Mind Dump: Youth in Participatory Politics?

Let’s get the conversation started. What’s the role  of  youth in the democratic process?

As an English teacher, I am aware of the literacy skills crucial to being a contributing member of the democratic process. In the United States, we have the privilege of voting for those who represent us in government,

  • But how does one make an informed decision?
  • How does one attempt to make changes if our representatives aren’t working in our best interest?
  • How do we inform and persuade others for the need for change?

Literacy skills. It’s all about being able to research, read critically, and compose effective, logical texts that will appeal to varied audiences for a specific purpose.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s first gain an understanding of what youth today feel about political action.

  • Is it important?
  • Are there ways to foster agency in youth today?
  • What are the roles of all stakeholders in such a process?

Please contribute your thoughtful reflections on this HackPad:

Advertisements

From Dreams to Details: Invitation to Lead

It’s a wonderfully synergistic day. One where I attempted to escape finding the baby in the King Cake but found it anyway. I literally went out of my way to cut the slightest sliver of the treat to avoid the baby, but I got it anyway. Lesson duly noted, Universe. I am ready for some luck and celebration for this coming year!

This morning, I walked in hopeful yet unsure of what may unfold in my scheduled meeting with Heather Cato, Coppell ISD’s Director of Language and Literacy. We have been discussing using NWP’s CLMOOC as our district’s summer professional development. It was time to try out the idea on some of the district literacy coaches so we met to get an idea of what that may look like.

DreamBig!

Inevitably, we discussed this week’s Building New Pathways to Leadership retreat in Austin. We commiserated on how returning to the why is essential, how the questions aren’t only what learning is or why learning is happening but also where. We rallied behind how it’s important for people to feel safe to “fail miserably” and still be supported.

And the question, of course, reared its unavoidable head: How? How do we encourage other educators to take risks? How do we foster learning for learning’s sake? Learning that sprouts from their own interests? Learning that is collaborative in nature? Learning that extends beyond any four walls and across any time zone?

Yes, it was so NWP.

And rightfully so. Heather is also an NWP leader. She has been for some time, regardless of the many, many hats she has worn in her career as an educator.

And here’s the exciting part, the sweet spot every NWP advocate longs to hear. Heather pondered aloud, Heather, my boss, my leader, wondered, “How do we scale this? How do we make an entire district-wide site of NWP leaders?”

Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness, gracious! Beautiful cliched music to my ears! An incredible testament to putting it out there, connecting, collaborating, and receiving echoes of goodness and positivity and hopeful change in return.

We shared the common interest of finding new entry points for district teachers to do NWP work. We articulated being thought partners in this effort, and then, I was reminded of why I love this district so much. I was reminded of why I love NWP so much.

Right there, right in front of me, right there along side me in my own district, I had a leader who was in a position to make important decisions who spoke my language. She gets me. She gets us. She gets NWP. She is NWP. She and I are NWP, and we hope Coppell ISD can be NWP, too.

And when you hear things from your district leaders say, “I come to you because you dream big.” You feel really good.

I know. Later, I will feel the weight of her statement. I will surely feel the pressure and obligation and the overwhelming sense of accountability being a dreamer feels. Sometimes, the most tender of dreams become haunting nightmares… looming shadows of unfulfilled expectations. I know… but today, I’m going to enjoy it.

And when your leader has the capacity to make meaningful transformation happen and when she sets aside her own dreamer role to be the “details” person, you know something really great can happen. And yes, it will be loads of work, loads of incredibly important work. Just how I like it.

I’m going to take all the energy and passion from today’s soul-nurturing discussion, and I’m going to run with it because having a partner who is there not only in proximity but also in philosophy and pedagogy calls for celebration.

Maybe that King Cake baby had it right all along!

Reluctantly Leading, Eagerly Following

“I’m thinking about starting a National Writing Project site at UTA,” Jeannine started, “would you be co-director?”

“Sure,” I responded without hesitation because she had a knack of asking people to do things, and we just couldn’t refuse.

Did I know what NWP was? Heck, no. I was just dipping my toes in the shallow end of the infinity pool that is teaching.

Did I understand what being a co-director of an NWP site meant? Heck, no. How could I? Even if I had been a veteran TC or director at that point, I wouldn’t know. Roles are fluid and flexible in every NWP experience. Responsibilities are shared. Challenge and joy are waves that are parceled out across eager participants.

