Saturday, March 31, 2007

New Double Vision

New Visions is one of those support organizations that have been designated to oversee public schools. Here's a piece about this new system and part of a statement from new visions (courtesy iof Leonie Haimson):Under the proposed reorganization, the Department of Education is asking principals to choose a support organization – either an external Partnership Support Organization, (PSO), an internal DoE-led Learning Support Organization (LSO), or if their school becomes an empowerment school, they can draw on that network for support.
This initiative is being described as freeing up principals to choose the best services and deals possible from a range of possible sources – which of course, will have to be paid for out of their limited school budgets.
Here is an excerpt from a letter to principals by Joel Klein explaining the rationale:
As you know, an important priority of our Children First school reforms is making sure that all of our principals and school communities are held accountable for meeting rigorous goals for our students and are empowered to make the critical decisions about how best to succeed. You and your school community, not someone who works outside of your school, should determine what you need to be successful and you should have the resources and authority to make it happen. …. When you choose a School Support Organization, you and your school community have the chance to select the team that is best suited to help you, your staff, and your students succeed.
Not until mid-April are principals supposed to receive ”detailed information” about the services being offered by each organization, and in April and May, there are supposed to be a “series of citywide and borough forums to “meet representatives of the School Support Organizations, learn more about the packages of services each is offering, and make informed decisions.”
In the letter, Klein adds that is “too early for you to come to a conclusion about the most appropriate support organization for your school. The School Support Organizations are still in development and will be described to you in detail in the coming months. Any 'decision' to affiliate before these options are fully developed and made known to you would be premature and would very likely short-change your school and your students.”
In fact, the DOE has not yet officially chosen among the organizations that have applied to become PSOs, though New Visions confidently announces on its website that it will be one of them.
Yet in many cases, this choice appears to be more illusory than real.
A recent email from a top staffer at New Visions says they will delay giving out grants to the small schools with the Gates Foundation funds, until and unless these schools choose them as their PSO.
Here is an excerpt: “Remember, by signing this grant agreement you also agree to become a member of the New Visions Partner Support Organization. This is a clear stipulation for receiving funding support.”
And, in case that wasn’t clear enough:. “Only after each of you signs on to our NV PSO will we be able to issue a grant implementation letter.”
Is this an inventive kickback scheme on the part of New Visions, to ensure that funds keep flowing to their organization, in this case in the form of taxpayer dollars? Clearly this will restrict the ability of principals at the small schools to freely choose which PSO might be best for their needs, given the fact that they rely on Gates-funded grants to keep these schools going."

Scata Nafas Quality Review

I got this email from a close associate who wishes to remain anonymous: "The school that I work in is having its quality review in two weeks. This Thursday and Friday the 3rd and 4th grade classes were being revolved from the schoolyard to the auditorium to watch movies because the teachers were basically given the day off to work on sprucing up their kids' portfolios! Incredible! This is in addition to the many days that the school relies on this technique because they don't have enough subs to cover the teachers that go to "training" at Columbia. This is an empowerment zone school with a leadership academy principal, who btw spent two days last week plus the weekend (with one of the ap's) in Las Vegas attending a complimentary training session sponsored by Renaissance Learning. There's no paper in the school, teachers buy their own, yet the principal spent around $5000 to hire a consultant to help her prepare for the review."

yes. I've heard about these quality reviews all done by British consultants. Are they being hired because we don't know enough about education in America or is it a pay back to lower unepmployment for Tony Blair for his support in Iraq?.Schools have been jumping through hoops to prepare for them, taking away valuable learning time from the kids.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Great Escape

from a great new education blog (http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/), spearheaded by Leonie Haimson
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Chancellor Flees Staten Island Parent Meeting
According to press and eyewitness accounts, Chancellor Klein apparently "bolted" from a meeting with angry Staten Island parents. Here's the story in the Staten Island Advance.
A parent on the scene sent this report:
The Advance got the tone right but I want to add that parents (and teachers) at the forum were great—respectful and thoughtful but very angry.
Among the most salient points addressed were: 1) Class size, especially in Middle Schools continues to be insanely high; 2) Special Ed problems abound, including students who are getting exams not appropriate to their IEPs; 3) There are significant concerns about the implications of the new funding proposal both with respect to schools with senior teachers being penalized and funding being tied directly to students; 4) There are too many assessments, tests, and exams. Both teachers and students told Klein that needs to focus more on teaching and learning and less on constantly gathering data and information.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Panoramic Scene 1: 117th And Malcolm X Blvd To Mr. Wright's Class

I had to how to do panoramas in order to make good on #27 in the now Top 30:
"27. Making quicktime VR movies ( a relatively easy and low tech, low cost, low data task) with kids to show off their communities." I used to use QuickTime VR for OS9, in OSX I'm using VR Worx. Above is a screen shot of the 117th Pan which in the Panoramic Scene links to Mr. Wright's 6th Grade Class. The hot spot is approximately where the room is located. The hot spot back to 117th Street is also in approximately the correct spot. Here is the link to the movie.Below is a screen shot of Mr. Wright's room

If Dreams Come True: Top 28, Number's 6 and 15, Almost Done

I was looking for a Central Park Map for a Seneca Village project and I came across Tom Beller's excellent site, mrbellersneighborhood.com. A few schools use his site, customized offshoots of his which he calls "mapsites," as a way to nicely unify their work in a nyc time and space continum. Too bad Mayor Mike couldn't send a few sheckles to Tom and his schools instead of to ARIS (which I decided stands for A Really Idiotic System). I noticed that one of his schools did a city wide project using A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Great stuff and not your typical regimented, uninspired tc crapola. See, I'm not so crazy:
LETTER FROM THE TEACHER
by KAY ROTHMAN
My two sixth grade sections used Mapsites in conjunction with our reading of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, which tells the story of Francie Nolan growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s. Brooklyn plays a starring role in the book. Betty Smith describes the streets, stores and early 20th century mores of Brooklyn in loving detail.
In conjunction with their reading of the book, the 6th graders at the NYCLab School told the story of their own streets. After walking through their own neighborhood, writer’s notebook in hand, the students created narratives around their observations and memories. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn served as a written model and Thomas Beller, the acclaimed essayist and novelist, helped as a literary coach.
After finishing the book, we took the L train to Lorimer and Grand Street - Francie’s neighborhood. The kids then walked in Francie’s footsteps in Williamsburg, past the streets and stores Francie walked by 100 years ago. The students used their own observations, as well as the description from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to create poetry about change.
The story was posted on 2004-05-01

