She sat at the table with her legal-sized, yellow notepad as she jotted notes and thoughts and ideas for her next poem. Those words on a page turn into a beautiful expression from the heart of one of Houston's premiere poets and spoken word artist, Tina B.
A native Houstonian and graduate of Texas A&M University, Tina B. most certainly has a way with words. Her ability to pull at the soul strings (yep- we have moved far beyond heart strings) of her listeners is a true testament of why educators should continue to make poetry an important part of their curriculum. When asked how she thought teachers could use poetry as a tool to inspire students to write more, Tina B. says:
"Have fun! Highlight on the creative attributes of poetry and that there is no "wrong" in it. A student has the full ability to create fantasies, and to dream, and to play with words and it is all acceptable. Another option is to expose students to youth poets who are excelling all over America. Youth poetry is the latest phenomenon making big waves in public headlights and mainstream platforms. Challenge a student to imagine themselves being not a person who has written a poem, but a person who can be identified as "a poet". I remember when the distinction was made in my life, and it was a moment I will never forget; it changed the way I saw myself and my gift."
Tina B. believes poetry is a powerful tool she can use to express herself because, as a Christian, she has been given this gift for two reasons: for the glorification of God and for the common good and edification of the Body.
"This is bigger than me. It's not about me. I'm just a vessel."
To learn more about Tina B. and her booking availability, visit http://www.tinabpoetry.com_/.
Fluency is an extremely important reading skill students need in order to better comprehend text. And what is karaoke? Well, it's a fun way to turn a seemingly tedious task of building fluent readers into the highlight of every school day. For those schools who use karaoke fluency (and those who don't but want to try it out), check out the videos below and share them with your kids as you celebrate Black History Month.
Jacqueline Galloway-Blake has been in the business of sharing positive stories about African Americans for over 20 years. Originally a classroom teacher, Jacqueline ensures that educators both in and out of Detroit have access to materials they can use to provide lessons to students for Black History Month and beyond.
While searching for a place to purchase books for our program, I was beyond excited to find her site. No where else have I seen such a large collection of books by and about people of color. In the time of #1000BlackGirlBooks, it's good to know there is a place we can look to help kids everywhere see more of themselves in the books they read at school and home.
Visit Jacqueline's website at www.brownssbooks.com to view all of her resources and book collections that range from elementary to high school. You can also read more about her background and business here.
We tell kids they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, but how often do we provide them with real life examples? How are we showing them that anything really is possible?
One way is by allowing your students to see your path to living out your dream and purpose. Justin Milburn is doing just that. He is a native Houstonian who is teacher by day and Christian rapper by night. Justin, aka Iam Justified, is a product of the Houston Independent School District and graduate of Clark Atlanta University where he studied Mass Media Arts. During his time as a television host, Iam Justified was able to interview some of the greats like Stevie Wonder and Bishop Desmond Tutu.
As exciting as these experiences were, Iam Justified knew there was a greater calling for him that he couldn't yet see. "I was battling depression," he shares, " and began writing journals filled with songs to express myself." Music was his outlet. While rebuilding his relationship with Christ, Iam Justified started to write songs about how to overcome seemingly never ending sad days.
"I'm healed, set free, and delivered," he says. Iam Justified wants others to be free as well.
You can listen to his inspirational and uplifting music here. Learn more about Iam Justified on his website at http://iamjustifiedmusic.com/.
Nothing fascinates me more than children living out their dreams! Kam and Niya are examples of exceptional kidpreneurs- kids who aren't waiting until adulthood to take the world by storm. The young ladies have already written their first cookbook, Cooking in Style Story Cookbook, which aims to inspire children to be creative in the kitchen. Both Kam and Niya are actresses who enjoy serving their community. Visit the Kam & Niya website to learn more about these fabulous kiddos!
Do you know someone who is doing great things in the Houston community? We want to hear about it! While it's important to acknowledge those who've paved the way for us, we also have Black Americans stepping up right now and right here in Houston, TX. Let's use this platform to acknowledge those people.
Tell us about your local Black hero. Send the bio and photo to email@example.com.
Read this article from Fabulize Magazine to learn about the comic book and coffee shop ran by Ariell R. Johnson, a young Black woman of Philadelphia. My favorite part about her shop? It has a focus on diversity!
There really is nothing impossible for our beautiful, Black girls!
How many different ways have you tried to teach your kids vocabulary and it didn't stick!? Read this article from NPR to learn about Austin Martin and his new vocabulary approach through Rhymes with Reason. I think this is definitely worth trying! Have you ever used rap music as an instructional tool? Tell us about it in the comments.
For last year's Buddies, Books, & Brunch: A Celebration of Black History Month, all of our guests shared why it's important to embrace diversity. Yes (because I know what you are thinking) - diversity means far more than just black and white, but why not use this platform to explain to all of our students what it means? Exactly. Why not?
Your challenge is to respond to this post sharing why you think diversity is important.You can even email a video response to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add it to the site. In the month of February, I encourage teachers everywhere to show the responses to their kids.
Let's start having conversations with all of our youth about embracing diversity and accepting the differences in others. #iamblackhistory