that wasn’t the sole focus of the teaching.

And finally, these GLBT students can’t get their lives back, meaning the prom they should be enjoying instead of a bullying karaoke incident, once a homophobe takes it away. I think what the moralizers miss is that, yes, they can force a person to change, but then when it fails and the student eventually doesn’t change, the GLBT students still have that irritating residue of the echoing voices of judgment, fear and loathing to deal with.

There are lots of good materials we studied on the GLBT marginalized group that I won’t elaborate on. The CNN article on the Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality by Jennifer Wright Knust is very cool. It shows the hypocrisy that people use to justify their selfish positions to the exclusion of others. The Matthew Shepard video images seemed to indicate that he scared his murders and so they killed him. They even claimed as much with their insanity plea. Maybe somebody should have un-scared them before they felt they had to do this? The Gay and Teen Bullying YouTube video pissed me off, especially the line about the kids calling a boy names in front of his teachers, who did nothing. The statistics that seem to indicate that 80% of teachers are not supportive of GLBT students, which to me is mindboggling. And finally, that YouTube question posed: When did you choose to be straight? My guess is that it occurs when a person first comes into contact with the concept of “not being so” being out there for consideration.

Lesson Plan

Discussion and essay question topics related to love relationships, including issues of choice (just a start):

  • What choices have you (students) really made in your life to-date?
  • What things do you make choices about?
  • What things do you wish you could make choices about?
  • What voices from others seem to contradict what you feel might be correct for you?
  • What are you born with or have no control over in your life, maybe due to environment? And why?
  • Does sexual preference influence every aspect of a person’s life? Why or why not?
  • What kind of “love” relationship do you want when you are an adult?
  • What outside influences are in your head as you think about what kind of love relationship you may want?
  • How will you deal with love loss?
  • Is a love relationship, a relationship with the other? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe that there is just one person out there for you? Why or why not?
  • Will you be changed by a love relationship or will you be who you are regardless?
  • What compromises have you made in your life? Why?
  • What do you feel you need to hide from society/others until you can figure it out?
  • What types of relationships do you need to avoid? Why?
  • Should others be allowed to dictate the sexual mores of another’s love relationship? If so, then what specific aspects? If not, then why? If so, then why? And what’s the issue?
  • What are the words of ignorance that apply to a love relationship, and should not be used?
  • How is power shared in your love relationship? Is this due to choice or environmental factors?
  • Is there more than one right way for a love relationship? Why or why not?

Practical K-8 Activity

Discussion/Sharing Questions:

  • How do you want your future partner to support you in life? Why?
  • How do you expect to support your future partner in life? Why?
  • How will you share/spend money and time with your future partner? Why?
  • Who balances the checkbook, which requires math? Why?
  • Who uses the tools, which requires science? Why?
  • How will you protect your own sense of self and space? Why?
  • How will you collaborate together?
  • What things and words do you think are bad for your future relationship?
  • Who gets the sports car and who gets the minivan? Why?
  • Who cleans the bathroom? Cooks? Cares for kids? Why?
  • Who decides how the money is spent? Why?
  • Who talks about their feelings?
  • Who decides where you go for vacation? Why?
Thomas Gilgenbach Jul 25, 2011 10:16 PM
chama.jpg (22.65 KB)      
Watching the Matthew Shepherd video gave me the same chill when I first heard the news he was murdered. It’s
amazing to me that homosexuality gets people so riled up they are driven to do such a thing. And it’s incredibly sad to
me that kids who are harassed daily for their sexual orientation, are driven to suicide.  Worse, some of that abuse comes
indirectly from educators (as high as 80% of prospective teachers!!). Some administrations are even guilty of forcing
teachers like Hope Burwell to hide their sexual orientation. The survey results would have you believe I would be one
of those types of educators. But I had a lot of problems with the wording of the survey. I felt I was asked to patronize
the LGBT community, and I don’t want to do that. I might never march in a PRIDE parade, but I certainly will maintain
a classroom where LGBT students feel safe and welcome. Taking these classes has made me drill deep into my beliefs
and I’ve been surprised so many times, so I’m not so naïve to think I don’t have homophobic thoughts in my head.
But I recognize those shortcomings and I’m collecting the data; I’m rebuilding my internal desktop.

