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Matthew R. Kay
Matthew R. Kay is a proud product of Philadelphia’s public schools and a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). He is a graduate of West Chester University and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership with a Principals’ Certificate from California University of Pennsylvania.
At SLA, he teaches an innovative inquiry-driven, project-based curriculum. He is also the Founder and Executive Director of Philly Slam League (PSL), a non-profit organization that shows young people the power of their voices through weekly spoken word competitions. The PSL is the only season-long, school-based slam poetry league in the United States.
He deeply believes in the importance of earnest and mindful classroom conversations about race. Furthermore, he believes that any teacher who is willing to put in the hard work of reflection can, through the practice of discrete skills, become a better discussion leader. Driven by these convictions, he is passionate about designing professional development that teachers find valuable.
Matthew lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Cait, and his daughter, Adia Sherrill & Bennu Jane.
Do you know how to initiate and facilitate productive dialogues about race in your classroom? Are you prepared to handle complex topics while keeping your students engaged?
Inspired by Frederick Douglass's abolitionist call to action, “it is not light that is needed, but fire”, author Matthew Kay demonstrates how to move beyond surface-level discussions and lead students through the most difficult race conversations. In Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom, Kay recognizes we often never graduate to the harder conversations, so he offers a method for getting them right, providing candid guidance on:
How to recognize the difference between meaningful and inconsequential race conversations.
How to build conversational “safe spaces,” not merely declare them.
How to infuse race conversations with urgency and purpose.
How to thrive in the face of unexpected challenges.
How administrators might equip teachers to thoughtfully engage in these conversations.
With the right blend of reflection and humility, Kay asserts teachers can make school one of the best venues for young people to discuss race.
Matthew R. Kay and Jennifer Orr:::100189
We're Gonna Keep On Talking
What should conversations about race look and sound like in the elementary classroom? How do we respond authentically and truthfully to children’s questions about the world? And how can we build classroom communities that encourage these meaningful conversations about race?
Matthew Kay and Jennifer Orr take on these questions and more in We’re Gonna Keep On Talking: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Elementary Classroom. A companion work to Kay’s Not Light, But Fire, this book focuses on the unique and powerful role discussions about race can play in the elementary classroom.
Drawing its title inspiration from the lyrics of the freedom song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” sung by hundreds of children marching against segregation in what came to be known as the Children’s Crusade of 1963, We’re Gonna Keep On Talking is written for teachers who are willing to match children’s courage and brilliance, and who believe that “a foundation in meaningful race discourse will help [children] to seek justice for themselves and their neighbors, to be kinder, [and] more thoughtful.”
Writing with the humility and honest storytelling of two career classroom teachers, Matthew Kay and Jennifer Orr share:
Strategies for building safe and supportive classroom and school spaces for productive discourse
Dozens of practical teacher moves for facilitating race conversations
Classroom stories that allow readers to envision ways into the work through picture books, art, graphs, historical photographs, and current events
Tips for aligning the work of race conversations to your grade-level standards
Whether you are unsure of where to begin or looking to deepen your practice, We’re Gonna Keep On Talking will be your guide to the important work of race conversations in the elementary classroom.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion