tips on politics

Things You Don't Comment On:

- someone’s eating habits

- appearance issues that can’t be fixed there and then

- someone else’s “bad” decision if it can’t now be undone

- someone’s laugh or voice

- someone’s “unrealistic” dreams

- someone “not looking their best” in photos

- someone not wanting to do something and trying to subtly avoid it without making a fuss

- anything that you know will make someone self conscious or insecure unnecessarily

How to tell fake news from real news

In November 2016, Stanford University researchers made an alarming discovery: across the US, many students can’t tell the difference between a reported news article, a persuasive opinion piece, and a corporate ad. This lack of media literacy makes young people vulnerable to getting duped by “fake news” — which can have real consequences.


Animation by Augenblick Studios


Want to strengthen your own ability to tell real news from fake news? Start by asking these five questions of any news item.


Animation by Patrick Smith

Who wrote it? Real news contains the real byline of a real journalist dedicated to the truth. Fake news (including “sponsored content” and traditional corporate ads) does not. Once you find the byline, look at the writer’s bio. This can help you identify whether the item you’re reading is a reported news article (written by a journalist with the intent to inform), a persuasive opinion piece (written by an industry expert with a point of view), or something else entirely.

Animation by Patrick Smith

What claims does it make? Real news — like these Pulitzer Prize winning articles — will include multiple primary sources when discussing a controversial claim. Fake news may include fake sources, false urls, and/or “alternative facts” that can be disproven through further research. When in doubt, dig deeper. Facts can be verified.

Animation by Martina Meštrović

When was it published? Look at the publication date. If it’s breaking news, be extra careful. Use this tipsheet to decode breaking news.

Animation by Augenblick Studios

Where was it published? Real news is published by trustworthy media outlets with a strong fact-checking record, such as the BBC, NPR, ProPublica, Mother Jones, and Wired. (To learn more about any media outlet, look at their About page and examine their published body of work.) If you get your news primarily via social media, try to verify that the information is accurate before you share it. (On Twitter, for example, you might look for the blue “verified” checkmark next to a media outlet name to double-check a publication source before sharing a link.)

Animation by Augenblick Studios

How does it make you feel? Fake news, like all propaganda, is designed to make you feel strong emotions. So if you read a news item that makes you feel super angry, pause and take a deep breath. Then, double-check the item’s claims by comparing it to the news on any three of the media outlets listed above — and decide for yourself if the item is real news or fake news. Bottom line: Don’t believe everything you read. There is no substitute for critical thinking.

Animation by TED-Ed

If you get in the habit of asking all 5 of these questions whenever you read a news article, then your basic news literacy skills will start to grow stronger. However, these are just the basics! To dive deeper into news and media literacy, watch the TED-Ed Lesson: How to choose your news. To find out more about what students need, read the Stanford University report, published here.

Animation by Augenblick Studios

Laura McClure is an award-winning journalist and the TED-Ed Editor. To learn something new every week, sign up here for the TED-Ed Newsletter.

After 32 years in the House of Representatives, here is my advice on how people opposed to President Donald Trump’s assault on our basic values — a majority of those who voted last November — can best influence members of Congress. 

Done the right way, communications from citizens can have a significant impact on legislators, even when they claim to be immune to “pressure.” (“Pressure,” in legislative jargon, is the expression of views with which legislators disagree, as opposed to “public opinion” — the term used for sentiments that reinforce their own.)

The key to doing it right is being clear about the goal, which is to persuade the Senator or Representative receiving the communication that how he or she votes on the issue in question will affect how the sender will vote the next time the legislator is on the ballot.

This means the following:

Make sure you’re registered to vote — lawmakers check.

Many office holders will check this, especially for people who write to them frequently. Elected officials pay as much attention to those who are not registered to vote as butchers do to the food preferences of vegetarians.

Lawmakers don’t care about people outside of their district.

You can only have an impact on legislators for or against whom you will have a chance to vote the next time they run. In almost all cases, this means only people in whose state or district you live. Senators or representatives whose names will not be on the ballot you cast are immune to your pressure. There is a small set of exceptions — representatives who want to run for a statewide office in the next election will be sensitives of voters throughout their states.

Your signature — physical or electronic — on a mass petition will mean little.

You are trying to persuade the recipient of your communication that you care enough about an issue for it to motivate your voting behavior. Simply agreeing to put your name on a list does not convey this. I have had several experiences of writing back to the signer of a petition to give my view on an issue only to be answered by someone who wondered why I thought he or she cared.

