Woke Cypha #3: Formation

Hello my Beautiful People,

I missed yall. I’m sure you have noticed we have a new blogging family member on our team, #NakeebaRoots. She’s an educator, a mother, an artist, a sister and a sistah, an emcee, a revolutionary; listen she is my personal Lauryn Hill. Like if Lauryn was my homie, she’d be Nakeeba. She has made this duo into a dope ass trio and you’ve seen her in every Woke Cypha video we’ve dropped. Make sure you welcome her and drop some comments on her blogs about Lauryn and  Sonia Sanchez.

Sooooo, we still have a few days in National Poetry Month and it is our hope that no matter the subject you teach, you are centering the poetry of our students lives in your classroom along with centering our students sensibilities.

Recently, I’ve really been digging into The OG, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings 2012 piece on the New Century Student at the intersection of the Hip Hop Generation Student and thinking about the ways in which they learn and the ways in which we have to evolve our teaching. As my mentor Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz has taught me, (make sure you scroll down a little bit to see about YSR) one very specific adjustment we as educators must make is how we assess our students multiple forms of literacy

At our last session of the Woke Cypha, (and if you missed a recap of the others go here and here) we engaged educators in recreating the ways we can assess our students development. How do we center the cultural tools and values of our Hip Hop New Century Students in our classrooms?

You already know CREAD is about this music thang and so Beyonce’s Formation was the inspiration for our in depth look at how we use formative assessments in our classrooms:


So maybe this is still with you, “Jay Z means way more to me than Martin Luther King.” Regardless of how you feel about this statement, you might think it’s blasphemy, disrespectful, upsetting but….um…..it is a factual statement for Jerrod Carmichael and possibly for the students sitting in your classrooms. My hope is that the statement moves you to a place of inquiry:

  1. Do my students feel this way?
  2. Why do they feel this way?
  3. What connections do they have to Jay Z (and let’s be honest your kids might be like f Jay Z, I fux with Future or A Boogie with the Hoodie or Migos because Jay, well he’s 47 years old)
  4. How is Martin Luther King Jr. taught and remembered?
  5. What connections does MLK have to the lives of our students?
  6. Does he even have a connection?

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Let me tell you why investigating these questions are important? Because if you don’t understand the lives of our children, you can’t teach ’em. You can’t understand their sensibilities, their ideology, their cultural references and who and what they value. Dear teacher, you have made yourself extinct, replaced by an iphone, Youtube and Google.



At our last session we got our participants in formation by continuing to dissect this New Century Black Student and reassessing or reaffirming our pedagogical approach to how we engage in the art and science of teaching and learning.Slide3.jpg

For us, an appropriate assessment, formative or otherwise, is at the intersection of culture, consciousness and common to our core. We used the video Formation and our CREAD Woke Cypha Element of Storytelling to make connections between Bey’s videos and lyrics and the current state of our community.

We asked our participants to create memes that reflected themes in the video. Just like you could use a meme to reflect any theory or idea in your classroom. The alchemy in memes is that a student will want to go (to slay) from writing 140 characters to 10 pages off of an image (cultural references), activating/deepening a sense of self and community (consciousness) and grounding in standards and academic development (Common Core or Common to our Core as educators).


Let me tell yall, yall not ready for what the CREAD team got for you!

And in the prophetic words of the Queen,

Okay, okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation, I slay
Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation, ’cause I slay
Prove to me you got some coordination, ’cause I slay
Slay trick, or you get eliminated, I slay

Peace Fam!

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One comment

  1. I’m sharing this with fellowship teachers before you come meet with them in May!

    On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM, Where theory meets practice and educati

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