I am so incredibly excited about the new school year! Summer School kicked off two weeks ago and we are now in the full swing of things! This year, I am only teaching 5th Grade History, which I am beyond thrilled to do.
I'm sticking with a "time traveling through history" theme (hence the old suitcases, books, globes, etc.) and have re-created my awesome people (of color) wall and quotes. Added a few new figures to be truly inclusive of the population I'm teaching with and look forward to adding more figures they personally identify with.
I'm really interested in the ways in which I'll be able to incorporate critically conscious thinking, teaching and learning into the curriculum in ways that I hope will help students to more critically engage with the world around them. I'm in the process of reading and re-reading several texts so as to best frame how I want to approach my classroom this year (including Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Zinn's People's History of the United States and Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath's Social Studies, Literacy and Social Justice) and am actively engaging in conversations with other peers and educators alike to provide the most meaningful experience possible for our students. As a History Department in whole, we've discussed a multitude of academic and non-academic goals we want to set for our students this year, including more History-related fieldtrips, research-based assignments and opportunities for students to engage with their communities. I'm excited to see how all of this will play out and am eager to learn, tweak, create and re-create more as the year progresses.
In terms of what we've actually been doing so far, our fifth grade focus right now has been on starting and organizing our Interactive Notebooks. I've done some experimenting with Interactive Notebooks in the past and to be honest, it hasn't always been successful. They're tedious and time-consuming and you have to have a very clear vision from the very beginning on how you want them to be set up and maintained otherwise student investment dies out pretty quick (as does yours!) So I spent some time this summer researching and pulling resources and though we're only two weeks in, so far we've been successful. I provided students with Guidelines, had them process the information creatively, and have been very hands on in terms of step-by-step instructions and modeling as we continue to add to it. I've positively framed the entire experience as 1. being an extremely creative means by which students can take and organize important notes in a way that makes sense for them and 2. as a piece of artwork to be proud of and to treat with extreme care. I've been really amazed with some of the work so far!
Our first unit focuses on Native American cultures pre-European Exploration. I look forward to adding more updates soon as we engage with rich traditional stories and primary sources!
So it's definitely been some time since my last post and now that the new school year is off to a great start, I wanted to take some time to update the site. I've played around with the template, updated some content and have made a solemn vow to myself to keep this site updated more frequently this year (lol - we'll see how that goes). It's my sincere hope that I'll not only continue to provide an inside look into my classroom space, but to also provide resources for other teachers. But before I can get into any of that, I must announce some pretty big news...
I've moved! Across the country!
Lucky for me, I'm still working within the KIPP network and teaching 5th grade at that so the transition hasn't been too tough teaching-wise. What has been difficult at times, however, is coming to terms with the fact that I'm no longer in the city I grew to love, working closely with the students and families I've developed such strong relationships with. Good thing for Skype and FaceTime and Instagram and the fact that my former 5th graders are dedicated in keeping in touch! Nonetheless, I wanted to share some personal photos from the past few years in Charlotte that contain some of my favorite memories. Enjoy!