Monday, June 12, 2023

Relating Critical Theory to Classroom Content Areas

Relating critical theory to critical thinking can focus on classroom activities. With so many different cultures living in California, teachers and administrators drive student engagement by relating many content areas to a variety of cultures' "funds of knowledge

1. The need to forego identity thinking as described by Theodor Adorno (placing people in groups or categories with predetermined roles) in order to give opportunities to others who are not in the dominant culture.

The unit about creating firebreaks in fire-prone areas of California taught us the importance of indigenous cultures active in scientific processes. Conventional thinking might conclude that firefighters developed these methods. Teaching students who assisted in the development scientific processes helps students to understand that the dominant culture is not responsible for all of the ideas used in technology. Our example from Week One proves that methods of creating firebreaks were first developed by indigenous people. Students can research both methods to write a compare/contrast essay of the methods used by both groups. 

2. Lev Vygotsky's ideas of cooperative learning and the ZPD theory, leading to increased critical thinking.

3. Socrates idea of questioning common beliefs: See lesson at

4. Article relating Plato's ideas about social justice applied to science. See

5. Aristotle's idea that valid syllogistic reasoning can help with research. See video at

6. Literature and media criticism based upon Aquinas ideas about learning how criticisms is a necessary stage in developing ideas. Using peer reviews to improve critical thinking when writing. See

7.  Ideas for developing and applying Paulo Friere's social justice theories in the classroom:

Integrating social justice into STEM education:

Friday, May 5, 2023

How to understand, treat and deal with the construct of Whiteness and White Privilege

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is outlawing topics of discussion that he believes would make white people uncomfortable in schools and public institutions. These topics include those associated with past struggles for racial equality and social justice.

The governor is leading a xenophobic movement that misses the point about anti-racist education by ignoring the effects of "white fragility," which is a researched theory about the psychological effects that occur when dominant ethno-racial groups of people learn about historical and current events that have wrecked havoc among the oppressed.  Medical News Today explains that: "White fragility refers to feelings of discomfort a white person experiences when they witness discussions around racial inequality and injustice."

The behaviors and feelings associated with ignorance about social justice among white people are likely to promote racism.  Discussions about race help white people get past their fears and guilt. Researchers quoted in Medical News Today have found that promoting racial stamina through education about oppression, white people may be able to manage racial stressors rather than ignoring or silencing them. Conscious and explicit engagement with people of different races can help break the pattern of fragile behaviors and actions related to race."

It might well be that DeSantis and others are wrong about the assumptions of harm that talking about racism in workplaces and schools might create.

The concept of "white privilege" is tops on the list of "WOKE" education and is being censored by the government in many states. See for yourself two different viewpoints about the term. 

 See the Forbes article, "Anti-Racism 101Clarify 'White Privilege' Once and for All" for more information about how the business community defines the term. 

For a detailed explanation, see Learning for Justice article:
  "What is White Privilege, Really?"

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Close Reading Updated Procedure for Including Cognates


Updated Procedure for Including Cognates in Close Reading

Courtesy of Stoneybrook University

Introduce title and author (if available) of passage. Discuss what you know about the topic, including identifying it as narration, description, argument, poetry, play, subject area and so on. Relate topic to prior reading and set purpose for reading new selection. For free reading selection sources see Close Reading Lesson Plan Template.
1. Teacher reads selection aloud while students follow along (engagement). A list of websites with reading selections is included at the end of this lesson plan.
2. Teacher elicits from students what they think is the first characteristic (length, difficulty, tone, genre, purpose) they note about the passage. Write the words on the white board or note pad under document camera. (I do; we do; you do method)
3. Have students indicate the words they aren't familiar with (circle, highlight, etc...) Look up word in online or table dictionary and discuss with students, associating it with a concept of the unknown word. (I do; we do; you do method)
If selection is from textbook, go over visuals, headings subheadings, words in bold print/italics and so on). Let students know that this is called the selective attention learning strategy
For ELLs, type names of each word into Google Images, showing students the best representation of the word. 
Additionally, have ELs read through the selection to find Spanish/English cognates in order for them to become aware of the similarities of their own language and English and to recognize that word meanings are similar in English to those in their own language (Spanish).
4. Share out (Think/pair share) vocabulary words/explain in own words. Discuss punctuation/capitalization in passage. (I do; we do; you do method)For more prereading activities see
5.Students read selection again silently.

