Aya Academy of Excellence


Netflix: Black History Month Through Film

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I milk every ounce of the $7 I pay Netflix each month.  I scraped cable nearly four years ago and have not looked back.  A family member was lamenting last week that there was nothing on television, although she forks over a cool $70+ per month on satellite services.  I had to to fight from giving a Kanye shrug. WINNING!

Aside from Binge watching television programming like Law and Order and Frasier, Netflix provides me access to quite a few independent films and theatrical releases that didn’t last too long in the theater.

This month, there are quite a few interesting films to watch during Black History Month.  So if you have considered adding Netflix to your entertainment cadre, this would be an advantageous time to do so. When watching films with children, you can use the Story Chips tool to assist in establishing thoughtful dialogue.  Also, consider incorporating a hands-on project after viewing, such as creating a movie poster for the film highlighting one o the pivotal scenes or important themes.

 

Here’s a list of sixteen films presently available for viewing for each of the remaining days of Black History Month.

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  1. Winnie Mandela – a biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as the South African leader who triumphed over incarceration and her husband’s twenty-seven year imprisonment. The last decade shown in the film is some of the most gripping as it shows her relationship with Mandela and the ANC fractured due to her embracing militant ideals and practices.
  2. The Black Panther Mixtape – I’m watching the tail-end of this Swedish documentary now.  It’s intriguing to observe the words of Stokely Carmichael (I did not know he was Trinidadian) and Bobby Seale laced with John Forte and Talib Kewli.  The timeline format aids in understanding how events unfolded and attitudes shifted.
  3. Surviving Katrina – a documentary on the hurricane which raged through New Orleans and exposed the socio-political issues we have in our nation.
  4. Hard Lessons – Starring Denzel Washington, this drama based on real-life events tells the story of George McKenna, the tough, determined new principal of a notorious Los Angeles high school. 
  5. The Long Walk Home – A film, starring Whoopi Goldberg, about the Montgomery bus boycott from the perspective of a white woman and her black housekeeper.
  6. The Journey of August King – a film about a runaway slave during the 1815.
  7. Savannah – A film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a freed slave during Reconstruction and his friendship with an aristocratic white man.
  8. Night Catches Us – Starring Kerri Washington, a film depicting a former Panther and his re-connection with the daughter of a former Panther leader.
  9. Salute – a short documentary on the 1968 Olympic historic moment when two champions raised the black fist salute at the medal podium.
  10. Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin – A documentary about one of the major architects of the Civil Rights Movement. 
  11. Shaft – Starring Samuel L. Jackson in the John Singleton remake based on the story created by illustrious photographer Gordon Parks.
  12. Luv, Starring Common as a man returning home after eight years in prison.
  13. A Band Called Death – a documentary about three Detroit brothers who formed the first African American punk  band.
  14. Akeelah and the Bee – A middle school girl capitalizes on her love of words to participate in the National Spelling Bee Competition. 
  15. Gifted Hands – Cuba Gooding, Jr portrays neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a biopic showing his development from a struggling student into an expert physician. 
  16. All Things Fall Apart – Under the direction of Mario Van Peeples, 50 Cents stars as a gifted college running back whose world turns upside down when a crisis jeopardizes his professional ambitions — and teaches him some life lessons.

The Change Agent: Sojourner Truth

Alfre Woodard recites Sojourner Truth’s Ain’t I a Woman speech.
When Ms. Truth, an enslaved American woman, walked into her freedom and away from the fetters of her captors, she considered going back, out of fear of the unknown. She was running away from abuse. She was running from the mental torment of being separated from her beloved family members. She was running away from the relentless field work that tied her ancestors into socio-economic shackles.

Ms. Truth, an abolitionist, preacher and advocate for gender equality, became a celebrated speaker whose tenacious spirit and firebrand deliver brought her legions of respected followers. The magnitude of her Ain’t I Woman speech, which juxtaposed racial and gender inequalities, still resonates today as we continue to grapple with civil rights issues for marginalized communities.

Aya Academy of Excellence salutes Sojourner Truth, our 20/20 Tapestry Change Agent.


