Monthly Archives: February 2018

Countee Cullen (1903-1946)

 “American poet, novelist, critic, and dramatist. Cullen was one of the leading poets of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s. Following the traditional verse forms based in part on the works of John Keats, Cullen is best remembered for his poems treating contemporary racial issues. His first volume of seventy-three poems, Color (1925), won the Harmon Award for high achievement in literature. Among his most notable poems in the volume are ‘The Shroud of Color,’ ‘Heritage,’ ‘Yet Do I Marvel,’ and ‘Incident.’ His other published collections include The Ballad of the Brown Girl (1927), Copper Sun (1927), The Black Christ and Other Poems (1929) and The Medea and Some Poems (1935). He also edited Carolina Dusk: An Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets (1929). His only novel, One Way to Heaven (1932), was praised for its accurate portrayal of Harlem life. The Lost Zoo (1940) and My Lives and How I Lost Them (1942) are children’s books. Two important works published after his death were On These I Stand: An Anthology of the Best Poems of Countee Cullen (1947), and My Soul’s High Song: The Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance (1991). 

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Cultural Literacy: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Here, on the final day of Black History Month 2018, is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. This is a decent introduction to the document itself, which certainly bears its own lesson.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)

American astronomer, compiler of almanacs, and inventor. He was born a free black in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland, and owned a farm near Baltimore. He taught himself astronomy and mathematics and began astronomical calculations in 1773. He accurately predicted a solar eclipse in 1789. In 1790 he was appointed to the commission that surveyed the site for Washington, D.C. From 1791 to 1802 he published annual almanacs; he sent an early copy to Thomas Jefferson to counter a contention that blacks were intellectually inferior. He also wrote essays denouncing slavery and war.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Paul Laurence Dunbar

On the penultimate day of Black History Month 2018, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Paul Laurence Dunbar.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Parents Across America: A Detailed Critique of the Dangers of Screen Time for Young Children

[Here’s something from Diane Ravitch’s Blog that should interest and concern all teachers; I post it here as much for my future reference as anything else, as I am planning to write a couple of lessons on smart phones and screen time and their threat to education.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Parents Across America (an independent group of parent activists that is critical of the commercialization and corporate takeover of education) has created a valuable resource about the effects of screen time on children. 

It is titled “Our Children @ Risk.”

The paper is 26 pages long. It contains extensive documentation.

It is a valuable resource in light of the profit-driven effort to promote EdTech in the schools without regard to is effects on children.

Here is the introduction:

“Children have a basic right to live in environments that promote their social, emotional and intellectual well-being. They have the right to grow up, and parents have the right to raise them, without being undermined by greed.” Susan Linn

“Parents Across America has developed a position paper and associated informational materials which detail a number of concerns about the invasion of EdTech* into our schools, and which we have collected under the…

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James Baldwin on Integration

“Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?”

The Fire Next Time (1963)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Chinua Achebe

It’s Monday morning, and here in New York City we’re just back from the Presidents’ Day Week break. Here, to start of the week–and post the first of the final three entries for Black History Month 2018–is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Chinua Achebe.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.