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One-Day Workshop:
Being the Change: Teaching through Identity and Social Comprehension

Presented by Sara K. Ahmed

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What does it look like to be a compassionate and curious observer of the world?

Drawing from Sara's books, Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension and Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry (co-authored with Harvey "Smokey" Daniels), you will learn how to help students to center identity, amplify voice, and learn the targeted social skills and habits necessary to comprehend social issues and participate in relevant, transparent conversations.

In this workshop, we will spend the morning learning social comprehension principles: exploring personal identities, listening actively, being candid, becoming better informed, finding humanity in ourselves, and facing crisis together.

In the afternoon, we will use the strategies learned in the morning as we identify opportunities for teaching social comprehension across content areas. We'll spend some time looking at the curriculums of schools to see where this work may already hide, highlighting how social comprehension can be an integral part of the content-area work we are already doing. A large focus of this day will be centered on fine-tuning our conversations and questions as we broach talk with others.

Sara's workshop approach invites you to alternate between your student-learner and adult-learner hats. You will leave with strategies and mentor artifacts of your own to start the work immediately with your students.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn how to apply and effectively use the principles of social comprehension to their own perspective
  • Discover how bias works, to be able to identify, interrupt, and confront it
  • Observe strategies for building community and empathy by valuing individuals' identities and understanding different perspectives
  • Learn to define themselves and assert who they are with confidence
  • Explore what is happening in the world and consider how identity shapes where we focus attention
  • Use a mini-inquiry to learn more about a topic and examine how new information can change perspectives

About the Presenter

Sara Ahmed has taught in urban, suburban, public, independent, and international schools. She is author of the popular book, Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension, and coauthor, with Harvey "Smokey" Daniels, of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry. Sara specializes in creating classrooms designed to help students to consider their own identities and to take action in the world in socially responsible ways. Sara is a member of the teacher leadership team for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization devoted to developing critical thinking and empathy for others. Today, in addition to consulting in schools across the world, Sara serves as the literacy coach and consultant-in-residence at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand.

Who Should Attend?

Educators of grades 3-12, administrators, curriculum coordinators, instructional coaches, and staff developers.


8:30 A.M.-3:00 P.M.


The cost of this workshop is $249.00 per person. If you register 3 or more participants at the same time the cost is $239.00 per person.

Event Photography Notification

Please note that during this workshop, photography, audio, and video recording may occur. By attending this event, you agree to be photographed, filmed, and/or recorded, and give permission for Heinemann to use your likeness in any promotional and/or marketing materials. If you do not wish to be photographed, filmed, and/or recorded, you must see a Heinemann facilitator or staff member to sign an opt-out form, and have your picture taken for identification purposes. Failure to do so will assume permission has been given to use your likeness in any marketing and/or promotional materials.

Upcoming Dates & Locations

03/18/2020 - Brookfield, WI

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Availability: Available When: 03/18/2020 Where:
Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel
375 South Moorland Road
Brookfield, WI 53005
Closest Airport: Milwaukee

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