Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

Whether or not you voted for Barack Obama, you can't deny the historic magnitude of this day. That's how educators across the country see it, anyway.

The New York Times recently reported on how the "Inauguration Is Inspiring Classrooms Nationwide," describing ways that teachers and administrators planned to incorporate this morning's ceremony into their classroom instruction. The article quotes Linda Lane, deputy superintendent of instruction in Pittsburgh: “We are totally committed to reading, writing, science and history. But we also know that some history doesn’t come out of a book. Some history you get to be part of.”

Schools have snapped up this opportunity to engage kids. And why not? Each generation lays claim to a "history-in-the-making" moment in the classroom—a moment when students are permitted to put away their books and focus their attention on news as it unfolds. For many of us, "our" moment was one of great tragedy and sadness (think Kennedy's assassination, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger or September 11, 2001). Whether it's about diversity, democracy or the peaceful transfer of power in the United States, this morning's chapter in history had a decidedly positive undercurrent for kids who remember it as "their moment."

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