Falling in Love with Paris: An Exodus Story

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When I was a pre-teen, I had aspirations of attending college in Canada because I figured it would be a stepping stone to living in Paris. My eldest is taking French now and it feels like déjà by.  Although she’s pretty studious, she has a deep longing for attending school abroad. – either in Japan or in France, and thus devoted countless hours studying second languages.  While preparing our curriculum I saw the emergence of numerous patterns, one of which was the seeking of refuge abroard so that the artist, aviator or doctor would have an opportunity to learn their craft and live their purpose in a less racially charged society.  This was true for Dr. James McCune Smith who traveled to Glasglow, Scotland to attain his medical degree, as well as, Bessie Coleman and Josepbine Baker who both traveled to France to get closer to their dreams.

Josephine Baker’s escapades are vibrantly captured in Jonah Winter’s Jazz Age Josephine by illustrator Marjorie Priceman.  The sing-song passages evoke a musical tone as the story is read aloud, especially during the portionso devoted to tackling the racial discrimination which spurred Ms. Baker’s exodus from the United States. 

 

This is title is part of our Reading List for the 20/20 curriculum for the lesson on the Celebrity, which illuminates how some African American stars have utilized their fame and influence to further philanthropic endeavors.


Words of Wisdom

While curating images and videos to represent our African-American history tableau, my conscience was constantly pricked, realizing that sometimes the ‘least of these’ is forgotten in our history. Black History month focuses on a handful of notable leaders. But this reality of parsing through history is true across United States and global history too. So when I came across a profound Polish proverb about the farmer’s role in society, I had to include it within the 20/20 Tapestry which highlights the contributions of George Washington Carver. It succinctly addresses the importance of the farmer within society.

To me, quotes and sayings are excellent vehicles to critically think within the classroom or around the dinner table. Aya Academy of Excellence’s 20/20 Tapestry Curriculum includes at least one word of wisdom for each lesson to be used as a warm-up in the school setting or as a prompt for parents to use as a conversation starter with their children. Some of my personal favorites from the curriculum are from Maya Angelou, Cicero, and Malcolm Gladwell.

The imagery used in this quote, and throughout the curriculum, helps to convey the raw emotion connected with the words. What will kids feel when they see and hear this picture and the accompanying words? And, more importantly, what does this proverb tell us about the status of farmers? Is poverty monetary or are riches based something less tangible, like our quality of life and overall well-being? Through quotes, highly complex topics, such as social status, can be introduced to even the youngest of learners. And often, there is no right or wrong response. Quotes allow for increased critical thinking in a highly, accessible fashion because they spark both thought and discourse.

Click on the link to view a sample lesson from our point-and-click African-American history curriculum. Proceeds from the sale of our curriculum will provide support for our programming, including our Community Classroom, which is a share space that enables families to engage in STEM, art and literacy together. Thank you for supporting our youth and families.

2020 Tapestry Analyze It_Farmer


African American History for Today’s Digital Learners

Today’s generation has undoubtedly heard of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.  But if you were to poll a group of young people, how many African-American’s who have made history do they know?  More importantly, how many of them connect significantly with this illustrious group?  Aside from slavery and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-1960s, many Americans classify the existence of African-Americans as pretty much non-existent.  And aside from a few factoids, adults have little more knowledge than the young people in our lives.  How can this be changed?  For one, it’s important to teach the way kids learn.  Image

Aya Academy of Excellence’s 20/20 Tapestry Curriculum is a point-and-click digital experience that allows learners to engage with the last two hundred years of the African American legacy by listening to songs, viewing film segments and participating in project-based learning.  The curriculum is grouped into twenty decades and corresponding archetypes.  So whether a student is intrigued with sports or science, there are high interest categories and activities to immerse their leaning.  A highlight of the curriculum is its adaptability to learning at home or in a classroom setting.  Therefore, families can gain access to the learning just as readily as their local schools.  Imagine students hosting spoken word cafe’s, leading neighborhood clean-ups or creating a community recycled art installation.  The 20/20 Tapestry Curriculum transforms learning to suit the engagement of today’s learner. 

By the time youth, their families and their class complete their studies, they would have participated in twenty field trip experiences, hands-on service learning activities and art integrated lessons.  For youth working in their communication development, a writing prompt is included with each lesson.  

The 20/20 Tapestry Curriculum was developed by Aya Academy of Excellence as an opportunity to extend their academic outreach.  Sales of the curriculum enable Aya to provide their services, including the Community Classroom which will provide youth and their families a maker space in the Atlanta area.  

For a Preview of the Curriculum, Click the Image Above.  



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