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The Glass Ceiling I See Exists For Most White Teachers

Some of my students call me “Auntie Dukes” of “Ma Dukes”. It’s a term of endearment and I must admit, I love when they call me by either nickname. It’s usually in the halls or outside after-school when I hear a student refer to me as such and it’s in those moments that I know… Continue reading The Glass Ceiling I See Exists For Most White Teachers

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What’s On Your Book Shelf?: The Importance of Diversity in Classroom Libraries

I was allotted some funds for the purpose of further developing my classroom library. Books are my happy place so I was overjoyed! I set out on the task with the express purpose of not only getting books that met the varying reading levels of my students, but also books that represented the cultures of… Continue reading What’s On Your Book Shelf?: The Importance of Diversity in Classroom Libraries

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Teaching Historical Inaccuracies Is Dangerous and Damning to Both Black and White Students.

There’s this narrative floating around regarding slavery in the United States that is gravely inaccurate. These inaccuracies are both dangerous and damning to our nationally collective remembrance of our past, the very racially-charged country in which we currently live, and the hope for a one-day- post-racial future that we suggest to our students each day… Continue reading Teaching Historical Inaccuracies Is Dangerous and Damning to Both Black and White Students.

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Nurturing My Students – Mind, Body, Soul, and Spirit

My students and I are reading the novel Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, a series of vignettes about each character’s life woven together to tell the story of how a community garden comes into existence. It came to me that, in my effort to intentionally build a caring classroom community, it would benefit us to start… Continue reading Nurturing My Students – Mind, Body, Soul, and Spirit

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How Do We Teach Children About September 11th?

Each September brings a flurry of excitement and anxiety for parents, teachers, and students. Beginning in September 2002 another factor was added to the list: how and what to teach about 9/11. For some teachers, the question is whether to teach about 9/11 at all.   There are many reasons for not wanting to address… Continue reading How Do We Teach Children About September 11th?

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Creating A Warm Classroom Climate and Culture: The Real Key to Every Student Succeeding

The climate of our country and our world right now is a mixture of anger and divisiveness juxtaposed with empathy and support. The classroom is often a microcosm of trends taking place within the larger national and global communities. With that being said, as I plan for the upcoming school year, fostering a nurturing and… Continue reading Creating A Warm Classroom Climate and Culture: The Real Key to Every Student Succeeding

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Be Brave: Teach America’s Ugly Truths

Educators: Speak out against hate. Defend love. Racism is a diabolical social construct. The truth is that there is only one race — the human race. We need more love, friends. All this anger and hatred is literally eating us alive. From its impetus, America has been built upon divisiveness, corruption, and hate. Do we… Continue reading Be Brave: Teach America’s Ugly Truths

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Addressing Racism Within The Four Walls Of My Classroom — And Yours

In a few short weeks school will resume in New York and I’m already thinking about how we are going to address racism within the four walls of my classroom. I can already see us previewing images like the one above for a Do Now discussion and quick-write. I’m thinking about what texts, historical and… Continue reading Addressing Racism Within The Four Walls Of My Classroom — And Yours

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I’m A Black Teacher and That Helps My Students

I was walking to my classroom on Friday and on my way, I saw a group of girls walking towards me. Three were Indian and two were Black; one of the Black girls wore her hair in an Afro. I said “hi” to all of the girls and made a point of saying to the… Continue reading I’m A Black Teacher and That Helps My Students

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What Does Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Mean and Where Can I Get Some?

Education always has a buzz word or phrase of the hour. Differentiation. Rigor. Common Core. State Standards. Restorative Justice. Educational Equity. These buzz words and phrases flit out just as quickly as they flit in. Right now I’m noticing that “Culturally Relevant Pedagogy” is a term floating around the education community. But what does culturally… Continue reading What Does Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Mean and Where Can I Get Some?