Did I expect anything to happen to this request made in passing? Heck, no. And that was just plain ignorant of me. It was as if I hadn’t been working with Jeannine for over a year. It was as if I had forgotten who she was, how I had found myself writing and analyzing and publishing under her mentorship. I should have known better.

IMG_6352

Fast forward.

“We got it!” she exclaimed over the phone, excitement rising from the the higher than normal trill in her voice.

“Got what?” I asked unsure of which endeavor she was speaking.

“NWP! We got the site funding!” she exclaimed giddily. “Get ready!”

What did that mean? How did it happen? What is NWP? 5 weeks in the summer? What?

And so it began, my journey with National Writing Project.

I had no idea what wealth this organization would add to my life, how it would nourish me and calm me and inspire me again and again. I had no idea this launch into NWP which had been planted in pretty nutrient-barren soil would repeatedly catapult me into reaching deep down and doing more than I thought I had in me. I don’t think anyone is quite prepared for the transformative process NWP carries with it.

All I know is every encounter with NWP is much like that time with Jeannine: clear vision, passion to do what’s best for learners, unquenchable thirst for learning, risk-taking, trusting, and above all, knowing where to go with the freedom of finding our own way of getting there.

We write the stories of our lives one page at a time, and our journeys with NWP are no different. Some of us take detours, others direct routes. Some of us hitch rides, Whatever our chosen or thrust-upon-us methods of movement, we know we will get there… together.

Retreat? Never!!!

It’s a cool winter day in Texas: dry and crisp, demanding a vest not a heavy coat.

The trip from the DFW metroplex to Austin Hill Country is its expected “How is this just 3 and a half hours away?” sentiment. The concrete highway slowly gave way to hidden couloirs punctuated by succulents and groves of mesquite trees. It’s a welcome change from barren suburbia.

FullSizeRender-1

Earlier that morning, I quasi-hyperventilated as I read the lineup of extraordinary educators on Yammer. People casually bouncing hellos and can’t-wait-to-see-yous in the private group. The list read as a Who’s Who in literacy education, and I sunk deeper into my sheets, trying desperately to be swallowed up by the white duvet and the white king-size pillow.

No luck.

How in the world did I get myself into this? Why did they invite me? How in the world could I have anything to offer this richly talented, passionate group?

I was overwhelmed.

Still, deeper down, I knew that I would gain more than imaginable at National Writing Project’s Building New Pathways to Leadership Working Retreat. I knew that as with everything else with NWP, I would dig down, step out of my comfort zone, find my edge, and get it done. Because it’s not about fears or residing in trepidation. When it comes to any of my work with this network, it’s about trust, empowerment, and risk-taking.

And I lay in my lavish bedding, having been catered to as every teacher should be, with open arms, an open mind, and an open heart: poised to eagerly accept the invitation to make, reflect, and articulate what it is to be a part of NWP.

It is a privilege. It is a calling. It is a part of me and everyone else in the Lone Star room tonight.

It is our responsibility to ponder how NWP has become such a powerful catalyst in the journeys of so many who have made such a difference one classroom at a time. It is our duty to sort through the seemingly charmed experiences of our NWP lives to find patterns and differences that will give way to more lucky souls who are fortunate enough to associate with NWP.

So, no. No, I will not retreat back into the safety of my bed. I will not hide and listen passively to other stories when I have one of my own to share and make sense of. I will not question my being here.

Instead, I will soak up the rugged breathtaking scenery. I will listen for hints of my own experiences with NWP in the stories of others. I will write and revise and scrap and rethink and write and revisit and make and question how NWP has managed to get so much more out of me than anyone else.

I am ready to, as Elyse put it, “blow the lid off!”

 

Where’s the “More Perfect Union” for Ahmed Mohamed?

It’s Constitution Day. A day declared by the United States Senate in 2004 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution. In celebration, my co-teacher Danae Boyd asked us to highlight a phrase that means the most to us from the Preamble and Tweet it out.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Now, I reflect,  what does it mean to be “more perfect”? What does it mean to be a “union”?

An image of “perfect”  speaks of liberty and peace and compassion but at the center before all of that, there should be safety.

And certainly, the notion of “union” means to be inclusive, resisting the urge to exclude or marginalize others.

