Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lesson 152: Black or White

"Read it," someone at work said to me.  "It's all there in black and white."  The words that my colleague was referring to were political in nature, regarding the cuts in public education and general lack of support from our state governor.  The newspaper article was shoved across the faculty room table.  His finger tapped three times adamantly at the article, with the third tap being more passionate than the prior two.

I did read the article.  It was more not so good news from the governor's office about public education.  It was all there.  Black print on white paper.  Well, it was newsprint so let's just say white-ish.  Budgets and money and lobbyists and rhetoric.  It make for a tough read, especially at the start of summer.  I took the article along with me, and promised myself I'd read it later.  I had a few more pressing matters to deal with first.

Today was my first day of summer vacation, and in keeping with tradition, I went through my 180 days worth of lesson plans and looked back at all the things I tried to teach this past year.  What made an impact?  Where did I miss the boat?  My list of Epic Fails were just a few this year.  I get the opportunity to have my students year to year, therefore I know them well.  Mrs. Eloise understands what they like and how they learn best.  It's hard to plan for the future until you spend a bit of time looking back to reevaluate.  That is what I did today, and why I was reminded of this song.

My theme for the 2011-2012 year was Black and White.  Everything I taught the students each week had something to do with black or white and I somehow made it fit with the curriculum. In fact, every outfit I wore to school this year was black and white, too.  I kept it a secret from the kids as I wanted to see how long it took someone to figure it out.  Long about Thanksgiving time, the girls; Haley, Katherine, Kylie, Anna, Amelia, Madeline, Emily--the smart, observant ones noticed.  When I made the announcement that they were right, and that I was planning on continuing this wardrobe challenge throughout the entire year, Ellen my daughter said, "I knew that.  I just didn't say anything."  I knew that was true because she's just like her Momma.  I know lots of things I never say.   Last September's lesson plans contained this 1991 Michael Jackson song, Black or White, which soon became a favorite of the Questies.

Give this one a watch if you haven't seen it in awhile.  It will remind you how artistic Michael Jackson was.  With the upcoming Olympics, it's a good one as it hi-lights several cultures.  I put the 6 minute version on here.  There exists an 11 minute version as well that contains some violent and rather disturbing scenes.  Again, it gives you another glimpse of the puzzle of a person Michael Jackson really was.  My favorite parts of the video were:
  • seeing a young Macaulay Culkin
  • NORM!  I met a guy in college once that was a dead ringer for the real Norm.  Never forgot him.
  • 5:01 into the video the scene with all of the world's buildings--I made my students identify them all.  Can you?
  • 5:31 into the video the morphing.  Pretty cool.
Is anything ever really black or white though?  I mean, let's take MJ for example.  Literally.  Was he black or white?  Did he have a skin condition or was he trying to intentionally alter himself to prove a point?  

Eloise thinks that anything---any person, any issue, any anything---lies somewhere in between and is nothing more than a shade of gray depending on how much light you throw at it. I think that is what Michael was trying to tell us through song and dance.

Now that the walk down memory lane is over and the lesson plan book is put away, I can spend a little time on some things I like to do.  Some longer runs.  Some time with my plants.  Of course focus on my own children.  And my favorite, some extra time to read.

Check back in a day or so for Eloise's summer reading list.  I've got one book in particular that I'll be blogging about, but the wording has been a bit difficult.  I need some more time with it to get it just right.  I hate to disappoint, you know.

Enjoy your walk down memory lane to 1991 with Black or White.
    X0, Eloise

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