journal

intro

Welcome to Techbrarian– home to the brave ✊, ever-growing 🌱, glowing 🌟, deep-felt ❤ social activism of The Island School.

You’ve landed on the Journal: a place where you’ll find lessons on social activism and superb student projects. But the journal doesn’t have all of our work. Check out our videos and sounds, and Twitter as well. Here are a few highlights to get you started!



september 27 2021

This week we’ll be talking about the “T” in LGBTQ+IA. It stands for Transgender and non-binary.

GENDER IDENTITY = THE GENDER YOU FEEL DEEP IN YOUR HEART

GENDER IDENTITY ≠ WHO YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO OR WHAT BODY PARTS YOU HAVE

If you’re transgender it means that the gender you’re assigned at birth doesn’t describe what you feel deep in your heart. Instead, most transgender people feel that they are of the opposite gender.

“Bi” means two. If you have a binary gender identity it means you feel like either a (1) girl or a (2) boy. If you’re non-binary, it means you don’t see yourself as falling in the category of girl or boy. Instead, you may feel like a unique blend of genders (gender creative) or neither a girl nor a boy (agender).

So why is this important to learn about? Well, first off, there are likely many people in your life (or maybe you yourself) that are transgender or non-binary, but are afraid to say it. The problem is that when you can’t be your REAL self it’s depressing. Many transgender and non-binary people get bullied, kicked out of their homes, and may consider suicide because of this rejection.

What can you do about it? BE AN ALLY! Help create a welcoming vibe at the Island School and in your community. If people are being homophobic or transphobic, stand up for them!





It’s also important to learn the “pronouns” transgender and non-binary people want to be called. Here’s an explanation:

What can you create to help people better understand Gender Identity and create a more welcoming environment in our school and your neighborhood? Here are some ideas:

  • Create a clay symbol to show the acceptance of all gender identities
  • Make Ally buttons
  • Make a children’s book like this one from Jazz, to help young children to under different kinds of gender identities

september 20 2021

Related image

One of the ways this class works is that we talk about problems that are really happening in our lives. Here’s a problem I’m having that started last week.

On Monday, at recess, I heard a student going around saying, “Hey, you heard? ***** is gay.” On Tuesday two students were teasing each other: “yoooo, that’s mad gay!” On Friday, another student started his compliment of another’s sneakers by saying, “No homo, but…” All three of these comments are homophobic–can you explain why?

This really confused me. In many ways, The Island School seems like a really welcoming place for the LGBTQ+IA community. We have gay, lesbian, and bisexual students who speak about their sexuality openly. On the other hand, you still hear people saying the stuff I heard last week.

So here’s my first question:

Is the Island School a safe place to be LGBTQIA? Why or why not? Tell a story to prove it.
Are you surprised that Lil Nas X faces homophobia as a rapper?

In our Makerspace, what can we create to help expose the homophobia we see around us and teach each other how to be more welcoming to our LGBTQ+IA community? Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a documentary film that interviews people about about how to get rid of homophobia in our school. Or, create a fictional movie about someone experiencing homophobia in school.
  • An Ally stands up for the LGBTQ+IA community (even if they themselves are not LGBTQ+). Make an ALLY symbol out of clay, as a stamp, or button. Click HERE to learn more about what an Ally is.

september 13 2021

I don’t have to tell you, there’s a lot wrong in this world. People continue to get sick from COVID-19 and many refuse to get vaccinated. Kids are feeling depressed after all the death and isolation created by the pandemic. There are homeless everywhere, lots of guns leading to lots of unnecessary deaths, women on tv and in video games being nothing more than sexy bodies to stare at (instead of creative and powerful minds to listen to), police and politicians treating some races and classes better than others, advertisements everywhere making you feel bad about yourselves, kids getting bullied online, the climate changing in scary ways, people getting addicted to all sorts of things…just to name a few.

Are we just going to stand there and let this all keep on going?  Are you just a kid who has zero things to say about any of this and zero power to DO anything about this?  

I. DON’T. THINK. SO.

Doing something about all these problems is called Social Action.

Social action can be dangerous.  You are fighting against problems that are often caused by people with lots of money or power or both.  Going up against them is risky. As game maker Zoe Quinn said, “lf video games have taught me anything, it’s that if you encounter enemies, then you’re going the right way.”  

And remember, during this journey, even though i don’t have all the answers,  I always have your back.   Whatever you need to make your project happen, we’ll do it.  period.


Because social action is dangerous, we need to focus on each of your strengths. Every superhero has their powers, what’s yours?

Over the next month, you will select your strength and create a symbol to represent it. In the process, you’ll learn how to use a bunch of the tools in our Makerspace (AKA The Tech Cafe). By the end, you’ll have your superpower symbol to wear proudly in preparation for your social action adventures. So let’s begin:

PART 1: ALL ABOUT SYMBOLS

PART 2: DRAWING YOUR SYMBOL

PART 3: MAKE YOUR SYMBOL COME TO LIFE!