A Monthly Mile for Compassion

Earlier in the month I had the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion project on the brain pretty strongly when I saw this video:

That video got me to thinking…what if I “walked a mile” in someone else’s shoes once a month?

For example, in March, my little family always celebrates Earth Hour (a scheduled hour to not use electricity…as a reminder to be mindful about energy consumption). But what if I made it a point to not use electricity for 24 hours as an exercise in compassion for those who don’t have the luxury of electricity?

In April, I usually participate in an event where I go 24 hours without shoes. The focus of the event is to remind us that not everyone has the luxury and protection of shoes. Some people have to go without.

And what if I wore a hijab for a day? Or what if I went without running water for a day? What if I walked through the mall holding hands with a woman? Or what if I walked through the mall holding hands with a man who was clearly a different race than myself?

What would all of those things be like?

And what if I reported back on each of these experiences on the blog to do my tiny part in raising awareness and compassion?

I feel like, for me, this would be a tremendous exercise in compassion. Do you think it would be valuable to you for me to blog about these experiences (especially if I include information about organizations and services that are also trying to help raise awareness and support)? Can you think of any other ways I can “walk in someone else’s shoes?” Do you feel like it would be disrespectful to any group to do this sort of thing? (I absolutely want to avoid disrespecting/exploiting/belittling anyone!) What are your thoughts?

Three Things Thursday: February 26, 2015

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

 

 

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For the first time, I actually saw city workers changing the flags/signs on the light posts downtown. I always suspected that wasn’t done by magic. :) Also, I just love our little downtown. :D

 

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Knitting and murder?!? I had no idea this series existed until Grace and I happened to walk by it at the library. They didn’t have the first one there, but don’t worry! I have it on hold from another branch. :)

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I love how Frank helps me wake Grace up every morning. I say, “Let’s wake up Grace!” and he zooms up to her bedroom to jump on her head. :D I think he’s just in it for the snuggles. ;)

 

So, what made you smile this week? I’d love to see you share on your blog or here or on twitter! :D 

Don’t forget! You can use the tag #ThreeThingsThursday on twitter. It’s a great way to share your three things without doing a post or to let the world know you did a post. :)

I truly do encourage all of you to snag this idea (and some badges!) as you please. :D

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The Glorious Books of Our 8th Grade…So Far

I’ll admit I was feeling a bit uninspired in the area of my usual Wednesday posts focused on reading and/or writing. But then I realized that it’s been a really long time since I shared much about what Grace and I have been doing for Language Arts this year. We’re a little over halfway through our school year (we have school all year and start at a rather strange point in the year compared to public school), so I thought it would be fun to share the books we’ve read so far…and what we have coming up in that area. Here’s what we’ve read:

It may seem like we’ve made some odd choices, but I’m okay with that. :) Part of our choices were made based on the fact that we have a focus on North Carolina history this year…several of the books we’ve picked are historical fiction set in North Carolina as a bit of a Language Arts/Social Studies crossover. (As this is mostly a Language Arts post, I didn’t include the nonfiction we’ve read for Science and other subjects.)

I also want to note that we did read the original versions of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn…not those edited ones that take the bad words out. Personally, I find it way more valuable to discuss these things with Grace and make sure she understands why particular words are unacceptable than censor what she reads.

So, what are we reading now? This little gem:

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I’ll be honest…Grace isn’t much enjoying it. I thought the graphic novel would soften the blow of exposing her to Shakespeare (I knew she would hate his work), and it has a bit, but she’s still not a fan. So, bad news for Grace, because next up is this:

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I thought it would be interesting to compare the two after reading them both. Both versions have the original words from Shakespeare, but they’ve been edited differently and certainly have different art. It’s an experiment. :)

And while we’re reading various forms of Hamlet, we’ve been listening to:

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Yep, the Hamlet Symphony from awesome fellow blogger, Trent McDonald! :) (You should definitely check it out!)

After we’ve finished up with Hamlet (Grace thinks our Hamlet finale should be watching The Lion King), we’ll be moving on to:

Grace's choice.

Grace’s choice.

And…

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My choice.

 

So, what about you? What have you been reading? If you home school, what awesome books have your students been drinking up? If you don’t home school (or if you do), what book would you recommend as an “every student should read this” book?

