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NYC’s Plan “Isn’t Going to Cut it”: Striving toward Universal Literacy

There are certain cruel realities that are seen in schools everyday. Teachers see the multitude of barriers students face from bullying, to poverty, to learning difficulties. Schools offer various methods to help students cope with these issues, many of which are a part of policies like DASA (the Dignity for All Students Act) that offer… Continue reading NYC’s Plan “Isn’t Going to Cut it”: Striving toward Universal Literacy

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Day At The Museum? This Teacher Turns Boredom To Excitement

“Museums are boring!”  And, “at least we get to go to the park for lunch.” These are the refrains I have heard over the years from students before going on a field trip to a museum. While the middle school where I teach is in Manhattan and most of the students reside there, many have… Continue reading Day At The Museum? This Teacher Turns Boredom To Excitement

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Students: You Take the Test; Don’t Let the Test Take You!

Today is day two of  of the three-day New York State English Language Arts Exam and in my ten-plus years of proctoring and scoring these exams, it never ceases to amaze me when, just a few minutes into the tests, students’ eyes start to glaze over and their bladders and throats go into overdrive, causing… Continue reading Students: You Take the Test; Don’t Let the Test Take You!

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What Happens When You Really Just Don’t Like School?

This is Part 9 of my series “Letters from John.” In Part I, I wrote, “I’m in a beautifully loving marriage to John Dukes, a man who is truly one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. My husband is also incarcerated. During our friendship, courtship, and marriage, John and… Continue reading What Happens When You Really Just Don’t Like School?

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The Community That Reads Together Succeeds Together!

In addition to being a middle and high school English teacher, I’m also a certified literacy specialist. In my eyes, reading and writing are the cornerstone to every aspect of education and  to life. Literacy is especially important for Black and Brown children who often lag behind their White counterparts in reading and writing. According… Continue reading The Community That Reads Together Succeeds Together!

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Thinking Beyond the Traditional Concept of What Constitutes an English Language Learner

In September, I eagerly started taking the coursework necessary to become an English as a Second Language  teacher, a lifelong goal of mine. During my very first class, the professor asked a series of poignant questions about factors that influence practitioners’ teaching that stirred up something in me. Firstly, how does information influence how I… Continue reading Thinking Beyond the Traditional Concept of What Constitutes an English Language Learner

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The Importance of Reading to Two Black, Urban Young Men

My students and I began reading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass a few weeks ago. It’s a challenging read, vocabulary-wise, but they’re plowing through it — happily, for the most part, because they’re interested in what Douglass has to share. Yesterday, we arrived at Chapter Seven, a watershed section where Douglass explains… Continue reading The Importance of Reading to Two Black, Urban Young Men