blocking sites

I know this has nothing to do with pencil integration, but there's something else I wanted to share:

Mr. Brown pulled me aside to discuss our field trip plans.  "They cancelled both of our field trips, Tom. Can you believe it?  We planned out our lessons to fit those particular sites and out of nowhere, they just blocked the sites."

"They can't do that.  We had parent permission slips.  We spent our time developing whole projects around it."

"Yeah, apparently a kid in another school wandered off to another site.  I guess they were in main street and he ran off to see the baseball game. He started talking to kids at another school."

"So, what does that mean for us?"

"We can't go anywhere, pretty much.  You know how we wanted to go to a motion picture, right?"

"Yeah, there's a short film about the Arctic."

"Well, they're worried that kids might wander off and try and see a peep show instead."

"Isn't that an issue of classroom management?"

"Yeah, you would think.  You might think that teacher whose kids snuck off should get some training or maybe the kid should be banned from going on field trips, but instead they are banning all motion pictures.  It gets worse, though.  You know how we were going to take them to see the orchestra, right?"

"They're cancelling that?"

"Turns out the orchestra is next to a place that plays rag time and rag time is dangerous stuff."

"Seriously? There's more sex and violence in Shakespeare and yet kids are forced to read his plays. Okay, okay.  So, what about the museum.  We get to go there, right?"

"Nope.  It turns out that as the kids wander around and search the images they can stumble upon some of that dangerous Renaissance art that has nudity."

"Can't a teacher filter out the experience so that they go to the correct images."

"Well, the corridors are still open and so the district is worried about it.  These are Victorian times, my friend.  Everything has to be hyper-clean to the point of censoring anything authentic to life. In fact, they're talking about cancelling all field trips for fear that a kid would run into a predator in public."

"Is that why my students have been completely banned from passing notes at recess?"


"Wow, Victorian times indeed!"


  1. janwebb211:49:00 PM

    "What do you mean, you want to use pencil and paper in class?"

    "I thought it might help us save what the children were doing instead of having to wipe the slates clean every time we wanted to start something new."

    "But they might start making it into aeroplanes and throwing them around the classroom! Then you'll be regretting your new-fangled ideas."

    "But then we'll have some evidence of what the children have been doing so we can monitor their improvements."

    "Don't be ridiculous! We just KNOW what progress a child has made - we use our own judgements! Why should we justify our decisions to beaurocrats?"

    "But we use paper and pencil for our own recordings.."

    "We are responsible adults - we are able to make decisions with discernment!"

    "How will children learn to use paper and pencils responsibly unless we teach them?"

  2. Dear Tom,

    I'm worried that the kids in your classroom are spending too much time in front of books...I think over the long haul, this is going to cause them serious eye damage. I'm also worried that if they spend too much time holding and writing with pencils, there could be some long term damage to their fingers and hands.

    Finally, I think that there is a real risk that students could become isolated from other students as they spend more and more time reading books and writing with pencils by themselves. It used to be that we all got together as a class and listened to the teacher read the book and watched the teacher write on the chalkboard. Now kids are doing these things on their own instead of talking to people and socializing.

    -A concerned colleague

  3. I appreciate your concerns, Matt, but this is the Industrial Age. Kids are still dying in factories every day. A small pencil injury won't kill anyone. What could be more harmless than lead?

    I hope things have changed in your century. (I mean, it would be shocking if say, popular athletic shoes were still made by impoverished children)

    As far as social isolation, I have a hunch that kids might turn out to be even more social as they write to one another in the pen pal networks. We'll see.