Blog Your Blessings: Pennsylvania

I am always looking for stuff I think my students might like to read. I have found good material in The New York Times, Wikipedia, movie reviews, print news stories, travel brochures....If it's there to be read and it's interesting, it's fair game.  I want my students to latch onto the fact that reading is a real world activity and that reading everything they can will enrich their lives. 

While my daughter and I were in Pennsylvania, I grabbed a copy of a 146th Gettysburg reenactment newspaper because it was full of stories about life in the 1840s. I looked forward to horrifying my students with the news that there could be a 30-year age difference between a husband and a wife. Or that some women dressed in drag to fight in the Civil War, that Lincoln was neither the first nor the only speaker at the commemoration of the battlefield when he delivered his address..

I was delighted when my students read the Department of the Interior's brochure on Gettysburg and discovered that General Meade's headquarters was "a messed up farm." I enjoyed watching them read and take in the fact that  more than 5,000 soldiers died in an hour in the battle called Pickett's Charge.  It's was good to see them grasp that violence begets death; that choices come with consequences.

But I was happiest when a student who had also been in Pennsylvania over spring vacation asked me if I'd use her material on the Flight 93 memorial in class. I was delighted she knew she had good, worthwhile stuff. Delighted she wanted to read it. I was thrilled.

She gave me that material on Wednesday. On Thursday, when I had her twin brother in a different class, he told me he had been looking for the brochures but couldn't find them. I told them his sister had given them to me and that we would use it. He was happy about that, though he had no idea she had done that.  Next day, he pulled a folded up document from his pocket as another source of reading material.

I was thrilled. To believe you have something worthwhile. To say, "How 'bout we do this thing?" To share it. To believe in the value of a text. That was my blessing.

And then at the end of class, the young man handed me a wooden token stamped with an image of the memorial chapel created in memory of the 40 passengers of Flight 93. I looked at it and complimented it and handed it back to the boy. "No," he said. "I want you to have it."

Later that day in the pile of classwork I had collected, I came across a paper that belonged to this kid. He had worked hard. That was a first.

Amen and alleluijah. Things happen. How and why, I don't know. But I think it had something to do with being in Pennsylvania at the same time. I am grateful to the Keystone State.

Comments

  1. I am so glad to hear of such positive action coming from your classroom Sandy. It seems these moments are few and far between. They are certainly to be cherished as blessings. Keep up the good work.

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  2. It happens sandy because you are a loving, creative talented teacher who cares about her students. Hurrah!

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  3. You are harvesting the fruits of your labors.

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  4. Oh to go back to school, and have you for my teacher!!

    What a inspiring post....

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  5. I hope this finds you feeling well...and I know that the thrill of teaching can sometimes rock you to your core. Sounds like you've had a good core rocking!
    Sandi

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  6. You are such a precious teacher, Sandy.

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  7. And that's what makes the terrible. horrible, no good, very bad days worth living through.

    We all share in your joy and fulfillment. But know that you are the one, the only one...that earned it.

    I'm happy for you and proud of you and your students.

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  8. A teachable moment and a great lesson -- both blessings indeed! Seems like you were a real blessing to both those kids and others too! I won't have my blessing up until tomorrow night.

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  9. Inspiring teachers are so important to kids, they are lucky to have you, and showing it!

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  10. Your students are blessed to have you as a teacher.

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  11. How lucky you are to be able to witness your efforts come 'round like this; a blessing indeed! As you are to them.

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  12. It must be such a joy to see a light turn on in your students, and then to realize that you helped them flip the switch.

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  13. Oh bless you, Teach!

    aloha-

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  14. Your students are blessed to have you for a teacher.

    I taught at an alternative high school and they used videos instead of books. I always thought something was wrong in that practice.

    Been traveling. Should be back on track soon. Miss your stories.

    Love the new layout.

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  15. Your students have so much to be thankful, for, Sandy.

    I have never forgotten the teachers and lecturers who made a difference to me. Never have. Never will.

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  16. One of things I love so much about this series of "blessing" posts you do is the learning it gives me. Your students teach us so much, and you pass it to us. Thank you.

    Oh - and thank you for teaching them in the first place. Because without those lessons from you, they could not possibly do things that inspire you to share it with us. :)

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  17. (That's not to say I think they have no potential or wouldn't otherwise reach that potential. Of course they have and can. It is just refreshing that you care so much and you DO bring it out of them.)

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  18. I could not help tearing up as I was reading this ... you and your beautiful cracks ... look how you have watered these wonderful seeds .... thank you for this, oh how I needed it!

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  19. You are a wonderful teacher who is enhancing these kids lives :)

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  20. Just great news from your classroom!

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  21. definitely a blessing indeed in such a wonderful heartwarming way

    =)

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  22. it's really fulfilling when you see your students having fun with what they do. honor you for that sandy.

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  23. If you ever have a doubt whether or not you are reaching these children Sandy, re read this post and know without a doubt you sure as heck are!

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  24. Bet you are a super teacher.
    At long last I have an opportunity of introducing myself, Eddie, and as well as enjoying your post I am here to congratulate you on POTD. Seen you on various ocassions whilst commenting here and there. Hope we meet again soon and once more congratulations.

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  25. I think ive lost my comment.. I shall try and recall wot I writ!! LOL

    I bow at the foot of this post Sandy. Your pupils are reacting to your wonderful spirit and teachings. It is marvellous to behold. For them to 'get it' must be wonderful to watch. and lm sure you recieve more than they.

    a well deserved POTD from David. The man can sure pick 'em!

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  26. A wonderful experience recalled and shared. Great post!

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  27. What a wonderful post by an obviously thoughtful and compassionate teacher.

    Congrats on being names POTD!

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  28. What a wonderful story!!!It truly is a thrill when you see a student inspired who had been sitting on the sidelines...Bravo to you! This is a great post! Congrats on POTD!

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  29. Great job! Congratulations on the Post of the Day Award!

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  30. What a great teacher you are and congratulations on winning POTD

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  31. Congratulations for winning David's Post of the Day Award, and thank you for being such a great teacher. The children of the world, our future, need teachers like you.

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  32. I enjoyed reading your post! Congrats on POTD!

    Craig Glenn

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  33. A lovely juxtaposition of old history, recent news, and history that has yet to be written. More than just the one blessing, I see several! Thanks for sharing these moments as always!

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