DvNT sophomores’ first steps to student empowerment: bringing The Interrupters to town

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Gangs and Violence Awareness project

This was no regular meeting with the principal.  I had a yellow legal pad and was trying to keep up with the sparks of fresh ideas or next steps.  Proposals, artifacts and research passed across the big desk.  Impacts on the community were discussed.  Monetary costs were considered.  At first, the legal pad might suggest Read More …

DvNewTech sophomores prepare to moderate interview with Alex Kotlowitz, producer of The Interrupters

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Gangs and Violence Awareness project

After announcing early in the week that we might have a Skype interview with someone related to The Interrupters documentary, there was almost a new-found dedication to our gangs project.  (Well, more importantly to me as an English teacher, students started putting a little more effort into the first draft of their essays.) I announced the this morning Read More …

watching humble sophomores interview an acclaimed author/producer = my #eduwin

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Gangs and Violence Awareness project

Last week, I helped to facilitate (note: not “teach”) a great #eduwin that was celebrated more by my students than by me as an educator.  After now weeks of working on our gangs awareness / My Bloody Life project, arrangements were finalized to Skype with Alex Kotlowitz, producer of The Interrupters (which airs on PBS tomorrow/Tuesday night). Read More …

First, the thanks; then I’ll carve the meat

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Gangs and Violence Awareness project

This is your old, old grandpa.  I’ve got a copy of all of your previous emails… related to the documentary.  I’m very proud of you…undertaking something like this…getting the idea for something like this at your school.  I wish you a lot of luck with that.  I’m very happy for you… And I hope it Read More …

Tues @DNTHS: Violence Interrupter “Cobe” Williams joins us via Skype

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Gangs and Violence Awareness project

Last year spring, my students rocked the My Bloody Life / gangs awareness project we threw at them.  It was a testament to how a project can change its direction from the grassroots of the classroom — the student body — and how reading high-interest materials can promote deeper learning.  As the advocates who voiced interest in seeing The Read More …

The coolest part about tomorrow: partnerships showing strength and growing @DNTHS

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Gangs and Violence Awareness project

After school today, students from both of my double-block periods came together to put together a plan to run the interview with Cobe Williams tomorrow.  Just like last year, they are in charge of facilitating.  Despite coming from different project groups and periods, we had a very productive discussion on the expectations, logistics and discussion Read More …

On social media: Bridges bring the heroes in while fences make more villains

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Gangs and Violence Awareness project

Social media has done me well as a professional. Social media, however, has now been conclusively tied to petty violence and gang activity in Chicago and other major cities across the United States. Does that mean, though, that what we thought of as a limitless bridge is now collapsing and giving way to fences? Read More …