Yesterday’s newsfeed was riddled with headlines about Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old freshman at Irving ISD’s MacArthur High School. Dallas’ local ABC affiliate WFAA News 8 reported, Irving ISD student detained for ‘suspicious device’ in reference to Ahmed who brought a clock he had created to show his engineering teacher. When he plugged in his creation during English class, it began making noise. Ahmed was pulled out of class by the campus principal and school resource officer for questioning. The home-engineered clock appeared to them to be a “hoax bomb”, and Ahmed was arrested for the Class A misdemeanor of being in possession at school for what was assumed a fake bomb.

Ahmed Mohamed

Later, yesterday’s Dallas Morning News reported Ahmed Mohamed swept up ‘hoax bomb’ charges swept away as Irving teen’s story floods social media. Ahmed’s story gained international momentum as many cite this incident as a case of racial profiling. Ahmed’s story for many is yet another injustice carried out by officials motivated by what some regard as racial discrimination. It is not, therefore, surprising this incident attracted media attention. The social media campaign #IStandWithAhmed propelled Ahmed’s cause resulting in an invitation to visit the White House from Barack Obama as well as encouraging words to continue his innovating.

As an educator and as a mother of a son attending public school, my initial response to what happened to Ahmed Mohamed is anger and disappointment.

I am so tired of fear driving everything in education.

Fear:
We’re frightened our diverse kids are getting inconsistent instruction.

Response:
Here’s a standardized test to which we must direct most of our resources so every learner can pass.

Fear:
Our students are in danger of being cyber bullied and cyber stalked.

Response:
Let’s implement filters for the internet completely inconsistent with anything they would encounter anywhere else, thereby leaving them without the skills to self-monitor and become a responsible digital citizen.

Fear:
Someone will threaten the safety of our school by building a fake bomb.

Response:
Arrest a student gifted in engineering for doing something challenging and honestly telling several authorities it was a clock.

Don’t get me wrong. I want my students to be safe.

This incident hits very close to home. I work in a district just down the road from Irving ISD. My son attends a school in my district. Two of my older siblings graduated from MacArthur High School, and that would have been my alma mater  had I not attended private school instead. All of this to point out that safety, and safety in this particular context, is very near and dear to my heart.

I want my students to feel like they can attend school without being threatened. I want them to know that school is a place where learning can happen and where they can feel comfortable and secure.

I understand the fear of possible security breaches, but Ahmed explained to them it was a clock. When asked what it was by the English teacher, he said is was a clock. When he was asked by the police, he said it was a clock.

I wasn’t there. I do not presume to know every detail surrounding the event, but I do know this. Part of building a safe environment where people feel like they can take risks, which is necessary for any real learning to occur, is building trust. And when students are being interrogated without representation, when authorities are not believing what their students are telling them without any cause to be suspicious, when students are finally excited to share one of their creations only to be arrested as a result, I know that trust is not happening. I know that Ahmed no longer feels safe and secure. I know there won’t be much learning happening for him in that context. I also know the same is probably true for other students on that campus.

When a school makes choices that divide a community and is not willing to admit wrongdoing or the need to revisit practices, certain members of said community are left feeling excluded.

There’s no union in that. There’s no strength in that.

There’s no perfection in that.

I understand the need to fight such injustices and misconceptions. As an educator, it is my responsibility to set conditions where learners can explore diverse perspectives surrounding pivotal events. I purposefully design projects that teach about real tensions around the world. I invite learners to research and weigh in on meaningful potentially polarizing events. It is crucial to be able to participate in civic discourse similar to what happens on KQED’s Do Now. We need to learn how to interact respectfully, embracing diversity with the common purpose of upholding tolerance. By learning how to engage in such discussions and appreciating different points of view rather than fearing it or silencing it, learners can make progress in addressing significant issues.

Perhaps, Ahmed’s story is an ideal counterpoint to Constitution Day. It’s a poignant reminder that on this day just as any, we must not allow fear to guide our decisions. We must remain vigilant and continue to advocate to do just as our nation sought to do on September 17, 1787:

…form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

 

Digital Learning Day? What does it all mean?

Anyone who knows me knows about my fascination and commitment to revisit my practice. They know about my desire to understand the affordances of technology and media-making in literacy instruction. They know about my dedication to helping my learners become global citizens.

Global Issues Summit
Now, make no mistake, I understand “I turned out completely fine” with a more traditional education, but then again, that’s all we really had. And, I was fortunate to love school and have engaging educational experiences throughout my entire life.

As I continue to teach, however, my awareness of the ever-evolving literacy landscape is constantly raised. My eyes are opened to this new world my high school learners are trying so hard to make sense of, and complexity is added when we realize that it’s changing at a mind-boggling pace.

