29 May 2006

Oral Reports!

Highlights from the last few days of Hate/Peace Studies reports:

Blind ignorance (all references to the Civil Rights Movement come from the same kid, an extremely smart and **extremely** lazy surfer-slacker 8th grader who cares more about his hair than anything else):

(from a paper entitled "The Civil Rights Movment[sic]")

"To Integrate some thing means to combined to things to in this case they where interrogating blacks and whites. This was called the little rock in 1955."

"Black power 1966 at the same time that King Arthur was find him self with the odds over the Democratic Party."

(incidentally, when I confronted this student about this particular sentence -- reading it aloud to him and saying, "Does anything seem wrong about that to you?" he quickly answered, "Oh yeah, I got the date wrong...." I said, "Yeah, by like 1500 years!" And he had no idea what I was talking about....!)

C: The main leader of the Civil Rights movement was Rosa Parks.
ME: Um... can you think of any other influential people in that movement?
C: (searching through his two hastily compiled note cards) Um... Rosa Parks.
ME: Anyone else? Anyone at all? Anyone else who fought for the rights of African Americans?
C: Uh..... no.


Excessive use of Thesaurus in papers:

"And they ne'er found out who started the fire."


J: That happens, you know. Women can abuse men, too.
M: I know! My stepmom punched my dad the other night!
P: Did she lay him out?
M: No, he was just like, what's your problem???


On the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing: "...they were in the basement, so it basically killed them the worst."

20 May 2006

Update on the hate

This is turning out to be one of my favorite units ever. It's so fun to sit and talk to an 8th grader about Islamic fundamentalism and then turn around and discuss the use of a "gay panic defense" in the Matthew Shepard murder trial with another 8th grader. Yesterday, one kid looked up from a book and said, "Martin Luther King Jr. got a lot of his ideas from Gandhi!" and another kid said, "Oh! I'm doing Gandhi!" and they spent the next five minutes comparing notes on non-violent reform techniques. So great. Because there are so many topics, and because they got to choose, most kids seem to be really interested in their topics & research. I hope the days they're presenting are as successful as the last few have been.