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The Common Sense of my Grandmother

I have found myself thinking lately of the house my grandparents lived in when I was young, She always said it was a happy house…..as though it was the house itself that created the happiness, but the truth of it is……It was my grandmother. Today I wanted to share some of the wisdom I have gained from her stories, and the house she built. Of course wisdom would be too fancy a word for my grandmother…. “Common sense” is what she would have called it. So here it is…..The six common senses……..The house my grandma built… When out in the world………. During my grandmother’s childhood she suffered a great deal of accidents, but one story stands out now. She was eight or nine, and playing some sort of game with her sister and some other kids when her sister accidentally dropped a heavy metal sprinkler from a second story on to her head, cracking it open. In the ensuing panic she was swept up by her grandmother and rushed to the local pharmacy, which is where emergencies such as these were handled in those days. The pharmacist decided she needed stitches. With no pain killer, he began sewing her up

Why Go to School?

On top of a 1,000 pound animal is where I learn the best. Racing towards an obstacle with the hopes of jumping over it is the most exhilarating experience I can ever remember. I’ll never forget the first time I fell in love with a horse. Her name was Scripture; she was a 3-year-old goof ball of a Thoroughbred. When she arrived she tripped over her feet, she barely knew how to jump, and I was way past her level. Nevertheless, for some reason, we clicked. At first, all the girls I was taking lessons with wanted to ride her. I mean she was new, and tall; who wouldn’t? Gradually, they all decided she was not worth their time, and so she was left to me, the kid who never complained about what horse they got to ride. The kid who wasn’t so ungrateful as she would ride ANYTHING the teacher put her on because she just wanted to ride. As Scripture and I grew as a team, I began to learn how to signal her when to slow down, and when to speed up. I learned why she tripped over herself, and how to stop it. I learned that

Learning Through Chewing

I was running late, once again, to a group therapy session in a tall glass office building near Georgetown in the District of Columbia, and, once again, I hadn’t eaten beforehand. I hopped off my bike, locked it up and hurried through the tall glass doors and up the elevator. I punched in the door code and walked through the empty lobby, knocking on the closed door at the end of the hall. Everyone else was already in conversation as I slipped into my seat, listening closely for clues to what they had been talking about. As I did I pulled out a container of leftovers and started chowing down. There were seven of us in the room, including the therapist, ranging vastly in ages between mid-twenties to over sixty. All of us were there because we were struggling with intimacy issues, and every week we’d sit in a circle, on my therapist’s soft ash colored couches, and talk about our lives and relationships. I started group therapy two years ago because I never knew where I stood with the people closest to me in my life. Over the course of two years, in these weekly sessions, I’d gotten a

The Three Most Important Questions in Education

It’s graduation season again – yet nobody seems to be celebrating. On college campuses, graduates are entering an economy in which the stable career paths of yesteryear are disappearing – and the specialized job opportunities of tomorrow have yet to appear. And in communities across the country, parents and young people are left wondering what exactly those past four years of high school were in service of – and how much, if any, truly transformational learning occurred. Something’s gotta give. The Industrial-Age model of schooling, which benefited 20th-century generations by serving as a legitimate ticket to the middle class, has clearly run its course. In its place, we need a model for a new age – the Democratic Age. And we need strategies for ensuring that young people learn how to be successful in the 21st-century world of work, life, and our democratic society. We can get there, but to do so we need to start asking – and answering – the three most essential questions in education reform:   1. How do people learn best? Over the past several years, a slew of research from a range of fields has helped illuminate a much deeper understanding of what powerful


In high school, after my best friend’s parents sent her away to boarding school and my parents didn’t, school became a pretty lonely scene for me. Not only because of her absence and my grappling with my lesbian identity in a pre- Gay-Straight Alliance world, but maybe even more so because I was a wanna-be intellectual in a population where, in a typical year, only about 40% of the graduating class would go on to attend a four-year college. Being engaged with the wider world of ideas landed me in a pretty small club. There were sometimes opportunities to take courses at an honors or Advanced Placement level, but it depended on interest and ability — my senior year, the AP English Literature course that I would have loved to take didn’t “run.” The rules of regular English let me test out of some of the units I could demonstrate mastery of, so Mrs. McLain found herself writing me pass after pass to the library, where I stumbled upon a video of a PBS special featuring a young Ian McKellen entitled, “Acting Shakespeare.” I was absolutely spellbound. I watched the video over the course of multiple days and then, when

