Look Who’s Talking!: Building a ‘Brave Space’ in Class

   “To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.” -bell hooks My teenage years included trips to the movie theater where I was mesmerized by 3D movies. I loved watching … Continued

Yes! You can teach sight words efficiently. Here’s how.

Cajsa is a 1st grader at Leadership Prep Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. In September 2021, after a year and a half of remote learning over Zoom, she started the year as a STEP 1 (Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) Level A), with a reading accuracy of only 83% (90% is a passing score). In just 6 … Continued

One Year of Uncommon Sense

One year ago, we introduced Uncommon Sense, a blog whose intention is to introduce you to some of the incredible members of our Uncommon team along with ready-to-use resources and the cutting-edge research that we utilize to drive student engagement and achievement.  Our hope was and continues to be that when asked, “Are your students … Continued

Getting to Why: Developing Inspirational Leaders by Connecting to Purpose

“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” —Dr. Maya Angelou I began my career at Uncommon Schools as a teacher. As part of my hiring process, I guest-taught a lesson. It didn’t go well. I knew it, and the hiring principal Michael Mann knew … Continued

Revising Curriculum With the DEI Lens Tool – A Collectivist Approach

In Jerard Walker’s essay, Dragon Slayers (The Iowa Review, 2006), Walker reflects on his journey as a black professor who realizes that black literature is too often approached as a record of oppression. After deep introspection, he designed his classes to challenge that narrative with a focus on the flip side: black courage and heroism. … Continued

A Tool to Ensure Your Curriculum Includes All Voices

Four years ago, I received an email from a teacher regarding a middle school history lesson about the tenuous relationships of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, in which key Haitian perspectives were not accurately included. The teacher, who identifies as being both Dominican and Haitian, knew the importance of including the complete perspectives of both … Continued

Introducing Uncommon’s Open Source AP Curriculum Hub

At Uncommon Schools, we are deeply committed to supporting our students to get to and through college, which includes providing a college-ready academic course trajectory with preparation that allows all students to access Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Research indicates that students who take at least one AP course perform better in college than those who … Continued

Our Plans to Reverse COVID-related Learning Loss

The 2021-2022 school year launches in two months and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome our students to a new school year full of fresh opportunities. The reality of COVID learning loss requires us to set a bold and necessary goal: to reverse 100% of COVID-related learning loss by June 2022. To achieve this … Continued

To Maximize Summer School, Double Down on Reading

This year kids and teachers across the country have faced unprecedented challenges, both in and out of school. Despite schools’, teachers’, and parents’ heroic efforts, we know many students have lost instructional time and have fallen behind where they traditionally should be academically. Education leaders across the country are determined to find ways to make … Continued

Using Desmos to Drive Mathematical Discourse

Before the pandemic shut down school buildings, one of Lauren Masco’s best teacher moves was strategically walking around the classroom to observe students’ math work. Based on trending student thinking, Lauren would be able to quickly determine which students she should call on in order to orchestrate discourse based on students’ mathematical understandings and misconceptions. … Continued