So the Gaza Flotilla wasn't filled with peace activists after all. Leftard, Israel hating, Hamas supporting, Turkish thugs were lying. What a surprise. For a good run down of the duplicitous violence of the flotilla members visit Solomonia. I came to it by way of Debbie Schlussel. I was actually planning on doing a post today, but not on this. I've been neglecting my blog, and I thought maybe I could get a couple posts up. But then I read of this fiasco with the flotilla right before I left to go the the Memorial Day parade with my daughter.
I've been following it throughout the day, and I wrote three letters to various newspapers in order to express my opinion at the way they've allowed themselves to be manipulated for years by Islamists, whose lies are so transparent, whose hatred is so apparent, one has to wonder how and why the MSM allows itself to be played the way it has been played.
I'm not sure why, but I've begun posting simple little things on Tumblr in the Garbanzo Annex. I could cross post them here, but they're little and I just want them in a place where they can be collected.
This year in my fourth grade class, we've been reading Hamlet. We began reading as soon as we returned from spring break. We'll be done with the play in about a week, (this is Shakespeare's longest one) and then we'll watch one of the movie versions.
Hamlet is tough. It's long. It's kind of "talky" in some parts. I can't say that all of my students are enjoying it. I can say that some of them are. Our discussions are way more fun than talking about the stories in the reading book. Some students have read ahead. Others claim that they've already seen a Hamlet movie. And I believe them when they start telling me how Hamlet kills Claudius and then also dies. They haven't mentioned Ophelia though.
The writing assignments I've given on the play show that for the most part, they are (with a lot of help from their teacher) understanding what's going on. They're picking up on the characters' motivations, on plot devices and twists, and making logical (but not always accurate) predictions on the direction of the story.
Two of my students have gone to the library and checked out Hamlet in other editions than the one we are using. One is one of my top students. The other one has given up trying to do most of the work and has adopted the "get on the teacher's nerves" method of getting attention - except for Hamlet. He made me read a scene with him the other day. He got to be Hamlet. I was relegated to being Horatio. It's a good thing I know who's boss in my class.
I used to get my Hamlets from Scholastic. Their edition has gone out of print, so this year I had to pick up a few used odd-ball editions. I noticed Dover had their Hamlet Thrift Edition for $1.50. They also have a volume featuring Hamlet along with Macbeth, Othello, and Romeo and Juliette for $2.50. Five of my students gave me money to place an order for those books. I also ordered a few copies of Charles and Mary Lamb's Ten Tales from Shakespeare because I know that they will be read. (And I ordered a few things for myself.) Somehow, probably due to my amazing math skills, I ordered an extra copy of the four-play volume. (And yes, I think Big Bill Shakespeare would have approved of that bit of word play.) A few students offered to buy it from me.
Some high school drama students came and performed some scenes from Hamlet for my class. My kids loved it. And they asked (mostly) appropriate questions of the performers afterward. Some of my boys were acting a little too "hot to trot" over some of the female players, but things still worked out well.
One of the things I learn year after year, is that we can teach children great literature. Even though the skill level of students entering my class gets noticeably lower year after year, they can still appreciate Shakespeare. I can't say they appreciate him over Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but that's no reason to hold back.
We don't have to dumb things down to get students to learn. In fact, even though I'm not what you'd call an expert, I think I'm safe in saying that the dumbing down trend has had a negative effect; students are getting dumber, learning less, and in many cases losing the ability to learn as less is expected of them.
Another Islamic attempt at mass murder, another round of denial and willful blindness. The pattern is set. And thus it will remain until there is an attack so horrifying and so deadly that ignorance is no longer an option for even the most deluded appeaser of jihad. (I thought that attack had already happened, you know, 9/11, the empty spot which was once the World Trade Center, the thousands of empty spots in the hearts of the loved ones of the 9/11 victims, but I was ignorant to the depths to which people will sink when trying to deny the painfully obvious). The AP still reveals their ignorance here
Authorities shed little light on what might have motivated Shahzad -- who since moving from Pakistan to Connecticut had acquired a master's degree in business administration and a house in the suburbs that subsequently was lost to foreclosure.
"No one can find a safe way out for himself if socety is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result." -- Ludwig von Mises