Freebie for Teachers: “Shame” by Dick Gregory

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As a celebration of making a few dollars on Teachers Pay Teachers I wanted to extend a free offer to other teachers who may be looking for materials to use with their students.  I’m a teacher in an urban school district where most of my students are considered to be “at risk” and have a range of special needs.  Many have experienced struggles which have prevented them from being successful in their academic life and are over-aged and under-credited.  I have always been passionate about finding materials for my students where they are able to connect with as well as learn from.

A few years ago I stumbled on a short story, “Shame”, by Dick Gregory and knew immediately that I would try it out with my students.  The story was a huge success and I have used it every year every since!  It is perfect for apprehensive readers and can be easily aligned with the Common Core Standards and skills needed for the English Regents Exam.

“Shame” by Dick Gregory can be used to:

  • teach how words can be powerful and have a lasting impact on others
  • teach literary devices such as characterization, setting, conflict, symbolism…
  • African American Literature/History—did you know Dick Gregory was an African American who ran for President of the United States in 1968?  He died this year (a week after teaching my summer school classes about him and his work).

Feel free to make any edits needed to differentiate for your students.  All materials are scaffolded to increase student achievement.

  1. Shame pre-reading words have power quotes (I laminated these and provided each group with a quotation to discuss and then present to the class as a pre-reading activity)
  2. Shame warm-up
  3. Shame-by-Dick-Gregory (short story)
  4. Shame Literary Chart
  5. Shame Dick Gregory Group Poster Assignment
  6. writing response pre assessment for shame (aligned with Part 3 of the English Exam)

Please share this post with any teachers who may find the materials helpful and/or check out my Teachers Pay Teachers account for other products.

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Crystal

Post was inspired by “The Daily Post” prompt: Exceptional

My Thankful 30

This Friday we completed the second full week back to school which went fabulous, but it ended in a meeting that left me out of sorts.  I allowed myself to become bitter and I brought the negativity home with me, which is never fun for my family.

Gratitude

I decided I needed to put a stop to it and take a moment to reflect on the more popular moments of the week that I’m thankful for.  A strategy I recommend for anyone looking to turn their mood around!

  1. Celebrating McKinley’s Birthday…she is officially a teenager!
  2. Hearing Mick’s team (and the opposing team) sing Happy Birthday to her
  3. Soccer, soccer, and more soccer
  4. Cole’s Cross Country Meets
  5. Messages from former students
  6. Continuing to keep up with my blog
  7. Hearing all is healthy at my doctor’s appointment and listening to his heartbeat
  8. Some amazing students…nobody will ever see or understand those little moments that go on inside my classroom
  9. Surprise breakfast sandwich from my amazing co-worker
  10. Surprising one of our co-workers with a thoughtful gift who is a first time grandfather
  11. Everyone being able to SEE the baby kick…lil guy is active and strong
  12. Hearing my Grandfather on the phone…after his stroke I was unsure if he would recover and he is slowly, but surely making improvements!  He is the most strong, stubborn, fighter I know!
  13. Going through baby names with Craig…always fun…he thinks it’s hilarious when I start yelling the name out like he’s in trouble or he’s about to score a goal…we have to know how it will sound, right?
  14. Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream in bed…compliments of Craig
  15. Our first daycare tour…a gofundme page is coming soon…haha!
  16. Buying some more maternity clothes…having more options in the morning makes it more likely to have a positive start to the day
  17. Cole playing bass for homecoming
  18. Grandpa licking the container out of the Apple Crisp we brought him…haha
  19. Our first visit to Brighton Farmer’s Market–who doesn’t love live music, fresh food, beautiful weather, food trucks, plants, and holding hands with your man
  20. Snuggling with McKinley while she felt her lil brother kick
  21. Eating some amazing Italian food…Veal Parm is one of my favs!
  22. Cole going to his school dance
  23. Payday $$$$$
  24. A quick chat with a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time
  25. Healthy meals
  26. A man who wakes up early to make my lunch for work in the morning…all because he wants to…he even woke up extra early one morning this week to make egg salad for me
  27. Gramps feeling the baby kick again (to be honest I don’t think he was kicking at the time, but we will just let him believe he felt him)
  28. Receiving my Fabfitfun box…always fun when it comes
  29. The smell of the house as the turkey dinner is cooking
  30. Selling a couple items on Teachers Pay Teachers (who cares if I only made a dollar—still makes me happy)

Just a short list to remember all the wonderful moments from this past week.  Next week will bring even more to be thankful for!

thank you

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Share in a comment:  What are you thankful for from this past week?

 

Crystal

 

 

What will we name him?

One of the most frequent questions we are asked after people know we are having a boy is…

What are you naming him?

It feels like we have discussed several thousand names.  Being a teacher makes selecting a name a little more challenging.  Another layer to that is one of the schools we both worked at we referred to students by their initials, so we have thought about what his initials will be as well.

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Our name we picked out for a girl is Lyndon and I’m still absolutely in love with it, but we are having a boy.

