Teacher Feature: Alyssa McClorey

“My dad was a teacher and I used to go to his class and I helped him with the cross country team. I really liked working with kids. He was a role model for me and my first year of teaching was the same year he retired,” said Capital City Public Charter School teacher Alyssa McClorey. “But, I really came to teaching from a social justice standpoint. In undergrad I took international studies and history but my interest in social justice led me to teach in Guyana in South America. When I came back to the U.S. I decided that education in its best form can truly bring opportunities to people and bring about change in the world.”

McClorey, who teaches 8th grade and works with OWEd’s Writing Program, obviously loves a challenge and a way to find a solution to a problem.  She was drawn to Cap City because of its expeditionary learning style, which allows students to dive deep into a topic, making it a more authentic experience. Students experience one or two expeditions per year, and after going on field work and doing their research they create a project that helps their community.

For McClorey, the One World Writing Program works well with Cap City’s learning format. The eighth grade students study writing during their Intensive class, where the students focus on skills. “One World’s Writing Program uses a process I would go through normally. It felt natural to me. It was nice to have all the supports for curriculum there. A lot of students really grabbed the idea of researching something they thought was important. The fact that students had a choice on what to write about really kept them engaged.”

From McClorey’s perspective, one of the big benefits of this curriculum is that it helps the students understand argumentative and persuasive writing skills. This is a skill they will use through their whole lives. “The more they can do it the better. The process is really useful. The peer revisions and personal revising were really important and strong. Breaking the writing process down piece-by-piece and having it in the one notebook is so helpful for kids, who tend to lose things,” said McClorey.

“I also really liked that this curriculum showed kids the use of narrative writing in persuasive writing. I haven’t seen other curriculum do this. Kids can get stuck in genres of writing. The idea of using narrative and anecdotes in non-fiction writing shows the fluidity of combining genres for different purposes.”

“The whole process of incorporating evidence into your writing is so important and this gives them a really strong foundation to do any other research paper in the future.”

But perhaps one of the best parts of One World’s Writing Program, McClorey said, is “This is a way to really focus on students who can be honored for being passionate for their work. It’s a chance for them to get attention for doing something great, instead of kids just getting attention for behavior issues. It is great for kids to see other kids in the city who are enjoying writing. It’s a form of positive networking.”

Students need great teachers to help lead the way to great writing. This year, McClorey has two students who were chosen as Student Ambassadors.  The topics they wrote about include Ebola and student athlete grades. McClorey is certainly giving back to her community by helping these students shine!

 

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