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Teacher Promotes Reading with Creative Café Atmosphere in ELA Class

Muted lighting and the smell of tea set the scene for a special day of learning for one Pembroke Academy fourth-grade classroom recently. Teacher Anesia Greene greeted students as they marveled at the special place settings of gold, fancy cups with saucers, and a special brochure, all lit by (battery-powered) candlelight.

Special table settings in classroom.
Special table settings helped create the mood in the classroom.
Greene proclaimed her classroom to be the “StarBooks Café” for the day as scholars took their seats and began exploring books from different genres. They were then encouraged to enter their thoughts about the books in the brochures.

“My scholars’ reactions were the best part of this experience,” Greene said. “All of the preparation that took place was well worth it. Scholars began talking to one another in a ‘fancy voice’ as they sipped their tea and skimmed through their books.”
Students with tea and books.
Students read books and made notes in their brochures.

Greene said her goal was to completely transform her classroom to help her students have a learning experience they would remember for a lifetime.
“Joyful moments in learning truly inspire children to continue learning outside of the classroom,” she said. “For instance, a few of my scholars mentioned they were going to ask their parents to take them to Starbucks over the weekend to read their favorite book and enjoy some drinks. This also cultivates opportunities for parents to connect with their children around their learning experiences. So many students went home to share this fun experience with their parents.”
Successful learning experiences like these are just one reason Pembroke has outperformed the local school district in all subjects. Principal Salwa Kinsey said she is thankful for teachers like Greene who find creative and highly engaging ways to connect with their students.
“This is planning and preparation taken to another level, making sure the joy factor is considered in our scholars’ learning,” Kinsey said. “Thanks, Ms. Greene, for your innovation, your creativity, your heart, and your sincere dedication to the success of our students and school!”
Blending creativity with education is vital to the process Greene brings to her classroom, and it showed in the faces of her scholars.
“Creativity embedded within my lessons allows scholars to experience the joy of learning,” she said. “Thus, creating lifelong learners who are constantly seeking the thrill of learning something new.”
Students clinking tea cups.Students clink cups as they enjoy the reading day. 

Great work creating special moments for your scholars, Ms. Greene!
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About Pembroke Academy
Pembroke Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Detroit, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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