The communication must be individual. It can be an email, physical letter, a phone call or an office visit. It need not be elaborate or eloquent — it is an opinion to be counted, not an essay. But it will not have an impact unless it shows some individual initiative.

Know where your representative stands. 

If you have contact with an organization that is working on this issue, try to learn if the recipient of your opinion has taken a position on it. When I received letters from people urging me to vote for a bill of which I was the prominent main sponsor, I was skeptical that the writer would be watching how I voted.

Communicate — even if you and your representative disagree.

On the other hand, even where you are represented by people whom you know oppose you on an issue, communicate anyway. Legislators do not simply vote yes or no on every issue. If enough people in a legislator’s voting constituency express strong opposition to a measure to which that legislator is ideologically or politically committed, it might lead him or her to ask the relevant leadership not to bring the bill up. Conflict avoidance is a cherished goal of many elected officials.

Say “thank you.”

If your Representative and Senators are committed to your causes, you should write or call to thank them — not frequently, but enough for them to feel reinforced.

Enlist the help of friends in other districts.

Your direct communication with legislators outside your voting area will have no impact. But you do have friends, relatives, associates etc. Find out who the potentially influenceable legislators are on issues of prime importance to you, think about people you may know in their constituencies, and ask those who share your views to communicate with those who represent them. On an extremely important issue, get out the list to who you mail holidays cards or important invitations and ask them to communicate with their legislators.

To repeat the essence of point 5, if a legislator who you might have expected to vote differently — e.g. a Republican who votes no on a Trump priority — votes as you have urged, send a thank you. 

— Barney Frank, former Democratic representative for Massachusetts. Read more

Tips for debating

I’ve debated in high school and have been seeing a lot of arguments stem from discussions about sensitive topics recently. So, I figured why not help others by giving tips so they can have an informative discussion. 

  • Be respectful - your opponent’s opinion may seem ridiculous even wrong to you but they also could believe that about your opinion. So try not to make your opponent seem dumb or inconsiderate because their views are different.
  • DO NOT USE AD HOMINEM ATTACKS
  • Try to use legitimate sources as much as possible when using facts.
  • Listen to your opponent - their side of the debate is just as important as yours, no matter how idiotic or frustrating it may seem to you.
  • Stay calm - try as much as possible to not get angry, no matter how ignorant the other person’s view may be.
  • Ask questions - if you don’t understand certain aspects of your opponent’s argument then ask.
  • Admit when you make a mistake - this is the hardest part of a debate, admitting when you were in the wrong. 

hopefully, this will help those of you who wish to change someone’s opinion.

This week there’s something more important than the Productivity Challenge or my photos of coffee and books or getting your bullet journal in order. This week is the week to engage, educate and resist

Engage with politics. This is the week to start if you haven’t before or to ramp it up if you’re already involved. Read, write, protest, repeat. Give your time and privilege to help others. 

Educate yourself. Your education is a radical act, don’t let it stop and don’t restrict yourself to your own subject. Learn about the historic struggles underpinning today’s politics and tell others. Use your education to inform your activism and your activism to inform your education.

Resist injustice. In the street, on campus, on the bus. Resist it at a protest or on social media. Do as much as you can, do not stand idly by whilst injustice occurs around you. Ignorance is complicity, action is resistance.

If you have queries/questions about this, hit me up. This week I’m going to focus on the crossover between our education and our resistance. If I lose followers, I will cope. 

The Tree That Outsmarted Me and Punched Me in the Face

Ok so this one isn’t so much wild as it is ‘Rekina what the heck do you think you’re doing sit down this instant’ kinda deal.

Our story begins back when I worked retail.

Alrighty so quick update. The part of Saskatchewan where I live is flat. I don’t mean mildly ho hum flat I mean flat ok like the nearest slight incline(besides the dump) is nearly a fifteen minute drive. ok flat as a ruler

And because of this intense flatness we get some equally intense wind. The last few days we’ve had winds upwards of 90km (55mph) and that’s a pretty normal seen it all before kind of wind storm. Nothing out of the ordinary. But then sometimes we get even worse winds called plough winds. Now, these are sometimes hurricane force winds ok windy as all get out

These winds make a straight path across the prairies, ripping roofs off, uprooting trees, and causing general havoc ok

there’s a reason they are called plough winds they plough over everything in sight like a bull in a china shop it has zero regard for your average home or retail employee like myself

Plough winds only show their ugly faces during the summer. and in summers I worked in the garden center. 

