Category Archives: Inspirational

Culturally inclusive read aloud

Monica Brown is a children’s author who creates stories in both English and Spanish. Most American children stories are written solely in English and have characters that are mostly white. Read more about Monica Brown’s approach to writing culturally diverse children’s literature:

Link taken from:


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Filed under Inspirational, Just for Fun, Multicultural Education

NYT Opinion Piece

Pam Allyn, literacy advocate and founder of LitLife and LitWorld shares her opinion about using reading to promote creative thinking and identity development.

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Why teaching music matters…

The arts are usually so quickly forgotten in the fast-paced world of high school athletics. However, the arts have a poignant effect on students and their success. This story is not only inspirational but it also reminds us of the importance of arts education.

Link taken from HuffPost Education:

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You said it, Albert!

You said it, Albert!

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November 26, 2013 · 9:39 pm

International Day of the Girl Child 2012 Project

Last year, I did a project with my students for the International Day of the Girl Child. The International Day of the Girl Child is held annually on October 11 and is a day meant to recognize girls’ voices and power. Its purpose is to make people more aware of girls’ position in the world by promoting girls’ rights for education, healthcare, and political involvement.  For more information on International Day of the Girl Child, please visit:

For my project, I conducted a lesson on the current statistics of girls’ education. I demonstrated that many girls throughout the world are not only limited by an unequal education but are also  sometimes denied this basic right.  Currently, only about 30% of girls are enrolled in secondary schools. In several countries, girls are not allowed to receive the same education as boys. In 2012, the International Day of the Girl Child fell just shortly after Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for standing up for girls’ rights for education. I hesitated about whether or not to share this information with my students, as I did not want to upset or scare them. However, I ultimately decided that it was important for them to know about it so that they could see just how much girls are oppressed. After doing this project in my classroom, my students were absolutely outraged. I encouraged them to write letters to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI). As a result, three UNGEI consultants visited our school and interviewed my students. Their work is featured on the UNICEF website:

The local news discovered this story and decided to come and interview my students and broadcast it on the local news. The news clip can be seen here:

This is just one example of how children’s voices can make an impact. Never underestimate the power behind a child’s honesty, passion, and hope.


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Filed under Alison's Pieces, Girls, Women, and Education, Inspirational, Personal Experiences

What Teachers Make- Taylor Mali

This poem is so honest and reflects the amazing work teachers put into inspiring and helping children achieve their potential.

What Teachers Make
by Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is
What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life
was to become a teacher?
He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true
what they say about teachers:
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite conversation.

I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor.
Be honest. What do you make?

And I wish he hadn’t done that— asked me to be honest—
because, you see, I have this policy about honesty and ass-­‐kicking:
if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor
and an A-­‐ feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time
with anything less than your very best.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored.
And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?
I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.
To the biggest bully in the grade, he said,
“Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?
It’s no big deal.”
And that was noblest act of courage I have ever seen.
I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math
and hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you’ve got this,
then you follow this,
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this.

Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a God damn difference! Now what about you?

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November 21, 2013 · 6:44 pm

Changing Education Paradigms

Please watch this incredible and eye-opening video that targets contemporary educational constructs.

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November 21, 2013 · 2:39 pm