Come Away With Me Lucille In My Merry Oldsmobile 2

video
Come Away #1 refers to a posting on 8/3/06 that was an interview on automobile history with Donald Gruenberg that was actually done in the summer of 2004
Here I try to recapture the Dinah Shore magic with another auto jingle karaoke, though nothing can ever compare with See The USA.
btw the first graders liked the chevy tune, but I can't sell as well as I can with "I Like The Way You Move."
Great auto images of the 50's from a site devoted to 50's illustrations, http://www.plan59.com/
The music is Les Brown and his band of Renown, but with abbreviated lyrics. I can't figure out the vocalists, but I doubt it's Doris Day

Young Johnnie Steele has an Oldsmobile. He loves a dear little girl.
She is the queen of his gas machine. She has his heart in a whirl.
Now when they go for a spin, you know, she tries to learn his auto, so
He lets her steer while he gets her ear, and whispers soft and low;

Chorus:
Come away with me Lucille in my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we'll fly automo-bubbling you and I.
To the church we'll swiftly steal, then our wedding bells will peal,
You can go as far you like with me, in my merry Oldsmobile.

They love to spark in the dark old park, as they go flying along,
She says she knows why his motor goes; his sparker's awfully strong.
Each day they spoon to the engine's tune, their honeymoon will happen soon,
He'll win Lucille with his Oldsmobile and then he'll fondly croon;

Come away with me Lucille in my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we'll fly automo-bubbling you and I.
To the church we'll swiftly steal, then our wedding bells will peal,
You can go as far you like with me, In my merry Oldsmobile.

Come away Lucille 'cause if I may Lucille I want to take you for my bride,
And we'll chug along and always sing a song as down the road of life we fly
Even though my car is old and squeaky now it's better than a horse or train.
When I pull the throttle out and put her into third you think you're in a plane.
To the church we're heading for a quiet wedding then I'll crank her up and take the wheel
And away we'll go my honey, they will know my honey that our love is real.
You can go as far you like with me, in my merry Oldsmobile,
My merry Oldsmobile.

Un-Informed Practice: Technology

Mayor Mike got a technology award in education. Too bad it has nothing to do with kids using technology. It's being spent on ARIS for a cool $80 million. Maybe rthe award came from IBM, the designer of ARIS. The image (including Mike in his award announcement) shows the typical portal interface of the uninspiring practice used by the current DOE tech elite. (http://itil.nycoit.org). Here's a comment from my favorite ed blogger in nyc about ARIS
http://mets2006.wordpress.com
Shrink-Wrapped Millions: Why Klein Won?t Help Johnny Read
March 7th, 2007 ·
With great fanfare the Department announced an 80 million dollar contract with IBM to create a database of pupil achievement information called ARIS (Achievement Reporting and Innovation System). Tweeds avers the system will ?help schools analyze, report and manage information about student and school performance.?
Klein and Company have spent almost a year hawking a new School Progress Report, a system to rank schools and assign them grades. I was curious: how are the powers going to calculate the score that will determine the progress of schools.
Transparency is vital, if this system is going to be meaningful to parents, to teachers and supervisors it is essential that they understand the calculations. The following is the final section of a longer document explaining the new system:
Total Scores are calculated by weighting the values of the Proximity to City Horizon (x1) and Proximity to Peer Horizon (x2) measures for School Environment, Student Performance and Student Progress. As these weightings indicate, Proximity to Peer Horizon counts twice as much as Proximity to City Horizon. These weighted values are then averaged to create scores for School Environment, Student Performance and Student Progress. The school?s Weighted Total Score (excluding additional credit for Exemplary Student Progress) is a weighted average of School Environment (weighted 15%), Student Performance (30%) and Student Progress (55%).
Additional recognition for schools obtaining Exemplary Student Progress as defined above is then added to the overall index using the following formula: .03 is added for each qualifying population as to which the percentage of students making exemplary gains is in the top 20% of all schools within the City and .015 is added for each qualifying population as to which the percentage of students as to which percentage of students making exemplary gains is in the top 40% of all schools in the City. A school?s Weighted Total Score Plus Additional Credit is determined by adding these additional potential points, if any are awarded, to the Weighted Total Score.
Nothing like a simple transparent system that will allow the parents, school staffs and the public to readily view and understand school progress.
If I remember correctly the School Progress Report system will cost 25 million dollars to develop and implement.
Now the Department is passing out another 80 million ? sounds a little like Richard Bremer?s testimony before a congressional committee describing the necessity to ship over a hundred tons of hundred dollar bills, packaged in plastic shrink-wrap to Bagdad to pay whomever ?
Do we really need an 80 million dollar system to tell us why Johnny can?t read?
I asked a few teachers why kids are struggling in school, clearly anecdotal and without the aid of Alavarez and Marsal Consultants:
?He?s a Blood and only stays in school to recruit.?
?She takes care of younger brothers and sisters ??
?He works at night and can?t stay awake in class.?
Do you think the ARIS System will help these kids?
Now fair reader I have confidence in your ability, so, a little contest:
Given that the Department has 80 million bucks to spend: how would you spend it?
Never can tell - maybe the powers that be will reach down and snatch up you and your idea ? although I wouldn?t quit my day job.

My Practice Informed

Here's an all purpose template (filled in by one of Ms. Rizzo's 4th graders) that I'm using now. I made a folder containing a bunch of Liberty Kids' movies that I got from Powermedia Plus and put it on the laptops. The sight, free to all NYCDOE teachers, but hardly anyone knows about it, has all 40 in the excellent series. What's excellent too is that the show is still being shown in reruns on Sunday on Channel 11 so that many of the kids are already familiar with the story and the characters. This, to me, is the kind of strategic thinking and planning that I thought curriculum mapping was all about, but it isn't from what I have seen (especially in the think tank void of the nycdoe as channeled thru Columbia TC). Good thinking involves knowing what resources are available and accessible to kids, including their previous exposure to films and television shows.