Now, normal people would stay indoors during winds like this. Common, sesnible people would hunker down and batten down the hatches and wait for the whole thing to blow over. Not me. Not only was I at work

I was outside

That’s right folks yours truly still had to go out and water the plants in winds fast enough to shut down most cities

So there I am in my oversized rain jacket that I was practically swimming in. This thing trailed along the ground it was so big on me. I have my garden hose on and am doing my thing

First of all, do you have any idea how hard it is to water plants when the water comes out of the hose and just kinda shoots off into the distance

It’s an acquired skill to say the least k I was standing like two feet to the side of the plant I actually wanted to water

Now if that wasn’t annoying enough i also have to deal with these jerks of trees

At the back of the center is our tree selection. I’d tied them down with the full stregnth of my scout knot tying knowledge and most of them stayed secure. But there was three little jerks on the very end that would tip over, making me go and pick them up again

This happened every ten seconds.

I would go, water a plant, and then drop everyhting to pick up these stupid trees

I did this for five hours straight

Then one time while I’m picking up a fallen ash, this little apple tree gets cheeky and topples down right on top of my head.

It didn’t hurt, but those leaves are like little whips in the wind my whole face was stinging by the time I got the jerk set up right again

This tree was about to become a very big problem

See when the other trees tipped over they would politely lay in place until i could reach them, still tethered loosely to the pole. But not this apple tree oh no

Little did i know i was dealing with Houdini Incarnated into a tree.

So I’m minding my buisness watering a plant from a distance and I happen to see Houdini take the fall. Except this time something was different. This time it not only fell, but it started to roll

It had somehow jumped the little enclosure and slipped the bonds

Im still pretty chill at this point. The whole center is surrounded by a fence where could it possibily go I’ll just go get it when it hits the fence right?

Wrong.

Because I was dealing with an escape artist ok what happens next had nothing to do with me

See off in one corner we had this pile of manure right near the fence. 

This tree my little Houdini was chugging towards it at full speed, those little leaves were like sails it was just a’cruisin down aisles of bricks. It’s fine tho it’ll hit the manue and–

It hit the manure alright

It rolled up the manure pile 

and over the fence

So now The Little Tree That Could was barreling around on the highway like a phsychotic leafy bat out of hell

My first thought is if that hits someone im so fired

I scream and drop the hose and begin my pursuit because I am not getting fired over an apple tree ok no sire im going down with my dignity

So i do the only logial thing in my head

Most people would run through the open get four feet behind them and calmly make their way to the highway. Not me

I sprinted across the compound, scrambled up the manue pile, and vaulted the fence

For one glorious moment I thought I could fly.

And then I plunged downwards with a very undignified squeal.

Still I splash down into the ditch and prepare to make my heroic capture

Problem: I had just landed chest deep in slough.

For those of you lucky souls who don’t know what a slough is let me explain

A slough is what happens when stagnat water, cow crap, cow piss, and crop fertilizer mix and heat up in the sun. Doesn’t smell good.

And I just landed chest deep in the stuff. Gross doesn’t even begin to cover it

But being the trooper I am i decide I’m going to end this day on a high note and salvage my dignity

I heave myself out of the slough and take off after the tree which is dancing around the thankfully empty highway

Just one issue: Plough Winds tend to change direction

So there I am chasing this freaking apple tree around in circles and it’s winning ok every time I get close to grabbing the trunk of branch the wind throws it in another direction leaving me stumbling like a drunk moose as I try to adjust course 

This goes on for a solid twenty minutes

I’m back and forth across this highway cursing enough to make a sailor blush

And then victory is in sight my fingers graze the trunk and–

the wind stops

The base of the tree is so heavy with water that It sits straight up and whacks me across the face harder than Dwayne Johnson ever could

My momentum throws me forward, my foot catches the pot

and I sail head first into the next slough

I am now covered in disgusting, thick, sticky water and that tree is just taunting me on the road

Eventually I manage to snag the little jerk and I start dragging it back towards the compound like oh yeah who the boss? i’m the boss i caught the tree 

Just as I see  two more trees making a break for it over the fence

It was a long end of shift to say the least

I had a black eye from that tree for a week and a lovely bleeding cut on my forehead. But i caught it and I am still proud of that to this day

anonymous asked:

Hi, I was wondering what advice you had on writing other races in a fantasy setting? The country it's set in is loosely based on Slavic countries and the nation is xenophobic but I want to have a diverse cast. If it's an entirely fictional world, how do I navigate race?

