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Thursday, March 2, 2017

In Between the madness, remember this? What we teach in public schools matters

Beyond Close Reading!
Beyond high-stakes testing!
Beyond their Ed Reform scams!
What matters!
In between the madness of appointing Betsy DeVos the United States Secretary of Education. Someone with no experience working in public schools, or even having attended them. Between America's madness of endless high-stakes testing, and school choice scams. Remember this one important point teachers and parents? What we teach in our public schools matters!

Cesar Chavez said: “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community - and this nation.”

At our CCSU Literacy Center we held our 15 Annual Black History Month Read-A-Thon as part of NCTE's African Read-In this past Monday. We hold Read-A-Thons every month. In March, it's Women's History. In October, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, in November we celebrate Native Americans. In December, we celebrate our Immigrant Roots, Come April we celebrate poetry, and in May we celebrate our veterans and peace.
At Read-A-Thons:
We wear pajamas,
We wear sports gear,
We wear crazy hats,
We wear costumes,
We wear dance outfits,
We bring our pillows,
We bring our stuff animals,
We bring our little brothers and sisters,
We even bring our big brothers and sisters.

No one reads in chairs,
We read on the floor,
We read under tables,
We read on sleeping bags,
We read on beach towels,
We read with flashlights,
We read with buddies,
We read in the hallway,
We read on the stairs,
We read,
We read and we read.

Our Read-A-Thons, promote reading stamina via 90 minutes of continuous reading and talking about reading. They promote reading for pleasure via student choice. Kids pick what they want to read.
Something beautiful and powerful always take place at our Read-A-Thons. Something not written into any of our objectives. Something bigger than close reading!
We come to know each other,
We come to respect each other,
And we come to value each other.

I wonder if in this rush to measure and test close reading, we miss the real power of history?
I wonder if we are turning children away from reading for pleasure?
I wonder if with close reading history becomes a chore?
I wonder if we might be missing the real potential of history?
History  as the power to bring us together!
You know the power to cherish and preserve the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens our America that Cesar advised us to teach?
Harmony, respect, and dignity aren't written in our Read-A-Thon objectives, but they are everywhere.
Reading feeds our souls, and our young people's souls are so very hungry for real reading America,
Jesse The Walking Turner

If you are wondering what song this Walking Man was listening to on his walk over the Avon Mountain this windy day...its the version of "Teach Your Children Well" by Play For Change.

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