Ripped Up Homework

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A disturbing video of a teacher ripping up homework and berating a first-grader in front of her classmates, for failing to explain a math problem correctly, has emerged. 

Charlotte Dial, a teacher at a Success Academy charter school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, was secretly recorded by a teacher's assistant during a math lesson. 

As the children were all sitting cross-legged in a circle, one little girl was asked to solve a math problem during their 'numbers stories' lesson. 

In the video, the teacher can be heard telling the little girl to 'count'. 

The child counts, 'one... two...', but pauses and looks up at the teacher.

Dial then takes the girl's paper, rips it in half and throws it on the floor. She orders the first-grader to 'go to the calm-down chair and sit'.

'There's nothing that infuriates me more than when you don't do what's on your paper,' she says, as the girl walks away. 

A shocking video of Charlotte Dial has emerged of her ripping up a first-grader's paper and throwing it on the floor

The video was recently released by The New York Times after an assistant teacher secretly recorded Dial during a math lesson in 2014. The assistant teacher released the video to The Times after she left Success Academy

Dial (pictured) has been considered so effective at the Success Academy that she was promoted last year to being a model teacher, who helps train her colleagues

'Somebody come up and show me how she should have counted to get her answer that was one and a split.'

The video was recorded by an assistant teacher in 2014 who told PIX 11 that she was tired of seeing this kind of behavior by Ms Dial every time there was a 'number stories' exercise. 

Dial has been considered so effective that she was promoted last year to being a model teacher, who helps train her colleagues, according to The New York Times, who first aired the video. 

Success Academy founder, Eva Moskowitz, condemned the teacher's behavior in the video, but praised her work and reputation

Ann Powell, a Success spokeswoman, described the video's contents as shocking and said Ms Dial had been suspended pending an investigation last month. 

However, Dial returned to her classroom within a week and a half later. 

Current and former Success teachers suggest Dial's behavior might be extreme, but much of it is not uncommon within the network, according to The Times. 

Success Academy founder, Eva Moskowitz, condemned the teacher's behavior in the video, but praised her work and reputation. 

During Dial's suspension she was ordered to complete a week of additional training. 

According to Moskowitz, Dial also apologized to all of the students in the class, as well as to their families, once the video surfaced. 

Moskowitz said: 'We're all human. And we all have emotions.'

In the video the first-graders are sitting cross-legged in a circle, as the little girl (center right) was working on a math problem. When she got it wrong, Dial ripped the paper up and made her leave the circle

She continued to say that 'I am not going to throw Charlotte Dial under the bus' because she's 'helped hundreds of children thrive and be successful'.

However, the assistant teacher who recorded the video told PIX11 that it was one of multiple videos she'd recorded of Dial interacting abusively with students. 

She said that Dial's behavior was typically abrasive with students, and that it was not discouraged by the Success Academy Cobble Hill principal.

The assistant teacher who recorded Dial said Dial's behavior was typically abrasive with students and that it was not discouraged by the Success Academy Cobble Hill principal

After Dial sent the little girl to the 'calm-down chair', she called another child up to work on the problem 

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Gather Together/Warm Up/Bell Ringer: Alliterative Attributes (10 minutes)

“Through the Don’t Laugh at Me program, we’ll be looking at how we treat each other as a classroom (or school) community and how we can make sure everyone feels safe, cared for, and welcome. Together we’ll explore how to make sure everyone is respected in our classroom and no one is laughed at. And we’ll be looking out for ways we can share our learning and caring with others in our school, our city, and our global community.”

“Let’s begin today with a fun activity that will get us in the right frame of mind for working and learning together.”

Alliterative Attribute Game: The game will travel around the classroom and works best if children are seated in a circle. Have the first person say his or her first name and one attribute (explain what that is) that begins with the same letter. For example: My name is Calli and I am COURAGEOUS. The person next to “Calli” says, “Her name is Calli and she is courageous.” Then that person says his or her own alliterative phrase. “My name is Rocky and I am REAL!” The game proceeds around the circle, with each student repeating the Alliterative Attribute from the person beside him or her and sharing his or her own.

Main Activity: The Torn Heart (15 minutes)

Introduce the lesson:

“Today we are going to learn how the way we treat one another can affect the way we feel about ourselves. What do you think a “put-down” is? (Put-downs, either with words—name calling and teasing—or with actions, like excluding someone, make someone feel badly about themselves).

What are some examples of a put-down? (Do not record or write down any of the put-downs or those behaviors may be reinforced.)

Show the students the large paper heart you have made.

“I am going to read a story called The Torn Heart, about a boy named Jimmy. This heart represents Jimmy’s heart. I’ll need your help. Whenever you hear a put-down in the story, I want you to give me a “thumbs-down” sign. When you do that, we will see what happens to Jimmy’s heart.

For each put-down, you will gently rip a piece off the heart and drop it to the ground.

IMPORTANT: Be mindful of the students who are highly empathetic or experiencing situations in which such put-downs might be common. Acknowledge for them that it is sad to see what is happening to Jimmy’s heart. Remind them the story was written to teach people how to treat one another more kindly.

The Torn Heart

One Tuesday morning, when the alarm clock rang, Jimmy did not get out of bed. Ten minutes later, his mother opened the door to his room. “Come on,” she said, “You’ll be late for school again. You’re a lazy kid.” (rip)

“But Mama, I’m sick,” Jimmy said.

“Why do you always act like a baby?” (rip) Jimmy’s mother said, “You’re always sick on PE day. Just get up and get ready. Your brother’s already dressed. (rip)

Jimmy quickly put on his clothes and went to the kitchen to get something to eat. His older brother, Lucas, had just finished. “I’m leaving, Mama,” Lucas said.

“You wait for Jimmy,” their mother said.

“That loser (rip) is always late,” Lucas said. “I don’t want to miss the bus.”

The boys made it to the bus just in time, with Jimmy following behind his older brother. As the doors of the bus closed and it started rolling, Jimmy remembered that he had left his homework in his bedroom.

Jimmy asked the bus driver if he would wait while he went back to get his homework, “What are you, kid, a moron? (rip) This isn’t a taxi. Anyway, that’s what you get for being late.” (rip)

When Jimmy got to school he told his teacher that he had left his homework at home. She said, “That’s the fourth time this month, Jimmy. Have you really been doing your work? I’m beginning to think you’re lying. (rip) I’m afraid I’m going to have to talk to your parents about this.”

Jimmy liked to play sports, but he did not like PE class, where he was the smallest of all the boys. That day in PE they were supposed to play basketball. The teachers asked the kids to divide themselves into two teams, the Lions and Tigers. Within a few minutes, there were ten boys in each team, with only Jimmy left. (rip)

The captain of the Lions team said: “We don’t want him—he’s no good.” (rip)

“He’s no Tiger. He’s more like a scaredy cat,” (rip) said the captain of the Tigers. And the other boys laughed. (rip)

Finally, the teacher assigned Jimmy to the Lions team, but he sat on the bench for the whole time because the captain never put him in the game. (rip)

That day after school, Jimmy’s brother, Lucas, was playing soccer with his friends in the field near their house. Soccer was his favorite sport, so Jimmy asked Lucas if he could play, too. “No way, Lucas said. “You’d ruin the game.” (rip)

Their mother heard this and said: “You should let your brother play with you, Lucas.”

But Mama, he’s too slow,” (rip) Lucas said. “And he always in the way.” (rip)

Integrated Arts Processing:

  • How do you think Jimmy is feeling right now?

Have students create frozen body “sculptures” of how they imagine Jimmy is feeling. Use a put up to “un-freeze” each student and ask him or her to describe his or her “sculpture. “


  • Why is Jimmy feeling that way? What might be the effect on him of being treated this way day after day?
  • What could his mother have said that might not have hurt his feelings? How could she encourage him to get up on time?
  • Go over places in the story where the put-downs occur. “What could that person say instead that wouldn’t be a put-down?”

“If each person in the story tried to be more positive, we could put this heart back together.Let’s try doing it with this tape.”

Read the story again, but this time, have students offer some put-ups for Jimmy in the places where there are put-downs. Record the put-ups on your script as students offer them. Then attempt to tape the heart back together.

In pairs, ask students to discuss the following questions:

  • How do you think Jimmy is feeling now?
  • “How did we do?   It doesn’t look the original heart. Why not?”
  • Sometimes people say, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never harm me.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

Guide students in understanding that the story seems to show that words can be very harmful and are not easy to repair.

“How can we use this story to work on making our classroom a place where we try to notice put-downs and support each other in positive ways?” Record student ideas on chart paper.

Integrated Arts (5 Minutes)

Have two student volunteers act out the version of the Torn Heart with all of the put-ups. Ask: How might this version of the story, the version where Jimmy receives put-ups, affect his day? What do you imagine the rest of his day might be like?

Close Together: A New Chorus to “Don’t Laugh at Me” (10 Minutes)

We’ve been singing the “Don’t Laugh at Me” song, which—like the Torn Heart—reminds us that put-downs are painful. Let’s try a version of the chorus that Peter Yarrow sometimes sings to help us think about how put-downs can be replaced with put-ups:

Please smile with me, please be my friend.

Please accept me for who I am.

No one’s out and no one’s in.

Some day we’ll all have perfect wings.

Don’t Laugh at Me.

Go around the group having each child say one kind thing they can commit to doing that day for someone they care about. Stress that it must be something that they know they can do that very day. Model the activity by beginning with a commitment to something you will do.


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