Tag Archives: lessons

Lesson Plans: Usain Bolt Invention Project

Interestingly enough I think today was one of my better lessons. It was very free. Extremely free even. I knew what we were going to do – I would opened with some quick videos of Usain Bolt!

Wednesday I showed the kids this –


And they had the nerve to not understand why lil homie in the back was so excited for that moment in his life right there. Imagine if Usain Bolt gave you dap before he won the 200m Olympic Gold medal in London. That’s a once in a lifetime experience right there. They needed to be schooled!

So, For today’s lesson I opened with a few video clips I found during 1st period’s English class on Vimeo. I had of course forgotten to find clips on youtube these movie links:

Usain running the 200 Final in London Olympics – http://vimeo.com/47280401

Usain doing a quick documentary of his 100 meter gold medal run – http://vimeo.com/46634479

I also reviewed this picture and compared Usain’s speed to the animals shown here.


Interesting Media clip of the day: After watching the videos the kids were in awe of Usain and seeing him in action against some of the world’s best athletes. I walked us through the previous 5 world record holders and through all of the animals. By this time I had honestly forgotten that I was supposed to tie this into the first slide. Luckily, when I shifted back to the powerpoint we returned to the slide with the gif file. Then, the kids were able to see why the young man was so excited to share that moment. Usain Bolt gave him dap before one of his big races infront of thousands of people. That’s really freaking dope!! LoL.

Launch: Finally after realizing and admitting I had wasted far more time than I thought I moved on to our launch:

Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 1.23.49 PMJW Invention Launch

What goals do you want to accomplish before you graduate high school? What do you think will be the first step you need to take to make this happen?

After what was scheduled for 5 minutes drifted into 6/7 minutes of writing or so I asked them to share out. 2 of the 6 students volunteered which was cool. I never forced them to share if they didn’t want to. But I always created the space for those who did want to share for the day.

Project: At this point I directed the students back into their Invention Projects. They complain constantly about not wanting to do the boring work in the class. So, I decided to let them create an invention that they could use to do their classwork for them. The invention could be anything they wanted as long as they tied its features to the tips and strategies we’ve learned in the class. For example: closed syllables, open syllables, tapping, marking, ect… In reflection, I was wayyyy to lax on pushing them on linking their invention to an actual skill we’ve learned. And next time I plan to use an example to show them the kind of features/evidence I expect them to create. But overall they were really engaged and I was able to individually check in with each of them to set them on a path to decent projects.

The students were responsible for creating an (a) illustration of their invention along with a description of the inventions features (b) a narrative/commercial explaining and introducing their invention to an audience and justifying why we should purchase it. (c) a student on self/teacher on student grading rubric for the project (d) a marking/syllable worksheet that they would use to show their invention worked. Which was really just a ways of me saying….Yup. I’m still making you do worksheets, too. LoL

Intro Invention Slide Illustration Slide Narrative SlideGrading Rubric

This entire assignment is inspired by a project from last semester’s TAL 855 class that I currently have an incomplete in… Yes I’m that far behind, and no I’m not really sure why that’s my current crisis I’m trying to figure the fuck out right now. I got chewed out by one of my professors on Monday. It was deserved… but it still felt like crap. She letting me turn in my reflection assignment that I had no idea I was so late on until 2 weeks ago go figure. As I’ve stated many times grad school is a wreck right now. And I’m still probably under-exaggerating how bad it really is.

Halfway through my lesson my principal comes in with two guests. I can’t remember if they walk in and walk out. Or if they walk in and sit down unexpectedly. But at some point I realize they had probably listened to me ramble for 90 seconds and had actually sat down to stay for a bit… and had no idea what the hell I was talking about. So instinctively I grab a set of worksheets for the two visitors and my mentor to explain what the lesson was about. I didn’t realize it until later on, but I literally jumped in and treated these people like students in my classroom. I gave them the quick 30 second explanation and directions, asked them if they understood, got an affirmative and even gave them both 2 starbursts each, like I had given all of my students without missing a single beat.

(Quick Sidenote – I actually normally only give my students healthy snacks. Earlier in the year a student laughed that I was giving them starbursts/candy in class because I was essentially treating them like babies and fattening them up on candy every single day for giving simple answers and participation. From that point on, lets call it October/November, I’ve been only giving fruits, almonds, and granola bars to students every few now and then when I decide to bring them snacks. I’ve even brought cups for them to go get water before. This was the frist time I decided to go with candy, and it was because the students really had been participating a lot recently and truly deserved a treat for once. Students love dry almonds from Trader Joes in the individual packs and Spanish crackers from the bodega across the street. Food can really calm a brooding classroom of children.)