Some of the names for our little boy we have discussed are…

Joseph:  Craig’s father’s first name.  Since Craig’s father has passed away we thought about using part of his name for the baby, but we aren’t too fond of other people we know with that name.  Even more so, we don’t like the idea of him being called “Joe” or “Joey”.

Lawrence:  Craig’s father’s middle name.  We liked it for a little while, but again, we aren’t thrilled with the thought of him being called “Larry”.

Cayden:  Craig keeps circling around back to this name, but I’m not sold on it at all.

Laxton: I like this one…Craig does not.  He prefers Paxton, but Cole had a friend with that name and I just can’t.

Jaxson or Jackson:  Craig likes this one, but it’s way too popular.

Max/Maxwell:  Craig is into this one too—as I write this I realize how open he is and how resistant I am.  Maxwell reminds me of coffee and Max sort of sounds like a dog…I’m just not so sure about it.

Maddox:  In case you haven’t noticed, Craig likes names with an “x” in them.  I’m not a fan of this one…uggg will I ever like a name?

Lennox:  Family name which would have a lot of meaning, but not sold on him being called “Len” or “Lenny”…as an English Teacher all I can think of is Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

Isaiah:  I like this one, but Craig accuses me of being a closet Celtics fan and thinks that’s why I like the name.  I do like the player Isaiah Thomas a lot, but since he is now on the Cavs this name is off my list (I’m not a Cavs fan).

Josiah:  This name we both like, but are not in love with it.  Since Craig’s father’s name is Joseph is has that connection, but again we don’t like the idea of him being called “Joe” or “Joey”.

Pierce:  I like this one, but Craig does not—since it is a former Celtic player (I swear I’m not a Celtic fan).

Craig Jr.:  Craig doesn’t like the idea because he feels a lot of men who name their son after them are controlling and he doesn’t want to be that dad.  He wants him to have his own identity.

Do we select a name that is popular?  Unique, but not too unique?  Family name?  A Jr?  So much to think about, but I know when the time comes we will have the perfect name for our little one.

When we have decided on a name we have agreed not to share it with anyone until he is born…now if we can just agree on a name for the lil guy!

names

Share in a comment:  Which name do you like best?  Any suggestions for us to consider?

Crystal

 

A Part of my Heart Belongs to my Students…

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This week started a new semester teaching students…new students.  Our school is one of the few in the district with a semester based schedule to assist students on their path to graduation who may have wandered off the course for a variety of reasons.  They are able to recover credits faster which means they can get back on track to graduation.  A semester based schedule also means I receive a new class list of students in January (this week).  I realized yesterday that I’m usually a bit depressed during this time and tried to be mindful about what was causing all of this emotion to stir.

I love my students…someone once told me I shouldn’t say that, but I do…in the time I spend with them I learn so much, bond with them, care for them, and I know some reciprocate that feeling.  Some overcome so much adversity to simply come to school, so being a part of the journey to their goal to graduate is incredibly rewarding.  I prefer to teach 11th and 12th grade, but it can also come with some pains.  You bond, care, and build relationships with students in such a short time and then they are gone…some keep in touch, but the change is difficult and often weighs heavy on the heart.  How does one resist the slight depression that accompanies the change?  We (teachers) are expected to begin again with a fresh batch of students as if we didn’t lose a tiny piece of our heart…build those relationships, and watch them go…again, and again.  I will do it…because that’s who I am!

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They miss me when I’m gone…as I do them!

 

Ten things I learned from my students:

  1. up-to-date slang terms like “wavey”, “finesse”, “thirsty” or that “it’s a dub” and “lit” have more than one meaning…haha!  Ohh…and the term “corny” came back from when I was a kid!
  2. a simple hand on their shoulder or hug can calm the soul
  3. snacks go a long way
  4. That I was really rich growing up…I never remember a Christmas without a tree…we may have worn hand-me-down clothes, never ate steak for dinner, and didn’t have all the name brands, but compared to the lifestyle of many of my students I was blessed!
  5. to pick my battles and that I do not need to be in control all of the time
  6. the sloppiest handwriting can mean the deepest thoughts
  7. what a hijab is, how some observe Ramadan, and how we learn from one another when there is open dialogue
  8. that adult students do love using markers, colored pencils, and scissors…and they love receiving a paper back with a sticker on top of it
  9. students who seem tough deep down because they’ve been handed adult responsibilities just want a chance to be kids
  10. how to laugh more
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Some students have a great sense of humor!

 

My challenge for you  is to send an email to a former teacher, current teacher, school staff member, professor…update them on how you’re doing and what an impact they made.  We often wonder about students and it’s always nice to receive a positive email!

*hugs*

Crystal

 

 

A Sombre Week…Still I Shine!

We had a cold, lightless, fog filled weekend where I ventured out, alone, to capture its beauty in hopes of stimulating some positivity to come my way, but a somberness  sauntered throughout the week.  Lately, it seems as if trials continue to be tossed my way, and nothing is quite going the way I plan…maybe that is my problem…I need to let go and allow God to handle it.

