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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum:
How Are Schools Different?
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out

Lesson Materials (word document)

Aim: Creating awareness of the differences between schools in New York State.

Connection/ Motivation: Today we’re going to read about two schools in New York State and see how they compare to each other and our school.

Teaching Points:

  • Gather students in the read aloud area and tell them that you are going to read essays that two students in New York State wrote describing their schools. Ask students to listen (and, if desired, follow along on paper or overhead) as you begin reading the text “School #1.”
  • After reading this text, have students turn and talk about what they notice about school #1.
  • Read the text “School #2” as students listen and/or follow along.

Activity of Students:

  • After the reading, tell students that you are going to discuss these readings. Arrange students into a circle and have them turn and talk to each other about what they have heard, making comparisons between the two schools.
  • After students have had a couple of minutes to share in pairs, call students back to the group.
  • Facilitate a whole-class conversation with questions such as “Would you want to go to each of these schools?” “How would you describe these schools?” and “How do you compare them to our school?” Encourage students to use evidence from the texts to support their thinking.

Summary/Share/Report out:

  • Use a Venn diagram to compare how the schools in the texts are similar and different.


  • The schools could also be compared using a three-column chart, with one column for each school, including students’ school.


  • For homework, have students pretend they are a student in one of the two schools. Instruct them to write a diary entry telling about their school day.

Subject Areas:
Language Arts

Grade Levels:  3-5

About the teachers:

Karen Ramirez, teacher at P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, is now in her fifth year of teaching and her second year as a MetLife Fellow in the Teachers Network Leadership Institute (TNLI). She has served as grade leader, co-chair of her school leadership team, a member of the school’s hiring committee, and in the leadership group of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She has M.A. in Education from the New York University Steinhardt School of Education. Her TNLI action research topic last year was on teaching struggling readers to have deeper conversations.


Frances Schuchman is a teacher at PS 41, The Greenwich Village School, in Manhattan. She enters her 9th year of teaching and has taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades and will teach 4th grade this fall. Frances recently completed the Aspiring Leaders Program for Educational Administration in The School of Public Affairs at Baruch College. She has an MS in Elementary Education from the Bank Street College of Education and an MA in Development Psychology from Columbia University. Frances has been trained as a Math Teacher Leader through the District Two Math Initiative and has served in that role at PS 41 for the past five years.



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