Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Tribute Time! – Today (in the US) is a celebration of the eighty-eighth birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man whose message reached across America and far beyond its borders.
Martin Luther King Jr. is best known as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and for promoting civil rights using nonviolent means. His most famous quotes speak to a world of learning. For example, Dr. King is remembered for saying, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Hope offers this thought…
Paying tribute to diverse cultures around the world is a way for teachers to lead students in driving out hate.
As a tribute to Dr. King, I am republishing portions of a post that I wrote in 2011 about another esteemed African-American, Frederick Douglass.
Like Martin Luther King Jr., Douglass’ focus was on freedom for all – time for a tribute in itself.
Douglass’ autobiography describes his impact on the American experience, which again, reached out. According to Douglass’ autobiography, FREEDOM was his glory word – time for another tribute.
It might be worth sharing Frederick Douglass’ story with your class as a way to pay tribute to diverse cultures around the globe and to people who have exhibited greatness, no matter what their heritage.
Here’s a synopsis of Douglass’ story; it includes an attention-getting trick…
Tribute to a Trick! – Born into slavery in 1818 along the eastern shore of Maryland, a state now described in the US as mid-Atlantic, Frederick Douglass became a free man, social reformer, orator, writer and statesman.
Douglass is credited for using a masterful trick to enrich his own education.
He wrote in his autobiography of learning to read by tricking the white children in his neighborhood into teaching him how to spell. The trick? He would lean over their shoulders toward a book and say, “Betcha don’t know that word!”
Naturally, his free young peers would shout out that word, probably spell it too, and maybe even brag about knowing the definition.
“Betcha don’t know that” can “getcha” a lot of knowledge when you’re a kid.
Beyond the tricks Frederick Douglass employed, he built his beliefs and career around the basic concept that educated people would (and do) want to be free.
Douglass didn’t even learn the alphabet until he was twelve. His slave owner’s wife introduced him to this foundation for reading and writing. Her efforts were risky because the laws of the day prohibited teaching slaves to read. Historical accounts of Douglass’ life describe slave owners of his pre-Civil War (US) days being afraid that if slaves learned to read they would become dissatisfied with their conditions and want FREEDOM.
No matter what curriculum you follow, there’s room to add tribute time.
As educators in the twenty-first century, we and our students may not literally need to seek to be free, but we teachers can seek to gain more knowledge – more tools and simple tricks like “Betcha!” that may help our students soar to great heights.
Tribute to Students Today – Leaders Tomorrow – Help your students learn to apply the inspiring stories of Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other people who exhibit greatness in your community and culture to their own lives. Who knows…one day I may be writing a blog post in tribute to someone in your class!
Please send comments about how you celebrate tribute time in a world of learning.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet