Wednesday, March 2, 2005

I'll probably post plenty of student stories here, but for now I'll just describe one of my favorites so far. It happened in October. I asked my sixth-graders to bring to class two articles from a reputable newspaper, one on Bush, the other on Kerry. They would summarize their articles to the class, and we would discuss and compare them. One boy brought a list of candidates' favorite things, from Time Magazine for Kids. I was annoyed, but didn't question his choice at first, because this somewhat unpopular boy was having his moment of glory, and I didn't want to crush his enthusiasm. Once the excited questions and comments had died down, however, I couldn't help asking, "Should one's vote be influenced by such trivia?" Well, favorite sports and food were irrelevant, they admitted. "But some items are quite revealing." Me: "Really? Can you give me an example?" Class: "Consider the favorite childhood books. Kerry's favorite book was _Robin Hood_, which shows he cares about poor people, and Bush's favorite book was _The Very Hungry Caterpillar_, which shows he's greedy."

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