This past week, my second grade son, Desmond, who is an avid and somewhat obsessive reader, came home from school and told me that his teacher didn’t want him to read the book he brought from home during their daily Readers’ Workshop. I emailed the teachers, and asked her if this was true — I figured … More On Lexiles and Control, Chaos and Learning
Evelyn is an 11th grade Xicana student whose passions include feminism and immigrant rights. Last year, she created this website, https://prisonsystemawarenessforteens.wordpress.com when she worked on a class action suit against solitary confinement in California prisons. Dear Arizona Department of Education, I am a 16 year old student from Oakland, CA. I first learned what was going on … More Talk to Teachers: Ethnic Studies is Essential
This is written by MM, an eleventh grade student who is planning on studying in Japan in the near future, and is in her second year of studying Japanese at our local community college. She also plans to be the first Guatemalan-American astronaut. Dear Teachers and Students, How do you value and work with education? We … More Talk to Teachers and Students: Be Humane
This letter was written by Jade Herbert, an eleventh grader who plans to attend college and then medical school. She is concurrently enrolled in a community college biology class, and previously interned at a hospital and a health clinic. She means business. She has sent this letter to several local newspapers. Dear Society, Let’s begin … More Talk to Teachers: One Teen’s View on College Costs
This piece is written by an eleventh grade student, IR, who has started a streetwear line, VIBE$, and who is concurrently enrolled in community college classes in the history of apparel and fashion. He will be sending this piece to our superintendent and to the members of the Oakland school board. The public education system is … More Talk to Teachers: The Public Education System Is Flawed
This piece is by an eleventh grade student, code name Error 404. She is writing to the general public, and will be sending her piece to local newspapers. A school shouldn’t be a department of our overall education. It should be a second provider; guardians and experience should be the first. Parents suspect their children are … More Talk to Teachers: Torpedo the Ark
I am about to post some of my students’ Talks to Teachers, a la James Baldwin. These young people have been in public schools for about as long as anyone ever is in public schools in America, and they most definitely have something to say about education, and some ideas to share with teachers. They are all … More My Students Talk to Teachers. And to You.
When I was about to start teaching in public schools, I went for a long walk on a drizzly day with my mom. My mom is the reason I am a teacher; she has been a teacher for her whole life, and I spent long afternoons and evenings as a child watching her drama students … More Lying to the Young is Wrong
I have been meditating on James Baldwin’s “Talk to Teachers” these last few weeks. People. In case you’ve forgotten, the man can WRITE. Although it is a very challenging text, I wanted to use this text as a mentor text to help my students address one of our year’s essential questions: How might we use … More Listening to James Baldwin
I have had this blog title in my head for a while. For the last couple of years I have felt like I am stepping into uncharted territory in my teaching. I am not saying that I am taking risks with my kids’ learning, but rather, I am taking risks with my own teaching. I am … More Why Teaching Dangerously?