This is an amazing read. I have it on my Kindle. You can download it, buy it for your Kindle, or buy it as a book on Amazon.
Must Read – for all of the teachers out there who have been through reform hell and back. Must Read – for all the parents out there to get a glimpse of what it is like being a teacher fighting against reform. Must Read – for all students who know there’s something wrong and are searching for the truth.
1. Children are loved and walk around the school with smiles on their faces.
2. Teachers are respected and stay in their jobs for a long time.
3. Parents are welcome in the school and are made to feel an integral part of the culture of the school. 4. The culture and history of the community the school is located is honored in displays and in what is taught in classes.
5. Arts, physical education, recess and sports are NEVER sacrificed for higher test scores.
6. ELL and Special Needs students are treated with respect and are given the counseling and special attention they need to thrive.
7. Students have such a positive experience at the school that they return on a regular basis after they have graduated.
If you think that these features are only found in private schools or schools in affluent middle schools, you need to visit the CASA Middle School in the Bronx where Jamaal Bowman is the principal.
This is not only something that CAN be done in all communities, it is something that MUST be done so that ALL our children can grow up with confidence in their abilities.
And Poetic Justice would add to the list the following: 8. All children will be encouraged to find and use their voices in academic subjects and particularly in creative writing and POETRY classes.
My Back to School Musings for August 4 – T minus 20 days until I meet with a whole new crop of at-risk teens.
Today I decided that I am going to keep track of the aha moments I see this school year. The aha moments . . . when a student makes the connection between text and life; when creativity is sparked and a new concept is created; when a block is finally taken down and my student can read, speak, or write with freedom and joy; when a student finds boldness and shares learning and wisdom with the world around her. The moments that come from pure “WONDER” and the joy of learning.
Those aha moments are why I teach and have nothing to do with common core or with high stake testing except to place those external aspects of the day in the correct perspective. That too is an aha moment – for me and for my students.
So this year, I am going to keep track of this moments and run with them and let them be the fuel to keep on keeping on.
August 1st is for me the start of the new school year. It is today that I start planning for the next wonderful crop of students. It is today that I start looking at how to revise old lessons and create new lessons. It is today I set a goal for the year and a tone for the first day of school.
It is with more trepidation than ever that I begin this school year. I fear this year will be a terrible one for public education. But today I choose to put aside my fear and cling to a glimmer of faith.
In 24 days, I will meet a new crop of at-risk teens – some of them brand new and some of them returning but all of them ready to be touched by love and by wonder.
All I have so far is my motto for the year – the quote that will go on my lesson plan book and on the bottom of each and every email I send out. It is:
“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” ― Socrates
My prayer is that we all catch hold of wisdom and ride the wave of wonder.