Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hunker Down and Hope

My students are 2/3 of the way done with a project. Using scientific inquiry method, historical perspective, researching primary documents, and conducting oral history interviews of family members, they are taking a close look at what has shaped their lives. I can take absolutely no credit for this project. My two collegues on my 10th grade team are master teachers that have been working together for seven years. I joined them last year after my film and reading electives were cancelled. My contribution to the project was to lead the students through writing lessons that would produce a poem for their front page, and a reflective essay for the last pages. The essays are in and I am about to settle down to a weekend of giving teacher feedback.


Their essential question that guided their process of producing their scrapbook was this:

Which factors (beliefs, principles, values, education, environment) have determined who I am? How so? Will these factors predetermine my future? Why or why not?

I guess I'll be busy all weekend. But when I take my breaks and rub my eyes, I will send out hope for this Tuesday's outcome. I will watch this video a few more times, because every time I do I get chicken skin and teary with hope. My heart bleeds with hope for us all.




And in that place, I think about America and those who built it. This nation's founders, who somehow rose above petty ambitions and narrow calculations to imagine a nation unfurling across a continent. And those like Lincoln and King, who ultimately laid down their lives in the service of perfecting an imperfect union. And all the facelss, nameless men and women, slaves and soldiers and tailors and butchers, constructing lives for themsleves and their children and grandchildren, brick by brick, rail by rail, calloused hand by calloused hand, to fill in the landscape of our collective dreams.


It is that process I wish to be a part of.


My heart is filled with love for this country.

Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

14 comments:

McEwens said...

It will be interesting to see what the students come up with. Events that they feel helped shaped them thus far. If you can, do share some of those stories!

Kate Lord Brown said...

Hope - for us all. I have goosebumps - it's either the sub zero temperatures in this old English cottage, or this man has 'It'. Let's hope.

only a movie said...

Oh, Pseudo, thanks for that video link. Yours is the second blog in a row (on my google reader) w/ a hopeful theme...

Good luck w/ the writing project. It sounds really ambitious and wicked cool.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

One class down and five to go.

And yes, I believed by putting hope out there and not being negative or fear-based could only help. Couldn't hurt....

Queen Bee said...

That clip gives me goosebumps as well. I'm hoping for good things on Tuesday.

Debbie said...

Hi. Jumped over from our mutual friend, Martini Mom, after reading your comment there. Your project sounds eerily similar to one my kids did last year in 11th grade that produced a 5 inch binder for each of them. I hope your students still like you!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Hi Debbie. OMG No five inch binders for me (I hope)

Kristan said...

Wow, sounds like an awesome project. I hope you have some good reading this weekend!

Captain Dumbass said...

Well it's Sunday now, how much have you done?

That video is awesome. If I was American I sure know who I'd be voting for.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Good morning. I only finished two classes yesterday, so after a cup of coffee and some blog reading - I need to get back at it.

I did, however, do six loads of laundry, a five mile walk with border collie, grocery shopping, and watched a movie with husband. Funny how sitting on my ass grading spurs me to get up and get busy every couple hours.

Rhea said...

6 loads of laundry, a 5 mile walk, grocery shopping and grading?! I'm impressed. Sounds like a productive day!

I bet those projects by your students have to be interesting.

What kind of feedback to you find yourself giving the most? Can you share any of it with us, without naming names and such?

thistle said...

This sounds like a great project, designed to make the little beggars think, whether they want to or not...

caught a bit of a brief interview (on a Canadian News Network) with Halpern (a former Republican advisor) that gave me a few goosebumps also, as he endorsed the need for change, not reform also...

fingers crossed for you guys...and hoping your voting mechanics don't eff things up again...sheesh...

you know we still use the paper and pencil 'X' marks the spot method...no hangng chad bs here...

Laura said...

Rosa sat, so Martin could walk…
Martin walked, so Obama could run…
Obama is running, so our children can FLY!

Fly with their five-inch binders and teacher comments in hand!

Robin said...

Beautiful post, great class assignment, great video.

I am fortunate that my polling place is on my regular (EARLY) morning wlaking route, so my neighbor and I are voting at 6 am tomorrow!