Thank you for your question, love! That’s a challenging one, though. I think it’s something that varies between each different world — each story and its history. Some writers make the mistake of having their universe completely
mimic ours; some make the alternate mistake of making all racial and cultural relations completely, almost unrealistically smooth. So how do you decide what makes sense for your story?

Get a basic idea of what you’re after. In general, you should know what kind of relations your different peoples have. If you’re looking at tension, prepare reasons for that tension. If there’s an allyship between two countries/races, trace that back to logic, too.

Take examples from real history. Look at the famous alliances and hostilities between large and small countries — look at the primary causes of different wars. Don’t limit your references to what you’ve been taught about your own country. Especially try to find history about nations that are similar (environmentally, economically, and politically) to your fictional nations.

Develop history for your world. Leave nothing inexplicable. Sure, you don’t have to share all this worldbuilding information with your readers — but having it and reasoning it out helps you remain consistent and realistic.

Remember that everyone has friends and enemies. There is no “bad” country/race that is the enemy to every other country/race. There is no perfect one, either. Even if every ruler in every country were perfect, the different governmental and economic constructs of each nation will butt heads. Religion and science will challenge each other. Different catastrophes, illnesses, and enemies will challenge countries, and some allies will interfere, and some will stand aside. This determines whether or not your character will be a friend or an enemy, wherever they travel.

Remember that not everyone is a strict patriot. Just because Country X hates Country Y does not mean Character X hates Character Y. Behind all national relationships, there are people and activist groups attempting to heal relations. There are people who don’t hold grudges — who advance past prejudice or traditional beliefs. Behind them are people who do hold onto those things, but aren’t aggressive toward others — they judge quietly but don’t act out. Don’t make your writing unrealistic by having everyone act violent and hateful. Those people exist, but they’re not the only ones.

Every nation changes… constantly. Think of how different America is now, since the last election season. Politics shifted, and everyone reacted. People of certain beliefs were brought to the spotlight — the relationships between races and religions changed. Other nations watched and reacted. Their opinions of America changed one way or another. Some relations were damaged. Others (cough Russia cough) were improved. Every action has a reaction, and that reaction changes nations. Quickly.

Racism and animosity creates an effect on those involved. If Race Z is put under constant discrimination and pressure, they will evolve as a culture. Self-defense structures will develop. Cultural and psychological walls will be put up — the same way that Races A, B, and C, who discriminate against Z, will put up walls to keep out Z’s requests, complains, and outreach — their culture, ideology, and anything that would make them sympathetic figures. Peoples will demonize their enemies; they will defend against their enemies. And this mindset changes the way children are raised — and deep-seated discrimination is born.


That’s all I can think of right now, but I hope this helps you in some way! If you have any more specific questions, be sure to send them in and I’ll answer within the week. Good luck :)


If you need advice on writing, fanfiction, or NaNoWriMo, you should maybe ask me!
3

It wasn’t like you had planned to catch the attentions of a Rogue like Leonard Snart. You hadn’t even realized that you had at first. And by the time you really knew about the way Len earned his living? You were in deep.

You’d been working at The Motorcar your last year of college when you first met him. Len was a regular who tipped well for all that he mostly only ordered coffee.

Not that you blamed him. You’d almost starved with that job as your main food source. If it didn’t taste horrible, then it tended to make you ill. You weren’t sure why. You scoured the place, and it did pass the food safety code.

If you were any more superstitious, you’d say the place was cursed.

Len was a regular who wasn’t big on small talk, or wasting words in general. Everything about him was precise. His order, his payment, the seat he wanted, and when were good times to speak to him. You still preferred him to the drunks who wanted a show, or the kids too high to know if they even brought enough money to cover their order. Although at least they never complained about the food.

Even if the wisdom of sating one’s munchies across from CCPD left much to be desired. You figured it was some twisted inner need to be caught. Or it was a three foot eff you to the system. Could go either way really.

Every other weekend, Len brought his sister. It was the one divergence in his otherwise exact schedule. You’d notice him actually smiling - not the polite tip of the corners of his mouth, but genuinely smiling - from time to time when she was there. You made a point to never drift over while they were in the middle of a discussion. And perhaps because of that, at least in retrospect, they always sat in your section.

