It’s Saturday morning. The forecast is rain – by the time I finish writing it will be raining – and softball will be cancelled, again. O’s game Thursday was cancelled due to wet fields. It’s the same every year, April showers bring May flowers, and softball rainouts.
Last night, I stayed late at school and wrapped up the World War II unit. The WWII test is Monday and then we’ll find out just how much my students have actually learned about America’s involvement in the war. Since we returned from spring break it’s been more and more challenging to get their focus. Most of my students seem to be more focused on ‘four more’ and how many days are left than they are in making them count. It’s a ritual which plays out every year. It’s when I work the hardest.
April has been busy. We had our annual state testing the first two weeks right after break. After testing, we took a field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. It was excellent and it helped many of our students understand the magnitude of the Holocaust. We study the Great Depression and World War II in social studies and they all read Night by Elie Wiesel in their English Language Arts classes. The last two weeks we’ve been learning about the war – I’ve used video clips from The War by Ken Burns and Band of Brothers to help, but the most significant clip I showed, was yesterday when I screened the video below. The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.
It’s staggering to watch. The first time I viewed the video, I was stunned. Each time since, I have the same reaction. The students watched silently. Afterwards, we talked and they shared their impressions. I am confident they finally understood the scope of the war and why it is important we study and learn history.
Yesterday was also the 12th anniversary of the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. I’ve visited it twice – first in ’08, and again last year over Spring Break. I asked my students if they had visited D.C. and only a handful – two or three in each class – had been. Each time I visit, I am humbled at the sacrifice of a generation who put country before themselves. When the memorial first opened, there were almost 4 million WWII Veterans still living. Today they are fewer and more are passing away each day. We will reach a point when memory is only video, audio, or print.
There are four Mondays left in the year, four of each day and they’ll pass quickly. Then three, then two, and one, and finally summer break. Time moves faster than we realize.
“The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.” Abraham Lincoln
It’s raining now, practice has been cancelled. Today is going to be a great day. It’s the present. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.
How are you going to make the day count?