Finding the Art in LiTeRAcy

“Find The ART in LiTeRAcy”

click the students name below to see their writings.



Form a partnership with the teachers and school to see how the arts have helped the student in their overall performance in all of their classes. Done by stages, follow the students’ progress from the beginning to end. Look at their schoolwork, tests, and attitudes, and interview with students and work habits (using the assessments) to see if the arts have helped them develop in any or all educational disciplines. Teachers will conduct formative assessment of each student’s creative progress, knowledge, skills, and attitudes by observing them as they work, having formal and informal discussions with them, and periodically reviewing their portfolio of artworks and their written journal of their thoughts and actions. The students also will participate in formative assessments by providing feedback on the preliminary ideas and sketches of their peers.

Tracking and measuring student outcomes will involve multiple metrics. Beyond the enrollment and participation tracking, TWW will be continuously monitoring quantitative student participation and achievement indicators and work closely with regular school day staff to align interim measurements to the release of grades and student achievement tests. Academic will be monitored quarterly by sharing TWW reports, report cards with quarterly grades, anecdotal comments from teachers and standardized test scores. At the outset of the program year, baseline measures will be established for students individually as well as for all enrolled student participants in aggregate. The areas identified as being most in need of improvement include performance standardized tests measuring student proficiency as well as greater student involvement in youth development and arts and cultural activities.

The following table shows assessment tools appropriate for Arts.

Assessments for the Arts
Inquiry, Class discussion/group critique, Interview
Portfolio, Demonstration, Self-assessment
Checklist, Audio/video recording, Projects
Oral critique, Written critique
Written test, Oral research report, Written research report
Physical skills test, Auditions
Productions, Exhibits
Rehearsal notes, Audience response, Outside observation
Whatever assessment tools are selected, our art teachers should align their assessment practices with the

Following Principles:
Teachers continually monitor student performance, so that instruction and assessment are integrated.
Students are not to be assessed on content or skills that they have not had an opportunity to learn.
Multiple sources of evidence on student performance are preferable to any single source.
Students are aware of criteria for satisfactory performance before beginning a task.
Students learn strategies for self-assessment and explain their thinking processes.
The teacher communicates student performance clearly to students, parents, and other professionals.

Assessments used:

Process, Behavior, Work Habits, Narrative Writing, Learning styles, Listening styles, Social Studies, Arts, and so on.


Slave Narrative

Africans Thrown Overboard from a
Slave Ship, Brazil, ca. 1830s


They took me into bondage. They holded me and chains that were scratching my crisp black arms. Then they put me on the floor with the rest of the, what they called us “niggas”. Right next next to me, my master was forcing a nigga gal to take off her clothes completely!  I just looked at how horrible it was..That little nigga girl refused and fought back with such a warriors spirit and the master just said “let’s just throw her”..!  As they picked her up, I just thought that I was next one. They threw that nigga girl right in the ocean!

 “The Next Nigga Please and the next’!  They threw away so many, I was so scared. So I started moving, moving and moving until they said “ahhh, let’s just leave him, he’s goin to make us some good money”.   “Thank the Lord”!

 They picked a number of us niggas as they called us and threw them in the ocean…and numbers of niggas to leave them in the island…I believe some where too sick to do the journey and other, we we’re just too many. All piled up on top of one another. Throwin up food from sickness, goin to the bathroom on our selves, women bleeding and more..

I was one of them they decided to get rid of.  When we got on the island, with our bondage chains still on, some of us tied to trees and others just too week from sickness, the first thang we saw was dem hyenas comin…..

 3 days passed and I heard them hyenas coming closer. I thought “that’s it, this is the end”! A few came, One came real close sniffin and all, he started growlin and just starin at tha man next to me. Suddenly, he bites the man so hard, you can hear bones breakin, man screamin, hyenas laughin. Than more came, more attacked, eatin everyone, men, women, children….One came to me, growlin, foaming at the mouth. Came closer and so close I can see into his eyes…I was so weak from not eatin, I could not fight him off when he was ready to lock those jaws into me….that hyena came closer, sniffed, growled and suddenly his mouth opened and I can see those teeth, sharp as they can be…about to chomp down on ma head…then all of a sudden…..BOOM!

