Wednesday, September 9, 2009

letters to the president

On Tuesday, like many other schools across the country, we watched President Obama give his speech on education, responsibility, and accountability. We began that day by discussing goals: by defining the word, talking about the difference between short-term and long-term goals, understanding why they're important, and figuring out how we can achieve them. The kids then wrote a paper listing their goals, picked the one they thought was most important, and illustrated it.We followed that by talking a little about the President and why he is qualified to speak about working hard to meet your goals, taking responsibility for your education, and being accountable for your own actions. The kids enjoyed learning about his childhood and thought he was very interesting.It was then time for the speech to begin. My kids paid close attention and were suprisingly quiet throughout. When it was over, they were quick to point out their favorite parts of the talk, how likeable the President seemed, and asked if we could start homeschool at 4:30 in the morning. (Um, nope.) They wanted to know if it would be okay if they wrote a letter to Obama (they love to write letters...more on that in another post), and of course I said that would be wonderful.
Here's what they wrote:

Dear Mr. President,
Thank you for the speech you made about education and responsibility. I liked when you said failure doesn't define us, it teaches us to try again, and when you said how other students became great heroes, inventors, and leaders. Also I liked the story about your mom. I am in 4th grade in homeschool. I like to study Greece. My goal is to become an archaeologist. I liked how your speech inspired me to reach my goal. You do an excellent job as president. I am glad I saw you twice in North Carolina when you were campaigning. Thank you for working so hard for us! Your Friend,

Dear Mr. President,
Thank you for the speech you made about education and responsibility. I liked when you said your mom woke you up a 4:30 in the morning. I also thought it was very inspiring and made me want me to work harder. I also liked how you reminded us to not quit and to keep trying. I am a 2nd grader. I like math and art. When I grow up I'm going to be a zookeeper. Thank you for your work. You are a nice man.
Your friend,
They also enclosed the drawings they made of their most important goal, and Annie, my four year old, included her lovely drawing of her being a famous "arter." Then they addressed the envelope and ran outside to put it in the mailbox. They told me they should hear back from Obama "in about a week." I told them to relax and be extra-patient.

I thought it was a terrific, inspirational speech that was perfectly targeted to any school-aged child. And it motivated me to be a better teacher.

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