Sometimes we need to give ourselves and our students a break from the daily grind and give them something positive to think about. One way to inspire and enlighten our students is to make them aware of inspirational stories from the news media via the Internet. Often we can not only give our students a print article but we can show them a video segment about the story directly from a website or downloaded onto a Smart Board using Video Download Helper, an extension from Mozilla Firefox. These can be great discussion starters or topics for written assignments by our students. I have 2 stories in mind that I would like to share.
- A number of your have heard about Shimon Waronker, a Habad Hasidic Jew who as principal of a school in the Bronx was able to change the culture of a tough school. Here is a link to an article about him from the New York Times: In Bronx School, Culture Shock, Then Revival. Here is a New York Times Video about him currently on YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=KgyN4p7K0LE&feature=related. NBC News had an even better video on Shimon Waronker which you can access here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=hKnRumG-GME
- Another inspirational story about a bunch of Yeshiva girls and their campaign to stop Lashon Hara, gossip appeared in yesterdays New York Times, Weaning Teenagers Off Gossip, for One Hour at a Time
One more great feature about the New York Times website is their online dictionary. Most people don't know about this. (I stumbled across it by mistake.)When you click on any word in an online New York Times article, it gives you a detailed dictionary definition of the word. For example, when you click on "grievous" you get the following definition from the American Heritage Dictionary:
- Causing grief, pain, or anguish: a grievous loss.
- Serious or dire; grave: a grievous crime.
[Anglo-Norman grevous, from grever, to harm, aggrieve, from Latin gravāre, to burden. See grieve.]
This feature is a great tool to help improve our students' vocabulary and comprehension.