Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our Youth

So this new post is going to be about me, not my classroom, though it is very tempting to write about what a wonderful job they're doing researching the difficulties plaguing the life of Africa... eh, nevermind. I'm going to write about that instead. It's far more interesting than little old me.

Three students presented today first period. The first presentation was themed "We Don't Own the World" and focused on vegetarianism. Here's what we learned. 1) In order to feed a meat eater (someone like me) it takes four times the amount of land necessary to feed a vegetarian. 2) KFC and McDonald's practices debeaking of chickens and raises them in farm factories to die... we feed Wyatt chicken McNuggets when we take him to McDonald's to play. This makes me sad because he's cute and so are chickens. Maybe Ted Nugent has it right.

The second presentation focused on the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Here are some startling facts: 1) Every day AIDS kills 6,300 people. 2) 8,500 people are newly infected everyday 3) About 70% of the worldwide population of infected live in Africa... this sickness seems to be spreading due to a lack of education about preventative measures. Storytelling and superstition trump science in their culture.

The third presentation was about poaching. It seems most animals are targets for poachers to "strip" the way cars are stripped in this country by criminals for parts that can get them money. But cars don't lay bleeding where they're disfigured: animals do. The following animals are poached in Africa: Elephants (ivory tusks-hide), Rhinos (ivory horn-hide), Leopards (hide), Lions (hide), Zebras (hide and tails), giraffe (hide), and the Dik-Dik (bones).

In all the presentations were inspiring and compelled by a close study of Heart of Darkness, Christen's visit and research done entirely in a computer lab.

When the presentations are over, I have a short video and lesson to teach them about the 30 Human Rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights created in 1948 by United Nations.


Jennifer Sullivan said...

I don't now what a Dik-Dik is.

I love the idea of celebrating what our kids can teach us...instead of complaining about how "our youth" are lazy and have no respect.

We are doing some presentations in my class right now too. Maybe I will post something about them.

John said...

Neither did I! A Dik-Dik is a small antelope, and their bones are bendable, so they're easy to mold into jewelry. They're also very cute.

I'd like to read about what your kids are getting into. I eat lunch at 9:55 am with one other person and feel cut off from the school at large, so I think that's why I've been blogging so much about school.

That and my personal life is pretty boring, and since I have not been successful in the world of publication I don't think anyone wants to hear my bile about the act of writing, which, I'm finding, IS mostly bile. Who would want to read theory about how to stack bricks or side a house or lay a roof?

John said...

All right. I didn't mean to sound so bitter about the writing life. Some of my favorite books are about the writing life, but they're about life first. I guess that's what I mean.