6. Ask critical thinking questions from Bloom's taxonomy at  Refer back to text when appropriate.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

What can you do with a masters in education?

As a masters in education (creative arts education) at SFSU (San Francisco State University),  I've been able to create this online education blog for graduate students majoring in a wide variety of online education disciplines from multicultural education to English Language Learning. 

Please feel free to add your ideas to assist online education students. Links are especially needed for resources in critical thinking and English language learners. 

With my masters in education, I've been able to be a professor at UAGC, National University and the University of Phoenix, as well as having 12 how-to photography books published including the book, "Digital Art Photography for Dummies."

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Critical Thinking and Social Justice Issues--Please Respond

Educators and trainers can follow steps to deepen critical thinking throughout lessons using Bloom's Taxonomy. Critical thinking and social justice go hand-in-hand in education. Here's a simple way to create a social justice critical thinking lesson based upon an event in history and relating it to a topic today. 

Critical Thinking Steps based upon Bloom's Taxonomy:

  • Remember
  • Interpret and Summarize
  • Analysis
  • Apply Knowledge
  • Evaluation
Consider a topic to which you can apply the above deepening critical thinking process. 

For example:

  1. Remember: Recall everything you know about social justice and women's rights.
  2. Read/Summarize: Read and summarize an article/book about social justice in order to define one appropriate issue connected to a history curriculum and to students' prior knowledge, For example: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote.
  3. Apply Knowledge: Students will select an issue about social justice/women's rights
  4. Analysis: Arrange students in groups to analyze how Staton helped to solve the women's rights voting issue from the book above.
  5. Application: In the groups, apply similar methods to solve current issue by creating a list.
  6. Evaluation: Collect lists and redistribute to each group (each group get's their peer groups' list) to evaluate problem solving methods. Each group adds ideas to list. 
  7. Repeat process by passing group list to a new group for them to add to the idea list.
Create Master List of all issues to class to discuss vote on the best ideas for each issue. Graph data.
Before doing this week's assignment, think about changing the reading in the example above to another social justice issue connected to history and change website for information about related issues today for students selection in order to create ideas for solving the challenge. 


  1. Remember: Recall everything you know about social justice and women's rights.
  2. Read/Summarize: Read and summarize an article/book about social justice in order to define one appropriate issue connected to a history curriculum and to students' prior knowledge, For example: ___________________ (title related to a social justice issue of the past).
  3. Apply Knowledge: Students will select an article/teacher-made document   list about the specific social justice issue described in the reading above that is current today. For example, ______________________________.
  4. Analysis: Arrange students in groups to analyze how issue can be solved. 
  5. Application: In the groups, apply similar methods to solve current issue by creating a list.
  6. Evaluation: Collect lists and redistribute to each group (each group get's their peer groups' list) to evaluate problem solving methods. Each group adds ideas to list. 
  7. Repeat process by passing group list to a new group for them to add to the idea list.
  8. Create Master List of all issues to class to discuss vote on the best ideas for each issue. Graph data.
    Please Add Ideas in Comments: What specific justice issue in history would you select articles for the above lesson template? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Climate Change Neglect in Education

Much of the curriculum in schools is silent on climate change, as the New York Times reports. The article about addressing the issue in education, especially middle school,  states that there are more articles online that misinform about the topic than cover it accurately. 

Teaching students to search for reliable information on the topic should look for search terms in Google that will lead them to accurate scientific information. While the article states the importance of teaching this topic to the next generation, it sidesteps how teachers can find accurate information about climate change.

