Saturday, March 6, 2010

Student Saturday - Something Different

My students have been preparing for state testing so book reviews have fallen away recently.  This week in our "canned" reading program we read about and discussed ways to save our planet.  Our discussion about recycling and reusing things brought out some interesting thoughts.  For example the majority of my students don't want to be bothered with recycling.  Most of them find it repulsive to consider shopping at a Goodwill, Salvation Army, second hand/consignment shop, or yard sale.  They would accept hand me downs from a sibling but that would be as far as they would go.  This prompted me to ask them what they would do in the case of a major catastrophe.  Thirty minutes into our discussion I learned the following:

1.  We as adults are in deep trouble if we consider leaving our future in the hands of my middles schoolers.
2.  Most don't know where different crops are grown.
3.  Most don't know how their clothes are made.
4.  Most don't know how they get their food and water.
5.  The saddest thing is, most don't care.
When I suggested they tell me how they would survive major catastrophes they were clueless.  They thought that if there was not electricity in the entire area that they would be able to have water because after all it just runs through the pipes freely into their homes.

I gave the the following assignment.  They were to write a RAFT paper.  For those of you unfamiliar with this, RAFT is an accronym for  Role - Audience- Format - Topic

They were to play the role of a survivor after several major catastrophes had hit their country.  Their audience was a relative, the Format was a letter and the Topic was surviving in spite of these catastrophes.  I left it pretty open ended for them.  They had lost all electricity and ability to communicate by phones, computers, or anything electronic.  They had major climate changes, major crop failures, no gas, and getting water was a problem.  What I am sharing with you is a sample from one of my students.
Here is Lonnie's.  I hope you enjoy it.

Dear Jamal,

It is dark and cold and there's trash everywhere.  It smells like the ocean's never been cleaned .  Everyone is hungry.  Ever since a humongous earthquake hit my town, there's been nothing but giant gaps on the road and under buildings.  There is no electricity, the prices for everything are sky high, the water is all gone, cars all all used up and the buildings are all wrecked.  I don't know how we're all survivng but we are just happy that we are.  There are piles and piles of trash everywhere and we don't know how to get rid of it.  The smell is so repulsive that we are actually getting used to it.  All of our clothes are gone except what we have on.  They are ripped, stinky, and barely visible.  Almost all of our trees are gone because we had to use those to cook our  food so we're running lower and lower on oxygen.  I can't breathe, can't see, and I don't know if I can make it.  I have no idea where my family is and I don't know where I am.  The town is so wrecked that rocks blocked our escape.  Tears are running down my face like crazy and I'm shaking like there's no tomorrow, which we know might be.  I might not survive another day so if you ever find my family tell them I love them.

He did an excellent job of describing the situation.  However like many of my students, he knows what he needs and but he's not sure how to get it.  We will explore this further.  Think about it.  A meteor hit the earth and knocked it off of its axis.  The climates have changed which has caused major problems with growing crops, getting food, water and clothing, staying warm, etc.  How would you survive?  I asked this of several adults and the over all answer was, "I'm sure someone would collect enough money and send us aid."  I grew up in the country.  I have enough skills I believe that I would be able to find a way to survive.  Being creative and learning to improvise and work with others would be helpful.

Join the fun here.  How do you think you would fair?  Would you be a survivor?  Would you give up?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sandra! You won a copy of I, Q over at my blog :) Congrats! Just email me your mailing address as soon as you can and I'll have the publisher get the book right out to you. Thanks for entering!