Two weeks of the school year are complete. I’m beginning at last to shake off the summer slack. Ideas are churning, stuff is happening, kids are learning. I’m starting to get very excited about teaching voting rights and the presidential election in a couple weeks. At a Humanities Team planning meeting with my boss and former planning partner and my new planning team we were talking about finding an example of a time when civil rights were taken away to use as a “mystery piece” for them to investigate and build background knowledge. I suggested martial law in Baltimore during the Civil War, and thought perhaps photos of the big guns on Fort Federal Hill and garrisoned troops around downtown, accompanied by some text such as the anti-Union/anti-Lincoln verses from “Maryland, My Maryland” would be an interesting hook. We talked also about perhaps bringing in some of the recent revolutions in the Middle East and using that as a means of showing the kids how important voting rights are, and how fortunate we are to have an opportunity to choose our government. I have a co-teacher last period who is Syrian/French–I think that’s a wonderful opportunity to have a built-in content expert in our classroom for my 7th graders.
So ideas are churning, big things are coming, I’m waking up. I love my kids, the school has felt extremely positive and safe so far this year, and we’re ready to go. A couple more weeks of clunky geography lessons and literacy skill refreshers and we’ll be running much more smoothly.