My Principals Are Rock Solid

Cornelius - Photo by Melissa K.

My Principals Are Rock Solid

January 22, 2015  |  Teaching  |  No Comments

I had an opportunity to work with some amazing principals today. In a time when school-and-youth-related issues can get kinda heavy, I am always so moved by the amazing things that teachers and school leaders do to ensure the best possible future for children.

I talked a lot about technology and resource sharing, so I wanted to… use my technology to share some resources.

Big love to all the principals! …and yeah, Knicks!

– Corn

What to teach when reading is hard...

Read a book. (Image from Ali C Photography -

What to teach when reading is hard…

December 10, 2014  |  Culture, Teaching  |  No Comments

My colleagues Carla, Natalie, Shveta, and I are leading this institute right now.

I’m a lucky guy. I get to spend three days with a fantastic team and some of the country’s most dedicated teachers making possibility out of what can feel heavy and impossible sometimes. My job is to help districts and schools turn kids into passionate readers and writers. What this really means is I get to learn about the different cities, villages, and communities that I serve, so that I can help their young people to discover the things that inspire them to read and write.

Many of you have followed my journey these last few years. My work has taken me to¬†schools all over the world, and I am continually shocked by the rampant structural inequity that exists within and among schools. This has been well documented — even in my own city.

We all know how this plays out. When whole communities, entire schools, or groups of teachers don’t get what they need, students suffer. Minorities, poor students, and students with disabilities do so disproportionally.

These challenges have persisted for generations. What I love about our profession is that teachers are always take the lead in the fight to overcome these challenges. As people ask, “What next?” teachers don’t answer with words. They answer with deeds. They gather their students and teach. We know that there are no easy answers. We also know that progress begins with us — great teaching, resource sharing, community building… We know that science, math, art, and history are the heart of this progress. All of those things need a foundation of strong literacy.

How do we deliver all of this to populations of students who need tremendous inspiration and support?

This week, we get to think all of this. More importantly we get to act on it.

Here are some of the resources that will assist us in that work.


Some Resources for teaching Critical Literacy

Tamir Rice. 12 years old.

Some Resources for teaching Critical Literacy

November 24, 2014  |  Culture, Teaching  |  34 Comments

…so Mary and I are at it again. We’ve spent the last year lifetime thinking about kids and their reading. One of the things that Mary often says is that our profession spends too much time preparing kids for other English classes and not enough time preparing children to read the beauty and complexity in their own lives. That complexity is delivered by the second — media, friendships, adolescence, family, school, and community all communicate with a gravity that can steamroll children who are not armed with the critical tools to analyze, critique, and to question.

Avoiding hard topics — gender, race, class — has never been an option for us.

This has been especially resonant for me as I watch my young ones wait for a grand jury to charge Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Or as I consider the weight of Akai Gurley on Thursday or Tamir Rice on Sunday. (And that’s just this weekend.) How do I help the students that I serve to process these things on Tuesday?

We’re leading a study group today that looks at the last 18 months in media, specifically Hip hop, and we’ll be practicing how to use it as path to critical reading and thinking.