It’s one thing to say, “When I was your age, I had to walk to and from school uphill both ways in the snow and rain and heat and whatever other extreme weather condition that may prove my point.” It’s quite another to say, “When I was your age, we didn’t have the internet.” To my learners, and perhaps even to myself, the second remark seems to be much more of a hardship.

“What?” “How can that be?” “What was that like?” Just some of the inquiries emoting the disbelief of my students.

And truthfully, there are parts of me that cannot remember because I have chosen to examine what these types of changes mean to not only to my students but also to myself. This reflection has put the spotlight on trying to be responsive instead of doing what I know or what’s familiar. I’ve had to distance myself somewhat from that more traditional context. It’s tough to recall bits and pieces of teaching before I had the tools but more importantly, the courage to enter an arena where I am more of a visitor than someone truly at home.

At times, it’s scary. I don’t know how to do half the things I ask my learners to try. And when I begin to learn a program, there’s another skill set to try to sink my teeth into because our learners today like variety. They are bombarded with onslaughts of information, some more useful than others, some more reliable than others, but still, they have a deluge of information presented in various media genres.

But if I don’t help them understand why a piece of media and its content is or is not effective and purposeful, my learners might never understand how such media can manipulate for good or for bad. Furthermore, they may not understand how to design such media to further the causes and purposes they call their own.

Learner-Created Marketing Piece for Romeo and Juliet

Digital Learning Day, March 13, 2015 is fast approaching. Each year, I take time to ask my learners what sense they can make of how technology impacts education, how consumption and creation of media both influences and reflects learning. Unfortunately, this year, Digital Learning Day falls during spring break. I feel like I’ve tried to compensate by asking learners to create more digital artifacts.

Wanted Poster Condemning Friar Lawrence

Wanted Poster Condemning Friar Lawrence

Recently, I’ve asked my students to design marketing pieces where they decide to position Romeo and Juliet either as a “Timeless Love Story” or as a “Cautionary Tale”. They’ve also produced digital Wanted Posters and Sainthood Petitions communicating whether or not they felt Friar Lawrence was a sinner or a saint. Each product required text analysis and evidence from the play. Each piece forced them to wrestle with over simplified decisions, and yes, they were frustrated. Many of them have voiced the desire to create something that reflected both sides, and I see this as a byproduct of other learning we have experienced this year.

All year, my learners participate in KQED Do Now discussions. (Yes, I do understand this is nothing new to those of you who have read previous posts. Indulge me.) KQED’s EdSpace poses civic questions every week with articles, videos, podcasts, etc. that informs on that particular topic. Learners learn about the topic and post on the blog and Tweet their responses to provocative questions. Some recent topics include Vaccinations, Ebola, Ferguson, etc. The challenge for my learners is not only to articulate their informed positions on the topics but to also engage in discourse with other people from all over the country (world). I am constantly asking them, “How can you continue the discussion to deepen understanding— not just try to prove your point?”

I strongly believe in the essential skill of being able to approach tough potentially polarizing concepts in such a way where all opinions are able to be heard, where participants are able to have their own informed opinions but also the understanding that others, too, have the right to their own. Without such discourse, tough discussions do not happen. Topics are avoided. Difficult, seemingly unanswerable questions are not explored. And even more disheartening, if such discourse isn’t taking place, possible necessary and plausible compromises are not being made that could help reform unjust, inhumane practices around the world.

When my learners ask me if they can create products that express both sides of the problem, products that express a third or fourth perspective, I believe it is a result of months of grappling with messy topics such as those offered in KQED’s EdSpace Do Now.

This is the type of analysis and understanding my learners have gained from practices that include participating in civic discourse using social media, deconstructing and producing media, and critically researching online. But we don’t get that from doing this once. We don’t get there from observing Digital Learning Day a single day in a year.

No, this learning must happen every day because this is where our learners are at home. They are awakened by devices. They are informed by feeds they can customize. They are influenced by media that either arrives via their chosen outlets or on demand.

I will say this. What Digital Learning achieves, not only on this day with its powerful reminder but on any other, is the invitation to educators on all levels to question their practice. Digital Learning Day calls upon us to reexamine how we do things and why we might want to try something different.

