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Literacy Learning in the Kitchen: Building Vocabulary, Practicing Procedural Thinking, and Learning to Tell Time

        At ages 3 and 2, Keith and Maceo, respectively, have little patience for workbooks and sitting down for long lengths of time as a means to “practice” literacy skills. So at this stage, to grow their vocabulary, build skill in strategic thinking, and support their practice of various ways of learning,…

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Using Texts to Kindle Reading and Relationships  

  Have a variety of books and materials that are immediately accessible for children to touch. Use them as a means to ignite inquiry and spark dialogue.     Kids are tactile. Having an array of resources within hands’ reach sparks their curiosity and instigates exploration, spawning the beginnings of inquiry and dialogue.  So I have…

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Changing Policy, Changing Lives: Angela Roman’s Fight for Underserved Young People

  Angela Nikki Romans works relentlessly in actualizing the promise and possibilities of historically underserved young people. She invests in proliferating pathways of success traveling from cradle to classroom to college. Dismantling policies and disrupting practices that inhibit access, opportunity and resources, she is a catalyst for change on multiple fronts, spanning classrooms, school districts,…

Montclair YWCA

A Place to Belong: A Place to Become (Movie Review)

I remember the lessons learned as both member and president of the local youth chapter of the National Council of Negro Women where I grew up. The strengthening of sisterhood through bringing divergent points of view into focus on a common goal. Learning the importance of outreach, of volunteering, to make a difference in the…

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Finding Fela: Music is the Weapon (Movie Review)

  Fela Kuti is a musical marauder, hallowed hedonist, and political phoenix, living a life rife with controversy, contradictions, chaos, conflict and curiosity. But between the beats and bruises we behold the brilliance and benevolence of a man.   In the biopic, Finding Fela, the finery and flaws of the iconic Afrobeat composer, multi-instrumentalist and activist…

Remembering Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s words inked paper with promise, grew their branches in our hearts blooming leaf/falling leaf/from our mouths. Recitation of her poems/loving, harmonizing, scouring us to return us from dawn to night, from promise to plight and strengthen us to forge forward, inward again. tmy   I needed to hear hear her words ring and…

“I Be from The Bronx”

    I be from cold yellow snow and hot okra gumbo, Born of Father from Morningside Avenue, Mother of Charleston. As beat and breath, I dwell at 145th and Amsterdam, the school on the hill, the hills, hollows, and holiness of Harlem, Fish Fry Fridays, handholding walking to school. Five flight walk-up in-labor Mother…

NaPoWriMo, Day 27, “Write from a Photo”

    They are learning and learned. Each takes to table task of touching Fringes, folly with guesses, risk standing And falling to study more. Maceo is coaching Legs to lock and step to follow older brother, Monitor and grab and taste objects he puts down, Decipher then render them into his tools. Older brother…

I'm your teacher

Parents are the Frontline of Their Children’s Academic Achievement: A Book Review of I’m Your Teacher, Not Your Mother by Suzette Clarke

              Class is in session. In her self-published book, I’m Your Teacher, Not Your Mother, Suzette Clarke ignites a controversial conversation about the “true source” of student failure. While finger-pointing has typically designated teachers, schools, standardized tests, and standards as the source of fault, Clarke turns the finger to…

Maceo Ancestral Eyes

NaPoWriMo 2014, In Tribute to My Sons

In tribute to my sons…poems inspired by NaPoWriMo, Day 4, written as lunes.   1) Green leaf fluttering, inviting Son’s hand to ponder     2) Browning leaf corpses, Siren song Entreat for last rites          3) Maceo’s Eyes The pierce/puncture of ancestors diving, tomorrow.  

A Girl and A Gun Poster

“A Girl and a Gun”: Facts, Fictions and Fascination with Firearms

“A Girl and a Gun” instigates a discomfiting albeit necessary conversation about firearms, illuminating the fantasies, frights and fascination associated with them.  Filmmaker Cathryne Czubek gains access to the chambers (literally and figuratively) of women’s personal experiences with firearms, and with surgical precision unfolds their revelations.  Intersecting issues around gender, identity, history, politics, and culture,…

Plate by Plate

Making Memories Plate by Plate

Food is sacrament. Forkful by forkful, something old unfolds and something new begins to take its first breath. Food is sacrament. Through its creations and sharing, I am educated in how to give and bless back the family and friends that purpose my living. Family albums bloom with snapshots where we celebrate anniversaries, show thanks…

Dr. John R. Jenkins

As Educational Frontiersman: One Man’s Calling to Make a Difference

On any given day, John R. Jenkins, Ed.D., can be found laboring in the fray, soldiering on the frontline of education. He is an irrepressible spirit who has embodied several educative incarnations.  As English/Language Arts teacher, teacher trainer, instructional coach, consultant, researcher, faculty member, administrator, and currently Vice President of Programs for the School Leaders…