Happy Birthday Sol: Informing My Practice

Tomorrow would have been my dad's 86th birthday. Sol was a master bs maker as well well as a a master bs detector. I'm more skilled in the latter. When I worked at a District Office the head of professional development, let's call him Style Craver, was so full of bs that he needed a service contract with roto rooter for his constipation problems. He used the term "Informing My Practice" a lot. I amused myself at his long boring meetings by playing an early version of bs bingo that I taught to some of my goombas for attention survival.
But it turns out, "informing my practice" is a pretty accurate term for some of the things I've learned by being in the trenches with the kids. Bs is bs in education because those kind of jargon expressions have no basis in reality. Recently I added an all purpose word template for my film analysis, aka response sheet, evaluation rubric, blah, blah. I need something to know whether the kids are learning as well as a tool to reinforce application learning and I just don't have the time to make up detail and inference type questions for all of the content files I'm creating.

Survey Says: "You're The Pits"

Looks like the folks are getting a little tired of these two clowns, especially the one on the right. Mike still has that industrial strenght coat of teflon. (location Knickerbocker Village pits on Cherry Street) from a posting by Diane Ravitch on nycpublicschoolparentsblogspot.com:
"The latest survey released by the highly respected Quinnipiac University Polling Institute had good news for Mayor Mike Bloomberg and bad news for Chancellor Joel Klein.
The poll showed that 73% of New York City voters approve of Mayor Bloomberg. And it also showed only 33% approve of Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, while 43% of voters disapprove of the job he is doing.
In a survey released on March 14, the Mayor's popularity was near his all-time high rating of 75% in January 2007. Voters overwhelmingly disapproved of the "Mayor's handling of the school bus schedule change" (by 62-12%). But apparently that fiasco was just a minor blip in the Mayor's continuing popularity among New York City voters.
In the survey released by Quinnipiac today, there was considerable information about how voters view the Mayor's and Chancellor Klein's stewardship of the public schools.
By a 58-31% margin, voters want the return of an independent board of education to control the schools. When voters were asked whether mayoral control was successful, 39% think it has. But 58% want to remove control from the mayor's hands and turn it back to an independent board of education.
Only 19% of voters citywide are satisfied with the public schools; 64% are dissatisfied, including 63% of public school parents and 75% of black voters.
Chancellor Klein gets a resounding vote of no-confidence in this survey. Only 33% of voters approve of the job he is doing. As noted above, 43% disapprove. His disapproval ratings are highest among black voters (50%), in the Bronx (50%), in Brooklyn (48%), and among women voters (48%). The strongest disapproval rating--52%--is registered by parents of public school students. Chancellor Klein's highest popularity was recorded in February 2003 at 46%; his lowest was recorded in March 2007 at 33%.
When voters are asked how they feel about Mayor Bloomberg's handling of the public schools, his ratings are higher than Chancellor Klein's. 50% approve (among public school parents, the number drops to 47%). The mayor gets the highest approval (55%) from Republicans, voters in Queens (55%), and men (56%). He gets the highest disapproval rating (50%) from public school parents. On the subject of who should control the schools, only 31% say that it should be the mayor. 58% say that it should be an independent Board of Education.
The groups that most strongly support an independent Board of Education are Blacks (66%), Democrats (64%), women (64%), voters in the Bronx (62%), and public school parents (61%).
When asked who should control individual public schools--the principal, the neighborhood school board, or officials from the city department of education--voters overwhelmingly rejected the NYC Department of Education. 38% preferred a local board; 33% say the principal; and only 18% choose the NYC Department of Education. While voting groups were divided in their choice between the principal and a local school board, there was resounding agreement that the one group that should NOT control individual schools is Department of Education officials. Let's hope that Mayor Bloomberg reads the poll results. Nearly five years into mayoral control, the public is not satisfied with the public schools. They don't trust the Department of Education that he created. They want an independent Board of Education. Attention must be paid."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gilberto Gil

