“can i go to the lav?”

You want to go where? 

“The lav.  The lavatory.  THE BATHROOM.” 

Sheesh.  Transfer students. 

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the drama and “other” stuff about school that I forget to talk about the most important parts – the curriculum and the students.  And man do I love them. 

Last class I introduced students to the structure of our Federal government by giving them a Constitution Scavenger Hunt.  They were a little disappointed when they realized they didn’t get to leave their seats, but I think it proved to be more interesting than originally anticipated.  I am constantly amazed at how different my classes and students are, but how similar their thought process is.  For example, when we came to Article 2 of the Constitution (the Executive Branch), the hands started shooting up:

“But Mrs. Russ, what if the president dies, and the vice president becomes president.  Is he still only allowed to serve 8 years?”

“What if Obama didn’t want to run for re-election now, but then he changed his mind 20 years from now.  Could he run again?”

“What if most citizens really wanted a president to serve more than 2 terms?”

I am amazed at their curiosity and I get so excited when I see these sparks.  I am happy to answer these same questions all day, because it tells me they’re thinking.

We’ve also been working on their 1st marking period project.  Instead of assigning one cookie-cutter topic, I gave them a menu of options to choose from.  In addition to selecting their own topic and creating a research question, students have to incorporate two elements of technology.  I gave them a list of suggestions that included Prezi, Voki, Zooburst, Glogster, Myths and Legends, and others.  I am amazed to see the final products coming together.  One student is making a commercial about the citizenship process using Windows Movie Maker.  Another student has decided to write a rap song and create a Voki to sing it.  Others are making electronic scrapbooks, Prezis, graphic novels, and pop-up books to illustrate concepts like the 1st Amendment, democracy, rule of law, the legislative process, and citizenship.

I also came across this article today.  It’s about the importance of Civic education at the secondary level.  It says things that I could have told you over a cup of coffee, and that my colleagues and I have known for years.  I’m not really sure why it took so many researchers with so many letters after their names to tell us in such a decisive way that we do, in fact, need to keep teaching Civics and social studies. 

Was that ever in question?