April is National Poetry Month, but after reading the contributions of 90 teachers and educational thought leaders in the anthology Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach, I think every month should be National Poetry Month.
This collection, edited by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner, celebrates the “magic and messiness” of teaching. A sequel to Teaching with Fire, published over 10 years ago, Teaching with Heart provides stories, reflections, and poems that, at their core, marry the muse from treasured poets like Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou with the voices of novice and seasoned educators. The words that flow on the pages will inspire and sustain teachers and lovers of language and stories.
by Dan Hampton
Philadelphia High School for Girls and Kensington High School for International Business, Finance & Entrepreneurship have been chosen to pilot a Flash Media Lab program launched by WHYY.
Students in the program, which provides on-site, hands-on training, will learn video production skills, as well as research, storytelling, and interviewing techniques. Teachers at each of the participating schools will also receive training on the equipment.
“They will be producing original videos,” said Craig Santoro, director of media instruction at WHYY. “That includes all aspects of the production process from planning to editing.”
by Dan Hampton
Most students in the United States lack the essential reading skills needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive society, according to a report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The report is an update to the data reported in two earlier Casey Foundation studies – Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters and Early Warning Confirmed. Data in those documents indicated that children who read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade are more likely to graduate high school and succeed as adults. The end of 3rd grade is about the time when children move from learning how to read to using reading to learn other subjects.
A newly formed coalition in Philadelphia is joining the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an effort to make sure that as of the year 2020, all city students read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
Children who enter District schools after having a District-affiliated preschool experience have better literacy skills when they start school and through 2nd grade, but much of that advantage "fades" by 3rd grade, according to the latest report from the Accountability Review Council (ARC).
The ARC, a watchdog group created during the state's takeover of the city schools, did a statistical analysis of students in 2011-12 who had attended one of four different preschool programs in 2007-08.
Preschool "seemed to have narrowed the reading gap for their students when compared with their peers [who didn't attend] in the year or two immediately following the pre-K services," the report concludes. "By the time students took the PSSA in third grade, the benefits of [preschool] in reading proficiency tended to fade."
Interested in improving your computer skills? As part of Comcast Cares Day and Philly Tech Week, the School District of Philadelphia, Comcast, and KEYSPOT are co-sponsoring a free Digital Resource Fair tomorrow, April 27, for students and families.
Girls will read books about boys. Boys will not read books about girls. Yes, that is a generalization, but any astute educator will agree with me. We need to understand that boys can be fickle readers, and one of the best ways to attract a boy to a book is to put a corpse on the cover or 'diarrhea' in the title.
- Danny Brassell, “Ten Ways to Get Boys Reading"
Join me for an #engchat conversation at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, on the theme of getting reluctant adolescents to read.
Four months after William Hite took the helm of one of the most troubled big-city school districts in the nation, the new Philadelphia superintendent is set to release his blueprint for turning the system around on Monday.
Hite is facing a grim reality. He is already committed to closing 37 schools -- nearly one in six -- and needs to stave off what will turn into a $1 billion annual shortfall by 2018 if austerity measures aren’t taken now.
by Kofi Biney
The mere idea of having access to a school library is a slim hope for many Philadelphia students. But one organization has been changing all that.
The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, a child-literacy advocacy group, was honored by City Council last week for its work reopening shuttered public school libraries in the city.
Literacy events and programs provide opportunities to improve the educational outcomes and quality of life in our city and beyond. Throughout November, schools, libraries, and other literacy organizations will be participating through read-a-thons, book drives, celebrity appearances, and more.
Here are several events worth checking out in Philadalphia.