The Real First World: Brazil and Gilberto Gil

What are the odds that the US Dept of Ed would ever think of this?
Brazilian Government Invests in Culture of Hip-Hop
By LARRY ROHTER
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — In a classroom at a community center near a slum here, a street-smart teacher offers a dozen young students tips on how to improve their graffiti techniques. One floor below, in a small soundproof studio, another instructor is teaching a youthful group of would-be rappers how to operate digital recording and video equipment.
This is one of Brazil’s Culture Points, fruit of an official government program that is helping to spread hip-hop culture across a vast nation of 185 million people. With small grants of $60,000 or so to scores of community groups on the outskirts of Brazil’s cities, the Ministry of Culture hopes to channel what it sees as the latent creativity of the country’s poor into new forms of expression.
The program, conceived in 2003, is an initiative of Brazil’s minister of culture, Gilberto Gil, who will be speaking on digital culture and related topics on Wednesday at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, Tex. Though today one of the country’s most revered pop stars, Mr. Gil, 64, was often ostracized at the start of his own career and so feels a certain affinity with the hip-hop culture emerging here.
“These phenomena cannot be regarded negatively, because they encompass huge contingents of the population for whom they are the only connection to the larger world,” he said in a February interview. “A government that can’t perceive this won’t have the capacity to formulate policies that are sufficiently inclusive to keep young people from being diverted to criminality or consigned to social isolation.”
As a result of the Culture Points and similar programs, Mr. Gil said, “you’ve now got young people who are becoming designers, who are making it into media and being used more and more by television and samba schools and revitalizing degraded neighborhoods.” He added, “It’s a different vision of the role of government, a new role.”
As the ministry sees it, hip-hop culture consists of four elements: M.C.’s (rappers), D.J.’s, break dancers and graffiti artists. At the Projeto Casulo, a community center here on a narrow, winding street at the foot of a favela, or squatter slum, all four art forms are being taught to dozens of young residents.
“This program has really democratized culture,” Guiné Silva, a 32-year-old rapper who is the director of the center, said during a tour of its simple concrete building. “We’ve become a multimedia laboratory. Getting that seed money and that studio equipment has enabled us to become a kind of hip-hop factory.”
Though links to music run strong and deep in Brazilian culture, the notion of using taxpayers’ money to encourage rap and graffiti art is not universally accepted. But because Mr. Gil’s musical judgment is widely respected, the level of skepticism and resistance is lower than might be expected.
“Gil still has to fight against other parts of the government in favor of things that everyone else there thinks are alienating junk, but he’s willing to do that, whether it’s on behalf of rap or funk or brega,” another style of music considered vulgar and lower class, said Hermano Vianna, a writer and anthropologist who works in digital culture programs. “He looks at that sort of thing not with prejudice, but rather as a business opportunity.”
On the other hand, some important exponents of hip-hop culture in Brazil, like the rapper Manu Brown and the writer Ferréz, remain skeptical and have chosen to keep their distance from the government program. Others are participating but complain of the bureaucracy involved.
“The idea is great because it has brought about a level of recognition we didn’t have before,” said the rapper Aliado G., president of an entity called Hip Hop Nation Brazil. “But people get frustrated when a project of theirs is approved, and they can’t get the money because they don’t know how to do all the paperwork.”
Brazilian rap, at least as it has developed in poor neighborhoods here in the country’s largest city, tends to be highly politicized and scornful of lyrics that boast about wealth or sexual conquests. In contrast, the funk movement in Brazil, also imported from the United States but centered in Rio de Janeiro, is unabashedly about celebrating sex, bling and violence.
“When U.S. rap groups come here and try to be ostentatious or do the gangster thing, they get booed off the stage,” Mr. Silva said. “We feel a kinship with Chuck D and Public Enemy” — known for their political commentary — “but we don’t have any respect for people like Snoop Dogg and Puff Daddy.”
Since established commercial radio stations and publishing houses have shown minimal interest in the music and poetry that new hip-hop artists are producing, or want to impose contract terms that are too stringent, rappers have developed their own channels to distribute their work. These range from selling their discs and books themselves on the streets and at shows to having the works played on a network of low-power but linked community radio stations.
“There is an entire industry being built in the informal sector,” Mr. Vianna said. “If you were to apply all the laws in place today, no producer can release a record from a favela. So you have to create a new model, and Gil is willing to do that.”
At the Projeto Casulo, the Culture Points program has produced a pair of documentaries about housing problems, complete with a rap accompaniment, that were broadcast on commercial television. The center has also generated a radionovela, a fanzine and a community newspaper and plans next to set up an online radio station to broadcast the rap songs that its musicians and those at similar community centers here have composed and recorded.
In addition, a Culture Ministry grant enabled Hip Hop Nation Brazil to publish a book called “Hip Hop in Pencil,” a collection of rap lyrics. After a first edition of 2,000 copies quickly sold out in 2005 and was nominated for a literary prize, a conventional publishing house was interested enough to negotiate a deal to publish subsequent editions.
“We had never before seen our story told in a book, and at first the publishing houses didn’t take us seriously,” said Toni C, one of the editors and authors of the collection. “Books had always been used as a weapon against us, and people didn’t know that such a thing as hip-hop literature existed. Now they do.”
Brazilian law also offers tax breaks to companies that contribute to cultural endeavors like films, ballet and art exhibitions. Rap music has now been granted similar standing, and as a result, some of the country’s largest corporations have begun underwriting hip-hop records and shows.
At a recent event in Campinas, a city of one million an hour’s drive from here, the sponsors included a power company, a bank, a construction business and an industrial conglomerate. As a troupe of break dancers strutted their most flashy moves, D.J.’s and M.C.’s railed against social, economic and racial inequality with lyrics like “Reality is always hard/for those who have dark skin/if you don’t watch out/you’ll end up in the paddy wagon.”
“It took a while for companies to wake up to the potential this offers,” said Augusto Rodrigues, an executive of the power company and the director of the cultural center where the show was held. “But there’s a hunger for cultural programs like this, in which for the first time in 20 years, the ideology of the periphery can express itself.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"No-Holds-Barred Envisceration"

The Post sure has a way with words: "COMPTROLLER RUINS KLEIN'S APPETITE
By DAVID ANDREATTA March 13, 2007 -- City Comptroller William Thompson Jr. devoured Schools Chancellor Joel Klein at breakfast yesterday. With the chancellor sitting just a few feet away, the fiscal watchdog ripped the Department of Education as "a high-risk investment" before dozens of public-school principals at a breakfast forum on fiscal accountability in education.
In a no-holds-barred evisceration of the department's business practices, Thompson portrayed the agency as one in the midst of a corporate back-room, free-for-all spending spree with none of the accountability to the public that it demands of its schools. He accused the department of exploiting "a gray area" in state procurement law that allows it to strike no-bid contracts with impunity, and suggested the latest effort to restructure the school system will not yield significant gains.
"The people of New York City have a right to expect better fiscal management from those who run our educational system," Thompson, considered a 2009 mayoral candidate, said at Fordham University's Graduate School of Education.
Klein shrugged off the verbal assault as "all old news." He also defended the restructuring, which is meant to give principals more authority over their budgets and curriculum, as a means toward pumping more money into classrooms."

Take Me Riding In Your Car Car

How's this for a wacky politically incorrect juxtaposition: A police car slide show mixed with Woody Guthrie's song. I'll try it out on first graders

Riding In My Car
Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brm, brrrm b’ brrrm,
Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brrrm b’ brrrm,
Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brrrm b’ brrrm.
Brrrm brm brm brm brm brm brrrm.

Take me riding in the car, car;
Take me riding in the car, car;
Take you riding in the car, car;
I'll take you riding in my car.

Click clack, open up the door, girls;
Click clack, open up the door, boys;
Front door, back door, clickety clack,
Take you riding in my car.

Climb, climb, rattle on the front seat;
Spree I spraddle on the backseat;
Turn my key, step on my starter,
Take you riding in my car.

Engine it goes boom, boom;
Engine it goes boom, boom;
Front seat, backseat, boys and girls,
Take you riding in my car.

Trees and the houses walk along;
Trees and the houses walk along;
Truck and a car and a garbage can,
Take you riding in my car.

Ships and the little boats chug along;
Ships and the little boats chug along;
Boom buhbuh boom boom boom buh boom,
Take you riding in my car.

I'm a gonna send you home again;
I'm a gonna send you home again;
Boom, boom, buhbuh boom, rolling home,
Take you riding in my car.

I'm a gonna let You blow the horn;
I'm a gonna let you blow the horn;
A oorah, a oorah, a oogah, oogah,
I'll take you riding in my car.

