Day 61: The Day After


Morning after the election. A colleague (Hi Joe!) is observing and I prepare them for all the things that might happen with the kiddos.

I do not prepare him for the former student (now a 12th grader) who runs in at about 8:20, shouting “This is a protest! We’re all walking out!” Lots of confusion. Someone asks the student to translate into Spanish (this is what happens with 9th and 10th graders). There are lots of questions. “Can I go to my locker?” “Can I go to the bathroom?” (“It’s a walkout,” I want to say)

After the majority of the school walks out, our team of teachers moves into one classroom. I take my prep (and will be the only teacher from our team to do so during the day, guilty sigh) and work with my planning partner to finish homework and prepare for the next part of the project.

Back in class, the other teachers have prepared the kiddos to do a community circle, in hopes of building empathy and understanding what other students are going through and why some kiddos are protesting and what they are protesting. (I check Twitter every once in a while and watch the stream of kiddos progressing towards City Hall. Friends who are visiting the city will confirm that they also saw the stream of kiddos)

I end up in the Spanish speaking group. Kiddos hit on the nuances of being born in the United States versus elsewhere (all American, but they don’t quite know the term to differentiate them. I think we settle on “resident”) and why people voted for Trump (“jobs,” they decide on). One kiddo speaks of his country as “having the resources, but not the organization to make it work. The rich want to get richer.” (Heavily paraphrased and translated from the Spanish). At least 2 other kiddos talk about violence from the maras (gangs) in their home countries and how much violence could be inflicted on a family if one person insists on trying to be independent and do the right thing. I am reminded of how much more some of our kiddos will speak if they are in homogenous groups where everyone speaks their language.

The groups come back together and speak and listen. It feels successful. Even with most of the morning, I wish we had more time.

After lunch, kiddos start trickling back. “We realized it wasn’t a field trip,” they say. “We didn’t understand what was happening. We didn’t want the school to call our families.”(The District has already called home; most families ignore the call or don’t understand it since it comes through in English) One of the more experienced does a community circle with them to help them process. (It ends up being a lot of “But we didn’t understand!”)  I am torn between saying “Well, you walked out, and sometimes there are consequences” and saying “Consequences don’t matter! You made yourself heard!” I imagine this is what parents of teenagers everywhere feel like on a daily basis.

When I come back, another teacher is helping them write their Business Plan Project essays by doing a participation quiz (lots of positive narration and awarding points to people who are writing and working).

Photo: Reflections from the first community circle, right after the protest.2016-11-14-19-43-56


Day 60: The One With Community Circle and Demand

I spend the night of the election texting other teachers about the election and how drastically our largely undocumented kiddos (and lesson plans) will be affected. A million scenarios run through my head. Proceed with the lesson? Cancel everything and just give processing space and community circle all day? Will kiddos cry? Will there be fighting?

As it turns out, the day is mostly normal, which is probably just another indicator of how long our kiddos have been putting up with these feelings of feeling unwanted or discriminated. We do a community circle in first period. Write for 5 minutes about what you feel, what you need, and what you wonder. I have kiddos write on the prompt at the beginning of the rest of the classes, but honestly, the most helpful thing for them feels like to proceed with the lesson and the structures we’re used to. (Also, we vote on designs for t-shirts they designed to illustrate the concept of demand)

Some written responses. Shared without permission, but anonymously. These are all written by emergent multilinguals, so please be forgiving with spelling and grammar; I translated where I could, but didn’t edit for spelling or grammar. (There are more, but I’m about to be late for a meeting and will type them in later)

“I feel bad because…lost Hillary Clinton and won Donald Trump the electins but at the same time I feel calm because I do not think it will get all the immigrants from the country because practically the immigrants support the United States.”

“I feel sad scare angry and worry about me about my family about all my Hispanic and about the future of USA of America. I need some space.”

“I feel worry because I don’t want the new predicent be badly to us nad I hope that he don’t change our life.”

“Today I feel worry, shot, and angry because Donald Trump won the elections and we don’t know the good and bad things he will do in the country and will all immigransts people.”

“Today I feel angry because the teacher ask how do yo feel and they make me feel bad beause think more about.”

“Today, I feel normal because even thought we have new president we still need to life.”

Photo: Students vote on Business Plan Project Designs and whether they’d buy them at certain prices:



Day 11: The One Where Kiddos Make The Pattern


It’s fascinating to see how kiddos generalize patterns (going from specific figures to one that can represent any figure in that pattern). I used to think that they needed to show rows or columns of x’s, but I think I’m more interested in them being able to label dimensions.

Photos: One kiddo’s work showing figures, a table, a graph, generalized figures and observations.2016-08-29 08.59.28-2

I’m co-advising a multicultural club again this year. Monday was our first meeting. Good attendance and lots of participation. I came back to find one of the kiddos and an older sibling sitting outside my door. Older sibling also texted me (from a new, unknown number) to ask if kiddo had turned in their homework on Friday. Touching.


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That part of community circle where we discussed our favorite food and the idea that adjectives go before nouns:2016-08-29 15.38.14


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