Sandra Cisneros on Martita, I Remember You and on not speaking from anger

Sandra Cisneros on Martita, I Remember You and on not speaking from anger
The last time I heard Sandra Cisneros, she spoke, even she recognizes, from a place of anger.  In her defense of American Dirt–a book she blurbed as “the great novel of las Americas”–she responded to questions in a Latino USA interview with syllables tough as the footwork in a zapateado from Veracruz. Often, the interviewer... Read more »

Why white journalists need to stop focusing on ‘learning loss’

People affected by news stories should find the reporting insightful. So it’s been disappointing that I’ve struggled to find insight or meaning or value in many news stories about how the pandemic affected teenagers in public high schools – especially in pieces written by white journalists. So much of teenagers’ lack of success in stories... Read more »

Something rises when your father dies

Something rises when your father dies–not resentment, not regret. Your chest rises as you inhale to gain momentum to say the words ascending from your heart into your head: “My father passed away.” Expectations rise–especially if you’re the eldest.  Or the one who cared for him the most.  Questions also rise. Your courage rises to... Read more »
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Talking to our immigrant parents about living wills and last wishes

My 83-year-old father passed away last year. Despite the difficult circumstances, having a living will and knowing his last wishes made the situation a little more manageable. It’s a difficult but necessary conversation to have with our loved ones–especially if they’re our immigrant parents. To help others, I recently shared my story of how I... Read more »

We can't talk about Adam Toledo without talking about 7th grade

Listen to this commentary by clicking on the link above. The conversations around the Chicago police murder of Adam Toledo focus on questioning systems: the schools, the streets, the family, the cops.  But I want to talk about what it means to be a 7th grader.  Adam Toledo attended 7th grade. When a 7th grader... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools student overcomes social anxiety by playing guitar

Chicago Public Schools student overcomes social anxiety by playing guitar
by Carlos Raygoza-Perez, a student at Hancock College Prep Just hours away from the Hancock College Prep talent show in 2017, Leonel De Paz’s fingers bled. Covered in blisters and tender to the touch, Leo’s hands were ready to give out; however, he wasn’t. Fueled by his passionate love for music, he wasn’t ready to... Read more »
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Chicago public school teacher discusses creating socially just and academically challenging classrooms

Thank you to Big Brown Dad’s Carlos Aguilar for inviting me to talk about teaching in Chicago for the last 25 years and what’s next. And check out Mestizo Coffee–it’s strong in a socially just way, too. (Just, uh, fast forward to 0:50 if you want to miss the quick f-bomb.) You can “Like” The White Rhino... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools needs to switch to a year-round calendar this fall

“Year-round” misleads. Students do not attend school for twelve months. Instead, this calendar includes a shorter summer break and other breaks throughout the year. We know that returning to the new normal in a post-pandemic world means change. Especially in education, we cannot return to teaching and learning and systems because “that’s what we used... Read more »

Chicago Teacher Offers Virtual Editorial-Writing Workshop for High-School Teachers

Chicago Teacher Offers Virtual Editorial-Writing Workshop for High-School Teachers
This is my way of sharing what I know with others. Designed for novice & experienced high-school teachers in the U.S., this 90-minute virtual workshop focuses on teaching editorial writing. This workshop helps high-school teachers understand how to help their students write and read sophisticated editorials in the 21st century. With no more than 24... Read more »
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Chicago Public Schools debate coach grateful students accepted virtual experience

Chicago Public Schools debate coach grateful students accepted virtual experience
Can our school’s young debate team survive during the pandemic? I doubted students would show up to online debate meetings and attend virtual debate tournaments. With our Chicago Public Schools debate team starting its third year, I thought remote learning would devastate our team’s participation. In September, over fifty students showed up to our first virtual... Read more »