Picture
A Lesson on Teaching History
By Christy Box, Grade 10

“I hate history.” You’ll often hear this statement from students in every grade and every city. Is the subject just boring, or does the problem lie in the way it is taught?

I never understood how someone could hate history until I went to a public school and found out what the history lessons contained: names, dates, and population statistics. South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20th, 1860. There were 11 states in the Confederacy. General Grant commanded the Union forces. You might have heard the phrase, “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it,” but students can’t learn anything from history if they are only taught names and statistics.

Names, dates, and statistics do have their place. For example, statistics help a student see the full scope of the situation, and dates show the cause and effect from one event to another. They should not be the main focus, however. The lesson should not be dates and figures with a few interesting stories included; it should be interesting stories with a few dates and figures included.

History class should be interesting. It should be about the many interesting people who lived before us, such as Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, and Mahatma Gandhi. It should not only tell what they did, but why and what led them to do it. By the end of our lesson, we should not only feel we know what they did, but we should also feel we know them. How can students be expected to gain a respect for people they don’t know? If we know who these people are and why they chose the actions they did, they can be examples for our lives.

History can provide wisdom. For example, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy family had a discussion about World War I and how the actions that led to the war spun out of control, which was exactly what Kennedy had been trying to avoid. In the end, Kennedy chose to blockade the area instead of escalating the situation. This is why history class should tell us what led to the important events we are told changed the course of history, and how it changed that course. If we know this, we can have this same grasp of different situations and how to deal with them so we are prepared for history to repeat itself.

History class should never be dull or uninteresting. It’s filled with great leaders and tyrants, wars and love stories, action and adventure. It is the story of real human beings, with complex minds and emotions. These were real events, the likes of which are still happening. How can we ever take lessons from history and really use them if we are not taught the substance of history?

History does repeat itself. If we don’t learn the right things from history, we will never be able to change the circumstances.

Sources:

Tierney, Dominic. “Pearl Harbor in Reverse.”
http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/jcws.2007.9.3.49

JFK Library, Cuban Missile Crisis
http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/Cuban-Missile-Crisis.aspx

Picture
Losing a Friend
By Kelsey Gulick, Grade 9

Friends: they're a way of life. They're the buddies you hang out with after school, the people you spend hours with IM-ing and texting.

You almost never would think that you wouldn't--or couldn't--be friends.

But it has happened--many times. It has happened for various reasons. Maybe your friend moved. Maybe, for some reason, you just can't communicate with each other anymore. In more extreme cases, maybe he or she died. But whatever the case, you take it hard if you were good friends, but even if you weren't, you still might miss seeing them.

I'm going to make this as simple as possible for you: It was meant to be. Get over it.

It would be too easy if we could just say that, though. Getting over it is tough. You keep remembering the friend and you feel a pit of sadness inside. Well, maybe the reason you aren't friends anymore is understandable. Ask yourself: Why aren't we friends anymore? Is it something you did? If so, could you make it up to your ex-friend? Or, was it something your friend did? If it was something really petty, couldn't you just forgive him or her?

But what if the friend did something really bad to you? Should you forgive them and continue to be friends? Well, if they did something bad to you, he or she might not be the kind of person you want to hang out with anyway. What about if your friend moved? You can still communicate and visit each other, so you didn't exactly lose a friend. Find out your friend's street address and send a letter! Ask each other what the best way to communicate with one another would be. Maybe you haven't really lost that friend after all. With social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, communicating over long distances has never been easier!

But what if you just can't communicate? That can be pretty rough too. Well, for whatever reason it is that you can't communicate, maybe it's just meant to be.

Then we move on to the extreme case of a death. There is absolutely nothing you could do to really remain friends, except remembering them and your friendship. Deaths are probably the hardest to get over. You'll most likely be in a state of shock that it happened. Then you'll be mourning for awhile. Time goes by and the mourning stage passes and you begin to make new friends.

Which brings us on to a new thought: Now you begin to feel guilty because you're making new friends. You feel like you're replacing your old friend, and you really don't want to. But that is absolutely no reason to feel guilty! Everyone is unique. There is no possible way to truly replace someone. Besides, making new friends might help you get over losing the old friend. It's nothing to feel bad about (unless your new friend is death incarnate, but that's not a likely chance).

Losing a friend is really hard, but we just have to get over it. Express your feelings on paper, write a song about it, or just spill out your feelings to someone close to you. Maybe you'll feel better.

Photograph by Lexi, Grade 12

Joseph
7/24/2011 11:33:16 pm

My opinion on the death penalty is why kill them? since they have lost their right to life don't treat them like people but expendable muscle.

Reply
Rebekah
7/30/2011 01:31:43 am

Good article Kelsey, but unfortunately I've got to disagree with you. I totally understand how it feels to lose friends, it happens to me all the time. But personally I do not feel it is something one should just "get over." One should try to keep a good friendship alive. If the person wasn't a real friend and they were just using you to get things they wanted, yeah, get over it. You're better off without them. If, like you said, they hurt you really bad, try to understand why. Maybe they were having a bad day, or something. Maybe what they said was true. Maybe they're just not worth your time. In that case, sure, get over it, but I think people should be and are allowed to grieve the loss of a friend.

If the person was a really close friend and the friendship is dying, try to keep it alive. And if the person died, don't just "get over it" honor his or her memory. Remember your good friend. It will do you good and it will help to you eventually move on. But I'm sorry, telling people to just "get over it" sounds so cold.

Reply
Teresa Jackson
7/30/2011 08:48:05 am

Kelsey,

I enjoyed reading your article on friends. If someone is a true friend, you will never lose them.

Reply
KelseyG
8/6/2011 11:03:33 am

I'm sorry, Rebekah. I understand what you mean by 'Just get over it' sounding cold. All I was meaning was that you're feeling sad and all that from losing a friend, but it's not going to do you any good to just sit and feel sorry for yourself. That's all I was meaning. I absolutely agree with keeping a good friendship alive.

I'm sorry that I sounded cold. It wasn't meant to sound that way.

Reply
Rachael
8/8/2011 11:00:43 am

Rebekah, I was going to post a post almost exactly like yours early this month, but forgot about it. I agree with you 100%. my little sister's friend died when she was 10 and it was hard on her, so I know what it's like (I liked the little girl too). I can't really say anymore, your post summed it up :)

Reply

Your comment will be posted after it is approved.


Leave a Reply.