After one terrible day Thursday, that left me sobbing long into the night, I knew I had to change the environment drastically if I hoped to get through the next day. This caused me to throw out a mandated vocabulary test and opt for getting them to do some writing.
My mode of operation in the classroom usually includes tons of personal writing. Somehow this year I got off my track. I started to realize I don’t know my students as much as I wish I did. Only I can change that.
Something came through my Facebook feed that sparked the beginning of an idea. It is the letter going around that Einstein supposedly wrote to his daughter. Sadly, since the lesson yesterday I have learned that the letter is not authentic.
But still, the sentiments expressed in it about love are powerful and pertinent in the world today. Read it here.
When I read the letter to my students, they were dead silent. I don’t think they have ever heard anything quite like it. I asked for their reaction, and we had a short discussion.
I related it to the novel we have been reading all month. “This book is about love,” I said. “Your job is to figure out what exactly it says about the nature of love.”
They had three questions to answer:
How did the characters in the book show love to each other.
What does that teach us about the nature of love?
How does it apply to your own life?
Here are some of the answers I received from my students to the last two questions (with plenty of grammar corrections!):
This book teaches us when life is falling, don’t give up. When I’m feeling down in my life, don’t give up. When something goes wrong in my life, it’s not the end of the world. — TF
At the end Ben forgives Dad and goes home with his family. This teaches us to forgive and forget the bad things people or family do to you. In my life I can forgive the bad and stupid things people or family do to me. When my dad grounds me for something I didn’t do, I can forgive him for that. — NB
The book teaches us that love is powerful. Risking your life for others is good and shows that you love and care for them. It applies a lot to my life. I have my own quote that is close to love: “Family is stronger than the will to live.” By this I mean throughout life we’ll face tough obstacles and risking your life for others shows that we care a lot for that person we love.— BR
This book taught us about love; even if one of your loved ones is taken away it means you don’t have to forget about them or don’t have to keep memories. And if you’re alone with your brother, you have to take care of each other and help each other out. I can apply this to my life by showing love to my family. And if one of them passes away I will always and forever love them. And I would keep memories of them because I will learn to never let them go, because Love is God and God is Love. – LB
I think the lesson is to love someone even if you don’t like them. I can apply this in my own life by loving my enemies…just love them and become friends. — AV
The book teaches us about love. When they were on the boat they didn’t give up when the dad left. I can apply this lesson to my life. When my mom left to work, I didn’t give up, and I was only 10-years-old. — JH
Love is powerful and when you lose someone you love, you lose part of yourself. I can apply this by loving the people I care about and keeping them close. — SF
Love can help you get through problems in life. Love can help my family get through anything. –PH
The book shows us love, like when they are working together when their father wasn’t there. This story applies to my life: instead of my mom passing away, I haven’t seen her in a very long time. My dad is taking care of us.— KD
Friday was a good reminder to me to keep it real, and be sure I am always doing what is best for the students. I am reminded again that it simply all about love. That’s what I believe, and I’m sticking to it!