Anyways I dont know what message that sent… But here I am a young black guy. Teaching this class in an aloofly-organized way. So caught up in the act of teaching my brown and black students and mentor in my classroom that I automatically engaged other visitors into the learning that’s trying to take place. We acknowledged these two white professional visitors as guests, we wanted them to be a part of our experience as well. They eventually left after probably 3 minutes max. One of the students alerted me that they didn’t even take their starbursts. I looked over, first noticing their absence, then realizing that they hadn’t taken the handouts I had given them either. I halfway hated seeing that… I mean you stepped into my classroom to see something… you should really take the worksheet I give you with you so you can continue to process even after you’ve left. Especially if I take my time to pull you into what we’re doing also! Anyways… the students swiftly asked to get the starbursts they left behind and I obliged… LoL



Somewhere within the last 20 minutes I did a few marking examples on the board for the students who needed a little practice while doing their projects. Interestingly enough my two female students who almost went to serious blows 2 weeks ago in class were the only two interested in my mini lesson. It was so crazy how well they communicated about the work with each other in a friendly way just weeks after I literally had to pick one of the girls up and carry her down the stairs in order to diffuse what was almost a sure fire nasty fight in the 2nd floor stairwell. I ended up carrying one of the girls away from the fight to diffuse the situation. And now these girls are best buddies in class… That’s the craziness teacher deal with every minute of everyday.

I got them to come up to the board and construct their own marked up examples from memory and with no pushback. One of the girls even gave detailed explanation about vowel marking as the other young lady openly listened and processed.

I supplied the class with colored pencils, markers, gel ink pens, construction paper, glue, scissors, and story cubes to help them express their creativity in whatever way they could. At the end of the day I went to my mentor’s room to debrief. She expressed that she enjoyed the class, and almost felt sad to leave. She especially liked how I had one of the girls so involved in the lesson. She noted that the same young girl was very insecure about her English abilities during the first marking period. She plans to spruce up her notes and send them my way within the next few days. perhaps I’ll post them for you guys too.

Lesson powerpoint – JW Invention Lesson Ppt

There was an additional worksheet that I copied out of the students Just Words Workbooks.

Found: Inspiration in my own backyard

Egomeli Hormeku

I want my classroom to be a factory that pushes out versions of Egomeli Hormeku. He’s an amazing example of what all of my students can become for themselves, their families, for the country, and really the world as well. It’s almost too good to be true to have an image like this to share with my students. Not only do I hope Egomeli inspires their own desire to impress and be great, but it’s a huge help to me as well.

Egomeli has accomplished so many things I’ve wanted to do with my own life. At first it was shocking and kind of disappointing to realize that I wouldn’t be the first on this journey. But, now I realize how empowering this is. It’s one of many recent experiences that has shown me that I’m headed in the right direction. But by far the most beneficial because I feel like its given me a tangible model I can run after.

This is major, and I need and will make this happen for myself and my students! The article summed up how I feel so beautifully.

Maybe we all have our own sweet spot to share with the world, he thought. And yet, it was more than just an inspiration. It was confidence and a challenge to continue to impress.

Check out the article here:


Meet Egomeli Hormeku, Brooklyn’s Newest and Coolest All-Around Entrepreneur

A few blocks east of New York City’s Central Park, located right across the street from Bloomingdale’s, is perhaps the sweetest of all shops in the city: Dylan’s Candy Bar, an up-market candy store carrying more than 5,000 kinds of candy, apparel, and beauty products. It’s a glamorous take on Willy Wonka, and it’s owned by Dylan Lauren, daughter of iconic clothes maker Ralph Lauren, so you know there’s good entrepreneurial blood pumping through the arteries of this business, even if it is a dentist’s nightmare.

Brooklyn native Egomeli Hormeku found himself at Dylan’s Candy Bar as a teen a few years after the store opened in 2001. He wore a white button down, a navy blazer complete with a pocket square made of old material, a pair of jeans and penny loafers with a penny in each one. The littlest details turn the most heads. In this case, Hormeku turned the head of Ralph Lauren himself.

“You’re the man,” Hormeku told Lauren, a product of the Bronx, as they greeted one another.

“No, I’m not,” Lauren rebutted. “You are. And you’re dressed very nice.”

What a compliment for the teen. There, in the flagship Dylan’s Candy Bar store, Hormeku was inspired. Maybe we all have our own sweet spot to share with the world, he thought. And yet, it was more than just an inspiration. It was confidence and a challenge to continue to impress. Dylan Lauren went on to grace the cover of FORBES on the May 23, 2011, issue, 10 years after she made her fascination with art, fashion and pop culture a reality. Her father watched his fortune continue to grow into a new decade and he is now the richest man in fashion.

As for Hormeku, since that handshake he has earned a Political Science and Physiological Sciences double major in three years from the University of Arizona, aims to practice Fashion Intellectual Property Law in NYC and change the way people see living. At just 25, he has founded The Hormeku Group — an umbrella for a clothing line, an original rosé brand, a luxury cigar line and a book. And he’s doing it all with the coolest demeanor imaginable.


