This post was written by all the teacher-leaders in Sandboxes for Learning who attended the meeting described below December 9-11, 2016: Paul Allison, Christina Cantrill, Joe Dillion, Jenny Lockie, Jo Paraiso, Dawn Reed, Shantanu Saha, Chris Sloan, and Trixie Smith.
Currently, I teach English to 10th - 12th Graders at Bronx Academy Senior High. I'm also a member of the Youth Voices Steering Committee, which is a group of teachers who, like me, have their students post on this school-based social network, where we encourage students to engage in peer-to-peer digital exchange.
I have been teaching Humanities, English and technology classes ever since I graduated from Hunter College, CUNY in 1983. After two years of teaching in Salt Lake City, and a couple of years at the High School of Art and Design, NYC, I taught for a dozen years at University Heights Secondary School, Bronx, NY, where I learned that doing school better doesn't have to be the "same old thing" with more effort. I also worked with English Language Learners at the International High School in Queens from 1999-2002.
After 9/11, there was a lot of talk about doing meaningful work. At the same time, I was finding myself being seduced by new forms of literacy on the Internet. An opportunity to become a “studio teacher” of technology at East Side Community High School, NYC presented itself in the Summer of 2002, and I taught "New Journalism" at ESCHS for five years. In addition, I taught technology classes and East Bronx Academy for the Future for in the 2007-08 school year.
Another community that I'm is a part of is the New York City Writing Project. I was a participant in the NYCWP’s Summer Invitational in 1985, and I have worked for the NYCWP in various ways ever since. Currently, with Grace Rafaelle, I'm the NYC Technology Liaison for the National Writing Project. In addition, I am a member of the EdTechTalk and WorldBridges community. Along with Susan Ettenheim, I produce and host a live webcast every Wednesday night called "Teachers Teaching Teachers"
I love to bike and to run. Several years ago, just after I started teaching technology at East Side Community High School, I began commuting by foot. Some days I would bike both ways to and from East Side, for a total of 22 miles. Other days I would take the train to work, and I would run 11 miles up the West Side, along the Hudson River to my home. It wasn't always easy, but I was hooked.
Currently, my school is 13.35 miles away from where I live. Commuting by train takes me at least 90 minutes; by bike it takes me about 75 minutes. I love my commute, which takes me down through East Harlem onto the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and into Astoria. Zipping down Astoria Boulevard, I have the new Citi Field in my view, then I pass through Flushing Meadow Park past the Queens Botanical Gardens to The East-West School of International Studies. I throw my bike into a window frame in a science room, change my clothes, and I'm ready for work! Best of all, I get to do it all over again in the opposite direction after I finish teaching. Take a Google Earth Tour of my route.
I love biking to and from my school, and this coming year I hope to add more running to the mix. Sometimes I record my thoughts to a video that films in front of my bike as I cross the RFK Bridge. This becomes my video blog, or vlog, if you prefer.
Writing Project Site
How are we bringing the #BlackLivesMatter movement into our classrooms?
Some of us look forward to tending our gardens. Others to reading that novel we've had in mind for months. Or, maybe summer is the time to travel, start a new exercise routine, or take a class. We all look forward to changing our routines during the summer months. Teachers and students alike often dream about their plans.
My students and I love this photo by Joseph Morales (a retired teacher who has been working with us) of Tree Swallows on a box that students built with Rocking The Boat and installed in Soundview Park in the Bronx.
Notice how the conversations are growing: