This week marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066.
In one of my favorite stories, There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, Bradley Chalkers stares at a list of his classmates’ names, each one followed by a row of gold stars ranging from several to none. The space to the right of Bradley’s name is vacant. You can imagine how he feels, right?
Most of us understand the dangers of judging the appearances and abilities of other people against our own. It often leaves a hollow, uncharitable feeling of either resentment or superiority. I do it more than I should. Chances are you struggle with it too. It’s one thing to keep it within the confines of your head. Making it audible is another.
Worse, however, than contrasting your attributes to those of another is comparing one child to another…especially in front of the whole class. Posting grades and other performance-based outcomes in full view is not only tacky, it kills community. Why go out of your way to create an opportunity for some to gloat while others are left feeling like day-old tuna.
Then there’s the ultimate: Comparing the behavior of one student to one or more members of the class. This takes things to an even deeper, more disturbing level, typically ending in the embarrassment of the highlighted child. It might give you the immediate results you desire, but not without a price tag.
Comparison isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it comes to shopping. It does have its place, just not in your classroom.
Hope this helps,
I killed a book today. That’s right…I shot it…with a twelve gauge shot gun…to make a point. One slug through the front cover and right out the back. But it wasn’t the first time I killed one. I’ve killed books before- never with a firearm, though. No, I didn’t strangle or stab them. It wasn’t like that. I was much more subtle, and it was never intentional, either. Unlike today.
Assigning a trainload of mind-numbing activities and drills which take up enormous amounts of time and energy with bulky packets of worksheets for weeks on end is another way to slaughter a good story. Placing sticky notes in every crack and crevice, looking up mountains of unfamiliar words in the dictionary, assigning numerous essays comparing the book with the movie, and answering a slew of multiple-choice questions will surely do it too.
Don’t get me wrong…It’s okay to do some of that stuff sparingly, but not in heavy doses. So go easy, lighten up a little, and don’t overdo it. More time should be spent enjoying books, not dissecting them. Don’t be a book killer.
Hope this helps,
So what exactly is a person (usually a teacher) supposed to do when a child shows up at the door with an armload of sugar-infused treats of which you have no interest? You can almost picture it, can’t you? You’re in the middle of a math lesson when suddenly you hear a knock at the door. You stop what you’re doing, walk towards the door, and open it to reveal a first grader with a runny nose and blue frosting smeared all over his lips and nose offering you a cupcake. A quick glance over the goods reveals a nasty choice between a thumb-indented chocolate cupcake with white frosting or a snot-coated vanilla with blue frosting. Unless you’re a cold, heartless son-of-a-motherless-goat, it’s just best to politely take one, even if it’s the last thing on earth you’d want to eat. Refusing the offer is simply rude. Besides, in the long run, it’s in your best interest too. You don’t want to be known as the teacher who never takes a treat. Pretty soon kids will stop dropping by altogether and you might miss out on something you really want.
Nobody expects you to eat a rice crispy treat that tastes like an ashtray-but you still need to take one. This is where you must be careful, though. Pitching it in the trash too soon is risky. It’s worse than telling the kid no.
So what exactly are you supposed to do with undesirable treats? Well, wait until the end of the day before tossing it in the garbage, and to be safe, throw a few pieces of used notebook paper over it too. Finally, avoid the generous child for at least a week. Why? Because if he asks whether or not you liked it, you don’t want to lie.
Hope this helps,
Wednesday, December 7, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing at Pearl Harbor. On February 19th, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066, which gave the United States military the power to remove and relocate 120,000 Japanese-Americans, most of whom were citizens of the United States. Their imprisonment had nothing to do with crimes committed or laws broken, but was simply a result of their Japanese ancestry. Japanese internment camps were set up throughout much of the western United States. One of those locations was Heart Mountain.
Click the book cover on the right to download The Light on Heart Mountain for free, December 5th-9th.