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Showing posts from December, 2011

More Writing Games

I wrote about helping a friend's son with writing by using the two-minute writing game I made up.  You have the kid write any words at all - the only rules are that they have to be words and you have to keep writing for two minutes.  It has helped a number of my students who are perfectionists and just think way too long and hard about writing, never getting to the writing part. I got a Christmas card from this friend and actually laughed out loud.  She wrote: I honestly believe "Johnny" wouldn't be as successful in writing now without getting past the block with "Hey NASCAR toot fart butt pee poo yo he mom dad father" I wanted to introduce another writing game.  I don't have a name for this one, but I'm taking suggestions.  i have the student pick a number between 2-10.  Then we write a story together.  If the student picks "5" for example, she writes five words and then I write five words.  The story usually ends up being pretty si

A Black Family in the White House

This post is not about politics.  For this post, I don't care if you like Obama or think he's the worst president in 100 years.  If you can, just for a few minutes, try to put that aside and hear what I'm saying - something about the First Family that is not political: There is a black family in the White House. This makes me so happy in so many ways.  Some of you right now are thinking that this is another form of racism - that I should only judge the First Family on their character, not on their skin color.  You're right and wrong.  That, of course, would be ideal, and I think that is a well-meaning position, but if that was your first thought, I'm going to venture a guess that you have never personally had to deal with racism.  I am pretty fortunate as well.  I'm a middle-class educated white person and I've never suffered from racial profiling or racial discrimination.  In fact, I've probably benefited from racism in more ways than I'm com

One Thing Right

I was watching some more of Tavis Smiley's Too Important to Fail series and the current 90-second clip that is up shows the same panel of young black male offenders that led me to find my student from first grade .  He is in this clip also although he doesn't say anything.  The young man next to him, however, talks about how he didn't pay attention because he was traumatized (the interviewer's word, not his) by his sister being killed in front of him.  He goes on to say that he thinks most black boys in his neighborhood had similar experiences (I agree). Then one of the other kids said that when he was in fourth grade, his teacher told him he wouldn't amount to anything and he gave up. I am pretty positive that I've made a huge number of mistakes and bad judgment calls in my years of teaching but I am confident that I did this one thing right: I never said that to a child.  I never called a kid bad.  I never told a child I hated him or her, and I never said

It's Too Bad You Don't Have Children

Dear person who told me "It's really too bad you don't have children; you'd be a good mother:" You're wrong. Not that I'd be a good mother - you're right on that.  I'd be a very good mother.  Anyone who has ever seen me with children can agree on that. No, you're wrong that I don't have children. It's not totally your fault - I wasn't thinking when you asked me.  And in fact, I haven't been thinking clearly any of the times that people have asked me that.  I always answer the way that people expect me to and I think it's time to change that. I know that when people ask me "Do you have children," (or my least favorite, "Do you have a family?"  "No, I sprang into being all on my own!"), they mean did I birth children who I am now the guardians of.  Maybe if they're more open-minded they just mean, "Are you the guardian of children?"  And the answer is no.  Before you start fe