Monday, May 23, 2011

Are Colleges and Universities in North America Unwittingly Providing a Platform to a Tutsi Genocide Revisionist?

My dear colleage Gatzinzi asked me to post this though provoking essay he wrote. I happily oblige.
Are Colleges and Universities Unwittingly Providing a Platform to a Tutsi Genocide Revisionist-1

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Danish Solution

Thanks to Ilka for sending this via the listserv.

“Filmmakers Karen Cantor and Camilla Kjaerilff team to reveal how the Jews of Denmark managed to escape falling victim to Hitler’s Third Reich. With World War II raging throughout Europe, Hitler announced his intentions to impose his Final Solution on Denmark. Incredibly, the citizens of Denmark stood strong against the German tyrant at a time when most European nations were crumbling beneath his might. As a result, the vast majority of Jews in Denmark were spared the grim fate of their brethren in other European countries such as Poland.”

Watch more free documentaries

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Wow! It's been a year since we came together and I find myself thinking about all of you so much. Risha's birthday just passed and I had so many wonderful memories of wings and beer and churches and sweets. But, it's not the same separated from those who helped make the memories.

I am right now sitting in Lake Tahoe working in a Tech Liaison Development Retreat. To my utter joy I found myself hugging Pam Bodnar and Gail Desler. And still the longing to share time with all of you again surrounds my soul. I will do everything I can to be in Philadelphia. I want to catch up, reconnect, and renew with you.

Be well all!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

To my friends....

I come to you with a heavy heart today. The last few weeks have been the most challenging of my career and life. After much soul-searching, prayer, and deliberation, I have decided to leave my teaching position at McCool. Unfortunately, I've learned far too much about politics and some of the downsides of teaching in a very small community/school over the recent weeks. This decision comes with mixed emotions. I'm planning to stay home with my youngest daughter and that is exciting. On the other hand, I will really miss the students and being in the classroom. I'm going to pursue other passions such as writing and photography. Please keep my family in your prayers as we make this transition in our lives. I will remain active in the Writing Project network and I look forward to continuing to hear from all of you.

I'm traveling to Washington DC in two weeks with a small group. I'm so excited to visit the USHMM for the first time.

I wish everyone continued success!

Monday, May 4, 2009

to all those still checking in

I’m reading a book titled Outcasts United: A Refugee Soccer Team, an American Town by Warren St. John. I found the book when I treated myself to a mid-day trip to Barnes and Noble after an early doctor’s appointment for my second of three levels of casts for my wrist, which I broke several weeks ago. I took a seat in the cafĂ© section and began to read, and within the first chapter found myself doing the ugly weeping that comes when I read those books that I can’t quite describe, but are filled with historical suffering. This leads me on a tangent –why the hell aren’t history books written more like this? Anyway, luckily there wasn’t a crowd, but when I finally stopped and went to pay, the check-out lady noticed my ugly face and asked if something was wrong or if she could help me. Somehow, in those situations when I don’t think I should be embarrassed by my all too uninhibited emotion, I am.

Well, the book is really good. The town is Clarkston, Georgia (check out the town website - I bet they aded those welcomes after the book came out), to the east of Atlanta. Beginning in the early 1990s it was designated a refugee settlement center. The story is basically about an old, white southern town struggling against the diversity forced upon itself, focusing on a refugee soccer team, named the Fugees, coached by a Jordanian woman.

On page 184, eventually the author comes around to explicitly discussing theory, which I found extremely interesting, since I’m not only interested in working harder, but also working smarter. So, he quotes Steven Vertovec, who wrote a paper titled, “New complexities of cohesion in Britain: Super-diversity, transnationalism and civil-integration.” I haven’t read the whole thing, only skimmed it, but St. John (the author of the soccer book) does a neat job of boiling it down to three points (of which I’m sure it’s more complicated).

Here’s my attempt at a paraphrase of a paraphrase:
3 step process for building connections among the super diverse: (1) “consider all the categories an individual belongs to” – and in doing so all the larger more defining categories that separate people usually dissolves; this made me think of the identity web (I think that’s what it’s called) that we did in the seminar; (2) “recategorization” – into which people classify themselves by their similarities rather than their differences, thus redefining “the categories of ‘us’ and ‘them’; and (3) “mutual differentiation” – where the various groups begin to respect the other groups and individual identity is respected, building an interdependence among the groups.

That might be a lame attempt, but I still wanted to share it. I think it has a direct relation to what we’re all trying to do. I’m still thinking of ways to work my kids through the process without much diversity present within our classroom. I do the identity web (that’s what I call it), and then allow that to lead us to discover who that excludes and why, and then examine our attitudes and beliefs about “us” and “them” or “self” and “other”. I can see the recategorization being a fun challenge for 8th graders – “Let’s see who can find the most nonsuperficial connections among one another who you might not normally hang out with!” Certainly the exercise can help students identify similarities, but will that grow respect - I don't know. I guess what I hope would happen is the so called mutual differentiation.

And that’s all I’ve got folks. I hope all things are going well. As will be my custom, I’m leaving you with an updated picture, taken a few weeks ago on a quick but wonderful trip back home to New Orleans for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. That's me on the left, with my dad in the middle and an uncle on the right.

Ya’ll take care now.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time to Dust the Blog

Well, the ol' blog has been gathering dust as of late. I know everyone is working on new things, and I want to invite all to take a gander at what the Miller students have been doing since our discussion of Night with Danielle's class in McCool. Miller students have been creating digital multigenre projects. To get a look follow the link below. I would love to see some student work posted here. If anyone has work to share, please feel free to post.

Miller Student Projects

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Teachers on a Journey Podcast

Hello to everyone who faithfully follows this blog. I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season and hope all of you enjoy the well deserved seasonal break. Sondra and several others from past Holocaust seminars had the opportunity to share about our personal stories regarding how the seminar has impacted our lives both personally and in our classrooms on a weekly program titled Teachers Teaching Teachers. I know, for me, it proved to be a wonderful experience. We had some technical glitches at the beginning and the end, but in between we engaged in some meaningful dialogue you may be interested in. I have also included a link to the collaborative blog Danielle and I refer to in the podcast.

Just click on the provided links and enjoy.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #133 - Holocaust Educators Network: Teachers on a Journey - 12.17.08

Breaking Down Barriers Blog

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I can't forget it

I was writing with my students this week, using different poetry prompts. One of the activities that we did (using photos as prompts) I stole from another TC from the OWP and used it with a photo from this summer's institute that I just got around to printing. Below is the picture, and then the poem.

New York: 2008

We were talking about languages.
Jennifer minored in French in college,
but has since lost most of it.
I was newly inspired to learn Spanish,
and dig back into my Greek and Hebrew,
loving the moments on the subway
when I heard absolutely no English spoken-
instead hearing everything from Spanish and Arabic
to Korean and (obscure to me) eastern European.

We were walking over the Brooklyn Bridge,
a small group of students beginning a tour
given by the (unrepresented) native of our group–Alice.
In the previous ten days of study
I had fallen in love with these people;
I would walk to the ends of the earth for them,
and, after learning my lesson,
gladly wait on them too.

We each carried bags.
Mine, hanging off to the side
because I was already sweating
beyond my own comfort level.
Gatsinzi’s bag looks huge, but was in fact empty,
waiting to be stuffed with souvenirs.
(I don’t remember if it ever was).
Jennifer, the consummate pro,
was like a hiker going ultralight
with that sad excuse for a bag
swaying at her side.

We could have all learned a thing or two from her,
and, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure we all did.

Thank you all for some great memories, and inspiration to write. Jennifer and Gatsinzi, I hope I remember things correctly.