OH what a time to be a Social Studies teacher! I, of course, being of the 'retired' kind (well, technically the career-switching kind, but it sounds so much better to say Freedom 27), am once again sad that I do not get to spend the next 4 days of classes with my high school students hashing out all the hoopla that has happened in the past 96 hours. I mean really, I try to discuss politics with my cat, but she doesn't seem to understand any words outside of "no", "sit", "food" and "outside". Which I think is actually pretty smart for a cat...but it doesn't lend itself to intelligent discussions on the future of Canada following this most recent federal election.
I tried to get my hubby engaged in the Royal Wedding, but alas, like most males it seems, he was pretty much all weddinged out weeks before the wedding actually happened. Thank goodness for a fun princess-ish Royal Tea Party Friday night with girlfriends :)
And don't even get me started on Osama bin Laden's death - the choice for topics surrounding this are endless!
And so, my dear readers, without a classroom of opinionated teenagers to banter with, nor an overly interested core group of friends, I turn to you to fill my need for communication on each of these topics. Rather than bore you with all of my opinions (and believe you-me, I've got a billion of them), I thought I'd entertain you with a few facts on each of these historical events.
Yes, it's true. Media outlets all over the world scrambled to find expert lip readers whom could bring the "real" story of the wedding to their consumers. Because really, you know you were dying to know what Prince Harry said to Prince William when he snuck an impish peak at the bride walking down the aisle. Well, no need to wonder any longer! If you want the full version of all things said "unofficially", click here.
Think this was a crazy, new idea? Sorry folks -- Seinfeld already covered this in one of their classic episodes "the Lip Reader". I HIGHLY suggest you invest 90 seconds of your time to watch a timeless clip from that particular episode:
Osama Bin Laden's Death
OK. I could literally go on for hours regarding everything from what the potential consequences of this could be (both positive and negative), to the symbolism behind the burial at sea to the inevitable conspiracy theorists who will soon be crying foul for proof of the deceased. But I'll sum it up with one simple cartoon...which I DESPERATELY wanted to embed on this site, but alas, the copyright gods were not smiling today (mostly 'cuz I'm too cheap to pay for it). Soooo...please click the following link to see a great example of tying 2 very recent events together into an editoral cartoon that will most likely spark some discussion -- especially if you, or anyone you know, is a "birther":
Canadian Federal Election
Finally -- a more local topic is at hand. Whether you affiliate yourself with right-wing allegiances (which, by the way, are WAY less right-winged than our American counterparts), a more centrist approach or the extreme marxist-leninist party (look it up - it exists), you must admit that it was one for the record books. There's the obvious reasons: first time in history that the NDP forms the official opposition, and the first seat for the Green Party. There's also the less immediately obvious historic elements: the first time that not just one, but TWO leaders of federal parties lost in their own ridings, the first time that an entire governing party was found in contempt of parliament, forced to call an election, then came back winning even MORE ridings that they'd previously had (even resulting in a majority gov't), and the first time that social media actually garnered attention from Elections Canada, as fear broke out that us Westerners would be privy to results rolling in from the East prior to our polls be closed. Yup - they even went as far as to say that anyone who was caught posting early results on Twitter or Facebook would be fined. [insert laughter here]. It really just shows that those who don't use Twitter/FB really have no idea how it works...good luck tracking down every single person who may have leaked info subtly during that window, or finding out their real name/age/city, or even fining those that gave a virtual middle finger salute to the powers that be by blatently tweeting with the hashtag #tweettheresults.
But one of the most historic moments that many people have yet to hear about is that the youngest MP in Canadian history was elected last night at the ripe old age of 19. Yup -- couldn't even vote in the last federal election. I have my own thoughts on how this happened and what the potential outcome will be, but I'll keep those to myself. Mostly, I'm just elated that a teenager gave a damn enough to get fully involved in the election...maybe more of our students will be interested after seeing this historic precident set. Read the full story here.
Such a great few days for all of those interested in world events. Hopefully, those of you that are in the position I was 2 years ago take advantage of such a whirlwind of crazy news stories to spark interest in the minds of your students. At the end of the day, getting them to be interested, opinionated (with justifications, of course), active and responsible citizens is really what Social Studies is all about.