Thursday, December 04, 2008

Being Thankful

This week our eighth graders took part in an immigration unit. They were randomly split into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class citizens and had various things happen to them depending on their class. 1st class students sat in the front of the class, were first in line, etc. while 2nd and 3rd class had fewer perks 'deported' from free time back to the work room. You get the idea.

The whole experience was to have the kids get a better understanding of how influential the class structure has been in the United States. Students joked with each other about where they sat in the class and so forth and everything was going fine until lunchtime.

At lunch the small group of 1st class citizens were treated to pizza, soda and cake, they sat with each other and had a great time. The others had the regular school lunch, and if looks could kill . . . I hadn't seen these kids get that emotionally invested in anything so far this year. There were some who were really, REALLY mad. Back in class we talked about it, and their biggest complaint was how unfair it was. That some students, randomly mind you, were allowed to be selected for the 1st class life.

So, teachable moment. We talked about fair. What is fair, and how in almost every conceivable way, globally they would fall in the 1st class category. Not because of anything they did, but the freedoms and opportunities available to them.

Radiohead "All I Need."

I showed them this video by Radiohead and we discussed what's fair. And how, in this new flatter world, they will be in direct competition with these kids if there is any way they are able to get out of that life. Hopefully, my students not only become thankful for what they have, but will also become mindful of those who have not.