Archives for category: Integration

Guest blogger:  Kayisha Edwards, Special Educator shares her Thoughts from the Field.

Eyes affixed upon the throngs of books that align the shelves, I can’t help but wonder if the dreamy eyed student is paying attention to the lesson at hand. Is the student processing?  Taking a much needed break from the discussion?  Or perhaps just thinking about life.

In the Middle School Current News Intensive, (Intensive is a time of enrichment and support)  students were encouraged to spend time to ruminate about their dreams. After reading an article about Malala Yousafzai and two Langston Hughes poems, students were eager to connect who they aspire to be to the likes of a resilient young woman and a renowned poet.

In their writing, some students made comments about who they are as dreamers:

“What type of dream am I doing? A lucid dream because I want to be aware and have control over where I go in life.”

“Langston Hughes said something that made me think about my dream, and Malala made me think about how hard she worked to let girls know what she went through in order to rally for education. My dream is to be a beautician and never let that go.”

Other students personally connected with Langston Hughes’s poems:

“What stood out to me is when Hughes says ‘For if dreams die, Life is like a broken winged bird that cannot fly’. What I get from this is if you diminish your dreams then you will lose a big factor of your life. I say that because a big factor of a bird’s life is flying and with a broken wing it can’t do that. So with a dream, if you defer it, then you will lose a big element of your life.”

And others made a connection to Malala Yousafzai:

“Malala’s story is an inspiration to people, including me. Having a dream is not worth anything unless it’s spread to the world. Some say that your dreams have limits, but there is always a way to overcome those limits.”

“Though, it’s easy to have dreams, it’s more difficult to fulfill them. If you really want to become what you seek, you have to work very hard to achieve it. Many people, like Malala Yousafzai, worked extremely hard to do this, and I want to do this, too.”

In these quotes I see the power of giving students time to think. Time for students to sit and stare wherever their eyes become affixed: on a picture, in a book, an article or a poem – and to think about those who have dreamed in the past and whose dreams are making headlines today in an effort to foster robust thoughts and conversations about dreams of their own.

-Kayisha Edwards is a Special Educator at City Neighbors Charter School

Dear Baltimore,

We will continue highlighting the words and work of our students.  Our students come from all over this great city, and they want you to know who they are, what they think, how they feel, and what they need.

Please read this message from Levar Lewis, CNHS, Class of 2014.  He sees a great city rising from this time.

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Reginald Museum

 

This past weekend the 4th and 5th graders at City Neighbors Charter School performed at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. After a three month study of the Underground Railroad – which included in-depth readings, studies of history, geography and literature, a visit to the Eastern Shore to trace part of a path of the Underground Railroad, and so much more – the students wrote and performed historical narratives representing the journey on the Underground Railroad.

In the museum’s amphitheather, families, friends, and the public gathered to hear these 9, 10 and 11 year olds capture the spirit and soul of the thirst for freedom. Their narratives reflected themes of inspiration, unending drive, courage, unspeakable sorrow, fear, and hope.

The day also represented the ideals of partnership. The study came out of a summer teachers workshop provided by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Three of our City Neighbors teachers participated this past summer, which laid the groundwork for this remarkable study, led by Mrs. Thurston (our 4th and 5th grader Language Arts and Science teacher). The performance piece today was supported by the Baltimore Shakespeare Company, who followed our performances with readings, quotes and connections between Shakespeare and ideas of colonization, slavery, and freedom. The Shakespeare folks took time before the show to help our students ready themselves – doing 30 minutes of warm-up work with all of our students, and working with individuals as they prepared to take the stage.

Throughout the day – from preparation to performance to post-wrap – the feeling in the room was supportive, aspirational, encouraging, and alive.

The event was a beautiful, authentic culmination to months of study. As Mrs. Thurston e-mailed her families later that day, “Their hard work and dedication prove that young people can be inspired to create beautiful, authentic, and good quality pieces.” It also shows that great partnerships – like the one exhibited between City Neighbors, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, and the Baltimore Shakespeare Company – can create experiences that simultaneously support the work of our children, the work of our public programs and institutions, and the efforts to raise the consciousness and understanding of our world at large.

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