Bookbinding

Why?
Bookbinding let’s you stitch your stories together. Like papermaking, bookbinding has a long history of being an excellent resource for recording thoughts. To bind a book you simply need to attach pages together. Stitching techniques can be as decorative as you’d like, or as simple as a staple. Binding your own book means you can bind your own sketchbook, and no artist should be without a sketchbook.

What else?
Bookbinding gets us thinking about the sequence of things – the cover, the beginning, the middle, and the end of the book. Construct your own narrative of a real (or imagined!) event by writing, illustrating, and binding your story. More curriculum connectors can be found here.

FEMINIST THEORY 101: THE BOOK LIST

The first in a series of four installments from the Feminist Press, here are the essentials for getting your grounding on what feminism is for different writers, theorists, and activists; and why. All books are linked to their publisher’s purchase page, not Amazon. Most are published by independent presses.

FEMINIST THEORY 101

  • Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies- Edited by Stanlie M. James, Frances Smith Foster & Beverly Guy-Sheftall, this is the up-to-date and definitive collection of race and gender writings today.
  • Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza- By Gloria Andaluza, this essay/poem/lyric/confessional challenges how we even concieve of theory and identity; one of the most groundbreaking Chicana Feminist works.
  • WSQ: Trans- -Edited by Paisley Currah, Lisa Jean Moore & Susan Stryker, a pioneer in the field of trans* studies.
  • Separate Roads to Feminism: Black, Chicana, and White Feminist Movements in America’s Second Wave- by Benita Roth, an excellent survey on different feminist ideas in different feminist groups, why these movements emerged seperately.
  • On Shifting Ground- Edited by Fereshteh Nouraie-Simone and revised for the post-Arab Spring world, this essential essay collection challenges sterotypes and reveals a variety of feminist prespectives from Muslim women.
  • Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism- by bell hooks; a poet and stylistic genius writing a sweeping analysis of oppression within different and marginalized communities.
  • The Beauty Myth- Naomi Wolff’s criticism was considered the beginning of the Third Wave, and it speaks to the secret worries we all have: Am I superficial for worrying about my appearence? Are women’s magazines frivolous? In case there’s a doubt, the answer is FUCK NO, and let her tell you about the economic and political industry behind it.
  • New Black Feminist Criticism, 1985-2000- by the complete badass Barbara Christian, she innovates the field of black feminist criticism while challenging how academics centralize on inaccessible postmodern critiques.
  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches- Audre Lorde, a black lesbian feminist poet, was an artist. Her writing is a joy to read, even when it tears you apart. This is her essential collection of essays and speaches (but be sure to read some of her poetry too).
  • The Feminist Porn Book- What the fuck is this sex positivity/pro-porn/anti porn debate raging on tumblr? Can I see some primary sources and fucking citations? Read the first collection of writings from feminist adult entertainers and feminist porn scholars (Ed. by Tristan Taormino, Constance Penley, Celine Parrenas Shimizu & Mireille Miller-Young)
  • Simians, Cyborgs, and Women- If you’ve ever wondered about Janelle Monae’s android fixation, read Donna Haraway’s cyborg theory to have your mind blown. Haraway says: we are all cyborgs(!!!!!), we should break down traditional boundaries of how we study “fact,” there are so many possibilities on how we identify sex/gender.
  • Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity by Chandra Talpade Mohanty addresses internationalist and third world feminist concerns in a voice that is unforgettable.
  • King Kong Theory- Controversial filmmaker and former prostitute Virginia Despentes writes a memoir and theoretical expansion of the constraints and possibilities of sex and power today, written from the perspective ”as an ugly one for the ugly ones.”
If the (largely implicit) purpose of modern schooling is to socialize young people to accept the paradigm, and to function within the framework, of a competitive world socioeconomic system that we characterize as a “rat race,” or more kindly as a “horse race,” then presumably the most appropriate training would be to subject students to endless practice in the running of a race course, around and around, under the watchful eyes of their trainer (the teacher) and the audience in the stands (parents, administration, community, corporations, etc.). Those who over the years show themselves to be the most adept (i.e. the most rapid) at running these various races eventually get the opportunity to leave the confines of the educational racetrack for larger, more demanding, but just as circular racetracks in the workplace of the “real world,” where the stakes of winning or losing the race are much more significant than a certain letter grade.
—  Matt Maxwell, “What is Curriculum Anyway?” Expanding the Boundaries of Transformative Learning
Weaving

Why?
Before the industrial revolution, knowing how to weave meant knowing how to stay warm. Today most every textile – from the sheets on your bed to the shirt on your back – was made using a mechanized weaving process. For many civilizations, the art of weaving meant more than just keeping warm. The Navajo were well known for their distinct weaving styles and designs, having acquired skills through experimentation and handing down what they’d learned through the generations. 