Sugar Ray's Tavern

Couldn't find any pics online of Sugar Ray's Tavern, but I had some in an excellent book I have, "East Side, West Side: New York City's Sport Scene, 1910-1960," by Lawrence Ritter. In the picture above we see Sugar Ray entertaining passerbys outside his Tavern. You can see the Theresa Hotel on the next block and the RKO Alhambra one block further north, between 125th and 126th. I think I can make out a barber shop named the "Golden Chair." Below we see Sugar Ray tending bar inside.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sugartime 2

Here I put together images I found ( source: www.antekprizering.com/robinson.html) of Sugar Ray with an interview he did with BBC
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Sugartime

youtube removed
There was a great documentary on HBO last month on Sugar Ray Robinson. It was made about 7 years ago (2000). People seem to have forgotten how greay Sugar Ray was. The movie mentioned that Sugar Ray (a Harlem resident) at one time owned many of the businesses between 123rd and 124th on 7th Avenue on the western side of the block. He also maintained a couple of suites at the nearby Theresa Hotel supposedly for his lady friends. I was wondering whether any remnants of those businesses remain (especially Sugar Ray's Bar where a lot of celebrities like Lena Horne, Jackie Gleason, Sammy Davis Jr, Nat King Cole and Sinatra would hang out). I went to check and they're gone and a new ugly building takes up the entire block. The picture shows that block along with an image of Sugar Ray's vehicle registration which has him residing at 2074 7th Avenue (now Adam Clayton Powwell Blvd) Here's a clip of Sugar Ray in action I found on youtube

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dede Dinah

Here's the real Dinah. What a southern peach! There's a few Dinah clips on youtube. I added this one.

Performance Is Sweeter, Nothing Can Beat Her

video
I got a Dinah Shore CD recently for my Aunt Lili ("Nunnie") and I recalled how much I enjoyed Dinah's show as a kid, especially that Chevy jingle. So I found a recording of it and "karaokied" it with some archival Chevy images I "mined". I figured I'd use it with the first graders on that transportation unit. It even could be used for the upcoming poetry strand. GM could do no worse in sales if they brought back that tune. Too bad they can't bring back Dinah, she was sweet onstage and off and a "sister" to boot.
See the USA in your Chevrolet
America is asking you to call
Drive your Chevrolet through the USA
America's the greatest land of all
On a highway, or a road along the levy
Performance is sweeter, nothing can beat her
Life is completer in a Chevy
So make a date today to see the USA
And see it in your Chevrolet
Traveling east, traveling west
Wherever you go Chevy service is best
Southward or north, near place or far
There's a Chevrolet dealer for your Chevrolet car
See the USA in your Chevrolet
The Rockies way out west are calling you
Drive your Chevrolet through the USA
Where fields of gold and wheat pass In review
Whether traveling light or with a load that's heavy
Performance is sweeter, nothing can beat her
Life is completer in a Chevy
So make a date today to see the USA
And see it in your Chevrolet.

Black History Month Feature: Black Inventors

Yes, I know it's March. Ms. Womack, Sojourner Truth's excellent art teacher put together a display of art created by a 3/4 class. A very imaginative use of cardboard and paper was put in place to display the inventions of Black Scientists. I took pictures of sections of the display at the Carver Federal Savings Bank on 117th and Malcolm X Boulevard. The folks there are extremely nice. The branch manager is Frederica Clark. I should have used a better resolution setting in order to more accurately capture the titling. In many cases I re-typed them. They are fully visible in a regular slide show size, but for youtube's compression and size setting you may not see them all. I also added to the slides images of some of the inventors that I found online. For filler I used a portion of scholastic's site on black inventors. For music. It was a toss up between "We Can Work It Out" by the Beatles and "Imagination" by Ella. I went with Ella. Words and Music by Burke and Van Heusen

Imagination is funny
It makes a cloudy day sunny
It makes a bee think of honey
Just like I think of you
Imagination is crazy
Your whole perspective gets hazy
It starts you asking a daisy what to do
What to do
Have you ever felt a gentle touch
And then a kiss, then and then
You find its only your imagination again
Oh well
Imagination is silly
You go around willy-nilly
For example I go around wanting you
Yet I cant imagine that you want me too

youtube removed

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Women's History Month 5: Bessie Coleman

videoI found an online recording of a segment from a Bessie Coleman biography and used it as the soundtrack for a collection of images I had on her

Women's History Month 4: The Unsinkable Molly Brown

I put this together a few years ago as part of an overall transportation theme that would include women's history. Maybe Sonia Diaz (Salcedo) is a descendant of the old broad, because no matter what she does she keeps getting hired as a superintendent

Baltimore Schools' Survival Hanging By A Wire

The Baltimore City School System has overcome another roadblock in its ultimate path to privatization by hiring Sonia Diaz as a deputy Superintendent. From a Connecticut source: "Former Bridgeport Supt. of Schools Sonia Diaz, fired from her last job in Las Cruses, N.M., in November, has been hired as an associate superintendent of the Baltimore public schools. Diaz, known by her married name, Sonia Diaz Salcedo, when she worked in Bridgeport from 2000 to 2004, starts her new job in April. She will be in charge of curriculum and instruction. Baltimore County Schools Supt. Joe A. Hairston, in a written statement, said that adding Diaz to his administrative team will help address curriculum issues in the district."
They are still looking for a Chief Executive Officer for the failing Baltimore Public Schools. Maybe after she works some magic,
Alvarado can apply to drive that last nail in the coffin.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

March Literary Madness

There's no end to the inspirational source for satire that TC's monthly menu of workshop topics provide, especially with the invented language that's used to describe it. They actually want you to say to first graders, "This month we are going to capture the tone of the text of the characters..." I decided to go with a wacky soundtrack from one of my childhood's most wacky sources, Zacherle