So what does it all mean? Digital Learning means different things to so many different people, learners and educators alike. But, this day, this day gives us pause to reflect. It is a moment to deliberate on what works, what is needed, what can be transformed, what our learners really need, how we can relinquish some of what is known through careful design to gain a step closer to understanding. Understanding that this process should occur every day, after each interaction with our learners. Digital Learning Day is a chance to learn from other educators’ work. It is a time to revisit some of our biggest disasters in our classroom, taking comfort in the thought that at least, we tried.

Digital Learning DaySo take time. Recognize what it means to teach literacy in today’s world. Question. Always question. And ask a learner, what worked and what didn’t. That’s what Digital Learning Day means to me.

A Gentle Reminder to Educators

As the beginning of a new school year approaches, I am compelled to gently remind fellow educators of the huge responsibility entrusted to us.

I know for most of you, this message is unnecessary. We, as teachers, chose this profession, or for many of us, it chose us. This means we painstakingly prepare our classrooms AND our hearts for the precious minds we are about to welcome into our lives.

Abraham Lincoln wrote the most inspiring letter to his son’s headmaster, and I do not pretend to possess his talent or eloquence. Still, mine is a story of truth, and I share it because even almost a year later, it weighs heavy on my heart.

1st day of Kindergarten 1

Ready to head to school!

My son, Isaac, had a rough beginning. He was born at 28 weeks. I had him later in life than many. He fought for his life in the NICU for months. He has proven to be a survivor. A fighter. And you can bet that with his unexpected early arrival and him being the first grandchild on both sides of the family, he is perceived as a special child.

I approach this story as both a mother and an educator. Building relationships of trust with learners is crucial to my practice. Having worked in both urban and suburban settings, I know one thing that can make or break a learner’s experience in education: his or her relationship with the adults at school.

Isaac and Mama---please excuse the gum.

Isaac and Mama—please excuse the gum.

I am proud to be an educator. For the most part, I have faith in other teachers, administrators, and other equally important adults in school. My husband and I chose to live in a suburb with a reputable school district.

Isaac’s experience at the Primrose School had been incredible. It was a balanced curriculum that recognized his intellect but still allowed him to be a kid. He consistently scored highest on tests. He was interested in reading and math and science. And playing. He’s still a kid for goodness sake.

When my Isaac went to kindergarten in the local public school, I had no reason to expect anything other than a continuation of excellent education. The kindergarten orientation left my husband wary. He felt the principal was heavy handed and felt she thought it was her job to parent. I walked away still feeling optimistic— resigned to the idea that my Isaac would thrive. I should have listened to my husband’s instinct.

When the momentous occasion arrived of Isaac’s first day at school, of course, we accompanied him to his classroom. We found his seat. He completed the directions at his table.

There was a very nervous little girl to his left. He stood up, put his hand on her shoulder, and consoled, “Don’t worry. We are going to be friends. We are going to have a great day.”

That is the type of child he is. Empathetic. Kind.

His teacher asked him what he would like for lunch. She quickly announced the options. Isaac had never had choices for lunch. He was a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities. He apologetically responded, “I am so sorry. I really can’t tell you what I want right now.” His teacher snapped, “Then, I will just write the chicken down for you.”

I wrote her behavior off as first day of school jitters. Too many kids at once. Too many parents asking questions. I still believed Isaac would have a great day… a great year.

I know Isaac isn’t perfect. He’s young for his grade. He’s the only child. He’s spoiled… not a brat… just spoiled. So when he wasn’t getting blue stars on his behavior folder, it came as no surprise. I don’t expect him to be the perfect child.

But on Friday morning of that same week… yes, the first week of school, when I received a telephone call from Isaac’s school counselor, I knew something was wrong. Apparently, the principal asked her to call.

What? The school counselor and now the principal is involved? My mind was racing.

“We are calling because this morning in line to go to his classroom, Isaac could not keep his hands to himself,” the counselor announced.

Oh my God! Did he hit someone? Bite someone?

Apparently before school when Isaac was in line behind a Primrose friend, Isaac was poking at his backpack. His friend was laughing. Isaac continued to poke it. The principal told him to stop. His friend was still laughing. Isaac continued to poke. His principal pulled him out of line and sent him to the counselor’s office.

Wait… you’re calling because Isaac was touching someone’s backpack that got him sent to the counselor’s office by the principal? Wait… Really?

“You know… kindergarten is very different from pre-K. They need routines. Many of our students know how to read by the end of kindergarten,“ the counselor proudly relayed.