What else?
The process of weaving can be meditative, and it’s a great way to keep hands busy. Try talking about traditional weaving practices while weaving your own textile. More on curriculum connectors here.

El cuento es muy sencillo
usted nace
contempla atribulado
el rojo azul del cielo
el pájaro que emigra
el torpe escarabajo
que su zapato aplastará
valiente

usted sufre
reclama por comida
y por costumbre
por obligación
llora limpio de culpas
extenuado
hasta que el sueño lo descalifica

usted ama
se transfigura y ama
por una eternidad tan provisoria
que hasta el orgullo se le vuelve tierno
y el corazón profético
se convierte en escombros

usted aprende
y usa lo aprendido
para volverse lentamente sabio
para saber que al fin el mundo es esto
en su mejor momento una nostalgia
en su peor momento un desamparo
y siempre siempre
un lío

entonces
usted muere.

—  "Curriculum" - Mario Benedetti.

I just signed a petition to Jeffco Public School Board and The Colorado State House: Stop public school boards from outlawing historical events such as the Civil Rights Movement, Native American genocide, and slavery.

I know everyone on Tumblr seems to view the public schooling system as a giant evil entity that makes you, like, try and, I don’t know, forces you wear modest clothing.

However, public schools are also an amazing haven for some kids, providing them someplace safe to exist for the majority of the day, with food, with life direction, and with companionship they may have otherwise not had.

It is also the point at which many of our personal educations begin.

Wow, right? School teaches you shit and for free haha how fuckin’ weird.

But the school district I was a part of for the entirety of my public schooling career is now literally under attack. A group of conservative buttholes would like to “change” the curriculum for history courses at the high school level and the health curriculum for elementary level, stating in their original “Curriculum Review Mission Statement”:

Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions. [source]

I started to bold the parts I wanted you to pay attention to, but really, it’s the whole goddamn thing. Read it. Then reread it. Then let it sink in.

Now, I’ve read that this “draft” proposal has been rewritten to take out some of the more disturbing language, because of the outcry, but that doesn’t mean the agenda is gone. When the initiative was initially met with awe and outrage, this happened:

"School board member Julie Williams, who sponsored the proposal, said people have misinterpreted what she’s trying to do. She said she’s not trying to eliminate the facts of U.S. history but shares the concerns conservatives nationally have outlined – that AP History casts some parts of history in a negative light, such as the bombing of Hiroshima and slavery." [source]

Dang, I wonder why slavery and nukes are considered blemishes on America’s history. Hmm.

And if that weren’t enough, some of the majority members (including that lovely Julie Williams, quoted below) are now vying to create a special “committee” to conquer this history problem:

Dear Friends,

This is a door that many of us have been praying for… If you know anyone who is conservative and/or a Christian who can serve on this committee to be a watchmen[sic] for history curriculum, please pass this along to them. We must have more conservative members on this committee than progressives or liberals. Please help… fill the committee with godly people.

Because, you know, HISTORY curriculum can’t be left to anyone but conservative Christians.

And okay, let’s even pretend that I and the people I know who work in the system are all just full of bullshit and the board isn’t trying to ruin anything about the curriculum, and I’m just a flaming asshole because I hate Christians or whatever else you want to accuse me of.

They are, at least, still doing their best to make sure education is not the number one priority in their district. Today, details were given to staff about the new teacher pay scale (I can’t find any sources on it right now, but I am taking most of this verbatim from a friend of mine who is a teacher for JeffCo) and it eliminates the possibility of teachers attaining raises for educational or professional experience. Meaning, teachers will receive raises if they perform well in their evaluations, not if they go on to complete a Master’s degree or spend 25 years with the district. This lowers the incentive for teachers to focus on educational or professional development, and lowers already pretty-low standards for jumping into the teaching game.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent gets to be one of the highest-paid school leaders in Colorado.

