Building a Community of Writers
in a First Grade Classroom

Mattie Davis , Frederick Douglass Elementary School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Where do I teach?

What are my students learning?

Teaching Practice
What's my approach?

Student Work






Building Rituals and Routines Teaching Writing Conferencing with Students

Context - About Mattie Davis and her school (excerpted from an interview)

I’m Mattie Davis. I’m a first grade teacher at the Frederick Douglass Elementary School, which is in an urban setting in Philadelphia. Frederick Douglass is located at 27th and Norris Street with a majority of students who come from what folks might say are challenging economic situations. We are pre-K through eighth grade with a bevy of students who will challenge you in many different ways, but they keep you fresh and honest.

Frederick Douglass is a school that I believe was built in the late ‘30’s. It has a lot of community tradition, a lot of parents and grandparents were enrolled at our school and they still send their children, grandchildren, and we’re moving into great-grands coming to the school. The school is also blessed to have had just a few administrators, although within the last two years we've had about three or four different administrative changed. It looks like things are starting to settle down now, and I’m hoping that that will help to keep the school in a calmer mode than it has seemed as a result of the turmoil.

First of all, I’m called a teacher but I consider myself a true learner. I love to read as much as I can but I also love to engage folk in some of the theories that are out there and then talk about how they work, or maybe how this year things are not working with this particular class at this particular point in time. I’m a ferocious reader and I’m a lover of the arts. I love to bring that aspect of my passion, and bring others into my classroom because as far as I’m concerned we cannot negate the arts in schools, you just can’t do it. And so we’re crying as we speak, with this stuff that they call education.



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Site last updated March 15, 2006