An change in thought

When I was in the fifth grade, there was a girl in my class who would always be very mean and rude. She would always pick on others and was never in a good mood. The teacher would always tell her, “You have to treat others like you would want to be treated.” But she didn’t take the teacher’s advice; she would be mean or rude, and then cry when nobody would want to talk to her or play with her. When I told my mom about the girl, she told me that I didn’t know what made the girl act that way, and to never be mean to her no matter how horrible she would act toward me. But as the school year went on, the girl still acted the way she always had. She never changed. A year later when I was in sixth grade the girl moved out of town. I remember thinking that in all her time of going to my school, she never had one friend. I’m sixteen years old now and a sophomore in high school. I still occasionally think about that girl and how she is doing, and wish that when we were

Independent Adolescence

Children always depend on their parents. No matter how young or old; a mother and father are deeply needed in their child’s life. Unfortunately, some children don’t have their parents to depend on due to death, jail time, or something of that sort. So it is a pity when a parent is with their child and the child can’t depend on them. That’s where I come in. When I was little, my parents were my rock, and they were well fitted in my life as they should’ve been. Nevertheless, when school started, my sibling started having depression problems. Though he was only a few years older than me, my mother was concerned that a 7th grade child was having depression problems. By this time my parents were only focused on my brother, and I didn’t mind because I was very scared for him. As my brother’s condition got worse, so did my parent’s tolerance for me. My older sister didn’t mind not getting attention; she got a job to help out with the medical and therapist bills. At home, I was invisible. My mom stopped cooking for me, and she often ignored me if I tried to carry on a

Never give up

There was one point in my life when everything I would see or think of was the negative side of things. I could not be happy or ever satisfied with anything in my life because of how bad and selfish I was. My mom was working hard shifts at SAM’s to keep up with bills, which made her depressed and stressed all the time. She was taking care of me and my brother at this time and everything was just too hard in life. I was an angry brat I would say… In 5th grade I made a new friend, Mark. Mark was blind and kids would always pick on him but I would always have his back. We became best friends later on and started hanging out. One day, I was curious and asked him if he wished he could see like I could and surprisingly he said no. This really shocked me and I asked him why. He told me he liked being different from everyone else; he said that being that way let him see the good in everyone no matter what they look like. I was a bad kid and he saw the good in me

The Jacket

I think people learn by listening to other people and their stories. I learn a lot from my parents and their stories. The ideal learning place is everywhere. To create more learning environments is to know you don’t have to create them; they’re everywhere. I have a problem in that I’m not confident in myself. I don’t like the way I look or feel. But that has all changed because of my family and friends and my “everywhere” lesson. I always wear my favorite blue sweater because I feel like it hides me so people can’t really see what I look like. Which is a good thing because well there more to love with me. So all of my friends and family always tell me to take my jacket off, but I can’t. Every day I unzip it a little but by the end of the day it’s all way back up again and I feel like I’m getting nowhere. However, a couple of months ago I forgot my jacket at home and so I was left with nothing to cover myself with. And that day was awesome because everyone told me I looked really cute. The next day, I

My Life of Football

My name is Russell Stewart, and I didn’t always know how to play football. I never really even liked football until my seventh-grade year, but after that I got into it, and started to fall in love with it. At first, everything was scratchy in my mind. I never really understood the rules, and what to do without making many mistakes. It was hard trying to learn the game of football, and then to also learn to stick with it. I remember playing in games where I had no clue at all on what i was doing; I was just going out there hitting people, hoping i was doing the right thing. I was doing okay; I just needed to learn more than what I already knew. So that’s when Coach Milligin, and the other Grenne County coaches helped me get to be as good as I am now. He showed me everything I needed to know about how to play the game of football. he tought me self discipline on and off the field; he really has helped me get to where I want to be in football. I’ve gotten way more help than I could ever ask from

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