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Post Civil War Education

EL 200 surprised me today. They were well engaged. Mostly. I have to check in with a student who has really been struggling in the class. I know that he is more than capable. I am assuming that the issue is outside of class where he may be struggling with work, other classes, or both. I am glad that tomorrow we are given a bit of time at the end of the lessons for checking in. Anyway, today we focused on learning the way to add the -ly ending to adjectives to make them into adverbs. Obviously, this is day one. D-day. They are going to struggle for at least a bit of time. I will probably give them a quick pop quiz tomorrow. I am really liking those. I give students full credit for completing the pop quiz. Then I take the data from what they get wrong and use it for the next day’s lessons. For example, today’s pop quiz was on the difference between have and has and when to use each in a sentence. What was most surprising is that every student, regardless of ability in English, made the same number of mistakes. While there were different sentences that were incorrect, it is pretty obvious that this is a skill that we must continue to work on. Tomorrow I am going to have them use these quizzes to practice speaking and using the words. I am hoping to see some better results after some more use. Research says it takes quite a few uses before it’s truly embedded. 

Sheltered math also went amazing today. The lunch schedule we have switched into is really working well. Most students were engaged and learning as we moved through the material. I am still seeing some mistakes from a few students that are quite puzzling to me. I am seeing some students put numbers in places that don’t make sense to the procedure. I am going to make some graphics for them to follow and use for tomorrow and see if that helps any. I know that many of the students who are making this mistake are also SLIFE students with limited education experiences. Anecdotally, however, I have other SLIFE students who are not making these mistakes. It’s got myself and the other teachers confused. I even approached our dyslexia specialist to see if there were any interventions that I could perform which may help. I mean, both students are making progress, which is a great sign that there are not any underlying concerns. They just need more time and exposure. I just need to figure out what that looks like in that class. 

I’m feeling really good about today. Much better than yesterday. However, my grad school class on culture and language is at a fascinating chapter that is also heavy enough to sink all of the ships. The author is pointing out what happened during the post civil war era with education and former slaves. We all know (or all should know) that slaves in #murica were not allowed to go to school or learn to read or write. What doesn’t get talked about is how the post civil war era wasn’t great either. Schools for black students were not only under funded but had limits on what they could teach. Sure, it sounds obvious, but unless you’re in education and know the history, you probably have never heard about this. What is more, after Brown v. The Board of Education things actually got worse. Sure, we talk about how we integrated the schools. But what isn’t talked about is what happened to the schools where those students came from. Or what happened to the teachers who taught in the schools the students left. Let’s be clear, students didn’t leave white schools to integrate. That means that an unfathomable number of black teachers lost their positions. We are still seeing the effects of this today in our appallingly low number of teachers of color. There are other barriers that could be discussed also, but I think I’ll save that for tomorrow. 

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