Suit Up with Kindred Spirits: Professional Resources for Summertime

When we saw that Share My Lesson’s theme for the week was “Summer Learning at Home,” we started thinking about our own summer learning and what professional development opportunities we love and could share. While working on this post, we also discovered some new resources we are excited to pursue ourselves. 

Please let us know what you think about these opportunities and send us any additional resources you would recommend! 


Courses offered through

We learned about the courses offered through Participate after connecting with Kindred Spirits contributor Jennifer Williams (read her post about teaching the Sustainable Development Goals here).

A featured resource on is the Participate course Transform Our World: the Global Goals. This free and self-paced course provides an extensive overview of the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, there is a curated collection of resources to learn more about each individual goal. A feature we love about the course is that you can create your own collection of resources for use with students—and you can invite colleagues to collaborate on collections!


Participate also offers courses about specific goals of the SDGs, including Transform Our World: Life Below Water and Transform Our World: Clean Water for All. 


“How to Make a Difference,” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn—Offered through Udemy

Being longtime admirers of Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and the work they do, we were thrilled to discover this course offered through Udemy. The course is not free, but we were able to register at a deep discount of $15, so learning from Nick and Sheryl is part of our summer professional development plans!

Here’s part of Udemy’s course description: 

“This one-of-a-kind course by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is designed for anyone who wants to leave a mark on the world, make a difference and learn a few secrets about how to live a happier, healthier and more meaningful life. Along the way, you will learn about issues that afflict the world: why some of us do not reach our potential, why some end up in poverty, how others are left out or brutalized because of their gender. You’ll learn about some of the people who have discovered ways to have strong impact around the world—and about how you can do so yourself.”


Facing History and Ourselves


If you are not familiar with Facing History and Ourselves, watch the video below to learn about the organization’s work, then spend some time on the website exploring the extensive resources and professional development opportunities. 


The following topics are included in the organization’s resources:

In addition, Facing History offers webinars, workshops, courses and seminars. Webinars are archived on the site as well. We are excited to check out this past webinar He Named Me Malala about using the film by the same name in the classroom.


Teaching Tolerance 

Teaching Tolerance is one of our favorite professional resources as a whole. Visit its website to discover professional development, such as how to establish a positive school climate, webinars ranging from topics such as equity in our schools to religious diversity, film kits to explore racial diversity and historical events such as the Holocaust. There are anti-bias standards aligned lesson builders and more. We could actually use an entire summer to explore the wealth of free resources Teaching Tolerance provides.

Another amazing offering from Teaching Tolerance is its magazine, published three times a year and offered to educators for free! The magazine focuses on anti-bias education and takes on issues related to social justice. Recent editions have included features on bridging political divides in classrooms, addressing Islamophobia, and advocating for refugee and immigrant students. 

Each issue also has recurring sections. We always look forward to the recommendations we get from Staff Picks: What We’re Reading and Staff Picks: What We’re Watching. 

You can read this summer’s issue online, and subscribe to the magazine in time to get the fall edition delivered to your mailbox. You can also access back issues online



Human Rights in Children’s Literature: Imagination and the Narrative of Law

We are so excited to have connected with one of the authors of this excellent resource and will be featuring an interview with him before the next academic year. 

Jonathan Todres is a professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law. His research focuses on children's rights and well-being. Professor Todres has published more than 50 articles on children's rights, child trafficking and related forms of exploitation; legal and cultural constructs of childhood; and human rights in children's literature. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Here’s an excerpt of the description from Oxford University Press:

Human Rights in Children's Literature investigates children's rights under international law—identity and family rights, the right to be heard, the right to be free from discrimination, and other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights—and considers the way in which those rights are embedded in children's literature from Peter Rabbit to Horton Hears a Who! to Harry Potter. This book traverses children's rights law, literary theory, and human rights education to argue that in order for children to fully realize their human rights, they first have to imagine and understand them.”

Please share your favorite professional development resources by adding to this blog’s comments!

Forward Thinking with Kindred Spirits: Kindred Spirits will gather with you here twice a month to explore current human rights issues, to highlight useful resources, and to feature teachers and leaders who are pioneers of this important work. We aim to provide spark after spark of information and inspiration around this collaborative campfire in the hope that your participation will keep the spirit glowing.

Our next post will be all about films with a human rights angle. Put that popcorn on standby. 

Author Bios

Tricia Baldes

Tricia Baldes earned a master’s in English from Lehman College and has been a middle level educator since 2001. Her passion for human rights education has led to her writing curriculum and consulting with nonprofit organizations like Creative Visions, Speak Truth to Power and KidsRights. She co-authored the Rock Your World curriculum and currently works with the team as a program coordinator. In addition to presenting at national conferences for NCTE and ACSD, Baldes has led various teacher trainings and programs for students. She teaches eighth-grade English in Westchester County, N.Y.



 Jess Burnquist 

Jess Burnquist earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post,,, and various online and print journals. She is a recipient of the Joan Frazier Memorial Award for the Arts at ASU and has been honored with a Sylvan Silver Apple Award. She teaches high school English, creative writing and AP Literature in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and is a program coordinator for Rock Your World. Her poetry chapbook You May Feel Your Way Past Me is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in spring 2017.