Ego, as his friends call him, is leaning back on a round stool with a glass of champagne at Ken and Cook in New York City’s Lower East Side on a crisp December night. From under his woven cap, he’s peering toward the pressed-tin ceiling of the dimly-lit bar. Strategy is burning in his eyes.

“You know those kids shooting jumpers way after the sun’s gone down, when they know nobody is watching anymore?” he says. “I feel like that’s me. I want to be the No. 1 draft pick. I want perfection.”

Ego was raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The area was a breeding ground for crime in the late 1980s to early ’90s, and the reputation only altered slightly into the new century. But even though the area remained a rough one, and is a region in which gentrification never really happened like other parts of the borough, those who live there grow up strong and stay strong, even if only out of necessity. “Never ran, never will,” is still the slogan of the area.

“There’s a lot of good people there, and people can see it if they are aware,” he says.

Ego’s parents made sure their son’s motives always remained positive. Gloria Obuobi, an OB/GYN registered nurse at Kings County Hospital Center, and Kofi Hormeku, a retired case worker for NYC Human Resources Administration, gave him the you-can-do-anything-in-the-world-you-want mentality. He took that motivation and ran with it. In undergrad, he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and was a DJ at parties on campus. Between classes he’d often re-read his favorite book, The Great Gatsby, or flip through a GQ — which is ironic because not too long ago he bumped into GQ’s creative director, Jim Moore, while almost all of what he wore at the time was from his own Nothing Nice New York clothing line.

“He smiled and told me I knew what I was doing,” Hormeku says of Moore. “That added fuel to the fire.”

While in school, he teamed up with a few friends and wrote The Nerdy McFly Manifesto, a book containing 101 rules for young men on how to create a balance between smart and cool — James Dean meets Steve Urkel. This eventually turned into Hope this Helps, a book tackling demeanor, comportment, contemporary chivalry, chances, choices and education. It was the first idea to see real creation under The Hormeku Group umbrella. From there, he expanded on the creation of other ideas and products.

Constant meetings and construction on the foundation of his business mold the beginning of perfection. Late nights add detail. Ego knows the Lauren family had a clear vision when they started their own respective businesses. He has his own vision, too. When he launches his own flagship store in Brooklyn — he’s aiming for Summer 2013 — one wall will boast a mural of Brooklyn icons. He’s thinking along the lines of maybe Mike Tyson, Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Spike Lee, The Three Stooges.

In this store he will sell merchandise from his multiple brands, all geared toward sophisticated men who want to live well and live comfortably. His clothing line, Nothing Nice New York, combines both urban wear and custom tailored suits and ties. All articles of clothing have been designed by Ego, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t wear himself.

Then there’s Vida Chocolate Cigars and  Steel Rosé, both of which were designed for individuals who don’t just live for the moment — they define it.

Until his flagship store is erected, all of his products are available online. Custom deals are also being pieced together more frequently. A woman once complimented him on his Nothing Nice tie and loved the smell of cigars. That led to three wholesale orders out of the country to sell his products in international stores — two boutiques in Canada and a pop-up shop in France.

“It’s a wild ride,” he says. “One day I can wake up and sell a few thousand dollars in cigars. The next I might only sell a tie but make someone look and feel like a million bucks. As long as I over-deliver every time. Every day is different but it gets better.”

And it gets better every day. Clubs nationwide are starting to pay attention, some paying Ego to provide hundreds of bottles of Steel Rosé at a time for events. Football legend Emmitt Smith showed up to an after party for The Hormeku Group in New York City’s Meatpacking District. Rihanna once complimented the mogul-in-the-making in SOHO before turning Da Silvano into a frenzy.


There’s something about people who were born and raised in the New York City area that characterizes no one else. They seem to be tougher than everyone else — more driven. And yet, the most successful are cool and poised. They stay low and keep firing toward their targets. And they’re always chasing something or someone.

“I’m chasing Ego,” he says. “If I exceed my own expectations, then I’ll do the same for other people.”

It’s getting late at Ken and Cook. As he readies to leave, Ego recognizes a bartender named Jamie who served him his first-ever drink in Brooklyn years ago, a testament to his extreme attention to detail, and walks out into the cold. It’s going to be a long night — another one.

“Love keeps me up,” he says. “Loving what I do keeps me up. Dreams keep me up. Knowing that dreaming isn’t enough keeps me up. Knowing a little more work is the difference between good and legendary keeps me up at night.”

Ego heads back home to Brooklyn to continue development of The Hormeku Group conglomerate, thehormekugroup.com, and a sweet shop of his own. You might say he is the next Jay-Z. You could go as far as to say he could quite possibly be the next Bernard Arnault. There may not be a limit. But for now, he’s making a lane of his own and everyone is invited on for the ride.


Also, check Egomeli out at his website. Homie is pretty sick with it: http://thehormekugroup.com/home.html