Finding a Rhyme and a Reason

Embark on a journey of teaching and learning with Ms. Hayes' class at Georgetown K-8, Savannah, Georgia

Malala Day 2014: #StrongerThan


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“Odyssey Moments” – It’s Been the Best Summer!


Take a few minutes to reflect on the Odyssey experience. Tell us what you appreciate and what you would change?

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First Public Read of Declaration of Independence 238 Years Ago Today


I enjoyed sharing this bit of history with my Odyssey students after hearing a segment on NPR this morning. It gave me a purposeful reason to share a musical rendition of the historical document that helped me learn the words as a child. However, reading (or singing) the words is an invitation to a close read and more. This complex text was crafted to be a document that would stand the test of time, with the caveat that it would be “the right of the people to alter and abolish it” if it did not whole true.

In spite of the historical context in which it was written, we can still ponder whether or not it was held as a truth from its inception or if it was, at least in part, a lie before the ink dried on the paper. What was its intent and reality for the indigenous and the indentured, the male and female, the black and the white? How is it living up to its creed today for Americans and would-be Americans?

Explore the resources below to examine each word and principal of this founding document of our country?

Declaration of Independence

This Day in History

At Independence Hall, Echoes of a Public Proclamation 238 Years Ago

Making the Declaration of Independence Come Alive

If Only Thomas Jefferson Could Settle the Issue: A Period Is Questioned in the Declaration of Independence

King’s “I Have a Dream” – The Declaration of Independence as a “Promissory Note”

The Declaration of Independence Annotated

Fascinating Facts about the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence – Heritage Foundation

The Declaration of Independence: A Revolutionary Document

iSummit 2014 Conference Attendees Embrace Literacy and Technology Integration


Susan McMillian and I were tempted to act as barkers for our iSummit 2014 session. Two vivacious animated personalities such as ours, we were committed to having fun even if we only had one particpant. As it turned out, we had about seven participants who ventured into the unknown for an hour of “Odyssey City Comes Alive with Technology”. While the title gives a nod to Odyssey Atlanta, the non-profit organization for whom Susan and I have worked the last eight or nine years, it probably didn’t convey what was in store for all of us – presenters and particpants. Using George Ella Lyons’ poem “Where I’m From” and student-writings as models, our participants performed a close read of the text and fully engaged in the process of writing their own poems, emulating Lyons’ style. Hopefully, in addition to leaving with the wonderful poems they created, they also left with some constructive and concrete ideas on how to use technology (in this case Keynote and Garage Band for iPad) to support literacy across the curriculum and community-building in the classroom.

Susan and I invited our participants to post their poems here, and I have also included the link for the conference evaluation form below. Let’s hope they post them here, and that you enjoy sharing them as much as we did.



Photo from our iSummit 2014 session.

Odyssey’s 2014 Sixth Grade Students “Where I’m From” Poems


Reflections on “Dark Girls”- A Look at Colorism and Internalized Racism in the Black Community


Earth Day 2014: Is It Really That Hard to Be Green?


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The First Lady’s Trip to China


Of the People “Exchange for a Day” with First Lady Michelle Obama


My Core 4 language arts class viewed a livestream webcast hosted by Discovery Education featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Jeffrey Woods, and American student from Washington, DC who is currently studying abroad in China. Mrs. Obama and Woods field questions submitted by students around the world who were curious about how the First Lady prepared for the trip, what she found similar about American and Chinese cultures, and the challenges of acquiring a foreign language. Woods answered questions about his own experience as a foreign student.

After the webcast ended, students participated in a Google Hangout with Ashley Hayes, a Grady High School (Atlanta, Georgia) and Columbia University graduate who has visited China and studies Mandarin Chinese.

Zena Brown, an APS instructional technologist, faciliated the events and shared it on Twitter.

Women’s History Month: The perfect time to ask: “Is there a woman who currently inspires you?”


In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Public Broadcasting System, Makers, and other corporate sponsors are presenting documentaries about the impact of women in shaping the history and the future of America. I encourage you to peruse the site to learn more about the women you admire as well as those you do not know. Review the blog post to read “Complete the History Books: Women in STEM”, “50 Years of Women in Space”, “African American Women’s First”, and more. After reviewing these remarkable videos and texts, join in a conversation about women, and the women who inspire you.

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Georgetown K-8

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