Archive for November, 2010
First of all my students and I had a fan-freaking-tastic time celebrating Halloween. All the classes are competing throughout the semester to win enough points for holiday party. So I decided that the class in the lead would be rewarded for Halloween. Mainly because I really wanted to do this activity in my classroom but obviously cannot do it with every single 60-kid class. Bonus: now there are rumors between the kids about how much fun the holiday parties are and they are much better behaved in order to earn points. Genius. So here is what we did.
First, they love word scrambles, so I used some Halloween vocab and mixed the letters up. They had to work in their rows to un-scramble the words and then read aloud to the class which ones they figured out. First team to complete all the words correctly got to be the first team to trick-or-treat with me at the end of class.
The big competition was a mummy costume design competition. Oh man, they got into it. I split the class into two teams, right down the middle. They had to plan (in english) what they wanted their mummy to look like. I gave them five minutes to plan and elect a “model”. Then I threw two rolls of toilet paper at each team and let them get creative. You would have thought that they were facing Heidi Klum as a final contestant.
After their creative time limit was up, both models were brought up to the front podium (both boys actually had to be carried up because they were so concerned that the costume would be ruined by the bending of their knees!) for the final judging. One person from each team was allowed to tell me why they felt their costume should win and one person on the other team got a rebuttal statement. Then another person got to tell me their opinion about which should win…and so on. It got a little heated at one point. One girl called out the other team for having blood drawn on the arm of the traditional mummy, when, obviously, a mummy has no blood left. Yeah, surprisingly strict. I got a “tradition” mummy costume. With the toilet paper wrapped around his face all askew so you could barely see one eye peeping out; hands and feet completely covered. And one “modern” mummy with pieces fashionably draped off his body so that he looked a little like a Lady Gaga creation. I had to give them a tie because they produced such different results.
Then we spent the rest of the class with half of the class running outside the room to knock on the door and yell “trick-or-treat” clearly enough for me to understand before I would let them grab pieces of candy from my Halloween bag! Wish I could have done it with all the classes but it was a special treat and so enjoyable to have that much laughter and movement in the classroom.
Friendship is the perfection of love, and superior to love; it is love purified, exalted, proved by experience and a consent of minds. Love, Madam, may, and love does, often stop short of friendship.
SAMUEL RICHARDSON, Letter to Hester Mulso, Sept. 30, 1753 This is one of my very favorite thoughts about love; I stumbled across it today unexpectedly and it made me smile.
Such fierce competition, but I have a feeling that this Christmas is going to be a good one. After all, there are still red, green, and gold decorations left over from last year hanging from shop ceilings here! That’s my idea of festive!
I have a Halloween post coming soon, don’t worry, I did not skip over a holiday. I just got super excited for Christmas!!!! ‘The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!’
When I tell people I am feeling homesick, they have been misunderstanding me. I don’t mean that I miss my house or the feeling of a place that is my own. I have that here and felt it pretty quickly. And I don’t mean that I miss the things at home. Maybe I think about how comfy my bed is once in a while, or taking random walks to the beach every morning. I do like those things about home and appreciate them very much since being here. But I appreciated them almost just as much while I was enjoying them.
What I mean when I say homesick, is that my brothers are having life experiences this year that I wish I was a part of. And my friends are moving into new phases in their lives that I wish I was around to participate in celebrating. Must be a stabilizer characteristic. I loved working with my dad, I miss going to the market with my mom and grandma on Sundays being tired from dancing the night before with her, I want to have my kitten sleep in my bed with me instead of in my mom’s bed, I want to drive my brother around to play pranks on his friends, I miss waking Forrest up in the morning with my air soft gun, I even miss Zach attacking me in the front hall, and getting the puppy all riled up, causing my dad to kick all three of us outside.
I want to go out for champagne when Billy proposes to Audrey. I would give anything to have been able to see Kira on her wedding day and to meet her husband before he was shipped off to war. I want to meet Jenny after her grad classes and listen to her talk about school over a margarita. I want to know Emmy and Marcin are still crazy about each other. I’d like to see Mitch and Kenz living together for the first time and watch their relationship grow. And it hurts a little that I wont be in the country when Maya and Greg welcome their little baby into the world. I want to be a phone call away for support when Erin and Jim are settling into their new home in Texas rather than an email away. I would like to be self-confident and knowledgeable in my work. I miss that too. And still with all that in a little corner of my heart I am genuinely considering staying for another year or two. What is the definition of insanity?