 

 

Adventures in…Desegregation

Okay, that title might be a little misleading. I didn’t actually desegregate anything. I did, however, go to a talk about the history of school desegregation in our county. Grace, of course, joined me on this adventure. :)

We got to the talk pretty early (it is our way), so we had lots of time to look at the documents the speaker had spread out for us:

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The talk was given by Professor Ellis of Wingate University and his student, Adrienne Cherry. The talk was extremely interesting, and I wish I had taken notes. I made the goofy assumption that I would be able to find their research (or at least similar information) online, but so far, I’ve not had any luck. Here’s what I remember:

  • The high school in our town was the first in the state to fully integrate. I’d love to say that’s because the town we live in was awesome and not full of racists. Alas, that’s not the case. The integration in our town was forced to happen because of pressure from the federal government and the fact that the “black high school” burnt down.
  • Prior to integrating, our county tried really, really hard to prevent desegregation. (I wish I could go back in time and kick some shins.) Laws were passed to try to “integrate without integrating.” (Essentially, on paper it would look like desegregation was happening, but, in reality, everyone was still segregated. The federal government didn’t buy it.) White people opened “private schools” with ridiculously low tuitions…this way white students could still go to an all-white school without breaking any laws. Yick.
  • Before schools in our county were completely integrated, black students were denied admittance into white schools for any possible reason. Lots of things like “forms not being filled out in a timely fashion” were used.
  • There were all sorts of protests and activists directly involved in the desegregation of our tiny county. Some of those protests were carried out by students. There were planned student walk outs…but they had to be careful with that so no one could get in trouble for truancy.
  • Before the full desegregation happened, four black students did begin attending a “white school.” Because that school had no yearbook and, apparently, really sketchy records, we have no idea who those students were.
  • After desegregation for students took place, there had to be desegregation for teachers, too. This makes perfect sense, but it never occurred to me before. I’ve often learned about the struggles of students during desegregation, but this is the first time I’ve learned about the teachers…and that leads me to something really cool…

One of the teachers who participated in, lived through, and experienced this tumultuous time was there at the talk! She was sitting right next to me, as a matter of fact! I felt like I was breathing the same air as a history superhero. :) Luckily, she talked for a bit, too, and told us about the struggles that black students continued to face after desegregation.

Left to right: Professor Ellis, Adrienne Cherry, a teacher who saw it all (I think her name is Bea Connor, but I'm not certain I'm remembering that correctly.)

Left to right: Professor Ellis, Adrienne Cherry, a teacher who saw it all (I think her name is Bea Connor, but I’m not certain I’m remembering that correctly.)

 

 

It was a fabulous talk, and it certainly sparked an interest in local history for me. I hate that there weren’t more people there to learn about desegregation in our area. (The “crowd” was tiny, but that may have had something to do with the freakishly cold temperatures that evening.) Our library has evaluation forms for all of their programs…Grace and I both put that we’d love to hear more about this topic as Ellis and Cherry continue their research.

What about you? Do you know a lot about the history of desegregation in your area? If you’re not from the U.S., is desegregation something that happened in your country…or were your schools always integrated? Is there any part of your local history that you’re particularly interested in? If so, what sparked your interest?

Superman and Veritasium

I have a super-busy day today, so I’m just going to leave you with some quick bits of math awesomeness. :)

First up, this awesome video from Veritasium (a YouTube channel that I adore) is one of my all-time favorites. It makes you think about how we think…and that’s fun. ;)

And now some evidence that math is not one of Superman’s powers. :D

Let me know what you think about the video. How long did it take you to figure out the rule? What do you think of the host’s perception of truth? And what about Superman? Did you spot his error? :)

My Day Is Wrecked

And it might seem stupid to some people, but that’s really neither here nor there…because my day is still wrecked.

I was plinking about on Pinterest when I was suddenly accosted with several pictures of dead dogs. Euthanized dogs. And those dogs were being treated disrespectfully in their deaths (in my opinion) to become “poster dogs” for a cause. The pups were already unwanted, they spent their last days in a shelter, they were killed…and now their corpses are being used to champion a cause.

Granted, it’s a cause I believe in…don’t buy pets, adopt them.

