Saturday, September 12, 2009

President's Message


Our school district would not allow us to air the President's message to school children. We could show a recorded version with a permission slip signed from their parents. Not surprised by that decision since this is a "red" state, home of that oh so wise (read a$$) Jim Inhoffe. OK, I won't go down that road...

I sent out 24 permission slips and got all of them back. That's a record! Four students were not allowed to watch the speech. I did not get nasty notes or emails like some of my colleagues, but I did get several "Thank you!" notes written on the slips from parents who were allowing their kids to view the speech.

I showed it yesterday afternoon. I have a hard time getting these kids to pay attention for more than ten minutes. They were silent the entire time and hung on every word. I am not kidding! The message was simple "You can succeed. You have something to give to this country. You can accomplish whatever you desire by setting goals." After the speech we set short term goals. We will complete the project Monday by creating visuals (posters) of the path they plan to take to reach their goal.

Sixth graders never fail to surprise me...

21 comments:

Betty said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I used to teach sixth grade, so I know what you mean about them truly listening to a speaker. The thing that hit me as strange about parents not letting their children see the President's speech is that students listen to all sorts of historical speeches in social studies classes. Evaluating what our leaders say is an important part of learning.

a corgi said...

lets hope they take seriously what he said to get a good education and to work hard so perhaps they can be better politicians/leaders some day than the majority of those that we have in all levels of government

our present president was not my choice to lead our country, but I did think his speech to the students, for the most part, was a good one for the students to hear

betty

Joan said...

I agree, we need better politicians all around.

Manda said...

That's awesome! Inhofe was the commencement speaker at my college graduation, and his address was more about the wonders of the GOP than education or success or any other standard graduation theme!

Maybe he was just threatened by Obama's ability to actually talk about education! :)

Joan said...

Oh Manda, I am so very sorry. ;)

Sigurborg aka Sig said...

that is awesome! One school district here in San Diego did not allow it either and it just amazes me why not! I mean all he was doing is encourage kids to stay in school but their reason was that more than half of the students are ESL students! Even more reason in my opinion to air it to them!

j4luck said...

Although I can understand why anything politically oriented can cause a lot of opposition, I really think that all the controversy surrounding this speech gave the wrong message to children. Shouldn't we be encouraging children to listen when the President speaks, and encourage them to think about what has been said and discuss it and formulate their own reaction? It seems like these are important skills if we want children to grow into responsible voters. I think a speech specifically directed towards the children was the perfect opportunity to teach these skills. I just wonder if some of the older children picked up the opposition to Obama and as a result received the message that the President does not warrant their respect and attention.
It's good that so many of your parents allowed the kids to watch it. It seems that most of them just wanted the respect of making that choice with/for their own children. Maybe much of the controversy was in the approach. I was just very surprised by it all!

Mike said...

Joan,
I printed Obama's speech and didn't find a thing in it that anyone would find offensive. I took it next door to my best friend teacher of American History and a fist full of righteous indignation over the anti-prez furor. She voted for Obama, but said the first speech, the one that CNN got a bit of did include language that asked kids to help their President by listening to him, distinguishing him from congress, other things like that. I don't know if that was true. I'm proud of you for the effort you put into bringing the President's message to your students. Here's a bloggy's pat on the back.

Mike
Teacher Food

Joan said...

Hey Mike!

I was never aware there was another speech. I know some things were taken out of context ~ imagine that!

Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing this! I am a teacher, but I am currently not teaching as I'm working full time on my master's. I was interested in the students' reactions to the message. I am not an Obama fan, but I thought the speech had a wonderful message. I hope it can reach several students, and I would have gladly shown it to my students.

Amber said...

I love this story. I think it is so interesting how the youth are picking up on what is going on. And they want to listen to our president. I remember being that age and not really knowing what was going on. I also find it very amazing that you got all the slips back! Thanks so much!

Joan said...

Thanks for posting on my blog Amber. =)

Erlinda said...

I applaud you for sharing the speech with your students! Regardless of anyone's feelings toward the President, I think we can all agree his message was valid and important. Hopefully his message will stay with your students (as well as students everywhere) for the long run!

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