I guess big events would happen no matter when I chose to do this, but it has seemed like this year has been full of changes and I hate to miss out on them. It occurs to me that I have had some life-changing experiences since moving as well and it is probably hard for my family and friends to be removed from my experiences and discoveries in the opposite side of this situation. I feel more like myself because of some of the things I have experienced and I wouldn’t give that up. It is one little year of my life but it has felt like an important year in all aspects.
Theoretically I can choose to write about anything I find interesting since this is, in fact, my blog. I generally try to share my views and opinions on issues that will not alienate readers. Not to mention I’d prefer to avoid subjects that I have limited experience working with in the real world. In this one case however, I have followed the media coverage and public opinion with avid interest and feel it deserves mentioning.
My peers are feeling abandoned. They had been given hope, and a purpose that invited individualism and creativity in a media(professional) outlet that otherwise squashes those characteristics. President Obama won a historic majority (66%) of the 18-29 year-old-voters in the 2008 election by encouraging engagement in growth and progress. And believing in the ability of the youth to make their mark. Not since 1952 has there been such a surge in political activism among the generation of tomorrow. College campuses became the center for the call-to-action; Demanding to be heard, demanding to be educated.
An area of life that had been all but disregarded by the young demographic because of the difficulty to make a single voice heard was suddenly generating passion in the previously ambivalent. The declaration of political science majors skyrocketed, identifying yourself as an activist became something to boast of at parties. The more you knew and were contributing to a campaign trail the more impressive you were to your coworkers, classmates, and adults. And it was so nice to be respected and sought for their opinion on the political issues of the day by professors and parents. It was so obvious that the older generation’s time had passed and now it was time for the young to make a statement.
18 to 29 year-olds were emotionally invested. They caught the sentiment. This was the chance they had waited for. Hopes for a revival of democracy, a chance to play a bigger role in the political agenda. From humble origins the 0 Generation rose as campaign heads; they had structure, movement, belief, prominence, education, and influence. A very heady combination. And they used it to the best of their abilities. But what of the real-world? Daily governance is hardly the emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating arena that is campaigning. What difference do they make once the battle is won? They have used their inexperience to the most profitable end, but they want more. This wasn’t just about the win. It was the chance to be taken seriously, to earn “face” in their social and professional community.
This is the catch. Once again, they are greedy. Oh, America’s youth most definitely are interested in the benefit of humanity, the greater good, if you will. We grew up with Harry Potter and the incredible selflessness and sense of right has been impressed on us as the most honorable of characteristics. So why then have the hard efforts, the nights spent educating themselves on policies and procedures, the days patiently explaining those concepts to the masses, fallen to the wayside in the months following the general election?
The Democratic party certainly hit a sweet spot with the young voters and were very successful in developing their advertising skills and creating a force to be reckoned with in terms of momentum and excitement for change.
But when the polls closed is when they may have inadvertently created some bitter enemies. What is the old saying? ‘The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference’. On polling results, in interviews, on college campuses, the generation that was ready two years ago to throw all of their support into recruiting and educating the world in order to make a difference are now talking about waiting out the mid-terms to see what they have to work with when the time comes to choose sides.
The momentum waned, when the young needed it most. Needed to feel the reward for their hard work and the promise of their future in the outcome. The election of 2012 could have been in the bag for the Democratic party had they taken a little more care in the after-shocks of the country’s involvement. If there had been a little more time spent on giving attention to the media outlets appealing to the teenagers and twenty year-olds so that they really did feel assimilated into the world of politics, it would take so much less effort to re-engage their support.
But what does it tell you about the evolution of our democratic structure, to say that had the President taken on extra engagements at colleges and TV shows and video addresses a whole generation would be more interested? I am the first to be incredulous at the high standards President Obama is being held to during his two years of holding office. Two years. George W. Bush we waited out patiently for 8 years. But President Obama we give an ultimatum to after 2?
It seems like such a simple task to reach out to those constituents who provided the margin of success for the Presidency in 2008, but would you have thought of it? Or would you have been in a rush to prove yourself to a widely displeased public by diving headlong into your campaign promises? Why should it be an outside force that motivates the interest of the young to stay the course? Is it not the generation that claims to be independent, self-reliant, self-sufficient, stubborn, and eager to distinguish themselves from every other person in the world? You know what? Sometimes you have to suck it up. You have to realize that you are a drop in the bucket and that the true joy in life is using what little influence you have for a purpose recognized by yourself as a worthy one.
Rather than withdraw from the world that has shown you no favors, stand up and show that it wasn’t a one time phenomenon, that this generation is the tipping point and will continue to make the decisions that count. Rather than punishing the system for ignoring you, make it impossible to be ignored.