 That boom, with a bright light was the sound of men with guns, shooting at those hyenas…some rain away, others we’re killed….I thought to myself “lord, thank you”!

The man came to me and said “I think this nigga is good for something”..Untied me from the tree and put me on the boat unto another slave ship….from hell to the next..

abandon-slavesI arrived at some place they call Jamaica and I was sold to work dem fields….

Later on, I had a wife and children…..she died from illness and most of my children were I understand were sold off to other plantations in Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Puerto Rico….

I’m 98 years old now and alone and I still remember that day on the island….Not sure if I should have been grateful of those who saved me or the hyenas that would have truly saved me from what I would live my life as…A slave…

Cindy Delgado

Not everything in this world is colorful.  It’s easy to dream, but hard to live those dreams especially when you are bound to be treated like nothing.  Around here, we don’t choose who we are.  We don’t have options at all.  We don’t choose what happens to us.  No, not no more.  I find myself in a cell waiting to be sold … Waiting for my next destination.  I have no name, but a color that identifies me.  I found myself a prisoner for eternity … A prisoner of injustice. 

Dashawn Peterson

As I know for mow, I don’t have a name.  What I do know is that I have a dog mask over my face and a master named pain.  Pain, pain is what he cares about doing to us slaves, but for us slaves we want freedom.  For me as a slave, I might not know my name, but I know how to read and write.  I was born a free slave right from New York never thinking I would have to live the life as a slave.  Being a slave is very hard because all you will see is work thrown in your face.  Living this path right now is a path I didn’t choose, but living this life right now is a path I have to go through.


Cotton Machine

Ah!  Ah!  Ah!  Ah!  I’m being tied by arms, shackles on my feet, whipped by my master and yet a horse is pulling me in circle of a cotton machine.  I want my freedom.  I try and go for it and get caught.  I did something wrong.  What can I do better?  Oh, I will improve.  I will get my freedom!  My master, John Louis, whipping me … He ain’t nobody.  I’se a grown women. 

Kwaneisha Mc.

I am being token on this ship with a lot of people.  I gets on this ship with nothing to eat.  They don’t feed you and don’t care if you don’t eat or not.  I’m dirty.  I stink and anything I try to do, they are all watching me.

Just a few days ago, I’s a free man doin’ wat I ant, when I wants to do it.  Now I’m like prisoner waitin’ for my next destination.  He journey here wasn’t fun, but at times I got a little sea sick on the boat.  We wasn’t allowed to be in the same part where everybody spoke the same language.  I reach my climax and at the same time I’s wonderin’ what the husband and kids is doin.  Ain’t there to make the supper.  How dem survive wit out me?  A few days in the plantation field, us black folks call hell, and already the misses and mistress hate me.  Iron mask and collar for punishin’ slaves.  Tried to escape a few times an’ got scars on my stomach, legs, back and arms.


Paris Tillery

As the canoe rock across the water, we were hot, tired and chain down and they pack a lot of us in the canoe.  There was no room to turn around.  Then they had my brothers and sister working hard to row the canoe across the wavy water.  Some of my friends that was by me was sick and two of them died.  It was hard because I had to throw their bodies off the canoe and I know that there was sharks following the canoe while we went across the water to the South.  Setting on the canoe, I was up thinking about where I going next and how will my life be.

Shamecca Marshall

I’s a tired of being branded!  First, I was branded on my feet, then leg and now on my back.  My last master I loved with all my heart.  He treated me like one of his children and he fed me good meals too.  This master I hate and he want to brand “Henry Rodgers’ Nigger” in my back ‘cause everyone would know I’m his nigger.  Master Rodgers have abused me and raped me many times.  I’s a hate it when his wife leave because then that’s when he take me in the shack, whip me with his whip and rape me.  It feels nasty!  I’m now carrying his child and he don’t want his wife to know.  I just want him to die and this baby too ‘cause it’s just going to get sold or abused too.  I’s a just wish I was a free slave.  My life is bull and I’d just wish I could run away to freedom so I can be my old self again, Mary-Jane Drew.      