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Divorce:  I’ve been attempting to obtain a non-contested divorce from one of the most evil men I have ever met.  I submitted all of the paperwork to the court in November and was told I needed to make several corrections which I did and resubmitted them again in hopes that I can soon wake from this nightmare.  The paperwork was rejected again requesting additional corrections.  Frustrating on many levels, but I continue to do what is asked.  At every point I question if God is here.  Is he seeing this?  Does he care?  Why am I put through all of the pain while he has any control?  At one point in the process he sent his mother the divorce paperwork and she felt compelled to write her initials at the bottom of each page along with the page number.  Well, I needed to make a correction on one of the pages and now am required to have her same initial on the bottom of the corrected page in order to move forward—or I need to start the process all over again.  She claims to be a Godly woman, but has done nothing except to cause additional pain.  I sent her the original paper to sign and return and a month later have not received it back.  Why on earth is a man who committed such a heinous crime allowed to have any control or say?  I continue to be hopeful, try to understand the lesson God is wanting me to gain from all of this, and know that there is a reason—one I may never know or understand, but He has a plan.

Read more about my divorce Odyssey here: Blood, sweat, and tears… and Rebuild: Divorcing a Pedophile

Love:  I am lucky to have such an amazing boyfriend who encourages me even when I allow the stress to build up and unexpectedly flow his way.  I have been on edge with him this week as we would like to plan for our future together, but must wait until my past is settled.  All in due time…

Family: Many of you know that I reactivated my Facebook account this month, and that ignited some conflict between my dear prodigal daughter and me when she misunderstood a comment I left on a photo she posted.  Our relationship has had ongoing strain, but I finally decided that I will love from afar.  I will no longer be a puppet she pulls out, manipulating, when she needs to be bailed out…literally and figuratively.  I look back to think where I went wrong as a parent…what I could have done better…why is it that my pig-tailed, little girl who once ran to me with open arms, beaming as she clung to my legs thinks it acceptable and appropriate to repeatedly cause such devastation with her words and actions?!?!  Does she even realize she is?  This is not how I envisioned our mother-daughter relationship.  I struggled with this quite a bit this week, but I guess now I know how God must feel with how I’ve been treating Him.

Career: This week marked the end of the semester, post-assessments were given, and the ELA exams were today.  I’m confident my students (some who have failed this exam two or more times prior to me) were well prepared.  All the times I heard, “Ms….you do too much” makes it all worth it!  Now, I sit and wait for the scores to come back.

A highlight of my week was yesterday when I received an email from a former student (pictured below). He wanted to touch base and let me know that he started his first day of college.  I cried as soon as I read it!  I pushed him and pushed him that he needed to continue his education and use his writing talent, and to hear that he was doing that made me incredibly proud .  It was an honor that he thought to email me his first day!

 

I leave you with a few more photos capturing the somber beauty of the fog.

 

After typing all of this I wonder if it makes sense, if I was too candid, if I wasn’t candid enough…

The week may have had a somber tone, but my soul still shines…



*hugs*

Crystal

Post was in-part inspired by The Daily Post one word prompt “devastation”

Weekly Fav: Erin Condren Planner

This week I received my custom made planner from Erin Condren.  This planner is amazing and will be useful to keep me on track and goal focused.  The cover is filled with favorite photos, so positive vibes are always near!

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My favs:

  • Did I mention the cover?  It can be customized several ways, but this one was for me as I LOVE pictures…this is my favorite feature of the planner and that sets it apart from others I found.
  • I’m a teacher, so planning is essential to my organization and success in the classroom–there is a monthly break down as well as daily which I love!
  • I will also be keeping track of my blogging goals, prompts, challenges, and topics using this new handy dandy planner
  • I can also use it as a gratitude journal, bullet journal…
  • Perfect size…not too big, not too small
  • Color schemes available
  • Positive words throughout the planner
  • Pocket in back
  • Pouch it came with to put pens/notepad/stickers in (I did find another one I liked better, so decided not to use this)
  • Little random act of kindness cards

My not so favs:

  • The ruler that was attached to it broke when trying to remove it…I probably would have never used it anyway (pictured in top left photo)
  • Ordering it was a nightmare!  The website was incredibly glitchy and it took me a couple few hours to load and arrange all the photos
  • It is a bit pricey at $55.00 +9.95 shipping

Click here to sign up for a discount code to be emailed to you and begin to organize your life and focus on your goals!

20170117_172448.jpgI purchased a cute little pouch (Jo-Ann Fabrics) to keep pens, pencils, and stickers that I will be using with it.  I decided to use the Paper Mate pens in tropical vacation colors because they are no-bleed and I love the colors!

If you are trying to organize your life and crush goals I suggest purchasing an Erin Condren planner to use as a tool to help you on that journey!

Comment:  Share a comment how you keep organized.  Do you use a planner?  Any tips for me? 

*hugs*

Crystal