When we think about engagement we almost immediately focus on the student who won’t talk or just doesn't engage. But what about the student who is over engaged? On today’s podcast we’re continuing our series of conversations with Cornelius Minor. Today we’re talking about a student he has nicknamed “Prez” short for president of the class.
As a college student, at twenty, I found myself under the tutelage of an educator of color for the first time ever. I did not learn from another one until I was thirty. During my tenure as an educator, I have served students as diverse as America itself. I scoured my memory. I can merely recall fewer than ten colleagues of color among the hundreds with whom I’ve worked. In March I traveled from rural Alaska to New York City to visit Heinemann Fellow Tiana Silvas and her colleagues at PS 59. I was looking for effective instructional strategies. At forty, nineteen years into my teaching career, I found what I hope all thoughtful, passionate educators, regardless of race or ethnicity, will someday find in order to better serve our students. I found community—just as I am.
“I think my parents hate me”
That is how a student, who we’ll call “Earl,” recently started a conversation with his teacher, Cornelius Minor, after class one day. On today’s podcast we’re talking about advocating for our students with Cornelius Minor. Mr. Minor is a frequent keynote speaker and Lead Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in New York where he works with teachers, school leaders, and leaders of community-based organizations to support literacy reform in cities. In his work, Cornelius draws not only on his years teaching middle school in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but also on time spent skateboarding, shooting hoops, and working with kids. He’s also currently writing his first book for Heinemann.
Cornelius says it best; "we may not have the answers for every situation we face, but we can’t choose to do nothing." So what did Cornelius do? How did he advocate for Earl and all of his students? Listen below to find out.
Every so often we like to ask our authors about the books that most affected their teaching, the books that served as turning points in their practice or opened their eyes to a new way of approaching their work, thinking about education, or seeing children. In this installment, we bring you the professional book top five of Vicki Vinton, a literacy consultant and writer who has worked in schools and districts across the country and around the world. She is the coauthor of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making and The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language, and most recently is the author of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach. You can also find Vicki online, at the popular literacy blog To Make a Prairie.
Jennifer Serravallo has created a helpful guide for The Writing Strategies Book for book study groups or individual practitioners. As an educational consultant, Jen is in classrooms all the time, and this study guide reflects the questions and concerns teachers have brought to her about how to use strategies within an instructional framework for writing and especially how to match them to instructional goals and methods. The study guide contains over 25 pages of resources, ideas for conversations, activities, and practices that will strengthen your strategic writing instruction, raise the quality and engagement levels of your student writers, and strengthen collaboration with your colleagues.