My child, he has been reading for well over a year. If you would get to know him, you would know that already.

“Oh, his teacher also says he uses the word ‘butt’ too much,” the counselor added. She was not done, “And yesterday, he was trying to cut his shirt with scissors. The only reason he didn’t succeed was because they were safety scissors.”

Isaac was probably trying to figure out why in the world the scissors didn’t work. He has used regular scissors for over a year.

“Kindergarten is a tough transition for some kids, especially those who attend Montessori,” the counselor attempted to comfort me.

He did not attend Montessori school. You would know that if you checked his file, and even if he had, do you really think it’s a good thing to make such generalities?

“Please discuss this with your child when he gets home today,” she said judgingly.

No. Really?

“If his behavior continues, he will have to be sent to In School Suspension (ISS),” she warned.

What? He is in kindergarten! This is the first week of school. Why in the world would an elementary school have ISS?????

Shell shocked, I hung up the phone. I left my classroom, walked into the hallway, and cried. Who in their right mind thinks it is okay to be so stern with a kindergartner? On what planet is this exchange building trust between parents, students, admin, teacher, and counselor?????

In a couple of minutes, I also received a short email from the counselor, “By the way, I forgot to let you know that the principal says Isaac needs his haircut according to student code of conduct. His bangs should not be in his eyes.”

Really? Well, by the way, I find the list of nonsensical, overly harsh, judgmental, inconsequential “offenses” that my 5-year-old committed to be ridiculous! All of this on the first week of school!!!

I called my husband and asked him what he thought about putting Isaac back at Primrose for the year. He agreed to do whatever was best for Isaac. We had him reenrolled by the end of the day were set to complete the paperwork for his exit of the other so-called school on Monday morning.

When I picked up Isaac that afternoon, all I wanted to do was hold him. He rushed into my arms. I thought he would be sad because of his visits to the various offices and discussions with strange adults, but he was in surprisingly good spirits for someone who had been threatened with ISS and seen the principal and counselor.

He excitedly pulled out his daily folder and yelped, “Mama, look! Mama, look! I got a blue star today. Those are really difficult to get. My teacher said I got it for my good behavior?”

What in the world???!!! Now, that’s mixed messages.

This was not the place for my Isaac. That’s not the kind of start any parent wants his or her child to have.

Please. Please remember the privilege we have of spending a year with these children, of being trusted not only with their minds but also with their hearts.

1st Day of Kindergarten 3

Ready to learn!

It’s the beginning of a new school year. Let’s make it great. Let’s make our learners want to return everyday with a love to learn, an enthusiasm to take risks, and the passion to help their community.

And thank you. Thank you for everything you do… for everything you do makes a difference to your learners.

Psychologists Find a Surprising Thing Happens to Kids Who Read Harry Potter – Mic

I love Harry Potter. I love what this series has done for literacy for kids around the world. And I love the message. Love, acceptance, forgiveness. Who couldn’t use a gentle reminder?

Great quick read here on more reasons to read, share, and revisit Hogwarts. Psychologists Find a Surprising Thing Happens to Kids Who Read Harry Potter – Mic.

Here’s my son as a mini-Harry Potter. I couldn’t resist.

isaac_as_harry

My NWP…

If anyone knows me at all, they know I am a National Writing Project (NWP)  teacher leader. I owe much of my inspiration and motivation from this amazing network. This year is NWP’s 40th Anniversary. Here is what NWP means to me and my praxis.

Vanishing Borders: Project Immigration

It’s a busy month at New Tech High @ Coppell for Mrs. Boyd and myself. The Rookies are investigating the question: How could immigration reform affect “us”? 

They started by viewing the two films The Other Side of Immigration and They Come to America. After viewing these two perspectives, learners participated in a Harkness Discussion to address the driving question.

Further research included reading various immigration poems for push/pull factors, issues surrounding immigration, and the immigrant experience. Learners also read and shared findings of various articles and created Found Poems using these texts.

KQED’s DO NOW is focusing on immigration this week so learners responded to articles and other postings from people around the country. 

Dsc_0012

Dsc_0018
Dsc_0008
Dsc_0010

This all culminates in learner-produced short films. Selected films will be chosen to represent NTH@C in the Thirteenth Annual Media that Matters Film Festival.

Dsc_0004

Dsc_0009
Dsc_0013
Dsc_0017
Overall, not a bad way to spend April!!! Can’t wait for them to finish their films!!!