Here's more on Zacherle from Wikipedia
John Zacherle (born September 27, 1918, he is sometimes credited as John Zacherley) is a U.S. television host and voice actor known for his long career as a television horror host broadcasting horror movies in Philadelphia and New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. Best known for his character "Roland/Zacherley", he also did voice work for movies, and recorded the top ten song novelty rock and roll song "Dinner With Drac" in 1958. He also edited two collections of horror stories, Zacherley's Vulture Stew and Zacherley's Midnight Snacks. Zacherle was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the Germantown neighborhood, where he went to high school. He received a bachelors degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. In World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in North Africa and Europe. After World War II, he returned to Philadelphia and joined a local repertory theatre company.
In 1954 he gained his first television role at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, where he was hired as an actor playing several roles (one was an undertaker) in Action in the Afternoon, a Western produced by the station and aired in the New York City market. Three years later, he was hired as the host of WCAU's Shock Theater, which debuted on October 7, 1957. As the host, Zacherle appeared wearing a long black undertaker's coat as the character "Roland", who lived in a crypt with his wife "My Dear" and his lab assistant Igor. The hosting of the black-and-white show involved numerous stylized horror-comedy gags that have become standard on television. In the opening sequence, Zacherle as Roland would descend a long round staircase to the crypt. The producers erred on the side of goriness, showing fake severed heads with blood simulated with Hershey's chocolate syrup. The show sometimes featured live "cut-ins" during the movie in which the soundtrack continued to play on the air, while the visual feed switched briefly to a shot of Zacherle as Roland in the middle of a humorous stunt, such as riding a tombstone. The show ran for 92 broadcasts through 1958.
He was a close colleague of Philadelphia broadcaster Dick Clark, and sometimes filled in for Clark on road touring shows of Clark's American Bandstand in the 1960s. Clark reportedly gave Zacherle his nickname of "The Cool Ghoul". In 1958, partly with the assistance and backing of Clark, Zacherle cut "Dinner with Drac" for Cameo Records, backed by Dave Appell. At first, Clark thought the recording was too gory to play on Bandstand and made Zacherle return to the studio to cut a second tamer version. Eventually both versions were released simultaneously as backsides on the same 45, and the record broke the top ten nationally. Zacherle later related several LPs mixing horror sound effects with novelty songs.

Local Hero: Daniel Garodnick

Add Manhattan Councilmember Daniel Garodnick, (who I had the pleasure to meet in January at a rare synagogue appearance of mine) to the chorus of councilmembers fighting back at autocractic DOE control. from the nytimes:
Council Assails Mayor’s Plan to Give Principals More Autonomy By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
City lawmakers yesterday harshly criticized the Bloomberg administration’s plans to give many more public school principals wider autonomy in September, telling a top city schools official that there was not enough evidence of success among 322 principals who received additional authority this academic year to justify expanding the program.
At a hearing of the City Council Education Committee, lawmakers spent more than two hours grilling the official, Eric Nadelstern, who is the chief executive of the school system’s empowerment initiative. Under that initiative, principals who agree to meet student performance targets are largely freed from the oversight of superintendents.
“We’re still looking for results,” said Councilman John Liu, a Queens Democrat, demanding that Mr. Nadelstern provide data supporting his claims of improved attendance and graduation rates in the empowerment schools. “You keep touting the success, and we don’t see the success.”
Mr. Nadelstern, a 35-year veteran of the school system, said in his testimony that 29 schools that participated in a pilot program begun in 2004 had better attendance and higher graduation rates, and that schools and principals were better off with principals having more control. “In my 17 years as a principal, I desperately strove to find the empowerment we are now offering,” he said.
But even as council members complained that the administration was moving too quickly to expand principals’ autonomy, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced a major step yesterday toward holding principals accountable for the results in their schools: the awarding of a five-year, $80 million contract to I.B.M. to develop a vast new storehouse of educational data to track the individual progress of the city’s nearly 1.1 million students.
The new program, the Achievement Reporting and Innovation System, which officials said would be up and running by September, will be used to give each school a letter grade, A to F, and will show whether principals are meeting their performance targets. Under the empowerment program, principals who fail to meet their targets can be removed from their schools, though state tenure law could make it extremely difficult for the administration to fire them.
The new system will track scores on the state’s annual reading and math exams as well as the results of additional exams in each subject to gauge student achievement at regular intervals during the academic year, and, officials said, will allow educators to make complex analyses of student strengths and weaknesses.
In September 2008, the system will be made available to parents, giving them a powerful tool to track their child’s academic progress. “The ARIS system will play a very crucial role,” said James Liebman, the school system’s chief accountability officer, “by empowering principals and teachers and then students and parents as well.”
In announcing the I.B.M. contract, which was awarded early in January, Mr. Liebman emphasized that the administration had received bids from 19 major technology companies — an acknowledgment of criticism the department has faced that it awards too many contracts without the competitive bidding normally required of city agencies.
Such no-bid contracts are permitted under state law, but the administration has come under heavy criticism, particularly over a $15.6 million deal with the consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, which is working to restructure the school system’s financial operations. As a cost savings measure, the firm proposed changes to school bus routes that infuriated parents when they took effect in January.
At yesterday’s Council hearing, the Education Committee chairman, Councilman Robert Jackson, invoked the bus problems as part of his criticism of the department’s overall performance and as a reason for slowing down any additional widening of principals’ autonomy.
“I’m not confident in the D.O.E.’s ability to make such large-scale reform,” Mr. Jackson said. “All we have to do is look back a month ago to the school bus fiasco.”
In a letter to Chancellor Klein last week, another Education Committee member, Councilman Daniel R. Garodnick, a Manhattan Democrat, raised similar concerns. “If the recent school bus route changes have taught us anything, it is that we should not sacrifice careful implementation in pursuit of bold reforms,” he wrote.
At yesterday’s hearing, Mr. Garodnick said that principals were not being given enough information to choose from among three different types of support organizations that they are being offered in place of traditional superintendents for the next school year.
Mr. Garodnick also said that council members were concerned about the “sheer absence of consultation with us and with parents.”

