Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Do You March For? #IMarchFor

50 years ago today, a man spoke about his dreams and changed the world. 

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, and the March on Washington, Teaching Tolerance is hosting a virtual march-- and my Advanced English 9 students and I are in. 

Yesterday, we read "Marigolds," a short story by Eugenia Collier.  In it, a young African-American girl struggles with growing up in pre-Civil Rights America.  She is poor, hopeless, and angry.  This story led us perfectly to Dr. King's speech.  Today, we read the speech while listening to the recording from the Lincoln Memorial- on August 28, 1963.

As a class, we talked about the rhetoric of speeches which stir people to action.  "I Have a Dream" was more than a little inspiring, and my kids created their own dreams.  Tonight, they're writing-- but today, we're marching.

Today, I'm marching for kind words.  My classroom motto last year was "Peace and Love."  This year, it's a little more forceful-- "Be nice or leave!"  There are a few phrases which make me lose my teacher-mind-- "retard," "That's so gay!," etc.  Kids learn pretty fast that unkind language won't fly in my room.  If only the rest of the world felt the same-- what an amazing world it would be.

Check out my students' "marches"-- and post your own to your favorite social media using #IMarchFor.  

I love that this assignment allowed me to teach history, literature, writing, speaking, and social consciousness.  I also love that it'll help me get to know my students a bit better.  Their passions are extremely varied, and it was great to see them debate their beliefs respectfully.  Highlight of my day: as the bell rang, I told my kids I was excited to read their work tomorrow.  Not one, not two, but three kids said, "I'm excited to write it!"  Bless their little hearts.  <3 font="">

Now go post your march!  As Dr. King said, "We must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.  We cannot turn back."
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