Tag Archives: children

Read These Books by John Lewis- they are a valuable source of the American experience

 

I recommend that everyone, all moms and dads, gramma’s and grampas, aunt and uncle and caring neighbors go to a library and borrow these three books.  Or go to a bookstore and buy them.

Then read them and talk about them with others.  John Lewis was one of many individuals that intentionally put his life into to the civil rights movement with a deep commitment and clear awareness of the personal cost that may be paid for marching into the challenges of segregation and injustice.

Once you have read, thought and talked about these books – I suggest you reach out to a young person.  Someone in their twenties, teens or younger and ask them to read your copies and to talk with you about the stories. With the younger children, you might share these with – you may want to read them aloud as you sit side by side with your daughter, grandson, niece or neighbor.

The conversation that comes from this sharing could open new learning for all and new opportunities for growing close.  These heartfelt discussions might lead to a thirst for more learning about this and related topics and for more important sharing between the two (it could be more) of you.

Our American journey has not been a straight line.  It has not been without pain.  The journey continues as WE strive to form more perfect unions amongst and between all.

Enjoy these three important books!!!!!

Note: the picture of the three people in this post is of Nate Powell, the illustrator of the books, John Lewis, the author of the books and Andrew Aydin a co-author of the books.

This is a great read!!!!!

Solacers_a_memoir

Solacers: a memoir by Arion Golmakami

I really loved this book! Golmakami voice brings a captivating depth to his early life’s journey.

It is written with courage, honesty, love, and hope. The boy’s life story is unnervingly entrancing and depressing while also being dramatically fascinating due to his resolve to keep on keeping on. This memoir tells the story of an Iranian boy who becomes an abandoned child as a preschooler. This makes him an orphan. It is complicated because both of his parents are alive and have families they are raising, yet he is not a part of either of their families. Conditions get arranged from time to time to attempt to have him housed, yet he is absolutely abandoned emotionally, physically and financially.

You will want to read this book because this little boy is resourceful, observant and loving – even with the isolation and hardship he is facing. He is a boy with dreams: Dreams that most anyone would discount as impossibly unreasonable. Those dreams and some good fortune allowed him to survive. Yes, survive, there were many real threats to him that could have led to his end.

As you read, be prepared for hardship, disaster, pain, desperation and unfulfilled promise. And be willing to envelop yourself in this young boy’s journey. This memoir will allow you to witness an unimaginable passage through childhood. This child’s resilience is tangible.

It was a finalist for Best Nonfiction-Stanford University Libraries- William Saroyan International Prize for Writing in 2012. Golmakami published this memoir when he was 55 years old and it covers his early years through his 17 year.

Here quotes that I found powerful and want to share.

The author writes: “Why couldn’t I have a home like his (referring to his father) children and my mother’s children?”

“While I never stopped longing for a place to call home, after two years of wondering from place to place, I had come to accept my circumstances and it didn’t matter where I was being taken anymore. At that age (7 years old) I was like water that had been spilled from a fallen pitcher into the ground; all I could do was follow the gravity and hope for a depth large enough to hold me for a while, until such a time that I could grow into a stream of my own and carve my own path through life.”

His is a story of compassionate understanding and with his intentional will to survive. He writes: “There is a unique pleasure found in forgiveness that can never be found in revenge.”

As a ten-year-old,  on his own he explains: “Loneliness, constant hunger, and boredom made every hour of every day weigh a thousand tons.” “Only ten years old and without any money or permanent address to go to, I led the life of an alley cat.” Because of my pride, “I never begged for anything, refused to touch anyone’s food, and asked no one for help.”

Golmakami writes: “I believe those who have spiritually evolved – and by that I do not mean religiously – perceive the world and everyone in it as ‘us,’ as did Momon Bozorg, while the unenlightened souls view the world as ‘me’ and ‘not me,’ while in Momon Bozorg’s spiritually driven view, we were all water of the same ocean separated only by a physical bottle called body.”

Seven Firm Conclusions about Early Literacy Development for Each and Every Young Person: Teachers Make the Difference

Classrooms_that_WorkI think all parents, citizens, educators and kids want our schools to be successful in launching each and every student. I hope we, as a society, want students to be in classrooms where all students can read and write.
It is crucial to the future of a child, and to a democratic and prosperous society, for all (each and every) student to become literate. The rewards of literacy are far reaching. Experts agree that literacy reduces poverty, lowers unemployment, decreases the need for public assistance, creates a competitive labor force and drives economic growth.