Local Hero: Rafael Klein-Cloud

I caught this on NY1.com: A neighbor's kid was recognized today, along with a group of other African American kids from Brooklyn Tech, for AP Science Achievement. Looked like all of Tweed was there for another obfuscation tour. But granted, this is a great thing and hats off to Tech and the hard-working science teacher, Maxine Klein, who was mentioned. You can bet she doesn't follow the workshop model.
March 06, 2007
Some city high school students scored big on a difficult national science test and got an extra prize out of it Tuesday: the mayor showed up to congratulate them. NY1’s Education reporter Michael Meenan filed the following report.
"Think big and you'll never fall short of your dreams,” said Kimberly Laughman, a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School.
Laughman delivered those words as she was honored Tuesday along with 21 other African-American high school students, for scoring well on a national science test.
"We have a number of students joining us today who did extremely well on the Advanced Placement biology exams last year,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the ceremony.
The students scored a three or higher out of a possible five last May on the exam, making Brooklyn Tech number one in the nation for black students excelling on this test.
"This day really sets a standard on what one can achieve when we have students, African American students, achieving mightily and being extremely successful in taking an AP exam,” said Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott.
This day served as a reminder for Darryl Oliver, who got a five on the AP bio test, of how good high schools can equalize the playing field.
"I knew the test would be easy,” said Oliver. “I had a great teacher. She tested us, gave us quizzes all year, and a lot of reports, a lot of projects."
This extra work for the students means more work for the teacher, who says she is in this for much more than just a paycheck.
"My quizzes are killers,” said AP biology teacher Maxine Stein. “They [are saying], ‘what is she thinking of next?’"
The students’ successes are also a result of their individual drive.
"I have a lot of friends who are African-American and every one of them knows what they have to do to get into college, for their career, and that involves taking AP tests,” said Brooklyn Tech senior Rafael Klein-Cloud. “And they are very diligent about it."
Schools officials agree that while this is achievement is noteworthy, it is important that this attitude towards emphasis on science spreads to other schools.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Atomic Wedgies

I'd like to give these titans some atomic wedgies. Classic Republican strategy: obfuscate reality, drive a wedge, divide and conquer. From today's Times' article by David Herzenhorn on Bloomberg's visit to a Queens congregation in Cambria Heights:
...."But in describing his effort to improve the schools as “the great civil rights challenge of our time,” Mr. Bloomberg, straying from his prepared text, suggested that disparities in school budgets — of as much as $2,000 annually per child in city tax dollars — were a result of racial discrimination, even though city data does not back that up.
“You all know which schools got more and which schools got less,” Mr. Bloomberg said, as the predominantly black congregation at New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Jamaica, Queens, murmured its approval. Mr. Bloomberg’s aides later said he was referring to political favoritism that resulted in some schools’ receiving more money.
Again departing from his written remarks, Mr. Bloomberg suggested that until recent changes by his administration, programs for gifted and talented students were “centered in Midtown Manhattan” — which his aides conceded was an exaggeration intended to underscore the point that few such programs had existed in low-income, largely minority neighborhoods.
At Mount Moriah A.M.E. Church in Cambria Heights, Queens, Mr. Bloomberg made similar comments. “For too long, we have concentrated our resources in a handful of neighborhoods,” he said. “We have to bring our resources to all neighborhoods.”
At that appearance, he called the school budgeting process “a disgrace,” adding, “It has just been done because some neighborhoods seem to have more political power than others.”

The chutzpah to declare that the funding formulas are racist. Next thing you know Mike will say he marched with Dr. King in Selma. It is what Bloomberg and Klein have done to the school system that is racist. The reading and writing curriculum spearheaded by Columbia is a bust in minority neighborhoods. Check out the "accomplishments" of Region 9 over the last few years. It isn't doing too well in the so-called silk stocking districts either. How come Superintendent Kathleen Cashin, who is somewhat the anti-Tweed, has scored success in minority neighborhoods? No matter how they massage the statistics scores have not improved across the board. Is that due to funding? Believe me, as one who knows the system, money is not the biggest part of the problem. The problem is the ridiculous programs and procedures that are imposed from above and leaders who are being trained to be soulless autocrats. God knows how much money is being wasted at Tweed on high priced managers and consultants who are completely out of touch with life in the classroom. Talk about racism? How about doing a color check on the composition of that crew?

Women's History Month 3: Harriet Tubman, Using A Powerpoint Template


This is an example of how I used a powerpoint template to make it easier for kids to concentrate on the content rather than on wacky ppoint procedures. I had set up the ppoint layout and had inserted the music and timing. For the titles I used the lyrics of the song. The students then had to insert the appropriate text. The text came from the themes that were elicited as we watched the movie together. I used inspiration for that (a sample of one for Eleanor Roosevelt above). The students also inserted whatever picture they wanted. For ease and control (and not have to be internet based) they copied and pasted images from the quicktime converted version of the movie that I had made. Here I converted the ppoint to a slide show so as to make use of youtube.(forget about trying to get ppoint to convert to a movie itself!) This ppoint was done a few years ago by Cree Mitchell, a really great kid. Depending on your connection and traffic on youtube's server the timing for the movie is inconsistent but I think onercan get the general idea

Harriet Tubman (Walter Robinson) sung by Holly Near
One night I dreamed I was in slavery, 'bout 1850 was the time 
Sorrow was the only sign, there's nothing about to ease my mind 
out of the night appeared a lady leading a distant pilgrim band 
First mate, she cried point her hand, make room aboard for this young woman 
 Come on up, I've got a lifeline 
Come on up to this train of mine 
Come on up, I've got a lifeline 
Come on up to this train of mine 
They said her name was Harriet Tubman 
And she drove for the Underground Railroad 
 Hundreds of miles, we traveled onward gathering slaves from town to town 
Seeking all the lost and found and setting those free that once were bound 
Somehow my heart was growing weaker, I fell by the wayside sinking sand 
Firmly did this lady stand, she lifted me up and took my hand

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Year Of The Boar

and wouldn't it be a great idea to use the Betty Lao book on Jackie Robinson this spring to coordinate with a Boar year.
There are tons of great websites with ideas about how to use the book, but its "verboten" here in nyc to use one book for a whole class project. And even if a teacher wanted to use it in a small group, it probably wouldn't fit in with the tc strand of the month.
In any case I used one of the buster DVD's I scored for $3 at Academy last week to enlighten the 1rst graders on the Chinese New Year. I just revisited the PBS site for Buster. It's terrific. It has downloadable video clips with read along transcripts as well as read along songs
Here's a short clip from the DVD
youtube-removed

Nail Em Up

I just bought the Dvd of "All the King's Men." This was some powerful scene. (although I'm wondering about whether "nail em up" refers to crucifixtion) Looks like the nyc "hics" are starting to rise against the powers that be in the education department just like in the Kingfish's time in Louisiana. There are so many things you can do with QuickTime Pro, I'm just learning the possibilities.

