Social Responsibility: It’s the Little Things

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With the countdown on for the end of the school year, I have my students creating photo essays. For their photo essays they are to take one of the themes that we have examine in World Literature throughout the year either persuade their audience or tell a story. The most important things I want them to do though are to capture their own images and to have a coherent, unifying statement. However, this post isn’t really about their projects, but about our last theme of the year: Personal Legend and Social Responsibility.

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Six-Word Memoirs

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It’s not every day that writers are limited in the number of words that they can use when they are writing. This is especially difficult when constructing the memoir. While memoirs are obviously shorter than autobiographies, the idea behind them is the same: write something that is authentic to you and tells a story. While my senior World Literature students are familiar with memoirs, today we started writing a different type of writing: Six Word Memoirs. Continue reading

Book Review: THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot

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Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells – taken without her knowledge in 1951 – became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells  have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. 

(Story synopsis from Broadway Books paperback edition; cover image from goodreads.com)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first started reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I’m not a science-minded personal in general (although I do love reading about and learning about psychology), and I knew that the Biomedical class at the high school I work at had read part of the book, but I hadn’t heard much about it from the students. I also don’t remember ever hearing about Henrietta Lacks before. However, I was given the book to read by someone who thought I might enjoy it. At the time I was given the book I was in the middle of reading Half the Sky, and so The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was set to the side for a little while.

When I did finally get a chance to start reading Rebecca Skloot’s nonfiction novel Continue reading

Sick = Unable to Write?

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The other day when I published by book review for Half the Sky I realized how long it had actually been since I had last posted, and I was shocked at how long it was.😮

For three weeks I was sick with probably the worst case of tonsillitis I’ve ever had. Although, I was being treated for strep without a strep test, so who knows what I actually had. (I’m probably oversharing now….sorry!) Anyway, during that time I was incredibly tired when I would get home from school. So tired in fact that I didn’t even have the energy to read! And that never happens. So of course this meant that I didn’t get any writing done either. (I did manage to keep up with my Instagram account though. That, without question, does not take as much thought as my blog posts. (I did have a lot of fun posting my travel photos from my trip to Canada. Hopefully that will be a post soon as well.)

Apparently when I get sick that means every thing in my life must come to a stop – I’m a pretty terrible patient. I pray I never have to go to the hospital because I would make the nurses absolutely crazy. However, I digress…   My hope is now that I’m feeling better I will be getting back into the swing of things. I have a few book tags that I’ve left waiting and I’m looking forward to doing those. Also, there are a number of books that I’ve read in my “time away” and for an updated reading list, visit my 2016 Books page.

Happy Writing and have a wonderful weekend!

Book Review: HALF THE SKY by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

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From the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, here is a passionate call to arms against the oppression of women around the globe— “the central moral challenge” of our time. Through inspiring stories of extraordinary women, Kristof and WuDunn show that the most effective way to fight global poverty is to unleash the potential of women. They also offer an uplifting do-it-yourself tool kit for those who want to help.

“An unblinking look at one of the seminal moral challenges of our time. This stirring book is at once a savage indictment of gender inequality in the developing world and an inspiring testament to these women’s courage, resilience, and their struggle for hope and recovery. An unexpectedly uplifting read.” -Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

(Text summary and review from paperback Vintage books edition; cover image from goodreads.com)

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn was the March book for the Pi Phi Pages book club through Pi Beta Phi. I must admit that when I first saw this book, I was skeptical about reading it for the book club. I was sure that 1) I would never get it read in time with all of the essays I had to grade and 2) I wouldn’t find the book interesting enough to hold my attention. I will freely admit now that I was wrong on so many levels about Half the Sky. Continue reading

Education as a Business

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It’s been a while since I  last posted something about Education. However, I feel the need to speak up about this topic. I usually hold back and try not to write things that divide people (I prefer to unite them in common interests), but as we live in a world that loves to debate and talk about different topics, I feel the need to speak with my own voice about something that affects my life every day.

So what sparked this need to talk about Education? In all honesty, the GOP debate from last night (Thursday, May 10). I also read an article today that exactly mirrors my thinking on this topic. (There’s a link to it at the bottom of this post.) And one of the terms I’m going to reference in this post has been condemned to be a “dirty” word when it comes to education: Common Core. Why I’m going to mention this word that seems to only get negative press? For exactly that reason. For the reason that Common Core is only talked about in a way that says we’re killing education, and that this is just another way for the government to control us. I’m sorry, but I”m going to have to stop you right there. Was it enacted by the government? Yes, absolutely. That is not a point for discussion.

What is up for discussion is Continue reading

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