birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Teacher Heal Thyself

This summer is all about me diagnosing the ills that have befallen me during the teaching year, and doing something about them. In addition I want to recalibrate other parts of my life and consider what I’m missing—and try to do something about it.

Monday I went to a seminar where I got a bit of the practical regarding a few teaching tactics including teaching using “mentor” (sample) texts. Fellow teachers and I also spent 3 hours reviewing principals of “Restorative Justice” circles, in which we have students take turns answering various questions to help them vent and get to know each other.

And that’s all beautiful. But where are the deeply helpful seminars helping teachers to know how to hold onto their vision and dreams and self as they’re being pushed every year into the maw of the standardized test prep beast? I guess we have to patch our own survival guide together. Tuesday and Wednesday 8 colleagues and I went to another conference all about arts in academic classrooms. There, we choreographed dances based on literary themes, and played kids’ instruments like mini-ukes and xylophones like the Roots on the Jimmy Fallon show, and constructed dances bred on literary themes. It was exhilarating

And it reminded me how much I miss play in the classroom. Years ago, when the stakes of academics seemed more modest and manageable, we used to take class time to occasionally play Scrabble, or at least have more time for discussions about life. This conference was giving us permission to sort of synthesize the arduous academics with the arts. Now I only I can figure how to blend the two. Because I am feeling like I need to have a mental break. Or a new way at looking at learning. Because many of the old ways are boring and played out.

Tipping Point

Black Girls Club