Teaching Humanities to Sixth Graders in Harlem: At the Storefront Academy

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!
Here are photographs from my time teaching at the school:
Children play on 129th Street for recess at the Children's Storefront in Harlem.
Recess on the 129th Street Playstreet.

A Sixth-Grader adds to a clustering brainstorm in Language Arts.
Sixth Graders brainstorm ideas using clustering.

Two Sixth Graders in Harlem smile for a selfie.
Two of my students take a selfie.

A Sixth Grader in Mr. Roselli's class in Harlem.
One of the kids poses for a "Read a Book" campaign we created. See the video we made here.

A graphic created by a Sixth Grader that says "Power to the Books!"
Student-made art: Power to the Books!

Two girls read books.
SSR: Silent Sustained Reading

A group of Sixth Graders conduct a group reading.
We did a lot of group reading in Sixth Grade.

Sixth Graders pose with Mr. Roselli on the last day of school.
For the last day of school, we did a group photo.

Two kids pose in front of a painting at the Brooklyn Museum.
I loved that I took the kids to the Brooklyn Museum. #goodtimes

Practice mindfulness
Faculty practice mindfulness for a P.D. day.

A boy completes his exit ticket in a Sixth-grade Language Arts class.
One of my students completes his exit ticket.

Joyous group photo
There were a few of these silly group photo moments.

The Sixth Grade Homeroom Class Photograph at Storefront Academy 2015-2016
Our Sixth Grade Homeroom at Storefront Academy
PDF Copy for Printing

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be courteous. Speak your mind. Don’t be rude. Share.