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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things: A Peek Into the Mind of a 2nd Grader Via His U.S. Government Mind Map


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Teaching is undoubtedly the hardest job in the universe. And while things have gotten better in the past few years IMHO, this can be especially true in the Chicago Public Schools. But in any school system kids can be a trial, even a kind of one year sentence, unless the teacher and parents work together creatively using the best new methods to get the minds of young students to blossom.

And so it was that a teacher acquaintance of mine had her second graders work on a Government "Mind Map" this week. For those of you who were educated before the era of mind maps hit the schools, a mind map is a graphic organizer about a topic, such as"Government" where a student puts down ideas about the main concept with pictures and labels, then tries to connect them with lines, for those that relate to each other. At the Second Grade level those lines might only connect to the central topic, but they could also connect to related topics elsewhere on the map. You can also connect ideas by proximity, by placing each other close to each other on the map.

For example, the word "government" might appear in the middle, and pictures of different images related to government might appear all around the page.

This teacher saw lots of examples that did not surprise her, the flag, the White House, a Post Office, A Police Car, a Bald Eagle, A Blad Ealge (this was a second grade assignment after all), the complete text of the pledge of allegiance to the flag, "the mayor" (we just had a mayoral election - Daley won again - no surprise, the city still works), badges, a tank or two, a library, the school, perhaps a few police police cars, the "governor" portrayed as a woman wearing beads - what this says about Rob Blagojevich I can't begin to say, and a teacher, with a pretty good facsimile of the teacher in question.

So where's the humor you say?

Right next to the White House on one mind map was a picture of --

-- a scooter.

When the teacher, trying really hard not to laugh asked the boy, why he had put a "scooter", wheels and all on his mind map he said, "I'm not sure, I've been hearing a lot about a scooter and the President on the news lately. Does he have a son?"

I swear this is a true story. I have seen the mind map with my own eyes. I cannot identify the child who is a minor, I wonder how many other 2nd graders would put a scooter on their own mind maps?

Priesciently, I had made a scooter joke to this same teacher the day before when the mind map assignment topic was brought up.

When this story came out I felt like king of the uninverse.

It could only have been better had the brilliant little rascal had put the scooter behind bars, like in a bicycle rack. But surely that would have been too much to ask for.

Peter, Chief Editor and Spell Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Satire and Commentary


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