Goswami Action Grants Inspire Diversity and Collaboration

Jun 3rd, 2022 | By | Category: BLTN Teachers, Goswami Action Grants, Spring / Summer 2022

Named for BLTN co-founder and eternal inspirer, Dixie Goswami, BLTN Goswami Action Grants were awarded to nine BLTN teachers this year. The grants allow teachers to diversify their curriculum, to more deeply engage youth with one another and their communities, and to connect across distance and difference. Here are teachers’ initial project descriptions, along with images and resources from their work.

Fall 2021 Grants

Genithia Hogges, Lawrence, MA, Interdisciplinary Anthem Project. “The project will consist of students studying national and cultural anthems from a wide range of countries then writing their own personal anthems in collaboration with local theater artists of color.” Genithia provided a set of slides documenting progress as of mid-spring.

Kayla Hostetler, Aiken, SC, NCTE Presentation Support. “Two of my Next Generation members/students will be presenting with me at NCTE’s conference in November…presenting on the importance of student-centered and student-created literacy events….The funds will be used to cover the cost of the registration fee for the students and myself.”

Heather Jones, Louisville, KY, Community Lending Villages. “The villages are modeled after Little Libraries, but would each include three ‘houses’. Each lending house in the village would contain a separate resource (art, native seeds and planting information, books, etc.).”

Alex O’Brien, S. Burlington, VT, Film Festival Field Trip. “The culmination of [our] year of learning will be the What’s the Story? Film Showcase at Champlain College in Burlington….We are requesting funding to help cover travel expenses for the Chelsea REACH affiliate site to travel to Vermont for the film showcase.”

Monica Rowley, Philadelphia, PA, Diverse Classroom Library. “Inspired by work with the BLTN Book Club, this project will create a diverse library with books that focus on discrimination and racism, giving students greater exposure to literature that addresses these topics and serves to supplement shared texts and lessons.”

“I don’t know if independent reading helped me grow, but it definitely provided an escape for me. This year has been really tough. Being able to turn to a fictional world, and worry about fictional problems, was a nice way for me to distract myself.” (Talia)

“Independent reading really helped me get back into reading. Because of the virtual year, I did everything online. I kind of just stopped reading for the year. It’s sad, because I read a lot during 6th grade, but during online school I stopped. I really enjoy reading, and I’m glad I was able to get back into being an avid reader.” (Nooren)

“I’ve never read an Asian American memoir book and I found out this year that they were something I needed in my life from our memoir groups. Another thing that I’ve learned to love is poems from all kinds of authors.” (Thomas V.)

“This year has been one full of many things. One of those things was the ridiculous amounts of independent reading I achieved. I learned about myself as a reader. I learned that reading can be the escape that I thought only my phone was. I learned that there really is a book for everything, and that if I try hard enough, I’ll find the one for me.” (Sean G)

Monica Rowley’s eighth graders reflect on the impact of her library and their independent reading this year. Photos below by Talia and Amaliya .

Spring 2022 Grants

Shaleisa Brewer’s award will support youth and elders in These Halls Can Talk, a project that in Brewer’s words “not only aims to teach students history, it also aims to bridge the generational gap in the school’s community; restore the student-alumni pipeline; and preserve the history of the Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta through authentic storytelling.”

Yaneris Collado will use funds for travel as part of a BLTN exchange between Chelsea, Massachusetts and What’s the Story? Vermont affiliate sites in Aiken, Santa Fe, and Vermont. The grant will support Chelsea students to travel to the First Film Festival in Burlington, Vermont June 3-5, 2022.

Some gems of Lamoille Count, Vermont, courtesy of Moira Donovan

Moria Donovan in Morrisville, Vermont  will apply funding to the next iteration of a multi-year project called “The Gems of Morrisville.” “Our project vision,” Donovan writes, “is to create the opportunity for Art and English students to discover the ‘Gems of Morrisville’ by looking at the buildings and structures that have withstood time and change, from barns to our county courthouse, from private houses to churches.”

Andrew Marchesani received funding to purchase a class set of Thui Bui’s The Best We Could Do “in order to help my 11th grade English students develop their visual literacy skills, and to bring more diverse authors to our curriculum.”

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