Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Letters to the President

Today, my students began their prewriting activity for writing a letter to the president. Their task was to identify one problem in our country, facts that support that this is a problem, and one solution the president could enact.

I was shocked by the outright hatred my students showed for Mr. Bush. I assume they overhear much at home, especially because they actually cheered when I read the statistic from the current Time For Kids that less than 50% of the United States believes Bush is doing a good job in office right now.

After I calmed down their cheering, one student yelled out: "I know how I'm going to start out my letter: Dear Dimwitted Fool, How are you helping our country?"

I held in my laughter and proceeded with a little chat about respectfully addressing the president no matter what your opinions are, then the students got down to business. Every student was completely engaged in his/her letter. I circulated around the room and found that my students were doing an exceptional job. They were eloquent, respectful, and completely on-target with their arguments about problems with education, crime, and homelessness in our country. After all, they are the citizens most effected by these problems.

Later, as I checked over their letters, I came across an incomplete paper. All it said was, "All the other kids hate you. I don't like politics, so I just want to know what you did that made them so mad."

Maybe tomorrow, I will let the other students answer his question.


Formidable Flea said...

What a great note - I stay as non-partisan as possible in my history/gov classes, and it just amazes me how I have to keep students from each others' throats. They are very opinionated, but not as ignorant as I'd thought they'd be: I have to listen to NPR (National Public Radio) every morning to stay on top of things.

Greg said...

What a great assignment for your students. I didn't quite catch what grade level they're in. What is a little dismaying, though, is the seeming amount of vitriol they were willing to express publicly. Surely, much of that is learned at home, as you suggest, but could it also be the "well-informed" voices of the talking heads on their favorite shows such as "Total Request Live" and other shows of that ilk?