October 1990

This Issue
Vol. 02, Issue 02

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A Journal For, And In Massachusetts, Reflections has become a key forum for educators

JAY SUGARMAN, AN Elementary school teacher in Brookline, Mass., was fed up. It was 1984, and teachers were drowning in a sea of reports by blue-ribbon panels. Those panels, he says, ``kept making declarations about education without any teacher voices.'' To fill the void, he started a new journal called Reflections to get teachers' thoughts out on the table. Six years later, Reflections--one of only a handful of publications dedicated to teachers' writing--is still going strong.

Annabel Crites made a discovery: She noticed that the same Spanish-speaking preschoolers in her bilingual kindergarten class who stared blankly at the alphabet could read boldly colored American signs that said "Dairy Queen'' and "McDonald's.'' Crites wanted those logos in her classroom. But where in the district budget would she find funds to purchase restaurant signs? Instead of taking her rather odd request to her school system, Crites applied for, and received, a grant from the Educational Enrichment Foundation in Tucson, Ariz. With $162 in hand to pay for the services of a photographer, she hit the local haunts and got blown-up pictures of the signs. "The pictures were the groundwork for literacy for my students,'' says Crites, who teaches at Tucson's Borton Primary Magnet School. "My students began recognizing the letter 'K' from 'Circle K.' Some kids even taught their parents words from signs that they learned in school.''
Whenever a grading period would end at the school near Juanita Cunningham's home, she could count on finding her yard full of trash. The students at Howard Middle School in Ocala, Fla., didn't bother bringing home the stacks of work sheets, tests, and reports that teachers had returned. Instead, they littered the campus and neighborhood with them.