Pre-K makes cranberry sauce and strawberry jam!

Pre-K, Building Center

Pre-K, Theme: Solar System

Pre-K - Thumbprint Flowers - Theme: Spring


I was reminded, today, of the story rounds I used to facilitate with my preschoolers. Each kid would get some set quantity of time to story-tell and we would go around and around and around until, honestly, I decided the story was done. Sometimes a kid would just decide it was done: “theeeee endddd.”

Some kids would get fixated on one idea and keep coming back to it. Like “and then the dinosaur named Alex ate Ms. Martina.” And I really would have to take note of that because clearly Alex thinks I should get eaten. Or maybe Alex just has a vision that he wants to realize. And that gets me to this idea of flow that floats around academia, across disciplines, and into the minds of writers, musicians, pedagogists and meta-thinkers.

Alex may have entered a moment of flow that was continuously interrupted by the ideas of other kids. Maybe their ideas only heightened his resiliency. When does the teacher go from a rule-setter to a facilitator, moving the kid from a rule-breaker to a creator? How does a teacher do that when there are multiple individual creators in the room being asked to create together?

That’s my big question- and it haunts my lesson planning and essay writing and meta-thinking. As a teacher I have had moments of facilitating moments of flow for some students. Not all. Never all. But as a classroom, as a dynamic whole, yes. But I have also created oppositional relationships based on rules and power games. (too be continued)

Book barn finds…

My pre-storm preparation included stopping at the book barn to forage through the underground history and education corners. Here’s what I went home with:

History of American Slavery:

The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South by Kenneth M. Stampp

Myne Owne Ground: Race & Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640-1676 by T. H. Breen and Stephen Innes

Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 by Eric Foner

Aren’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South by Deborah Gray White

Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War edited by Ira Berlin, Barbara J. Fields, Steven F. Miller, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland

American Slavery 1619-1877 by Peter Kolchin

American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia by Edmund S. Morgan

Within the Plantation Household: Black & White Women of the Old South by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

History of Black Freedom Movement:

Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ransby

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story by Elaine Brown

I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle by Charles M. Payne

The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson edited by David J. Garrow

Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin edited by Devon W. Carbado and Donald Weise


Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory by Jonathan Zimmerman

Charles W. Eliot and Popular Education edited by Edward A. Krug

Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A. S. Neill

A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education with Ira Shor & Paulo Freire

Pedagogy of Hope by Paulo Freire

The Language Police by Diane Ravitch

HW: yes, no or maybe-so?

In preparation for our Thursday debate on whether or not Lincoln should get all the credit for ending Slavery, we are having a practice debate on the following question tomorrow:

Should teachers give students homework every night?

I had to come up with pro and con evidence… the pro evidence was VERY difficult to come up with. And this is within the context of a class that gets homework every night.

Literature Review…

Book list for my Literature Review of the history of black education in the South from 1860-1920 (I am on book 4):

1. James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988)

2. Adam Fairclough, A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007)

3. Heather Andrea Williams, Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom, Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005

4. Leloudis, James L. Schooling the New South: Pedagogy, Self, and Society in North Carolina 1880-1920 (1996)

5. Du Bois, W. E. B. Du Bois on Education edited by Eugene F. Provenzo Jr. (2002), The Education of Black People edited by Herbert Aptheker (1973), “Of the Meaning of Progress” in Souls of Black Folk (1903) and “Founding the Public School” in Black Reconstruction in America (1935)

6. Gutman, Herbert, “Schools for Freedom: The Post-Emancipation Origins of Afro-American Education” and Zimmerman, Jonathan, “Struggles over Race and Sectionalism” (2002).

7. Northern Schools, Southern Blacks and Reconstruction: Freedmen’s Education, 1862-1875 by Ronald E. Butchart (1980)

8. Reading,  ‘Riting, and Reconstruction: The Education of Freedmen in  the South,  1861-1870  by  Robert  C.  Morris (1981)

One of the ironies of academic history is the fact that even though most historians are employed by educational institutions and spend a great deal of their lives teaching, the history of education is probably the least developed field in the whole academy.