Thursday, August 29, 2002

Hi. I'm almost out of breath from biting my nails so much. I suffered an internal freak-out this afternoon after listening to two teachers tell stories about the kids and parents at my school. "They'll treat you like garbage." It's not that I don't think I can handle verbal abuse. It's that I began to envision an entire year of battling disenchantment, resentment, anger, fear, and failure. I feel alone and I am afraid. I predict that this will be the toughest year of my professional life. (No drama)

But I'm secretly excited about teaching the sixth graders, a secret to myself so that I will still grab a nice little first or second grade class if the opportuntiy arises. Things are in flux like you wouldn't believe at the district. Teachers change placements daily. Many will not know what they will be teaching on day one because the schools are still waiting to see who the no shows are. Umm, maybe the district should make a more timely rule about that. What do you think? Well, I know not the ins and outs of "Let's Make a Deal," school teacher union styley, so let me get back to the point of this post . . .

In battling the freak-out I've been preparing my "Periodical Pocket," filled with vibrant and varied mags and newspapers for our classroom library. Quite proud of it at that. And I've been searching the web, circuitously leading myself toward more ideas for the little buggars. I'm thinking, Harlem is bad ass. These kids should do projects about their community and important Harlemites. I'm looking for black newspapers and I happen upon the Harlem Youth Project. It's an organization that promotes careers in journalism and media for minority students. I look onto their schools page and, can you believe it, they work with no schools in Harlem. They're all in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Long Island, and New Jersey. I suppose they work with the specialty schools, but still. Seems criminal. They're called the HARLEM Youth Project. I think I'm rambling again.

I want my kids to do some kind of class newspaper. I'm thinking a year-long project. Can you give some thought to meaningful ways these kids can write and graphically explore the world through their little sixth-grade eyes? I'm looking for brainstorming on writing ideas, video, art, places. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. I just know I want it to be cool so that they'll think it's cool and absolutely CANNOT laugh in my face and tell me how lame this plan is. I want to stimulate them and push them into meaningful ways to interact with the world around them.

Ideas?? Post away friends. POST!

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