Richard Allington and Patricia Cunningham, in their book: Classrooms That Work: They Can All Read and Write (Fifth Edition 2011) have gathered what the research shows about classrooms in which all children read and write. They report that:

  • The Most Effective Classrooms Provide Huge Amounts of Balanced, Comprehensive Instruction
  • Children in the Most Effective Classrooms Do a Lot of Reading and Writing
  • Science and Social studies Are Taught and Integrated with Reading and Writing
  • Meaning Is Central and Teachers Emphasize High-Level Thinking Skills
  • Teachers Use a Variety of Formats to Provide Instruction
  • A Wide Variety of Materials Are Used, and
  • Classrooms Are Well Managed and Have High Levels of Engagement

Supporting teachers as they develop their professional knowledge, skills and dispositions while creating and maintaining classrooms that bring to life the above characteristics is some each of us – who cares about literacy for all – should commit to.

Teachers make a difference!

The critical role of the teacher in determining reading achievement was confirmed by Nye, Konstantopoulos, and Hedges (2004) in a large study that showed that teacher effects were more powerful than any other variable, including class size and socioeconomic status.

 

I would still be in Third Grade

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I am not happy to report that if the law Michigan is considering passing which would keep third graders in third grade until they learn to read would mean I might still be there.

That is true because I was a non reader in third grade.  And more third grade would have likely just led to me being more unhappy, more full of doubt, more worried and bigger a year later.  In fact, since I wouldn’t have learn by more ‘drilling’ I may have not more on the next year.

The thought pains me to think about.

At sixty-five, with three college degrees, I look back and can see no good that could come from a retention decision like this.

I do agree with PISA that the best thing that could have happened for me would have been to help you learn reading the first time around.

Here is a great 12 minute YouTube video – Measuring student success around the world

Watching this might open our eyes to the big picture of literacy and how the United States is doing and what makes sense and what doesn’t for moving forward.

Leading for Powerful Learning

The quotes below are from a book titled: Leading for Powerful Learning: A Guide for Instructional Leaders by Angela Breidenstein, Kevin Fahey, Carl Glickman and Frances Hensley (2012) from Teachers College Press.  This is a good book for any and all formal and informal school leaders who 1) want to be part of schools that makes big differences for learners and 2) are willing to embrace the learning that is ahead for them as an adult.

Learning about practice often gets pushed aside by parent phone calls, paperwork that needs to be filled out, tomorrow’s lesson plans, or field trip planning. For lots of very good reasons, sustaining adult learning is not a focus and many schools. Moreover, adults in schools often do not necessarily have the knowledge, or opportunity to build such learning-focused professional communities. Teacher learning just doesn’t happen on its own. It takes leadership. Page four

The leadership that it takes to encourage more learning about practice can be either formal or informal. Certainly principals and superintendents need to be instructional leaders who work tirelessly to create the conditions that support teachers examining, reflecting on, in improving their practice. Moreover, less formal leaders – department heads, curriculum coaches, mentors, and teachers themselves – play an essential role in this work  Successful schools understand that the direct improvement of teaching and the learning in every classroom comes in via a constellation who undertake a myriad of activities and initiatives that have one goal: improving teaching and learning.  Page four

Schools are full of hardworking, intelligent, thoughtful, well-educated individuals who are devoted to improving their professional practice for the benefit of their students.  Districts typically support educator learning by sending teachers and principals to conferences, offering in service professional development days, encouraging teachers to pursue graduate study, and a host of other mechanisms. So what’s the problem? (Many would argue) that it is not just individuals that need to learn, but the schools and districts also need to learn.

Unless a school can learn, the knowledge, insight, and good judgment of each teacher will remain in that teacher’s classroom. Even if groups of teachers can learn at high levels, their learning will be confined to their team or department. The school itself needs to learn.

If organizations – and schools and school districts in particular – do not learn, they cannot improve. Page eight

Supporting all this learning is a critical and complicated leadership task.  Schools –and individuals, departments, groups, and teams that are found in them – require different learning at different times. Moreover, considerable literature suggests that a school’s capacity for learning is very much connected to its capacity for improvement and for increasing student learning. Page nine

Supporting self-authoring learning in schools makes even more demands on leadership practice Self-authoring learners are willing to take the biggest risks, tackle the most difficult questions, and challenge themselves and others the most.  To support this learning, to not only understand how collaborative, reflective groups are built, but also take the risks to be a self-authoring learner herself – in a public and transparent way. It seems unlikely that teachers will take the risk to be self-authoring learners and tackle the most difficult and troubling issues and lust leaders are also willing to do this. Leaders model self-authoring of learning by asking difficult questions, by presenting this confirming data, And by exposing and exploring their fundamental assumptions in public. Page eleven

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