Following the closing of schools due to Coronavirus, New York state announced that English Language Arts (ELA) and Math assessments would be canceled for the 2019-2020 academic year. Though these annual exams are required by law, NYC applied for and was promptly granted a waiver from the federal government, in light of the ongoing health… Continue reading NY State Cancels ELA & Math Exams for 2020 – What Might Happen Next
While The Hate U Give is a best-selling book and top-rated film, I’m getting some real pushback from my administration about having my students read the book and see the film in my English Language Arts class, despite its obvious cultural and societal relevance. This confirms my premise that White administrators are often disconnected from… Continue reading The Hate I Get About “The Hate U Give.”
“It’s weird to read something about myself that I’m not sure I’ll understand,” my partner admitted after reading a critical analysis essay I had composed about one of Richard Wright’s short stories. It mainly focused on transgenerational trauma within the African-American community, of which I am not a member. “What do you mean?” I asked.… Continue reading A Teacher Wonders, “Am I Repressing My Students’ Voices?”
Assemblywoman Latrice Walker worked the group of energetic children gathered Thursday in the Brownsville Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library like a master teacher. “Every time you hear a name, I want you to clap twice,” Walker told the students ranging from kindergartners to second graders as she read the book “Stevie,” by John Steptoe.… Continue reading No Sliding For These Brownsville Students This Summer!
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