Duck and Cover and Always Kiss Your Brother*

(Originally published in 2012)

Zoe slips happily into my car minutes after the bell rings on Friday.

She seems in a good mood, so I exhale a little bit. She turns off the radio (she always does this to me), tells me she's hungry (again, the usual) and then says, "Ask me about my day. Ask me."

I'm trying to merge with three lanes of parents also escaping school parking lot madness; a girl holding a balloon walks in front of me just as I was about to quickly pull out. Yikes.

This afterschool dash of kids and cars is craziness and trying to navigate my way in is taking up a solid part of my brain making me unable to really wholeheartedly listen to my daughter, but I'm concentrating too hard to explain myself.

I miss my cue, then, to ask about her day, but do find my timing to pull out.

She repeats herself. "Ask me about my day."

I do.

She launches into it.

I won't even try to capture her exact words but it went like this.

At school they had a Code Red Drill, meaning there was an armed intruder.

The teacher locked the classroom door, turned off the lights and told the kids to get under their desks.

Two taller boys hid in corners; I think Zoe ended up under her teacher's desk.

Then they heard a bang and jiggle at the door like someone was trying to break in.

A girl in the class screamed and cried.

Zoe finished her story and admitted she'd been freaked out and maybe sobbed a little. Her teacher was a hero and overall they learned what to do.

I sit there dumbstruck.

 Zoe thinks I'm concentrating on traffic but I'm not.

I'm processing this horrific scenario of my daughter scared crying worrying about being shot by a faceless angry intruder instead of acing her test.

I don't know what to say. I don't. I wish I'd been warned, I wish I could have prepared her, but I let that go.

I tell her all about Burt the Turtle, and how children in the 1950s were terrorized by impending violence that never arrived.

After we pick up Zack from his school and he is settled into the backseat, Zoe launches on him.

Ask me what happened at school, ask me. 

He blinks his eyes, he looks sweaty and happy and he seems to remember something and starts digging in his backpack.

" Zack! Ask me about my DAY!" she commands and then he does so she repeats herself and then tells him the entire story she told me.
She finishes her story with how the teacher hugged her and everything was OK and then "Zack! Why are you crying?!"

I hear a sniff and another sniff from the backseat. Zoe turns all the way around to hold his hand. "What's wrong?"

"WAHHHHH. I didn't kiss you goodbye this morning!" he wails.

Zoe laughs.

"Aw that's nice. Write about that mom," she commands and then Zack stops crying and sniffs and says "Yes Mom, write about this so everyone else remembers."

AMH 2010 11:00am Class Grades

AMH 2010 9:30 Grades

Summer School Students are different; most of them are laser focused and love having class everyday.  This is a lot of A's. I usually give 20 A's in a class of 70!

Summer School 11: This isn't Dead Pool

On the morning of the last lecture of the express summer school semester I walk into a very cold classroom. Mr. D* is already there, as are a few other students.

 I am not late, but I am also not particularly early, having taken a thoughtful sunrise walk along a lake and meditating on the mist hovering indecisively between visible and gone.

 I give Mr. D* chocolate chip cookies and a Dr. Pepper, then set up the projector, turn on the computer and open today's lecture.
This course could've ended in 1865, but that isn't a good ending point for the first half of American history -- how could I not cover the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments? This course could've end in 1877 with the end of Reconstruction, but that is incredibly unsatisfying, like the end of the movie made about the first half of the last Harry Potter book.  Dark times.

I bring the students to 1898 and the Spanish American War because I want to leave students (1) questioning the media and (2) aware of the reality that many empires have risen and shrunk over the last 3000 years.
Remington's finest* 

I hope they will become more engaged in what is going on today and place current events in the larger multi-century context.

A woman can hope.

Once the classroom is set up I head up to my office. It isn't official policy to check in or clock in, but I feel like I have to be seen by the staff in order to consider having been here today.

I go up there and off to my office and hanging on my office door is bag filled with food.  Hooray, Mr. D* will not have to subsist on cookies! There is a sandwich, yogurt, fruit and an unsigned note -- enough to more than sustain someone; enough to make someone feel stronger.

