Friday, March 23, 2012

History Lessons

It seems to me that we can’t explain all the truly awful things in the world like war and murder and brain tumors, and we can’t fix these things, so we look at the frightening things that are closer to us and we magnify them until they burst open. Inside is something that we can manage, something that isn’t as awful as it had a first seemed. It is a relief to discover that although there might be axe murderers and kidnappers in the world, most people seem a lot like us: sometimes afraid and sometimes brave, sometimes cruel and sometimes kind.
—Sharon Creech

I thought that I would respond to earlier SOLSC quote.  It resonated with me for many reasons.    Currently we are reading Lay That Trumpet In Our Hands by Susan McCarthy. It is one of my favorite books for shared reading in ninth grade.  It is historical fiction set in central Florida in the early fifties.  McCarthy reveals our shared history here, one of intolerance and hate crimes.  Some of the events are fictionalized for the purpose of the story and some lifted right out of the headlines from the newspapers such as the murder of Harry T. Moore and his wife.   It is also a perfect companion novel to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, except there are events that occurred in our own backyard.

The story itself has an eerie similarity to what happened to Trayvon Martin, again in our own backyard.  There are truly awful things in our backyards and if we don't work to understand them, we are destined to repeat them.  Isn't this the purpose of including history in our curriculum?  Last week my students were all fired up about Kony.  This week they were fired up about Trayvon Martin.  We did this by reading articles found in the New York Times, the Orlando Sentinel and The Miami Herald.  Thoughtful reading and discussion helped us uncover what happened and why Trayvon's death matters, why history matters.   It is through education that students learn to be more often brave and more often kind.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, education is the key. Ignorance is the result of a lack of knowledge. What happened to Trayvon was a tragedy. One that should never be repeated to anyone, anywhere.


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