Monday, February 27, 2006

The Mao

It’s a blast spending time in the big city with these two, drinking the flights of wine, eating the flights of cheese. The talks at the conference were way excellent, for the most part, and I already tried something new in my classroom. The art museum had a small exhibit of paintings from books that have won the Coretta Scott King award. I love to see the original paintings of picture book illustrations. I’m sure you do as well. A concierge helped get us in to a cool restaurant and I impressed myself with the suavity of my palm greasing maneuver. I would love to live in the rambling town, but I am probably too Hoosierized now. After we finished eating at Marche, I was surprised at the hordes of people crowding around the bar waiting for a table. “People sure do eat late here,” I told my pals, but jdoc slapdashed my awe with the comment, “Well, it’s only 8:30.” It seemed much later than that so it was time to call it a night. After the fun and frivolity, I drove south and made it home in time for the final episode of Bleak House. A Chicago weekend is all good.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Conference

Today I venture to a distant city to learn more about literacy as a civil right. Slapdash and Savvy Mom will be there too. I haven't packed yet and I'm supposed to leave in 6 minutes. No problem.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Nuance

Mitzker and I attended a panel discussion about the Danish cartoons last night. An art historian talked about how it’s not wholly true that images of Muhammad are forbidden and she showed slides of images from a range of past and present contexts. A journalism professor talked about how publishing the cartoons represented a breach of ethics because they weren’t focused on a person in the news, but a general attack on a specific religion. A political scientist talked about “who benefits” from the cartoons. He pointed out that the Danish paper that published the cartoons is a mouthpiece for a right wing anti-immigration political party in Denmark and that party’s membership has jumped 15 %. He also pointed out that the French paper that later published the cartoons (and additional incendiary cartoons that were not of the original 12), increased their circulation from 45,000 to 600,000 with the publication. And a religious studies professor talked about how Muslims in general get lumped together when small groups react violently to current events. He reviewed principles of nonviolence that are part of Islam. I liked hearing talks from these multiple perspectives. Nuance is nice, I think. After the talk, we headed out for our favorite salad, The Wedge, and a glass of wine. A fun evening and we’re resolved to attend more campus lectures in future.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Prom

Lifetime channel's going to air a movie in March called "For One Night." It's based on a true story about a girl in Georgia, Gerica McCrary, who worked to have an integrated prom at her high school. In 2002. Geez Louise. The school does not host a prom because they want to discourage interracial dating. So the kids raise money and have two separate proms each year, a black prom and a white prom. I don't know where I was in 2002, because I don't remember this story and I was pretty surprised to read about it here. More reading today revealed that the high school kids decided to return to separate proms in 2003. Black prom was open to all, though. Teen Daughter says the movies on Lifetime usually seem like they are made in about an hour. I hope this one is decent because the sixers read Wire Tap's article today and want to check it out.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Meals

#1 son doesn't want to go to a movie with me. He just wants to "chillax." Probably a good idea after a busy week. Memoirs and midterms took up most of my week, but now they're out of my hands. The memoirs ended up being pretty good. My favorites were the simple stories, the one about the kid who likes to look out his window. Or the one about sitting behind a bush in the backyard. I especially liked "Hated Girl," the story of a sixer who made the mistake of telling everyone's secrets on instant messenger. I reviewed revision suggestions with the whole class on Friday, "The memoirs really needed tightening up," I told them. "We don't need to know what you had for breakfast each day on your vacation. We don't even really need to know that you ate. I'd actually appreciate it if you would just delete all meals from your memoirs in the final drafts."
Foto credit: Lewison Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Plate

The doctor thinks I have too much on my plate. I countered that I've piled the plate WAY higher in years past. The plate, at this moment in time, is heavy, but handleable. She argued back that I may believe I've filled the plate appropriately, but the eye twitching and the globus prove otherwise. I'm still not sure though. I was rooting for thyroid problems, so I was bummed when the thyroid tests came back negative. At least I have no goiter. Just a full plate and a resolution to stay away from the buffet table for awhile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Love