I take a picture of the bag of food surrounded by statues of yoga frogs who are very happy to witness this act of charity.

I am moved, and I hope this touches you too.  Not enough attention goes to good people doing good things; studies have shown that   reading about people doing good things affects people.

 I don't race back down to the classroom, it's too cold down there and I'm in a skirt and heels because this is the last lecture and the last time I have to dress like grown up until late August.

Lecture goes well.  Yellow journalism is salacious and engaging by nature, so the whole topic is easier and more relevant than what I had to cover weeks ago -- "Jamestown grew tobacco, a labor intensive crop, but where were the laborers? -- hey, what are you doing over there? write this down!" 

As usual, the students who don't pay attention just don't pay attention and fall into their phones.

A mentor of mine taught me to discern between "students" and "attendees" and I still thank him for that clarification. I can't even really get this but it feels like some students don't come to my class to learn, they want credit, they want points, but they don't want to wrestle with what is important about Yalta or the Battle of New Orleans. At this point in the semester I just bless their hearts and keep teaching the ones who are deeply engaged.

When I finish lecture in the first class, no one gets up.

No joke. I'm like "Class is over, that's all the history you're getting, I ethically must stop, I will NOT give you WW1, GO!."

They sat and laughed and I'm like "This isn't Dead Pool! There isn't something after the credits! Go!" and slowly they left, one by one, Mr. D* and the rest of them, off to type up their notes and study for their final exam.

Before the end of my time on campus I find myself staring back at the picture I took of the note, and all the sudden I see a clue in the picture and I think - I hope - I know who it could be.  And if it is who I think it is, I might cry a little.  Can you see it too?


AMH 2010 Exam #3 Study Guide: Part 3 of 3

Exam #3: 300 Points  
 200 Points In-Class
 100 points Online typing all notes into narrative 8am 6/21

Format of In-Class Exam -
5 sets  @ 40 points per set = 200 points

1.     Masterpiece
2.     My paramount object in this struggle
3.     Southern Code
4.     You furnish the pictures…
5.     13th Amendment
6.     14th Amendment
7.     15th Amendment
8.     1848 Declaration of Sentiments
9.     1856 Election
10.  1860 Election
11.  1898 Treaty of Paris
12.  4/10/1865 & 4/14/1865
13.  American Temperance League
14.  Anaconda Plan
15.  Articles of Secession
16.  Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk
17.  Black Codes
18.  Civil Rights Act 1875
19.  Compromise of 1850
20.  Compromise of 1877
21.  Confederate States of America 1861-1865
22.  Dred Scott: Story, Case, Ruling*
23.  Female Moral Reform Society
24.  Fictive Kin &  Jumping the Broomstick
25.  Fort Sumpter 1861
26.  Grandfather Clause
27.  House Divided Speech 1858
28.  Irish Immigration in 19C
29.  John Brown, Harper’s Ferry 1859
30.  Kansas-Nebraska Act
31.  Lee Circle, New Orleans
32.  Lincoln’s Inaugural Address
33.  Maine Liquor Law 1851
34.  Middle Passage
35.  New England Emigrant Aid Society
36.  NYC Draft Riot
37.  Platt Amendment
38.  Plessy vs Ferguson39.  Poll Tax, Literacy Tests
40.  Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
41.  Putting Out System
42.  Reconcentrado Camps
43.  Shadrach Minkins: Story, Case, Ruling*
44.  Sharecropping
45.  Slave Ownership in South, 1830
46.  Slave Quarters
47.  Several Ways Slaves Constantly Resisted
48.  Sold Down the River
49.  St. Patrick’s Day: Irish or American?
50.  Story of Anna Catherine
51.  Teller Amendment
52.  The Caning of Charles Sumner 1855
53.  Election of 1860
54.  Know-Nothing Party
55.  Sack of Lawrence
56.  Yellow Peril
57.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin
58.  White Man’s Burden
59.  Who killed Spain?
60.  Yellow Journalism

AMH 2010 Exam #3 Study Guide, Part 2 of 3