Educational Tools & Curriculum developed by Maya Gonzalez

Maya’s curriculum has been used in K-12 classrooms, homeschool environments and university settings internationally.

(Click on arrows to expand sections & read more about the different curricula & ed tools and download sample projects)

Playing with Pronouns

an educational card deck for young children designed to expand gender while learning and playing games

Based on Maya’s children’s books, They She He Me: Free to Be, and They, She, He easy as ABC  (co-authored with her partner, Matthew) this revolutionary card deck uses PLAY and PRONOUNS as a familiar way to address gender with young kids.

Through simple games you can dismantle stereotypes, interrupt assumptions, acknowledge the pressure of gender conformity, embrace difference, include every body—all through pronouns!

Playing with Pronouns is about expanding the way we teach and talk about gender from the beginning! Not just for one kid or a select group of kids. Research shows that all kids in more inclusive environments develop greater critical thinking skills.

These versatile playing cards offer numerous ways to engage and give a fresh and gender-inclusive take on classic learning games. Adaptable for different ages, the card deck comes with 6+ game ideas but holds the potential for many more. ​Read more or Order a Card Deck

A short stop motion film animating some of the back material from the children’s book on pronouns, They She He Me: Free to Be! using the Playing with Pronouns educational cards.

Gender Wheel® Approach & Ed Tools

– a nature-based, decolonized and holistic approach to understanding gender

The Gender Wheel  is an educational tool that centers nature and helps us understand body and gender diversity.

Through its design and motion the Gender Wheel provides a way for us to make sense out of big concepts like infinite diversity and nature’s constant flow, as well as our unique place in all of it.

The Gender Wheel provides an entire approach to gender and life that addresses, transforms, and heals binary thinking and gender oppression. Incorporating inclusive perspectives and practices at every level of the approach support a strong sense of self, while creating systemic change in the world at large.

Read more about the Gender Wheel books, educational tools and workshops

Claiming Face curriculum

– self-empowerment through self-portraiture; curriculum to build the powerful link between creativity and a sense of self

to Claim Face: (1) to recognize and assert one’s place/face and inherent belonging in the world; (2) to embrace and celebrate what one’s face expresses, how it reflects one’s life and historical context in relation to ethnicity, gender expression, individuality, selfhood and more; (3) to declare and require in community the birthright to be exactly who one is inside and out; (4) to know one’s self inside and out.
– from Claiming Face, the Educator’s Guide

Rising from Maya’s personal life experience and her work with children and educators, Claiming Face has developed into a philosophy and a practice with a purpose intended for everyone. It is for everyone because claiming face is about claiming Self. To this end, all intention is geared toward building the powerful link between creativity and a sense of self. Reflection, Creativity, and Presence are fundamental aspects of Claiming Face.

The 3 Rules of Claiming Face:

  1. Everyone is an Artist
  2. There is Never a Right or Wrong Way to Make Art
  3. Art is Always an Act of Courage

Curriculum Themes:

Claiming Face Curriculum Themes

Read more about the Claiming Face Curriculum Educator’s Guide which dives into the philosophy, classroom setup and 26 projects

When a Bully is President

– TRUTH and CREATIVITY for Oppressive Times. Self-Care for Kids!

Closely related to the Claiming Face & i see peace curricula, these materials talk about current and historical oppression and bullying in the United States while focusing on the important role kids can play using creativity and self love as a base to develop strength during difficult times.

The children’s book is not a hero’s tale or the journey of a brave fight. The book is for the in between moments, the middle of the night, the long afternoon: those moments when kids are haunted by what someone said to them in the hallway, a sideways stare at the store or what they heard on the news. It’s about gathering strength for life’s every day journey and supporting a strong full self all the time.

Drawing from 20 years working with kids using her Claiming Face curriculum, Maya provides a place for kids to land during difficult times and counteract the impact of oppression with truth, expression and personal creative power.

Read more about the children’s book, When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times

Listen to Maya as she reads the book and shares some final and in-process art:

Black Youth Matter - Coloring Pages

– Free downloads to color

These images were originally created for a Kid Lit Equality campaign back in 2014 when Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, MO. The campaign was specifically drawing the connections between the lack of reflection in children’s books for our black and brown children and the resulting violence and risk these children face into adulthood. The conversation is still relevant and much needed today and these coloring pages offer an opportunity to celebrate and revere our black youth while sparking dialogue during these radically transformative times.

Download Coloring Pages and watch videos from the campaign.

Children's Books as a Radical Act

– a powerful tools for social change; using a holistic approach, creating children’s books can heal and strengthen the creator as much as the reader

The 3R’s of Children’s Books as a Radical Act take the power away from silence and invisibility and focus on bringing VOICE and VISIBILITY to our communities and kids.

The 3 R’s—Reflection, Reclamation and Regeneration—help us envision a full and effective path of action that ultimately supports true power rising from our communities in the form of our OWN VOICE.

i see peace

– creating a culture of peace in the classroom and beyond

WORLD PEACE. It’s an ideal many of us hold, especially as social justice educators. But with the epidemic of bullying in schools, images in the media of violence and war, sensationalizing of bombings and shootings, it can be hard to believe and teach that peace is possible. How do we talk about peace when many of us have never actually experienced it?

I See Peace curriculum encourages us to see the peace that already exists right now, in our interactions, our environments and ourselves.

We create a classroom culture that includes:

  • expanding and personalizing our understanding of peace
  • looking to see peace first before looking to see “problems”
  • exploring, acknowledging and supporting all the different kinds of peace
    • lack of conflict, feeling of belonging and security, disengagement, cooperation, compromise and more
  • creating a peace journal as a classroom and/or each student individually
  • learning to create drawings to explore peace beyond the verbal/written form

Using I See Peace, students learn through and beyond the culture of bullying and power-over to find their own agency and personal responsibility in creating peace in their world.

Through the curriculum, students:

  • engage their creative and critical thinking,
  • increase their emotional competency, and
  • develop new ways of being in the classroom and the world based on greater and greater awareness of peace.

By reframing students’ vision to see more of the cooperation and peace instead of the competition and power-over in the world, we create the possibility for greater social justice immediately. Understanding, experiencing and creating real peace right now supports students to feel they are powerful agents that can affect their world for the better.

A great companion to When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times, i see peace extends the practice of mindfulness and self-care into the every day. An opportunity for kids to learn how to support themselves as the world continues to radically shift and change.
Watch the animated short trailer for i see peace:

Write Now! Make Books!

– free kids program that teaches kids the steps involved in creating a picture book

Write Now! Make Books is a free, playful, in-depth program that engages kids and teens in the very real conversation of diversity in their books.

Through direct learning, the materials teach how to make books from story through art all the way to book creation in many of the same ways a professional artist/author does.

It includes 2 hours of instructional videos, a field guide, a complete sample story with art to color and make into a practice book. And of course, it uses a social justice frame to support kids and teens in understanding and reclaiming the power of story and how we can use it to strengthen ourselves today and change our world.

This kid series relates to The Heart of It Anthologies. A 3 book anthology series published to showcase new and emerging diverse children’s book authors and artists from The Heart of It: Creating Children’s Books that Matter course from 2014-2016.

Read more and get started on Write Now! Make Books