What Goes Well with Holiday Cookies? Thursday’s Tiny Reading Collection

It’s that time of the week again — time to hunker down with some coffee, some peanut butter cookies (my current baked good of choice), and some updates on what’s going on in education this week.

The title for these Thursday posts (“Tiny Reading Collection”) is inspired by my daughter (pictured here) who is now two and in love with language.  One of her favorite words is “tiny,” and anything remotely small is labelled in this way.  Tiny crackers, tiny mermaid, tiny reindeer.  Her delight in learning and collecting new words motivates me every day as a teacher and writer.

On that note, instead of focusing on the grim and the grimmer, which is all too easy to do, I’m serving up some articles that will tap into your capacity to hope, to celebrate, and to give.  In the last few weeks, I’ve been in touch with a handful of former students who are choosing to continue on in their community-based learning placements (a kindergarten classroom, a community preschool, etc.) or who have sought out other kinds of community support activities after the Capstone class was over.  This always gives me great hope and inspiration. I hope that the following articles will inspire you, too.  Tis the season — enjoy!

  • Read about a classroom at Centennial High School where teachers connect pop culture to literary analysis.
  • Find out more about how Clackamas High School provides food and clothing for families who need support this winter.
  • Tune in to Helen Ladd’s paper on the connection between education and poverty, which has created a buzz and will hopefully help administrators and educators focus in on the fact that (a) those children who need support the most aren’t getting it and (b) schools alone cannot fix the problem of poverty that impacts so many young people.  While this paper outlines child poverty, it also provides a starting point for better, deeper work to support children and families.
  • Check out Elena Aguilar’s blog post about how to stay hopeful as an educator.

Finally, and I want to highlight this, I heard an inspiring story on NPR about micro-philanthropy efforts and was turned on to a website that educators use to fundraise for their classrooms: DonorsChoose.org.  This site allows you to search by city or by issue (I searched for projects in Portland) and includes things like teachers fundraising to put more dictionaries in their classrooms, educators seeking to buy art supplies for innovative projects, etc.  In a season where many are considering donations (as gifts or as part of their New Year’s Resolutions), please do check out this site and think about supporting a teacher and his/her classroom in your very own community.

As always, I’d love to hear from all of you who are reading!  Do you donate time or money to organizations or individuals of your choice throughout the year or at the year’s end?  What kind of donations do you feel most apt to make?  What do you hope to get back when you give your time or money?  And what do you offer to the community?  Please share your experiences to inspire others to join in…

-Zapoura

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