Principals From Hell

In addition to John Angelet from Bayard Rustin Educational Complex (who's nomination for this distinction comes from norm at ednotesblogspot there is this lady (nameless for the time being) who talks the talk (barely understandable) yet goes on to torment teachers.

the transcript of this bs
The issues that come with inheriting a school is inheriting the systems that were in place. And the existing culture. And if that doesn't align with your own vision and values, there comes the challenge of changing that culture and changing that system. Especially into a system that works for you as a leader of the building. And that works for the rest of the community. So though, as a challenge of inheriting we do want to start with where we are at and build on what's already working. So that's important when inheriting a system. Building on what works and starting from there. Finding people's expertise. And really leveraging knowledge to help me and to learn from them. Because that's what is going to help all of us at the end, it's working together. Because they have the experience of being here already knowing the community, knowing the systems that work. And kind of providing opportunities to have conversations where what is working. So to build on those things and strategize to improve on those systems that didn't work.

what she did- (evidently this teacher's culture didn't align with her vision) Taken from an anonymous source for now:
"A little over a week ago I got a chilling phone call. It was from a former colleague That day (Thurs, Feb. 15) she was arrested and taken from her school in handcuffs based on a bogus charge made by a parent. She was not told the reason or told her rights. Most egregious was the actions of the school administrators. The AP came up to her room and told her she was wanted in the office. Not one other word that there were 5 cops waiting for her to arrest her. 5 cops! I guess there are no other crimes to solve in this city. But I do not blame the police for this.
The former Leadership Academy principal, who is close to the parent, was smiling ear-to-ear. She had finally found a way to remove a teacher who was a thorn in her side (the teacher ran for chapter leader last year and lost by a slim margin.) It was certainly within her power to convince the police that this case did not warrant an arrest.
What kind of monsters do we have running our schools?
How do we know the charge was bogus? While the teacher sat in the police station until 7pm, the police investigated at the school and the child was taken to the hospital by the police and found to not have a mark on her. When they returned to the station, the cop said it was all “nonsense” and they rescinded the arrest. They had looked at her 22-year record and found not one mark against her. “People we spoke to had good things to say about you,” they said. Someone from child support services told the teacher that the parent, who was at the station, said that if the teacher offered an apology, “this would all go away.” “Hell no,” the teacher said. For escorting a child to her seat after she had run out of the room twice? “Hell no!”
The teacher will now spend months or longer in the rubber room. We are efforting to help her find a lawyer to sue everyone involved. Maybe one day she will own the school building where she was so humiliated. And hopefully, the principal’s house."


Friday, March 02, 2007

Women's History Month 2: Something Inside So Strong

Dedicated to Rosa Parks. I did this a few years ago. It's incomplete and when I finish it I think I'll make a karaoke version of it.
youtube removed
great song by Labi Siffre
The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The farther you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me
You can decide to turn your face away
No matter, cos there's....

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Tho' you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time
You squander wealth that's mine
My light will shine so brightly
It will blind you
Cos there's......

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Tho' you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we're just not good enough
When we know better
Just look 'em in the eyes and say
I'm gonna do it anyway x 2

Something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Tho' you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we're just good not enough
When we know better
Just look 'em in the eyes and say
I'm gonna do it anyway x 4

Because there's something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Tho' you're doing me, so wrong
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

Women's History Month: Ain't That Just like A Woman

from the Dover "Book of African American Women Dolls"

music courtesy of the great Louis Jordan
Ain't That Just Like A Woman
There was Adam, happy as a man could be,
Till Eve got him messin' with that old apple tree
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
They'll do it every time

Lot took his wife down to the corner for a malted,
She wouldn't mind her business, boy, did she get salted
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
They'll do it every time

Samson thought Delilah was on the square,
Till one night she clipped him all his hair
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
They'll do it every time

From our history books we all learned,
Nero fiddled while Rome was burned
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
They'll do it every time

Marie Antoinette met some hungry cats at the gate,
They was crying for bread, she said, "Let them eat cake"
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
They'll do it every time

You can buy a woman clothes,
And give her money on the side,
No matter what you do,
She ain't never satisfied
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
Ain't that just like a woman?
They'll do it every time

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Didn't Have The Horse Right Here 2

That's the famous Ira Brustein above: A man with that elusive ability of being able to listen to a woman (and therefore reap the awards), a graduate of Tilden HS, Brooklyn College and The School of Hard Knocks, former proprietor in the 1970's-early 80's of the Rosey Tomatoe in Park Slope, and now a limo driver. I hadn't seen him for a few years and then bumped into him at the OTB on 5th Avenue and 12th Street in Brooklyn while placing a losing bet on Keen Spirit (I still love you Max). I tried to make one of my cinema verite podcasts, but my recorder (strung around my neck) was flopping around causing static. Still, I think you get the spirit of being among the lumpen proletariat (or sub-lumpen or semi-proletariat-but still preferrable to the likes of Bloom/Klein

How Little We Know, How Much To Discover

Melissa made a really great book to culminate the unit on non-fiction. She called it "Did You Know." "Did you get the idea from the Teacher's College Staff Developer?" I asked. "Of course not," was the reply. Over the last three years and being in many schools I can count on one finger the number of TC people that have gotten favorable reviews from teachers in the trenches.
Here's Meliss'a class book youtubed. I was looking around for an appropriate accompaniment. Now T.I's "What You Know About That" would have fit, but forget about the lyrics. I chose Sinatra's "How Little We Know"

How little we know
How much to discover
What chemical forces flow
From lover to lover
How little we understand - what touches of that tingle
That sudden explosion - when two tingles intermingle
Who cares to define
What chemistry this is
Who cares with your lips on mine
How ignorant bliss is
So long as you kiss me - (and) the world around us shatters
How little it matters - how little we know
(How little we know, how little we know,...)
Here's a closer look at one of the entries

I Love The Way You Move 2

My "Way You Move Video" inspires Melissa's first graders to move. Also visible (partially) is the writing for a transportation unit that it inspired.

here's a closer look at some of their writing

and to my former tech colleagues at Anna Silver School doing Read Naturally
"kuschn mein tuchas"