It’s August and I am submitting Blog Light. Light because it’s a short entry, but it's still a weighty consideration.
Several years ago I was at my desk, struggling to find a simple way to explain a complex idea. Frankly I can’t remember what it was, hopefully something terribly hard like gravity or relativity or, worse, the electoral college. I was tired and discouraged and tempted to go “encyclopedic,” just put down the facts in as simple a way as possible and be done with it. But then I had an amazing thought: There was a chance that whatever I wrote could be a child’s first encounter with that fact or idea. If it was presented not only clearly, but interestingly and even magically, it could make a real impact. Needless to say, I worked harder.
Since then I try to keep this realization in mind for almost any subject matter. I think about the possibility that what I’m saying could help a kid understand or put a name to what he is feeling. It could open up a new part of the world or give a child a new way to see a part of the world she already knew. It could create a lifelong interest. It can help someone learn to see the magic in the everyday.
What a responsibility. What an opportunity.
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And here is a notice for teachers and librarians who live close enough to the Boston/Cambridge area. I’m involved in a program you might be interested in.
On September 17th, Lesley University is hosting See How They Run: Teaching the 2008 Election to Growing Voters. I am talking about my book (See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White House) and how it can be used in the classroom. Dr. Jo-Anne Hart, who also teaches at Lesley in the School of Education, will discuss the “Growing Voters” curriculum she has designed for grades 1-12. There will also be facilitated breakout sessions for participants to exchange ideas with others who work with similarly aged students.
September 17th, 4:30-8 p.m. at Lesley University, University Hall, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 (parking in back). Admission is $10, but that includes the cost of handouts and a boxed dinner. Reservations are required and seating limited, so those interested should contact Beth LeBeau at 617-349-8624 or email@example.com.