It’s been a week since New York State students in grades three through eight took their English Language Arts exams. As the dust settles and the tests get scored, it becomes more and more evident to me — and I venture to safely say for many other educators — that this standardized test has become… Continue reading The NYS ELA Exam: What’s Working? What’s Not?
“I’m having a hard time getting through this because of the language. The constant referral to incarcerated individuals as inmates speaks to the inhumane vantage point from which they are viewed by society. Imagine if we all were forever referred to by the result of our worst decision in life?” This was my response to… Continue reading How Deeply Do You Think About Language?
Six years ago my mentor, Mercedes Muller, informed me about a local NYC book drive that gives away books to teachers who work in Title One schools that serve many low-income students. Every year since then, I have greatly benefited from the books I receive. Working in schools in communities that struggle economically has made… Continue reading In 2018, Books With Diverse Characters Still Few And Far Between At Local New York City Book Drive
(Alexandra Cohl is an academic and creative writer who is currently an MA English Literature candidate at The City College of New York. She is also a writing instructor to writers ages 6-18 and professional development program leader for in-school teachers at Writopia Lab, a national literacy nonprofit. Her fiction can be read in Luna… Continue reading Encouraging the Absurd or Uncomfortable: The Power of Validating Student Ideas
Standardized tests have their place. Where that place is needs to be revisited and revised. The tests are coming! The tests are coming! This is the battle cry this time of year at most schools. In just a few short months, students across New York State in grades three through eight will spend a few… Continue reading It’s January And Standardized Test Season Is Underway!
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
Contrary to the complaints of a few who will never be satisfied, New York’s education standards are truly doing right by students. Following an exhaustive effort by educators and families alike, we now have exemplary statewide standards that help ensure equal education for all our students and have set us on a path to future… Continue reading A New York Teacher Judges New York’s New Education Standards
When I first started teaching, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were just being rolled out to replace the New York State Standards. I wasn’t resistant to the shift in course content standards because teaching was still very new to me and my eagerness superseded any skepticism that I might have had. I noticed, however,… Continue reading New Education Standards? Oh Boy—Here We Go Again!
It’s back-to-school time and those two “dirty words” have already come up on both my teacher and parent radar: standardized testing. On a holistic level, I am not against standardized tests. When created correctly (an oxymoron to some), standardized tests are one way to assess how well a student has grasped the material covered within… Continue reading I Won’t Teach To The Test: Never Have, Never Will.
Guess what I just did? I got a library card! Finally! After being homeless for six months, I moved into my current home almost a year and a half ago and I finally got around to making one of the most important decisions of my summer. The English teacher in me was ashamed that I… Continue reading A Summer Staycation at Your Local Public Library