Of Hair and Origin

In this guest blogpost, Tricia Amiel, a mother, writer, adjunct instructor and former teacher, takes an introspective and candid look into the intersection of race, identity and self-perception.  She divulges some hard truths and hurts that emanate from others asking her questions about her roots.  Then, in turning affliction into learning opportunity, she discusses how…

A Father’s Pen, A Daugther’s Lens: “Every Day is a Holiday” as a Narrative of Resilience

After his mother’s passing, a centenarian of wise years and generous heart, my cousin began renovating his Brooklyn childhood home. Pulling up well-lived carpets, he discovers the floor underneath protectively covered by newspapers from 1947, the year his parents purchased the brownstone. Resourcefully, he did not quickly discard the papers, fire hazard they may have…

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Inside Gideon’s Army

Recently I had the privilege of being asked to view and blog about several documentaries showcased at the 2013 Montclair Film Festival.  The documentary Gideon’s Army  travels the gamut of public defenders’ resilience, resistance, remorse and redemption while serving others.  This synopsis/analysis is simultaneously published by the Montclair Film Festival website (http://montclairfilmfest.org/2013/05/inside-gideons-army/). Gideon’s Army follows the…

Predictions for Oscar Sunday by “keyfilmfan”

Guest Blogger “keyfilmfan” offers his predictions for this year’s 2013 Oscar nominations . . . First of all, I want to thank my wife for allowing me the opportunity to guest blog as she continues to rest after delivering our second child. She then added that I can talk about any topic I want. Any…

Strength, Courage and Wisdom: The Makings of an Urban Teacher

In this article, Carla Cherry shares her personal and professional evolution, divulging how she helps students actualize their humanity and academic success.  It’s an intimate look into the makings of an English/Language Arts teacher, and the difference she is trying to make in students’ lives within the NYC educational system. Fundamental to her familial fabric…

Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” as Metaphor: The Search, Seizure, and Salvation of Humanity

(Spoiler alert, elements of the plot will be revealed.) The movie “Prometheus” accomplishes more than serving as a prequel to the “Alien” series.  Ridley Scott did an incredible piece of work in assembling complex storylines and impressive settings to create an odyssey of intellectual, moral, and spiritual wanderings.  What unfolds before us, and within us,…

Trashing of rental unit. January 2011(3)

I Will Not Partner With My Own Invisibility: Lessons Learned from Being a Victim of 9 Crimes in 4 Years in Newark, NJ

From very early in life we are sold the American dream of owning a home.  But imagine stepping out to buy a home in a neighborhood “on the mend,” only to find yourself the constant victim of crime.  This blog offers a reflection on my four years of owning a home, the nine crimes I…

The Lone Crusaders of “Valhalla Rising” and “The Book of Eli”: Preternatural Archetypes and Iconic Rebels

This won’t be a review of these two films evaluating their merits and detractions.  More so, this blogpost is an investigative pondering, a thinking out loud about the power of movies serving as introspective lenses into ourselves.  After seeing “Valhalla Rising” a few days ago, it has not left my bones or cognitive preoccupation.  The…

Woman, Wife and Mother: An Evolving Intersection

As a new wife and mother, I experience jubilee and juggling.  I receive constant fulfillment yet expend breath and best guesses finishing challenges.  I stand in an intersection of past/present/future.  This triptych daily positions me to negotiate divergent responsibilities, prior obligations and new undertakings, obliging yet unifying them all.  Hopefully my intimacies, epiphanies, and suggestions…

Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman Redux: Are We a Nation Rhetorically at War with Itself?

What do we as a nation think of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case?   Here are recent posts from CNN’s website covering different aspects of the Trayvon Martin case.[1][2] you know: what a good scapegoat for blacks to point at and cry racism. P41: Caucasians are liars, murderers, thieves, rapists, sodomites, false witnesses, blasphemers, gluttons, idolaters,…

From Native Son to Invisible Man: Reflections on Trayvon Martin and Rearing a Black Man-Child in America

Early this morning I was drafting a guest blog post about what it is like to be a new wife and mother. The wife version I completed, and just when I was to start drafting the part about raising a son, I read several posts and articles about Trayvon Martin’s murder. And I read Sheree’s…

Looking into the Mirror of a Great Divide: How We Define Ourselves at the Expense of Others

In the recent blogpost titled “Black Canadian Like Me,” Alyson Renaldo suggests a contention between kindred of shared borders—Black Canadians and African Americans. She recycles the “Black on Black” crime of people of shared African Diasporic experience disliking and distancing themselves from each other, suggesting that cultural cluelessness, assimilation, and a “lack of reaching back”…

This Woman’s Work: Blueprints for Being an Activist

Article for Bronze Magazine Anniversary Issue, November/December 2011 “a woman sleeps as if tomorrow a war will begin” –Vera Pavlova For the 1st anniversary of Bronze Magazine (http://bronzemagonline.com), I wrote this article about the activism of women locally and internationally.  It highlights the involvement and investment of women in efforts spanning environmental issues, AIDS awareness,…