Better Ways to Engage Students

A great deal of attention has been paid to the world geography teacher in Colorado who discussed the similarities between President Bush and Adolf Hitler after the recent State of the Union speech. And in New Jersey there is another instructional beef brewing.

An AP government teacher is conducting a mock war crimes trial of President Bush. Having spent time as a professor I know how difficult it can be to engage children. I appreciate teachers who come up with creative ways to encourage students to think and actively participate.

It just seems to me that the students would get greater benefit from having a trial about a subject from a prior time. That way they could actually argue facts in context. They would have the benefit of historical perspective and greater access to relevant documents to argue their points. This process seems to inherently force them to rely on partial information and a great deal of speculation. Some argue it's a liberal teacher gone wild but this same teacher held an impeachment trial of President Clinton.

The little old lady near Pittsburgh who held up a grocery store and was caught with the $5,000 was apparently trying to get money to help her son pay off debts. Unbeknownst to her husband, she'd taken out $30,000 in loans to help him already and was now unable to pay them off.

Speaking of debt, we had an interesting segment about a new book called "Crunchy Cons." The premise is the true conservatives are environmentally friendly and, while agreeing with a free market economy, are less focused on a consumption society. It is a very good book and provokes thought.

I got a great "mom" T-shirt in the mail today from Planet Mom. Very funny. The shirts feature sayings like "I need a playdate", "Nudity. Nature's answer to laundry." Also, "Secretary of Transportation." Thanks for the laugh in the morning.

Are any of you about 30-40 pounds overweight? Would you like to lose it? Send me an e-mail. We're working on a segment you might want to be involved with:

Also, if you've got young adults who need a little focus (a nicer term than a kick in the pants) they may benefit from reading my book “Going Places.” It features 70 people from politics, bull riding, movies, sports, you name it — they talk about the advice that really changed the focus of their lives. The proceeds from sales all go to charity. You can order it and get an autograph through Click on the book cover.

Have a wonderful and safe day. I'll see you in the morning.

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