Lorna Brown

I been beaten and hanged by my neck.  This device tied up with wire.  I’m standing here with marks, bruises and blood going down my neck because of this wooden yoke used in Coffles, Senegal in 1789.  My master, Henry Smith, that nasty, mean man, is the cause of this splinter in my neck from this wooden yoke.  This didn’t, no joke, give me my freedom.  My name is  Sally Meg and I will get my freedom someday and never hang by my neck no mo’.  Never to be called “slave” any more!

Joshua Romero

Slave Law:
Louisiana Jury Act 1816 – Black Slaves were not allowed to testify against a white in court.

Slave Narrative:

Hello, my name is Joe Smith, I am 29 years old and I have been a slave for 18 years. I am from Africa…I was born free and taken at an early age and later on my whole family was sold to my Slave Master Mr. Smith in Louisiana. My mother and father was killed by my master.  My sister and brother was soled to someone else and I never saw them again.

But the worst of it all was when I witnessed myself. It was a hot and sunny day and I had been on the crops since sun up working the fields, now it was sun down..I just finished working when I heard a big bang. I think it was a gunshot. I was very scared. I run to see what happened and I see Master aim again and dang goes another shot.  Blood is all over tha place. Master started looking around. I tried to get down so I won’t get seen. But I was sawed. Master called me over to him.

So I walked over to him thinking to myself “what did he shoot”?..I tried to take my time but Master told me to hurry..I walked quickly. When I get there, Master is looking down on another white guy. Not really sure who he was at that time, just too much blood all over him…He demands me to pick up the white guy and take him to the barn…I do as he says. 

Once we arrived at the barn, I layed the man down on the ground. Not only to than I realize that it was Master Joe from another plantation…I was scared…Master told be to dig a hole and bury him there..So I did, afraid if I didn’t, Master would shoot me!

Some days went by, nothing seem to change, went on with our daily lives. Than all of a sudden, the police came and arrested our Master..Someone saw the two Maters arguing with each other and Master pulled out h is gun and shot the man….

We later found out the Master was being trialed for the murder and they were looking for more witnesses because the man that witnessed the shooting did not see the whole thang…

I didn’t like Master at all and I thought this would be a good chance to get back at him for what he did to my family….when I told someone that I wanted to go to court and testify, I was told that I couldn’t, because of the Louisiana Jury Act…

My Master was back home soon, and life continued on for me as a Slave for many years..


Randy Escabi, PS 50

Hello! My name is Reynaldo Mendez.  I am 47 years old.  I am a house slave.  I have been a slave for 39 years.  I am tired of calling my owner “Master”.  I’d rather be dead than to call my owner “Master” any more.  I have not seen my family in over 39 years.  I wish that I could just see them for at least one day.  It makes me so sad that I haven’t been able to see my family.  I really don’t think that I will ever see them again.  I will always believe in freedom and have hope for my freedom no matter what.  Whenever I am really down, I sing my sorrows away.  I hear the other slaves singing too and I know when I hear them singing coded slave songs in the fields like “Wade in the Water”, I know that somebody is escaping to freedom that night on the “Underground Railroad.”  My time will come and I will escape one day and I’ll see my mother and my father again.  I’ll be so happy to see my brothers and my sisters.  I know it, I really know it!

Dear Journal,


I’m a just sittin’ here on the slave boat gettin’ ready to go to the South Louisiana to go to an auction.  My name is Anna Mae an’ my last owner name me dat.  Before dat, my name was Rosa.  I don’t know my momma or daddy.  All I know is I have two brothers and one sister.  I don’t know dey names.  All I know is dey younger than me.  I think I’m about 22 years old.  I have friends on dis dusty boat.  Dey’s name is Emma, Stella, Charidy, Jeff, Austin, Issac and Drew.  Dey all came from the State New Orleans.  I’s a came from Maryland.  I’s a like my old masta.  They gave me good meals and they taught me how to write.  Da people took me because I been there all of my life.

