Planning the Year

I’m excited to be teaching some new courses this year. I’ll be teaching 11th and 12th graders English which means new challenges and great opportunities. I’ve been writing the course handbooks which has helped me articulate goals for the courses while laying out some of the opportunities ahead for students. Here are is an excerpt:

Reading, Writing, & Rising Up

“The primary goal of real education is not to deliver facts but to guide students
to the truths that will allow them to take responsibility for their lives.”

John Taylor Gatto

Welcome to Reading, Writing, and Rising Up! This course is designed to immerse you in a variety of experiences as readers, writers, thinkers, and creators. The course structure combines whole class inquiry and individual, self-designed learning. Because this is a 12th grade course the assumption is that you are ready to take charge of your own learning and that you will be able to produce projects that can be proudly shared with wider audiences. With this in mind, you have two wonderful opportunities this semester:

  1. Serving as Literacy Agents at local middle schools: We have a partnership with a teacher at Greenfield and a teacher at FACTS. Both of these teachers are excited to have SLA 12th graders regularly plan and teach lessons to their classes about vital, high interest issues. In the past, students found planning lessons and teaching youth very challenging and rewarding.
  2. Producing work for WHYY: WHYY is Philadelphia’s local National Public Radio affiliate. They have nearly half a million listeners each week. I have been in contact with the community liaison and told her that you all are capable of producing high quality radio and text pieces (for their website) on significant issues from a teenage perspective. She is excited to air and publish the work you will produce. This is an amazing opportunity!!!

Another excerpt:

  • Collaboration and the development of a supportive classroom community are integral to our collective success. In this class attendance requires more than merely being present (idea adapted from Lynda Barry). Success is contingent on actively participating in activities and positively contributing to our community. 

If you want to read more:

Here is the complete 12th Grade Course Handbook.

Here is the complete 11th Grade Course Handbook.

Finally, I’d like to offer my hope for a meaningful, profound, and transformative year for teachers and students everywhere. As Gloria Lowe says, we are only limited by our own imaginations.

One comment on “Planning the Year

  1. I wish you a productive and enjoyable teaching and learning year. I like the sound of a combination of whole class inquiry and individual, self-designed learning. I am sure your students will enjoy it and benefit greatly.

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