Monday, May 8, 2017

Slice of Others' Lives, Including Trees

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       I realize that the end of the school year looms for all of you who are educators. You may have only a few weeks remaining, or more, but May means endings. I thought I'd share one thing I did sometimes at the end along with other "goodbye" rituals. I asked my students to show what new ideas/perspectives they thought important to know, at least they had begun to understand by this end of the year. They could use words but must present the "answer"  in some contrast and visually.  I do not have photos of student work, but do have a photo that demonstrates the challenge I gave often and know many of you also give to your students: "consider the other point of view". Live in someone else's shoes for a while, as that familiar quote says. My students and I encountered this tree on a trip a long time ago, and we spent an evening arguing about the importance of trees, of habitat; but on the other hand, those who need to make a living, to care for their families. We must consider "whose ox is gored?" when decisions are made. This tree was such an inspiring look at a LIVING thing that seemed to be giving its message in near-human form. Do you have particular activities to share that invite students to learn of other perspectives besides their own?
Do you see the face?

24 comments:

  1. Such an interesting photo to inspire thinking! Maybe if that's what we do at the end of the school year, students will carry that into the summer and keep thinking... That would help stop the summer slide.

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    1. You may be right, Diane, and certainly considering the "other" is what I meant for students to do, into their "other" lives. Thanks!

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  2. I love the expression, "whose ox is gored?" A graphic way to consider perspective. This photo and your thoughts do exactly that. What a perfect way to engage students in what we value most,. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. The "Whose ox is gored?" is an old saying I knew from a grandfather, and when I research it, is from some unknown origin. It was meaningful to me to share some new way to think of perspective. Thank you, too, Julieanne.

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  3. Perhaps Linda you should run for political office or at least bring this image and practice to Congress. What strikes me as wise is that understanding that truth is rarely (if ever) singular. One thing I did with 1st graders in Newark NJ years ago is I took them outside and each had a drawing notebook and pencils. They made a quick sketch of something that caught their eye and then I handed out different shaped paper masks for them to re-see what they had drawn through the mask and draw again. We were studying Gandhi and art.

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    1. What a fascinating learning activity, Mary Ann.

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    2. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Congress would try hard to see that "other side"? And Carol is right, it is a wonderful idea to look again! When I hear ideas like this it makes me want to be back teaching again. Thanks, Mary Ann!

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  4. I have never heard, "Whose ox is gored?" I am not even sure I know what that means.....someone's property is sacrificed for the "greater good?" Certainly, this is a topical argument....the various points of view builds empathy and understanding. Thank you for this.

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    1. I believe that the saying also depends on point of view, Barbara, but to me it also means that a decision is generally made for someone's good, and usually it's the decision-maker's. Those in Congress seem to be making the decisions to save money in order to cut taxes for the wealthy, but others' "ox is gored" because of it. Looking at various sides is not easy to do for many.

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  5. Funny how May may mean endings to many, but not to me. I'm a May baby so it's the beginning of my next new year. :)

    BTW: I totally see the face!

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    1. Oh, love that differing POV, Stacey. Happy Birthday month to you! And I love that you see the face. It's so alive to me. Thanks!

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  6. Love the idea of presenting "the "answer" in some contrast and visually", being alert to different perspectives. I know your students benefitted in big ways from this exercise!

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    1. It was always a wonderful exercise to "see", Maureen. Thanks!

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  7. WOW! I love that photo, Linda. I see a grumpy old man...or a frog. Not sure which one. This is a fun activity too. Thank you!

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    1. Now you've made me look again to find that frog,Jennifer! I'm trying on "your" eyes! Thanks!

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  8. What a wonderful way to end the school year and send your students off thinking about perspective and point of view. I've said it before, but I would love to have been one of the students in your classroom and to have been on the receiving end of the learning challenges you offered. Yes, I saw the face! Reminds me of the plastic ones people use today, but yours is "all natural."

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    1. Thanks, Ramona, glad you like the face. It seemed important that students examine all the perspectives they could discover, perhaps they will remember now that it is so critical.

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  9. Your post is timely and the image is powerful. I;m borrowing your image formy grad students whose last night of clss starts in just a few minutes. THanks for the reminder that we may always see things through differing lenses if we look for the options.

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    1. I hope your class enjoys the discussion, Anita, and perhaps you'll tell me how it goes. Yes, it is important to look through different eyes. Thanks!

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  10. Such a wise and powerful way to capture how thinking has changed in a year with you. Seeing other perspectives is daily work, isn't it?

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    1. Yes, important daily work for sure, Tara. Thanks!

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  11. Love the tree photo! We have succeed much if we have taught students to "consider the other point of view." Great ideas.

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  12. Linda, I wrote a response a few days ago and when I went back to continue, the comment did not send. Here I am again. While May may be drawing close to the end of school for many, it is a wonderful idea as you suggested to look back. Presenting perspectives from another viewpoint is a wonderful challenge for students. Looking at your tree photo will make a wonderful reminder to notice, wonder, and develop viewpoints from different angles. May I use your photo, with credit to you, in my workshops so others can see the significance of looking closely and taking a stand?

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Having a conversation is a good thing!