Iron Mask & Collar Punishing Slaves

Antanique Williams

My Photograph signifies and personifies the brilliance what our ancestors once went and had to go through for us to have a life.  We still go through these things, but not as much.  How come we’s all made human, but the Mrs. and Mr. treat us like dirt.  Don’t understand how dem sleep at night wit out feelin’ guilty.  I’s see it like them ain’t got no conscience.  If I runned this place, the Mrs. be workin’ for me in the kitchen and bein’ whip for nottin’.  Iron mask and collar for punishing slaves.  Bet dem White folks never been whup by da masser.  I ain’t never done nottin’.  Born a free man, ain’t never called no man “Masser.”  Got 3 kids and a wife.  Ain’t seen ‘em in 3 years.  Please get me off dis island where only us niggers is punished for nottin’.  Hell bound … Ain’t got no where to run.  My name is Outaka Raffle Lionel Joseph Sek and I was born a free man.  Not no more!  I’s bound, I’s bound, I’s hell bound!

Edmond Thomas

Why am I here?  I’m a free man.  This ship stinks.  I have been urinating and defecating on myself for ten days straight.  I am so hungry.  I am chained down to a table on a rocking boat.  Every time we hit a wave, I roll in human waste and even excrement from dead bodies.  We are crying our eyes out because we do not want to go to Louisiana.  If my master hits me again, I’m gonna snatch the whip and beat him and every other skin that’s light.  I’m being tied by my arms and chained by my legs and beat by my master.

Ladajah Davis – PS 298 class 801


Africans Thrown Overboard from a Slave Ship, Brazil, ca. 1830s

“Death On A British Slave Ship” 

Horror comes over me as I am swaying back and forth on a ship with thousands of other captives.  Gasping for air with every sway, I call to God to help us out of this terrible situation. 

Ocean water splashing everywhere, I fear for my life as the taste of salt water and death overwhelms me.  I hold my mouth with cold, damp hands to keep from throwing-up bile because we haven’t eaten in ten days.  The stench of decaying bodies fills the air because several of the captives have already pasted to their glory … “In my eyes, it’s freedom!”

Stolen from my homeland and headed to a fate worse than death itself.  Oh God, why?  I cry out with the last ounce of strength left in my frail starving body.  Being aware of the unknown, I am deathly afraid of what other forms of torture lay ahead. 

I pray for death … “In my eyes, it’s freedom.

Shaniesha Miller  PS 298, Class 801

abandon-slavesLate last night, when the moon came up, we heard a strange
noise.  Momma told us to go to sleep, “Ain’t no one there,” she said.  The wind was howling and bigger noises were coming.  Leaves were crunching and all of a sudden, I just felt scared and anxious like something wasn’t right.  I got up and saw all these men with horses and tools. 

I woke Ma up and she told us to run.  The fear of getting caught hugged me tight and wouldn’t let go.  Branches were falling and I tripped over and someone pounced on me.  Months passed and I still feel as if it was yesterday.  The loss of my mother and sisters are just eating me up inside.  A piece of me is left every time I think about it.

 My heart is heavy, my spirit is weak and my love is dying.  I get sicker and sicker every time I breathe in the memories.  I can’t even walk.  I know there are other slaves feeling like me.  They put us all in one place, the ones who are broken down.  While we were sleep, they threw us off.  I awakened because when they pulled us, I fell over.  I swam to the island shore.  My body was so weak.  All the others were here with me tied to the tree waiting our death.  We heard laughing and heckling in the shadows of the night.

Dessence Stillky

I know what’s going on to me is not right, but what can I do?  Where can I go?  I have no freedom.  I’m shackled together and cuffed together by my neck.  There’s mor than one of people that look like me and you.  Ain’t no way out of here.  There’s nowhere for me to go, not with me cuff by my neck with chains dangling down.  These men took me from my freedom an they’s whiter than the palm of my hand.  They tell us orders, and tell us that we have to call them by Master.  And if we refuse, we got whip and beat.  They barely give us clothing.  All we wear is sheets and rags.  Sometimes, I bleed at night because the cuff around my neck is so tight.  When I tried to take it off, I cry and cry every night.  Why I cry?  I cry because my freedom done got took … My family and my happiness too.  But, mama taught me to sing.  She always told me that if I keep on praying, God will hear me out and I believe that.  I will be freed one day and make it through this pain that I go through down here.