The advent of summer always brings a particular joy to me being born at the end of May. It is the time of no school no rules and acting a fool. Summers have now been spent teaching growing and grooming first-generation college students for success. For the third summer in a row, I have been employed by Upward Bound in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by the respective universities, Louisiana State University and Baton Rouge Community College.
As an English instructor, I focus on the information of the Civil Rights era to guide my curricula. This course explores March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell and the Civil Rights Movements of both the U.S. South during the Jim Crow era and the nonviolent tactics employed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers beginning in the mid-1950s. The course focuses on critical thinking and reading, the teaching of tolerance through March One, a graphic novel, and DVD kits from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program. The course creates dialogue and discussion while using the Socratic Seminar method.
The summer has come to mean a period of creative expression through culturally relevant material for myself and my students. My high school kids are quite surprised when I ask them if they use colors to self-assess their writing or compose a strong class model in real time. As we share our experiences through the texts and films, the practice of reading and writing strategies are exchanged. Our rich history is addressed at every moment and the students self-question aloud in order to process and understand their own images.