Grateful: Book Talk Revisited

A few months ago, I made this book talk video and posted it on YouTube. I confess, I did try to find out how to pronounce words correctly, but I still goofed up. And yesterday I received an email correcting me on a few points: I added the email text to the video, and kept the original video because I want to share this with students this next school year. This is how we learn. One of my plans for my own learning this summer is to read more and reflect on Indigenous peoples in North America. Monise Seward and…

Series: White People Homework (22) ‘Canon’ Fodder

Districts and English departments are scrambling for “diverse” books–while some of us have been doing this work, time to continue and support.

White People Homework (1)

White People: Do the Work As a follow up to this post, The Racist in the Classroom, I offer these resources that may help you grow and learn. Growth is uncomfortable. Growth can be filled with shame, guilt, and cringe-worthy memories. But maybe that’s just me. And I understand and accept what Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi said (paraphrasing) –this work is never done. It’s continual growth and learning. And warning: you might lose friends. You might get trolled by white ladies like this one: When we impeached this president, we warned that he was a dictator in waiting….

The Patron Saints of Nothing

I remember how during sophomore year, my English class read Night by Elie Wiesel while we learned about the Holocaust in World History. After we finished the book, we read the author’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. I don’t remember the exact words, but I remember how he said something about how if people don’t speak out when something wrong is happening—wherever in the world—they’re helping whoever is committing that wrong by allowing it to happen. Our class discussed the idea, and almost everyone agreed with it, even me. At least, we said we did. Never mind the fact we…

Anger is a Gift

Moss sat up and glanced over at Martin. “No, I didn’t! I don’t remember that at all.” Martin laughed. “Man, you were a mouthy kid,” he said. “You know you refused to sit in a booster seat?” “You’re kidding, man.” Martin shook his head. “You said you wanted a seat like all the others. You were grown, you said. So you wanted a cut just like them. And your dad supported you, too. He loved how much it annoyed me.” “Sounds like Papa,” Moss said, and he sighed. “I miss him so much.” “Me too, Moss,” said Martin, and he…

Summer Series of Saves: free-range reading

Buy this book, please. What do the middle years of teaching look like, because I am in the thick of it now? Do they come with a mix, much like the middle of a marriage or middle of life, where we know just enough to feel competent, still open to new ideas, and enough doubt to gnaw at our knowledge? Last week my new district offered two full days of new hire training. The training sessions offered overviews of their pillars, including a brief introduction to the IT department, ELL, ELA, and their prescriptive reading program, IRLA, or Independent Reading…

Tell your story.

You’re 8 years old. Your 3rd grade class orders chinese food & your father delivers it. You are so excited to see your pops in school. He’s your hero. But apparently other kids don’t think he’s so cool. They laugh at him and mimic his accent. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore. pic.twitter.com/6vW9DXZK6x — Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018 Yesterday in one sitting I read Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai: it’s a short verse novel, so saying I finished it quickly is a silly boast. The story, light in words but heavy with my response…

Summer Series of Saves: It’s not just you.

Is anyone else finding that social media/cell phones have completely altered their capacity to read books and concentrate on multi-page sequences? It’s become a major problem… — Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) August 10, 2018 I am concerned about my #ProjectLIT project stalling out. I need these books. Don’t want: need. They aren’t some glib luxury for my incoming 8th students, they are a lifeline. These books pulled me out of my own fractured, terrible attention span thinking. They brought back mental stamina– what my students lack, and desperately need if they’re going to move through high school with courage. Eighth grade…

School Shopping.

Is Teachers Pay Teachers “bad?” And why do I have an image of my #ProjectLIT progress? I’ll pull it all together, promise. I believe that as a whole TPT is bad for students, so I will continue to voice my concerns. — Colby Sharp (@colbysharp) August 8, 2018 Yes, sometimes it is. It can be the junk food, candy display at the check-out counter, along with the pulp magazines and other impulse buys. Worksheets=bad. (Even when students beg for them: that’s a good sign you’re actually teaching.) Teaching authentically, making fresh, home-made lessons every day is tough; we can’t even…