Showing posts from September, 2017

Rampage: For My Soul

On a high. 
Loving what waking up at 5AM does for my soul. 
Loving what believing that all is well does for my soul. 
Loving what Frank Ocean does for my soul. 
Loving what 90 degrees in September does for my soul. 
Loving what a chai latte with coconut milk does for my soul. 
Loving what a clean back seat of an Uber does for my soul. 
Loving what Sam Edelman clogs do for my soul. 
Loving what Syd the Kid's voice does for my soul. 
Loving what denim on denim does for my soul. 
Loving what telling the truth does for my soul. 
Loving what listening does for my soul. 
Loving what my students working hard does for my soul. 
Loving what a random compliment does for my soul. 
Loving what holding my pup does for my soul. 
Loving what a good laugh does for my soul. 
Loving what therapy does for my soul. 
Loving what my brother's visits do for my soul. 
Loving what Baltimore does for my soul. 
Loving what riding with the new day everyday does for my soul. 
Loving what writing gratitude lists does for my s…

Video Lessons: Student Self-Monitoring


Teaching in the Trump Era: Reflective Practice

I blame Trump. Just talking about him brought the morale of my class down! So serious. 
My plan was to start today's lesson off with the outlandish tweets from the weekend. 

I seriously had it all mapped out. I was excited. 
Step 1: Each student had a cut out of the tweets and was to glue them into their life books.
Step 2: Annotate the quotes. 
Step 3: Complete an Intellectual Reflection. 
I gave them 10 minutes because it was just our "drill" - not supposed to be the entire lesson. 

When they timer rang, almost all of them asked for more time. More time? When you all sat there talking for most of your 10 minutes? Nope. Now, of course the question is: why did I let them talk. Because I was working with a small group of students and no matter how many times I told the other groups to stop talking and get to work, they played. Silent playing is the worst kind of playing. 
I knew giving them extra time would only reinforce the negative behavior so instead, I had them all take a st…

In the Harbor

He introduced us to her as his son. She smiled a bashful smile. Not that she appreciated the joke but that she didn't mind. 
It was my first time seeing her.
I tried not to look because I knew what was creeping up my spine. I knew it wouldn't go away once I fed it my attention. 
Breezes and subtle waves went by while we listened to D telling some politically incorrect jokes about something that I can't remember but we all laughed, always do. 
And then I saw her. With him.  On the bench.  As close as they could be.  Smiling. Posing.
"Y'all need to get that picture." Photographers hate when a civilian suggests what they should shoot. Neither Reggie nor Devin budged. Though we were all seeing the same, we really weren't. For me, it was a moment. A moment I wish I could have. A moment I knew would have made her feel special. Maybe even special enough to stay clean, if not for the rest of her life, at least for as long as I am doing public speaking events that she can…

Teaching Tupac: Analyzing, Annotating, & Responding

*This is a growing lesson plan because I am mid-teaching... may be finished tomorrow. It has taken longer than expected because of all of the scaffolding measures I needed to put in place, the main one being annotating a text. You see, I am new to my school and never met my students. I needed to figure out what kind of readers and writers they are. From the assessment, I learned that they never learned how to close-read. 
It started as a pre-assessment on the first day of school. They read TuPac's "When Ure Hero Falls" ... my current unit is based on defining the hero. 

I'll add the full lesson when I am totally finished with it! 
For now, here are the videos of what my class and I have done, in response to them not passing the assessment because they did not understand the poem. 

Teaching in the Trump Era: DACA, Twitter, and Talk Lessons

Teaching during the Trump Era means we will have a responsibility to cultivate hope and healing in the classroom. Here's a 3-day lesson I used to kick off the first week of school. Many of the strategies can be applied to other subjects and content areas. 
Learning Target:
I can show empathy for the youth impacted by Jeff Sessions' announcement to end DACA. 
Day I. IMAGINE     I gave the students a prompt to spark their empathy, even though they did not know the subject yet. Before they could answer the question, students were taught how to set up their writers' notebooks and the rules of a quick-write.
Quick-Write Prompt: 
Imagine if Trump enacted a law that said:
Students responded with questions and comments in their writing such as:  Where will we go? What about our parents? I don't know where my ancestors are from.
Each student's response was one page long. We shar…

Build Community with the Community

Day 1: Last period. My planning block. Our principal told me she does daily walks of the neighborhood and today was extra important because we changed the dismal time. 
As my principal, the school policewoman, and I walked the neighborhood, a little boy ran over to us and said, "Hello, how you doing?" He wasn't talking to me. 
He put his hand out to greet  Officer Baker. With his little hand in hers he said, "I LOVE PO-LICE." There was so much conviction in his voice. A stern toddler. He was wearing a "Paw Patrol" tee shirt and in her eyes, I knew he could see his own dreams. 
We also went into the nursing home and introduced ourselves to some of the elders. The guys at the corner store showed us love and respect. It was in this moment that I decided to spend my planning period going on the walk with them everyday this school year. 
It's not often that teachers, who aren't from the neighborhood they teach in, actually engage with that neighborhood…

A Note to Instagram

Why I Unfollowed You:  A Sincere Business Move
I have been accidentally finding my way to the right place at the right time for years. No matter how many ways I sabotaged a situation, everything still always worked out for me. But what happens when I am consistently purposeful and intentional about every single decision I make??? This is a practice that I put into place at the beginning of my summer and it has truly shown me my power on a higher level. 
The habit of awareness is flowing so naturally through me. I am at the point where I don't "think" thoughts, I RECEIVE ideas.. I've been levitating and listening so intently. I have a vision that I can truly change the way we educate ourselves and our children, forever. But it is going to take WORK. 
One of the steps I am taking to get there is through my Instagram: dedicating it, completely, to education. This is no longer a platform for me and my cute stuff. I want it to be a resource for educators and parents and creat…