Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Little Princess

"I hope when you read this, it kindles your heart and puts a smile on your face." That's what Sarah writes in a letter to her father from the movie, A Little Princess. It happens to be, A Little Princess, that is, one of my most favorite movies of all time. I enjoyed Shirley Temple's performance, but I relish the remake from the 90s.

I guess you're wondering why it is that your hard earned tax dollars are paying for me, a reading teacher, to show this movie to my students in class. That I'm not using my time wisely, and not teaching up until the very last second of the school year. You can be relieved that the movie does tie in nicely with our end of the year projects over India and that the things that the students have been reading about will now have visuals.

Speaking of end of the year projects, my students presented their findings on Monday. For the most part, the presentations were enjoyable and quite entertaining. I also could assess right away whether learning took place. You'll be happy to know that a whole lotta learning took place.

My gifted and talented class were tasked with creating an invention or improving an already created product. Here are some of the inventions that were presented: A Fancy Ball, which can be 6 different balls in one! The Master Mind! Never peel an orange again and have sticky fingers! An I Spy Rock Star Comic, featuring Gene Simmons from KISS and Marilyn Manson. I don't imagine fortunes will be made, but we had an entertaining afternoon dreaming about the possibilites.

Very few of my students had even heard of The Little Princess, but one surely did and grinned a huge smile while saying that she loves the movie. My favorite parts of the movie are those that include Levinia, the two faced horrible bully and the man from India, Rajah. Although, completely different characters in mannerisms, they both bring something that we all need. A little bit of pain and meaness inorder for us to truly understand and appreciate a little bit of joy and kindness.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading Time On A Friday Afternoon

This is the Friday before the last week of school and while my classes have been finishing their super cool end of the year projects, I've been milling around the room and straightening things up a bit. In doing so, I came across a Time magazine from November of 1999. I became interested in this particular magazine because of the cover. On the cover, in big bright lettering I read, "Low-Carb Diets...Meat-loving, bread-banning regimes are the rage. Do they work? Are they healthy? Here's the skinny."

Well, this had me all twitterpated, because finally, I was going to find out if these low-carb diets actually worked! So, as I perused my way through the articles in search of the answer to my long awaited question, I came across a section titled Milestones. When I think of milestones, it usually brings to my mind important, fulfilling moments in one's life. Such as, getting your driving license, graduating from high school, or getting married. But one of these articles, just didn't fit the description.

"Died, Carla Hochhalter, 48, mother of Anne Marie, 17, a student paralyzed in the April shootings at Columbine High. Hochhalter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; in Englewood, Colo. At a pawnshop, Hochhalter asked to see a .38-cal. revolver, then surreptitiously loaded the gun with bullets she had brought with her before shooting herself in the right temple. Just days before, her daughter had finally regained some movement in her legs."

I resided in Denver during the Columbine shootings. I could never make myself go by the school that transformed into a momento filled display of people pouring their grief out onto the sidewalk like water from an overfilled tub. Most of us were able to push those memories out of our minds, gone...vanished, but what if...what if, you woke each morning to a constant reminder of those wretched hours being relived time after time. Wishing that it were only a rancid nightmare, but waking to the reality of a child, paralyzed.

I don't know for what reason Carla ended her life, I can only imagine that it may have had something to do with the tragedy at Columbine. I used to think that parents that took their own lives were selfish, but in my wisened older more mature stage of my life, I choose this belief instead, "Don't judge until you've had the same exact experience." And since, we really and truly can not have the same experience as another person, then it's not for me to say

Hmmm...still trying to find that low carb diet article.