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Showing posts from January, 2018

Day 23

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Today was my 23rd day waking up to spend the 1st 15 minutes of the day, writing a love list. Out of those 23 days, there was only 2 where I found myself, mentally, in a place that was too hard to write. So, instead of writing love lists on those days, Ashley told me to write an “easy list” and focus on what’s easy, since everything felt so hard.
The beauty of writing as a form of meditation every morning is that it helps me keep track of my moods, triggers, and reflect on how much the good really does outweigh the bad.
January can be a very depressing month. February is even worse. Try writing a list of what you love every morning. Like the one below:
I love standing in Penn Station watching these Black men rack up on money as they play these classical instruments.I love how people look at them in awe because of how “hood” they appear...I love how they are playing my favorite love songs.I love how the birds flew up to me today.I love how I could hear the call of my name in their feathers…

Lit’ Lessons: 5 Tools for Independent Reading

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Via Instagram 1.7.18

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I ain’t always been like this. Ain’t finish a full book ‘til I was like 27 and that took me like 6 months. My literary shift occurred a year after that, when I applied for a PhD program and I didn’t get beyond the interview process because they said I didn’t know enough theory. A former professor knew my abilities as an educator and vouched for me but they told her, “Practice and experience is not enough. She needs to know theory.” They believed I would not be able to handle a PhD program’s rigorous reading requirements. So my professor gave me my first copy of a bell hooks book, “Class Matters,” sent me Gloria Ladson-Billings’ articles, some Neil Postman, and even Vygotsky. I devoured the texts and wrote my heart out in reflections and critical analyses. She cried, real ugly emotional tears. She was so proud of me because she was so hurt that the PhD board did not believe in me the way she did. She said, “Valencia, this proves that you can do this.”
Honestly, I knew I could do it. I k…

Build Our Classroom Library! Build Our Consciousness!

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So many people offered to buy this poster from me after I posted it on Instagram! Of course I can’t sell it for money, instead, I am requesting books! If you send my students a book from the list below, we will send you the poster above! Deal? Our school’s library is currently shut down and so many of them have library fines that are preventing them from checking out a book! With your help, we can build our own class library! 
We are also accepting audiobooks to give my students that are auditory learners as an alternative. E-books are not transferable and we do not have classwide iPad or Kindles, so I do not want to accept funds for ebooks until we are prepared to download them. 
Every Tuesday, on Instagram Live, I will be teaching a literacy course! Until we get enough books, I’ll have to use articles and PDFs of short stories! If you want to learn some of the reading strategies I will be using, be sure to join us! 
Here’s the shipping address:
Ms. Clay’s English Class Baltimore Design S…

Ten Rules for Woke Teachers

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“We came to an important realisation: books could only point in a general direction; the rest was up to us.”  -Huey P. Newton

I wrote these rules for myself back in August. I was apprehensive to share them, as I did not want to be mistaken for dictating anyone’s actions. This is not just a set of rules, this is a critical frame of standards for us as teachers of the revolution. After reading, if you have any rules of your own, feel free to share them in my comments.  ***

1. When you TEACH, tell the TRUTH.
Diminish your bias before entering the classroom ...and realize #staywoke is not just a hashtag, it’s a process.
2. If you are teaching to the test, you are not  teaching. 
Children need us to teach from our hearts to theirs.
3. The more time you spend on differentiation, the less time you spend on discipline. 
Understanding each individual academic and social emotional need our the children is truly effective classroom management. 
4. If you are not teaching students to ask critical questions…

2o18 Baltimore Resolution

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This is a screenshot of my piece in The Baltimore Beat. After this was published, a representative of the Enoch Pratt Library emailed me to give me the good news that they are working this issue! I plan to hold them to it! You should too!