This month, I'm participating in the Slice of Life challenge with Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post or you can head on over there to check out other people's stories and follow along with the fun. For more information on what a Slice of Life is about, you can go here.
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I talked with a middle school teacher today about argument writing and how I think the secret to argument writing is first finding out what kids are passionate about. I borrowed an idea from Sarah Kay and suggested we ask students to start by making a list of what they are mad about.
The other day when I watched Sarah's TED Talk, I made a list. She asks the audience to make a list of things they know and to make a list of things they don't understand.
After that and now that I watched Chief the Poet's Daddy Issues that he performs with his daughter, I started thinking about what I've worked to teach my sons. I made a whole list of all the things, remembering all the conversations I've had with them, thinking about who influenced me and who I've brought into their lives. People like Kwame Alexander and John Lewis stood out.
And then tonight we were watching a rerun of Andi Mack on Disney Channel. I looooooooove this show. It's kind of like a tween soap opera with so many layers and I'm such a fan. We're waiting for a new episode to come out so we've been rewatching episodes and realizing we missed some episodes too. Tonight we watched episode 6 from season 2 called, "I Wanna Hold Your Wristband." The main storyline is that Andi and her friends are sorted into two groups, A and B. Everyone gets a wristband and suddenly group A starts to get perks that group B doesn't. Group A gets smoothies and foot massages while Group B paints the hallways. By the time lunch rolls around, when Group A is eating gourmet food and Group B is eating some kind of slop, Andi decides she's going to join Group B. When others in Group A get mad because Andi and her friend give fresh-baked cookies to Group B, there's a food fight.
Finally, the students put it all together and realize that the only reason people were in Group A or Group B was because they were split alphabetically. The principal explains the idea of privilege and the students go their merry ways. I wish they had spent a little more time talking about what privilege is but the fact that they addressed it counts for me.
Here's my favorite part of the whole movie. This is the principal sharing what the point of the lesson.
"Nobody here is better than anyone else."
I might have jumped up and down and repeated this to my kids because I tell them this all the time! No one is better than anyone else. We all count, we all matter, we are all enough. Some people are better at football or drawing or singing but just because they might be better at a skill, it doesn't mean they are better than anyone else.
I'm a mama to two boys. One has brown skin, brown hair and brown eyes. The other has peach skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. They look different but my message is the same to both of them. They need to be good friends, invite others to join them, be kind to everyone, stand up for themselves and others when needed.
I also explain that even though we know nobody is better than anyone else, there are still people and places and times when someone might not treat someone fairly because of the color of their skin. It's not fair, it's not right, and it's not okay because we know nobody is better than anyone else. We talk about speaking up when we notice something that doesn't seem fair.
In general, time is flying by, my kids are growing up so fast. They'll be 11 and 8 this year! Over the years, I've noticed myself repeating advice or important ideas I want them to have ingrained in them and this idea of nobody being better than anyone else is one of the most important things I tell them.
I mentioned Kwame and I have a song that I sing my boys almost every morning that I'll share tomorrow!