I 100% agree with that. We rescued our pup 8 years ago and have spoiled him every single day since then.

Heck, I even have a rescue gecko.

Every pet I’ve ever had, with the exception of two mice, have been rescued/adopted.

I would adopt all of the animals if I could.

But I can’t.

And when I see dead dogs…dogs who have already had sad puppy lives…being further abused in their deaths, it wrecks my day.

And now all I can think about is dead dogs with sad lives and the fact that I can’t save them all….while chances are high that the people those messages were actually intended for will pay them no mind.

I have no idea who pinned those pictures. I didn’t check before I clicked away, and I’m certainly not going back to look. I’m not interested in calling the person out anyway…I know in my heart that he/she is trying to support a wonderful cause with those pictures. I also know that he/she didn’t set out to wreck my day. ;)

I do want to leave you with the same message…minus the corpses:

(All images were found with a quick Google image search for “pet rescue.”)

 

So, what do you think? Is using animal corpses to support a cause okay…or is it just one last indignity done to an already-suffering animal? Do those sorts of pictures do any good…or do they just upset the people who would never do that sort of thing in the first place? Do “little things” like pictures or TV shows ever wreck your day?

If We Were Having Coffee: February 21, 2015

*I originally stumbled across this concept at Part Time Monster, and I love, love, love the idea of having a chatty post once a week. I do hope you enjoy my ramblings.* ;)

 

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I would tell you that I have so many things coming up in March and April to look forward to! The ballet with Grace, a day at a new (to us) science museum with my sister, a weekend lake getaway for my BFF’s 40th birthday, dinner and a play with John, school open houses and auditions for Grace…really way more stuff than I normally have on the agenda, but I’m excited about all of it. :)

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I would tell you that I participated in the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion event yesterday, and it was fantastic. I was happy to add my two cents and to read a ton of other lovely posts about compassion. Reading all of those posts totally confirmed my belief that people really are kind and thinking of others and doing small things to make the world a lovely place every day. :D Yesterday turned into a whirlwind of a day for me, so I didn’t get to spend as much time on twitter and WordPress as I would have liked, but I’m hoping to catch up a bit this weekend.

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I would tell you that I finally, finally, finally finished my Similar Triangles unit for my Teachers Pay Teachers shop this week. It was like pulling teeth…out of something that doesn’t even have teeth. I’m not sure why I had so much creative block with the thing, but it is finished. Now I can start on a unit about the Pythagorean Theorem, and I’m excited about that. :) Here’s how the Similar Triangle unit turned out:

Neat! Of course, those pictures don’t even include the 25+ page lesson, the practice sheets, the quiz, etc. That monster ended up being 72 pages long! Shew.

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I would tell you that Grace and I got some fantastic news this week…just last night, actually. I won’t go into boring details about art school application and audition requirements, but I will tell you that there have been some recent changes at one of the schools, and those changes mean that Grace does not have to memorize a monologue from a play. As Grace is much more interested in music than acting, this is great news.

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I would tell you that Grace and I went to a talk at the local library about the history of school desegregation in our area. It was fascinating, and I’ll be telling you more about it on Tuesday.

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I would tell you that Grace also went to a library program about the Chinese New Year. This one was just for teens, so I don’t know what sort of secret stuff they were up to, but she did have this to show for it:

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When she handed me the orange, I misheard her and thought she said it was a lucky orange. That wasn’t what she said at all, but we’ve decided that the orange is lucky anyway. :)

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I would tell you that I think I’ve mentioned before that I am dangerously close to my limit on WordPress storage. In light of that, I’ve started moving old Three Things Thursday pictures to Pinterest and deleting them from the blog. So far, I’ve finished migrating all of 2013 (which wasn’t very much because I didn’t start it until fairly late that year). Now I’ll be working on 2014.

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I would tell you that I’m thinking of extending my compassion activities on the blog. The idea is still in the works, but I’ll be talking more about it on Thursday…I’ll probably need some input on the plan from y’all. :)

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I would tell you that I’m really excited about my March Kindness Printables. I think they’re going to be awesome. If you haven’t gotten the February ones yet, you can check them out here.

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And I would tell you that I hope you have an absolutely wonderful week until we meet for coffee again next Saturday. :D