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Animal Rights

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I'm all about language. I believe in embedding language lessons in everything, including math class. I like to stick idioms into my instruction every so often in order to expose my students to the wide world of words.

For example, on Friday I was teaching fractions, decimals and percentages. I teach all three in one unit, because they are related. "We're going to kill three birds with one stone," I explain, proud of my ability to toss this idiom into a fractions lesson. I am brilliant.

But my rapt audience is not impressed. "You're mean!" they exclaim.

"You want to kill birds?!"

"They didn't do anything to you!"

I was dumbstruck. I wasn't sure if my students, most of whom have learning disabilities, were teasing me. But before I had a chance to explain myself, one of my students with mental retardation piped up, " What if we just put them in a box and stick the box in a dark place? Then you won't have to kill them."

Everyone thought it was a very wise idea. My assistant and I just looked at each other, ready to crack up (and I was ready to cry. We have so much to learn...). I tried explaining what the idiom meant, but my audience of 13- and 14-year-olds was apparenty too hurt to budge on the issue. So I agreed it would be nicer to put the birds in a dark place rather than stoning them to death. Then we decided to change the idiom to "baking three pies in one oven." PETA would be proud.

8 Comments

"Baking three pies in one oven." Hmm, maybe you've coined a new idiom!

You are awesome - you should get an A in your curriculum class! (teehee)

i too like the new idiom... way to go miz shyu ;)

I, too, began my teaching career on an Indian Reservation. I am now an elementary principal because of the experiences that I was fortunate enough to have there. You sound wonderful. What a blessing for your Navajo students that you chose the profession of teaching, and that you chose to learn from them.

Hi Jessica,
I have ALWAYS hated that idiom, and changed it to "feed two birds with one loaf of bread." Words have a lot of power in them ... and I believe we have to watch what we say and make sure it means what we want it to. Some of our words come with "other meanings."

I think it was Gandhi who said,
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

What a lesson they provided you! Thanks for sharing! Sasha

Wow!! I almost cried myself. I am very happy that you are giving those wonderful kids so much experience. Thank you very much :-)

I am so proud that you are giving back like you are. Keep those kids heads high and one day I want to become a special education teacher.

Hi Jessica,

About 4 years ago I was displaced to the SW here in NM because of the military. I am out now and am almost finished with my science teaching licensure at UNM. I would really like to teach on a reservation. I don't have any idea of how to get started. Could you point me in the right direction?

Thanks for your time,

Clint

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  • Clint Chisler: Hi Jessica, About 4 years ago I was displaced to read more
  • Keyon Boyd: I am so proud that you are giving back like read more
  • Jenny: Wow!! I almost cried myself. I am very happy that read more
  • Sasha: Hi Jessica, I have ALWAYS hated that idiom, and changed read more
  • Trina: I, too, began my teaching career on an Indian Reservation. read more

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