Most importantly, I have learned my voice can transcend the classroom. I read what you did about the cashier who
badmouthed the Latino fellow who didn’t have enough money to pay for all his groceries. I found it inspiring. It’s
extremely honest but extremely firm, and it defines the kind of person I want to be now, and the teacher I want to be
one day.

LESSON PLAN: 9-12 English/Creative Writing


1.     Students will read “The Efficacy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” by Colonel Om Prakash.

2.     Students will read the transcripts from NPR’s “In Support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

3.     Students will recall key points of the two opposing viewpoints of DADT by completing a 20-question quiz
with 80% accuracy.

4.     Students will organize information from the readings and demonstrate further comprehension of specific ideas
in a jigsaw activity.

5.     Students will summarize their own opinion, by writing a 125-word (or more) letter opposing or supporting DADT.


Snappy Launch:

I would tell the story of Thandiwe Chama, a young woman who at only eight years old, led a march and an education
campaign after her school was closed. I would ask my students whether or not they would have the fortitude to do
something similar. Then I would tell them they have more power to change the world than they think.

THANDIWE CHAMA (February 15, 1991 – Present)

In 2007, a 16-year-old Zambian girl named Thandiwe Chama won the International Children’s Peace Prize. The award
consists of a statuette called “the Nkosi” and 100,000 Euros, which are to be awarded to a direct aid project in the spirit
of the young winner’s efforts.

What did Thandiwe do to win such a prestigious honor? In 1999, when she was only eight-years-old, her school was
closed because there were no teachers who could educate students. Thandiwe refused to accept this fate of no education.
She has since said, “It’s so important to know that also a child has rights. At school I learned about rights. And I knew
then that this was something I wanted to fight for. Because if children are given an opportunity, they for sure can contribute in making this world a better place.”

Thandiwe then led 60 other children as they walked to find another school where they could learn. The group of children
came upon the Jack Cecup School, to which they were later all accepted.

Since that event 10 years ago, Thandiwe has been fighting for the right to education for all children. Thandiwe regularly
raises awareness in the community by speaking in church about children and AIDS – and even co-wrote and co-illustrated
a booklet called “The Chicken with AIDS”, teaching young children about the perils of the disease.



1.     Students will be given a handout of Colonel Prakash’s essay and the NPR transcripts. Students will have two days to read the material and prepare for the quiz.

2.     Students will be given a 20-question quiz to show comprehension of the material. 80% accuracy is needed to pass.

3.     Students will be assigned to four jigsaw groups regarding DADT: history of DADT, religious opinion, military opinion, and public opinion. Students will be responsible for further research to complete their jigsaw assignment over the course of one class period.

4.     After completing the jigsaw assignment, students will write a letter to a public official (congress or senate) supporting or opposing DADT. A stamped envelope will be provided. It is the student’s responsibility to learn the name of their representative or senator as well as correctly address the envelope.

Student Assessment

1. Quiz (25%)

2. Jigsaw assignment: graded by group (25%). Grades will be based on providing at least two sources for research; competent analysis; provided a cogent summary.

3. Opinion letter (50%), graded as follows:

Correct grammar and sentence structure: (Less than 3 errors = 3 points; 3-4 errors = 2 points; 5-6 errors = 1 point)

Correctly selected the proper representative (Representation); Identified at least three points supporting their viewpoint (Viewpoint); has an organized beginning, middle, and end, with effective transitions, and a summary paragraph (Organization): 35 points.

Representation: Had either the representative or the address correct.

Viewpoint: two supporting points

Organization: organized beginning, middle, and end, no summary paragraph. 25 points.


Representation: Had neither the representative or the address correct.

Viewpoint: one supporting point

Organization: organized beginning, middle, and end, no summary paragraph. 15 points.