Taking a Moment to Appreciate a Great Man

I was at work when I heard from another co-worker that Nelson Mandela had passed away. It’s one of those moments where you have to stop everything you are doing. You need to sit and or look around and even talk about the thoughts that may be going through your mind. I took a moment to ask myself: What can I teach my students? Do they know who he is? Do they know all this man has done for civil rights? Do they appreciate all he has done?

Luckily, I had just taught Ancient Africa in my 7th grade social studies. I had taken the liberty to also tell them about Nelson Mandela and the changes he made in African during such controversial times. We visited a BBC web site that has summaries, pictures, videos and quizzes. The game section was a their favorite and they would retake the quiz several times.

A Moment of Silence and Reflection

The next day in my 7th and 8th grade social studies classes, we talked about his life and then had a moment of silence. The quietness of the room was more meaningful than having a discussion. It allowed the students to think and reflect on topics we had discussed in class.  Afterwards they shared all their  thoughts which were eloquent and their questions powerful. Their respect and admiration for Mr. Mandela was obvious.

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