Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Venture, New Ideas

This September I'll have class full of ultra-reluctant learners--and I am excited about having them! It's a class for students who are below basic in reading or math. Our school started it two years ago, and it has evolved into a tutoring/study hall/on-line reading and math program.

In addition to increasing their reading and math abilities and confidence, my hope is to impact their mindset. These kids, even more than the others, have generally been mentally feral, left to feed on TV and videos, raised by their impulses and the media, consequently serving the twin gods, Immediate Gratification and Self.

I propose sharing with them stories of ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, who have shown courage, surmounted difficulties, or otherwise acted with greatness of heart. I may not transform them all into vital, literate, community pillars, but I am gunning to shatter that hard apathetic crust, to watch their minds expand to believe that their efforts really ARE more important and efficacious than their perceived abilities. And I have 36 weeks to go for it.

If you know of inspiring or motivational stories that kids (mostly boys) aged 12-15 would enjoy, please let me know!

Here are some of my current ideas:
2) The Olympic gymnast Shun Fujimoto, who performed his ring routine with a broken leg, knowing the pain he'd receive upon dismount
3) Christian the lion, about the impact of love and friendship
5) Six year old Ruby Bridges, who integrated a Louisiana school
6) Thirteen year old surfer Bethany Hamilton, who, after losing her arm to a shark, went surfing a month later
7) The marshmallow test of preschoolers
8) The walnuts and rice demonstration about priorities and time management
9) Austin's butterfly (from 2:01 to around 6:30)
10) Chuck Swindoll on attitude (see below)

Ideally I'd like to have 36 solid ideas. Ten down, 26 to go!

I leave you with Chuck's famous words:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes." — Charles R. Swindoll



    about the officer's last act = buying a kid some cookies


    about an autistic man's amazing architectural/cartographic memory and his artistic ability



    the cross country runner who carried a bleeding foe back to the start, then went on to finish the race--dang!


    Guy spends his summer helping people