There is something fishy going on in JeffCo schools, and though I’m not part of it, and I will never have children to be a part of it, I will support my friends who work in education, and those hundreds of students participating in protests this week.

If you support proper education, teachers who give a shit, and school board members who value rounded and factual curriculums more than they value their conservative Christian ideals, I urge you to sign this petition.

And if not being able to wear miniskirts and having to try at things you don’t like still has you down, at least look to these kids for inspiration. After all, it could be worse than having to learn something— someone somewhere could force you to learn something wrong.

Now, spread the word, help keep the concept of learning about facts, and support the kids and adults who have risked a lot to make their voices heard.

Other Sources:
CPR
Denver Post
Westword Blog

2

BBC News - How Africa’s first education tablet computer was created

Photo: Thierry N’Doufou’s education “tablet” is being introduced into schools this month

Two years ago, he came up with Qelasy, Africa’s first educational tablet. “We thought about how to build a digital backpack; a tablet that will replace books, textbooks, notepads.”

The idea is simple; transfer a country’s entire education curriculum onto a digital format, along with sounds, animations and interactivity, and you no longer need a satchel crammed with school books.

The 36-year-old teamed up with a designer and then managed to find an investor to build a prototype. This month his Qelasy tablet is going into schools for the first time.

“This is a day I’ve been waiting for,” Mr N’Doufou says.

The Ivorian government will be introducing the tablets to 5,000 students in public schools, while some private schools in both Ivory Coast and Morocco will be running pilot projects. They have also had interest from Ukraine, Macedonia, Senegal, Nigeria and France.

“My dream is to reach all the schools in the world for a better education,” he says.

The tablets will also be available in shops at a cost of $232 (£143), before tax.

'The brightest brains'

Qelasy’s headquarters in an upmarket area of Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city, are not quite Google but they are certainly impressive. There is a built in sound studio along with a 3D animation design suite, complete with the latest technology.

Watch on inthecloud.gjmueller.com

'12 Years A Slave' To Be Incorporated In High School Curriculum

The National School Boards Association has announced that the Golden Globe winning and Oscar-nominated film and the 1853 memoir chronicling the capture, enslavement, and escape of black northerner Solomon Northup will now be taught in public high school American history classes.

According to Time, the distribution will be funded by TV host Montel Williams in partnership with New Regency, Penguin Books and Fox Searchlight Pictures. Williams was also largely responsible for the incorporation of the Civil War film “Glory” into school curriculum.

Recycled Papermaking

 

Why?
There’s no need to purchase more paper when there are piles just waiting to be repurposed into a beautiful new object. Paper-making on any scale looks pretty similar – dilute fibers in water, drain through a screen, press fibers into a screen, and fibers dry into paper. Paper has been traced back to China during the 2nd Century BCE for wrapping, as a writing medium by the 3rd Century, and as toilet paper by the 6th Century. Paper is an essential tool for any artist, often as the preliminary means for sketching out ideas. The next time you tear through a sketchbook consider saving your scraps for a future paper-making project. 

What else?
By making paper from recycled materials we begin to realize the environmental impact we are making with our trash. Consider other ways you can repurpose your garbage. More curriculum connectors can be found here.

8
Fun graphics and pictures to share. Originally published on Mental Health Awareness Week 2014 to place an emphasis on the need for mental health to be embedded into the national curriculum. You can sign the petiiton here: www.mindfull.org/petition

To help spread the word about our petition, we would love you to share these images -  so please, take these images and spread the word.

Pressing Plants

 

Why?
By hunting and collecting plants you can create something beautiful and informative. Take a nature walk and carefully collect some specimens that you find fascinating. Any heavy book will help flatten the plants, and wax paper can seal them off for display. Plant hunting has been happening for centuries, and is an important activity for any budding botanist.

What else?
Pressing plants provides a window into the plant kingdom. Explore the plants in your environment, collect some specimens, and record your findings. More curriculum connectors can be found here.

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