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Two-Way Street.

two way street

Great conversation with a student today:

Topic: Freedom of Speech.

Her viewpoint: Some limits should be made.

My viewpoint: Uh oh.

Back and forth, in a respectful, pleasant, and safe conversation.

Our conclusion: It isn’t just about people being allowed to say what they want, but it’s also our right to listen and read what we want.


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Poetry in motion.

Did you ever consider that you are a work of art?

A priceless piece

No one owns

A work in progress; a lifetime’s achievement

Self-portrait of beauty and grace in the warmth of

your smile and the coolness of

your secrets

Look, look at your own creation of

your self.

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Heated words.


 (Author’s Note: I needed to let some dust settle, hence the re-post and re-write–blog-0-rama) 

This is a very complicated issue. It involves human rights, nation’s rights, citizens’ rights, and is a huge soup of opinions, law, freedoms and responsibilities.

People use words to promote ideologies. Consider this article, and how the writer used rhetoric and techniques of persuasion to get his point across. Consider the responses, and how those writers articulated their points-of-view.


Arizona Legalizes Racial Profiling

I don’t know what’s going to come of all this, but it probably won’t be good. Read the blog’s comments to see how others think about this issue.

By the way, educators who’d like to discuss racial profiling in the classroom can use this Teaching Tolerance lesson, which defines it and explains why the subject is so important.

Submitted by Sean Price on April 23, 2010

Hundreds of high school and college students gathered around the State capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday. They were there to convince Gov. Jan Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1070.  These young protesters were disappointed though. Brewer signed the bill and instantly set back relations between whites and Latinos in Arizona and other parts of the country.

The law is designed to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. As outlined by The New York Times:

The police would be authorized to arrest immigrants unable to show documents allowing them to be in the country and the legislation would leave drivers open to sanctions … for knowingly transporting an illegal immigrant, even a relative. It expressly forbids cities from adopting “sanctuary” policies that restrict the police and public workers from immigration enforcement….

In other words, Arizona cops now have a green light for racial profiling—unless anyone seriously thinks that an Irish national with blonde hair and blue eyes who is in Arizona illegally will receive the same scrutiny as an Arizona-born American with darker features. 

It was no accident that so many high school students protested the new law. They will be directly affected. Young people are often the chief targets of racial profiling.  And this law will almost surely split up families. In many cases, young people who are U.S. citizens have one or both parents who are undocumented workers. These families already cope with enormous economic pressure.  The Arizona law will almost surely ratchet up their misery. But since undocumented workers are often driven here by far greater dangers and economic pressures, the law is unlikely to do anything to slow down the flow of illegal immigration.

Opponents are lining up to attack the new law on constitutional grounds. But even if the challenges succeed, the poison has already been introduced to the state’s racial climate. Gov. Brewer argued that new methods of police training would keep police officers from abusing the law. “I will not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in Arizona,” she declared. If that’s the case, she shouldn’t have signed a law that guarantees it will happen.

Words are powerful.

Who are we? Who were we? Who are we becoming?

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crossed fingers

Got a little spooked today.

My 8th grade students actually sat and listened to me for about ten to fifteen minutes. In a row.

I try not to talk that much; their attentions spans are brittle at best, and I’m not really sure exactly what held their attention, but here was the topic:

What makes you not do your work?

1. Don’t see any value or worth in it.

2. Boring.

3. Don’t understand it.

I did a random poll on what does make you do your work?
1. Grades.

2. Parents.

3. Parents and Grades.

Not a single kid said it was because it made them feel good about their work.

I realize developmentally, kids show growth and maturity by going from extrinsic to instrinsic motivations. That’s really my only litmus test for adulthood.

I could almost graph a chart: for the honors students, the “don’t see value/boring” would be weighed heavier, and for my core classes, the “I don’t get it so I bail at the first sign of trouble” would prevail. The reasons shift like light on a spectrum.

But here’s what maybe caught their attention, or kept it –when I told them I’m not graded on anything. I shared with them a project I just completed, and a colleague gave me his thanks. I shared that my husband doesn’t grade me on how well I fold laundry (he wouldn’t dare, but still). I don’t get a report card letting me know I’m “successful.” I do what I do because it’s right, it’s part of growing up, and it feels important. I feel what I do is valuable.

Their time as teenagers will be over before they know it. I had them laugh when I said, “Imagine my son calling me when he’s in college asking me if he can stay out past midnight?” You start off under a lot of control when you’re small, and then move toward independence. That’s what the adults in your lives want for you. Really. And my job is to make sure you can carry yourself with intelligence, articulate what you think, and move forward. That’s it.

Before my 7th period class, I talked to Mr. Spittake about his recent antics, and after awhile, got an honest answer from him. The question put forth was, “What do you want people to remember about you? What do you want me to remember about you?” First he gave me his standard, somewhat manipulative answer that he wanted me to remember him as a good student, etc. I basically said,  “Cut the baloney,” and then he gave me a real answer: “I don’t care what you think about me.” I said “That’s more like it. You should care what YOU think first. Thank you for your honesty.”

But then, when it was that class’ turn to talk about what motivates them – he’s the one person who said it’s how you feel inside when you get your work done, and done well.

Hmmm. Maybe there’s hope after all.

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Face the sun.

sunflower1280x1024Sunflowers face the sun, and move to its path over the journey of a day’s light.

They’re hearty flowers–sometimes with faces so large, wide, and heavy, they droop a bit, but still find tenacity in their stalks to turn to the sun. Their seeds are proudly displayed, and petals unfurl, daring anyone not to smile in their presence.

I can’t make the air, or the sun, the rain, or the soil. But sunflower, I promise you I will try to make the air fresher, the light brighter, the water purer, and the soil richer. I will do what I can so you can grow, and face the sun. And follow your path.