In this post, I write about how I was a classroom teacher in Harlem.
|The entrance to the school is on 129th Street.|
For a short stint in 2015 and 2016, I had the privilege of teaching Humanities to a group of Sixth Graders in Harlem. I taught daily lessons in Language Arts, Writing, World History, Guided Reading, and Advisory. My daily journey included taking the Lexington Avenue line from Brooklyn to Harlem's 125th Station and walking to the impressive suite of brownstones on 129th Street between Madison and Park. I could see the Metro-North trains crossing the Harlem River from my classroom window.
The school — founded by Ned O'Gorman, a philanthropic poet- in the 1960s, The Children's Storefront endured as a no-tuition school for its mostly black and brown neighborhood kids through decades. One student even lived so close that their apartment building was visible from my window!
I was only at the school for a year — but I count it as an important milestone. I learned the importance of building a classroom library filled with books representing my kids' identities. We read some cool books — Flush by Carl Hiassen and Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis.
The school eventually adapted to changes brought on by the charter school system and changed its name to Storefront Academy, where I taught during its last days as an independent institution. All operating costs were dependent on one hundred percent donations, making it hard for them to persist despite their efforts - something made all too apparent when looking at what used to be a fireplace - now simply serving as a reminder that this house was once home, not only for families but also storefronts - hence it's namesake - Storefront Academy!
|Recess on the 129th Street Playstreet.|
|Sixth Graders brainstorm ideas using clustering.|
|Two of my students take a selfie.|
|One of the kids poses for a "Read a Book" campaign we created. See the video we made here.|
|Student-made art: Power to the Books!|
|SSR: Silent Sustained Reading|
|We did a lot of group reading in Sixth Grade.|
|For the last day of school, we did a group photo.|
|I loved that I took the kids to the Brooklyn Museum. #goodtimes|
|Faculty practice mindfulness for a P.D. day.|
|One of my students completes his exit ticket.|
|There were a few of these silly group photo moments.|
PDF Copy for Printing