Students, parents and teachers can investigate the reputable information about the topic with one simple set of search parameters on Google. The keywords are as follows:

NOAA climate change

It's a travesty that The Times' goals don't include informing people about NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration in its article about climate change. The article mentions the dire need for middle schoolers' education include more curriculum on climate change and that the NGSS, which is true, as the parties interested in this topic will find few resources connecting climate change to the NGSS standards. The climate change units that educators can find is useful, but doesn't cover the issue in depth.

It's true that the science standards do not cover the topic directly and The Times is not the first publication to note that. The facts about the lack of sources for climate change are described in detail in the Brock Education Journal article titled The Implementation of NGSS standards and the Tumultuous Fight to Implement Climate Change Awareness in Science Curricula. Even this academic article does not address how students and teachers fan find reputable sources on climate change.

I plea with the mainstream media that if they are going to write about the issue of education and climate change that they include how to access reputable resources where educators and students can find accurate information. 


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Critical Thinking Lesson Plan and Assessment Links for a Variety of Subjects and Grade Levels

What could be better for educators and homeschooling parents than a prefessional paper that lists links that you can find reputable links for lesson plans and other resources for critical thinking and critical thinking assessment without pop-up ads. In the paper, the descriptions and links are detailed in a variety of subject areas (Bowers, n.d.). 

For example in the Edsitement website there are thorough lesson plans, teacher's guides and media with a wide assortment of topics from history and language arts to music.

Many other non-profit and governmental agencies provide free available resources such as the aforementioned one, each offering information and links about critical thinking and assessment for grades K-12. 


Bowers, N. (n.d.). Instructional support for the teaching of critical thinking: Looking beyond the red brick walls.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Assisting immigrant Students to Overcome Isolation


Recently immigrated students can feel isolated, so that teachers can implement using cooperative groups combined with social emotional learning in the classroom. Before initiating any group work, teachers are encouraged to teach the guidelines for group work

 Keeping students working with the same group of people for a period of time will help them to overcome isolation. Also, teachers should provide a lot of structure and establish daily routines, so that students know what is expected of them. 

Resources for Recently Immigrated Students

There is immigration curriculum at  

Book and Teaching Unit for Spanish Speaking Immigrants in Elementary School

Book: Muñoz Ryan, P. (2000). Esperanza Rising. New York: Scholastic.

Unit: Unit for Esperanza Rising.  

Sunday, July 17, 2022

University Courses Associated with Critical Race Theory


Many politicians are not educators. If they were they would be aware of conscientization: The action or process of making others aware of political and social conditions, especially as a precursor to challenging inequalities of treatment or opportunity; the fact of being aware of these conditions.

University courses that teach about conscientization are directly related to the idea of critical race theory and are vital for new teachers to understand at-risk students, students from lower socioeconomic classes of all races and English Language Learners. These students are often the focus of teacher-training university courses. 


Many courses that include conscientization and critical race theory reasoning are threatened to be canceled, along with any associated books that mention justice for all. In some states politicians promote fear that they will offend many parents because they present injustices throughout history toward oppressed and disadvantaged groups in society.


  • Diversity and Change
  • Methodology Cross-cultural Instruction
  • Cognition, Language and Culture
  • Language Development in Elementary Classroom
  • Language Development in Secondary Classroom
  • Meaningful Learning with Technology
  • Multimedia and Interactive Technology
  • Transformative Education Practices
  • Comparative Education Systems
  • Multidimensional Education
  • Becoming a Teacher
  • Identity, Inclusion and Equity
  • Linguistics Academic Language
  • Teaching Online
  • Design and Process of Teaching
  • Applied Critical Thinking
  • Self as a Critical Thinker

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Parents and teachers can read books to elementary and middle schoolers

 Parents and teachers can read books about math to elementary and middle schoolers.

 Here are two great lists of math-related stories that parents and teachers can read with students.

There's a an elementary grade literature book list for STEM subjects at

Middle school math fiction books  are at