Over and over again today I told the sixers, "'s the day of LOVE!" I think they got a little tired of me saying it, but the eye rolling could have been for anything. You never know. While eating chocolate, we wrote about this day o love in our notebooks. Most sixers love the candy and the friendship. They're very particular about the cards. Batman...out. One sixer disagreed with the group and wrote that today's just a ridiculous celebration of an annoying guy in diapers shooting arrows at our butts. Good job introducing a new perspective, I told him. Especially on this fantastic Day OF LOVE!
We teamed up with the littles today and wrote valentines, integrating candy hearts by gluing them into our messages. Chomping and gluing, kids wrote notes like, "To Mom, you GO GIRL." And "Mom and Dad, you will always BE MINE. I'll CALL HOME soon." A sixer made one for me that's on the fridge now, "Ms. H., BE TRUE to yourself. LOVE LIFE and DREAM. Then I'll BE GOOD." That's a good valentine to get. So much wisdom in a box of chalky candy. This Day of LOVE has suited me fine. I left at noon, just as the sixers were really starting to get wound up. And I'm taking tomorrow off.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Mess

The process for a new chapter of the diss works like this. I sit and stare and sigh for a week or two. I get an idea and start fooling around. The idea turns into a huge out of control mess. That's the stage I'm in right now. The mess stage is exasperating and exhilarating at the same time. I recognize with every move that so much more needs to be done. At the same time, there's a lot of cool stuff to work with and so the time on the diss is interesting. When the diss work is in this stage, I feel pretty good. Good enough to blow off reading the 60 memoirs lurking in my tote bag to head out to see Capote. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Blog

I started a blog for the sixers. When they visit, they comment on every post, so some of the posts have as many as 40 comments. As in class, the sixers feel very free to offer critique in the comments section. There were several requests for a new blog template because they didn't like the eerie forest picture I had chosen. I gave in to pressure, but the new template doesn't come with emoticons so now the sixers are a bit peeved about that. I started the blog because the sixers were having problems remembering to do their homework, so I thought the parents might find the blog an easy way to check to see what's due the next day. I don't think any parents are coming on board, though. Mostly it's just kids asking questions like "Wuzzup?" and "Where are the smileys?" It's amusing. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Comments

I thought Jimmy Carter’s comments at Coretta Scott King’s funeral were smart and timely. In his speech he “made reference to government spying that the Kings endured and continued racial injustice evidenced by the Hurricane Katrina disaster.” There has been some critique of funeral “highjacking,” but I listened to excerpts of the speeches on the radio last night and the exuberance of the applause of those in attendance prove that Carter and Reverend Lowery were in the right place at the right time. If I die in the next few years, I just want all of you to know that it’s perfectly A-OK with me if you want to say anything bad about the Bush administration during my funeral. Go for it, my friends.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Chainiacs

The 17th National African American Read In happened all over the country today. It happened at the compound and will continue on this week as sixers read to the littles from our library's amazing collection of picture books by African American authors. We read books, and then make paper chains to document how many books we've read. These are the days I'm happy to be in the elementary school. Littles and Sixers reading together, coloring, picking out books. Pleasant is the only word for it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Snow

We finally get more snow last night. Teen Daughter and I head out to hike and collect blog imagery at our little lake. We pass a guy packing up his fishing tackle. He yells out at us, "Now I'm going deer hunting!" I almost ask him not to do that, but he seems pretty excited and I don't want to dampen his spirits. I smile and murmur something about what a beautiful day it is. For him, today's a great day to head outside to kill fish and deer. For me, it's a great day to watch basketball and pretend I know how to do sodoku. I truly hope it's a great day for you as well.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The News

Our electives are coming to an end and the sixers wrote some great news articles for the first edition of our paper. Last week, they went over the rough draft copy and suggested a few changes. That's why I was caught off guard by their reaction when I plunked down 200 copies of the final issue on a desk yesterday. Twenty kids rushed round and started screaming bloody murder. CAN WE DELIVER IT NOW???? CAN WE TAKE THIS HOME??? CAN I DELIVER TO MRS. PRESTON'S ROOM? IS THIS THE FINAL COPY???????? IS EVERYTHING IN HERE? The barrage was deafening. I attempted to interject when one of the sixers grabbed a big stack of papers and ran out of the room. I got out there to see him tearing down the hallway, thrusting newspapers into the hands of anyone walking by. I caught up with the sixer, retrieved the papers, and told him that we were going to be delivering the papers in a slightly more systematic fashion. We returned to the classroom together, got the papers delivered and began on issue 2. I'm happy for the enthusiasm but honestly, the whole episode struck me as slightly over the top. Posted by Picasa

Gratitude #9: Power of Song

We've been listening to , singing, and reading about, songs for social change.  Fables of Faubus, Which Side Are You On?, Wavin' ...