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Black History Month Inspires

March 23, 2022 | Heather Palmer Welesko

The second grade–and the whole school–just finished celebrating and focusing on Black History Month. In second grade, every morning this month we studied a different African American, and in the Shared Space, students are working on a performative reading of Amanda Gorman’s poem “Change Sings.” Students teamed up in partners and created motions and actions for one line of the poem. We are still working on this piece in Shared Space…more to come!

But…in music, students completed a reflection exercise inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem. Ms. Mauldin led a class discussion on how we are all gifted in a special way, and we can all offer something to the world? She read the book to the class, and then asked, “What special gifts do you have to share with the world?” As you can see, students were very motivated by the poem and the conversation.

After this, Ms. Mauldin sent them off to answer these two questions:

Students immediately got to work drawing and writing their answers.

Some take aways from this conversation are that we can never stop learning from each other, and we can never stop offering our gifts to the world. While Black History Month is officially over, our ambition to continue learning never ends. And we have not finished our work with Gorman’s poem “Change Sings.” We are excited to bring these words to life, and share our gifts.

Heather Palmer Welesko

Assistant Teacher, Grade 4

Heather Welesko has taught at Mustard Seed School for seven years as an assistant teacher and for over five years as a literacy teacher. Prior to that she was a literature and writing composition professor at Kean University and Harold Washington College of Chicago. Heather has an MFA in writing and poetry from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Evangelical Seminary.

Ms. Welesko has advanced training in the Handwriting Without Tears program; the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Program, and the Responsive Classroom/ Development Designs Program through Origin. She continues professional develop through The Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She’s passionate about literature, creativity, comprehensive education, believes strongly in teaching identity and diversity awareness.

Ms. Welesko is a poet, artist, and yogi, and is currently learning.

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