The forgotten & hope

I recently read and saw Precious (based on the novel Push by Sapphire). I have never been so moved, so disturbed, so…reminded.

I’ve mentioned many times before that our students’ lives outside of school have a direct impact to what goes on inside of our classrooms. That’s just how it is. This book reminded me that and so much more.

It reminded me that kids need help. It reminded me that there are some people who don’t care. It reminded me that there are a lot of people who do care. It reminded me that all of our students need to know that they are smart and capable. It reminded me that I must always do whatever I can to help students make that realization. It reminded me that we cannot forget kids…

Especially in the English classroom…because let’s all be honest with ourselves, kids may Continue reading


Just do it

Just do it. Everyone has heard this¬† saying coined by athletic gear juggernaut NIKE. However, have you ever really thought about Nike in your classroom? (I mean besides your students’ shoes that is.) Well, if you haven’t, check out this video that was Continue reading

Literacy gaps and curricula

[Response to BPR’s chapter 18]

I immediately have to start off by pointing out that high school completion rates have decreased due to the fact that students can’t pass their reading proficiency benchmarks (274). Am I the only one that sees a problem with this? Not that kids aren’t graduating, but why is it that they did not receive more proactive help before they even reached high school? This is probably one of the most frustrating factors I have found to be true even at the school I am in now. There are practically non-reading students in the 8th grade. Why were literacy/reading specialists not brought into the picture? The teachers acknowledge how sad this is and say, “Yes, he/she really needed a specialist.” If everyone sees this, then why isn’t it happening?

Then, I get even more frustrated Continue reading

An important goal

[Response to BPR’s chapter 17]

Well, I think this chapter really hits some of the key struggles that we will face as teachers. I have never been a fan of the formal assessment measures as the sole deciding factor on what students have learned. Formal assessments are definitely NOT the final product of a student’s learning, nor should they be the sole determining factor (at least in my opinion, for whatever that’s worth, ha!).

I agree that students who are able to comprehend in multiple ways can figure out what tests are asking. I believe that we need to help our students understand the power they possess and the foundational knowledge for the literacies they possess (i.e. digital, visual). In fact, I liked this quote for Continue reading

The Copy Room = Battleground!

[Response to Chapter 10 in Burke’s “The English Teacher’s Companion”]

Before I jump into the “curriculum” specifics, I have to admit I laughed when reading the section about “determining your needs” (268). In my annotated remarks, I put, “Plan ahead! Especially when it comes to the copy machine, ha!” I say this jokingly, but seriously at the same time. My CT usually plans by week and copies when she needs to. Though I know I can’t make a whole year’s worth of copies at once, Continue reading


[Response to Chapter 24 in Burke’s “The English Teacher’s Companion”]

Burke discusses many ways to help teachers “organize,” which can often be one of the biggest personal learning lessons teachers go through. I have to admit that I would consider myself highly organized (almost in an obsessive-compulsive way, ha!) and find myself stressed if I do not have things how they should be. However, with that said, I also am open-minded in that I understand not everyone is like me in my obsession for organization. For this reason, it does not bother me that others are not organized because everyone has their own “system,” which is one of the points Burke makes when he mentions his organization methods. [But for me personally, well, I’ve just got to be.]

Though I am highly organized, Burke mentions one of my biggest faults:  Continue reading

English Teachers = POWER

[Response to Chapter 22 in Burke’s “The English Teacher’s Companion”]

I have to admit, this chapter really touched upon many of the things I know, but have not necessarily really thought about. Burke’s initial lines, “It is a courageous act to teach middle and high school English,” and “People often fear English teachers because we have so much power,” really resonated for me (440). At this point in my “teaching” career, I think I’m more caught up in the immediate how-to’s versus actually thinking about what I’m really doing (in the underlying, yet big picture scheme of things). I think Burke’s points are Continue reading