Your last month at the diner, you’d begged Lisa to come with you to a ballroom dance event. You’d been pulling so many shifts at the diner that making friends with your fellow college drudges attending over summer semester hadn’t been a priority. Going would net you extra credit, which you couldn’t overlook, but going when you knew absolutely no one wasn’t high on your wishlist. Neither was making a fool of yourself, but you figured you’d only see her one more time anyway, so there wasn’t any harm.

She’d gone, to your eternal relief, not making a big deal about it at all. In fact, she’d laughed about how the moving as a team and timing were right up her brother’s alley, even if it wasn’t hers. If anyone had asked you, you would have said the Snarts were good people. A little distant, but kind enough and certainly well meaning. 

In fact, you did say that when the police came knocking not long after, suspecting them. You didn’t see either of them for several years. Not because they’d been in Iron Heights - you thought they might have gotten out of those charges - but because you hadn’t been in Central City.

Len found you in Keystone, working for an advertising company that should have been the job of your dreams. He’d asked if you still had space on your dance card for him after commenting on the glowing character reference you’d given his arresting officer. And somehow that led to a visit to an art museum, and then you moving back to Central City to be able to see more of him.

You’d thought about moving back before. Central was home in a way Keystone had never become. It also had the PR nightmare known as S.T.A.R. Labs to attract your attention. So while Len sought his own adrenaline rush, you’d reached out to the skeleton team left with your proposal. Dr. Wells hadn’t found it necessary, but he had understood your desire to have a challenge. Cisco and Caitlin had been happy to have your help. Such as it was, anyway.

You weren’t a part of Team Flash, although you hadn’t missed their little meetings. Dr. Wells had confronted you about it early on after you had asked him in private if he wanted you to use that information to build up his reputation again or if he’d prefer the secrecy. The scientist had been pretty clear which option he had preferred.

Later, when Lisa seduced Cisco and then Len had tortured his brother to find out the Flash’s identity, you’d been summoned for another private conversation with the physicist. He’d been impressed that for someone so perceptive you hadn’t told your own boyfriend the Flash’s identity. Or hadn’t you worked it out yet?

Although, as it turns out, that conversation wasn’t quite as private as you’d thought.

“You’re dating Captain Cold?”

Turning towards the incredulous voice, you met Cisco’s gaze with a wince.

“I had no idea he was going to do something like that to you, Cisco. Honest. He doesn’t ask me about my work; I don’t ask him about his.”

“An interesting policy, to be sure,” Doctor Wells commented, his eyes laughing for all that his vocal tone was dry and serious.

“We were dating way before he got ahold of your cold gun,” that justification felt hollow even to you.

Cisco didn’t take it as any justification at all.

“Well, stop! He’s a thief. And a murderer, not to mention.”

“Honestly. You do not want to go the route of dragging up dirty little secrets,” you growled out in self defense. “It’s my job to know all of yours, so I can portray you in the best light. Or had you forgotten?”

Watching the interplay between the two men was fascinating. Dr. Wells polishing his glasses as Cisco looked to him for support. Which he did give but with a tired expression to indicate they couldn’t control your life choices.

Damn straight they couldn’t. Even if you had nothing really on Cisco, minus the fact he’d created the weapons used against his brother, which was a cruel thing indeed to mention.

Well, and the fact you’d heard by now just how Cisco was lured into begin with, and this was very much a scenario of the pot calling the kettle black.

 The dark glimmer beneath the professor’s gaze still had you rushing out an addendum quickly.

“Excepting, of course, boundaries like the identity of the Flash and what you do in your personal time.”

You grabbed your jacket and nodded politely to both of them.

“That said, I’d prefer what I do on my personal time to remain personal as well. And I’ve a date in precisely twelve minutes. I am sorry for what happened, Cisco. But I do prefer to be on time. Shall I give your regards to Lisa?”

You decided his blush was adorable. And apparently, so did Dr. Wells. He’d laughed anyway before nodding you on to go home.

Only eleven minutes until you got to see him again. Because dammit, you didn’t care if he was a thief and a rogue.

He was yours.


Prompt source: x

agana-lannes  asked:

What are your top 5 tips for running a political intrigue d&d game?

Running a game or even a session based on political intrigue can often be difficult for beginner or even some veteran DM’s. Often, the planning, setup and subtle details can be overlooked, dismissed, or even missed by the party completely. What some Dungeon Masters often forget, is that sometimes, that’s alright.

1.  Make it clear what side the players support until they are invested in the campaign. Often, these games have shifting sides and betrayal of trust, but sometimes, the lines are not explicitly clear as to what their given goal is. getting the players invested in the story is what will cause them to drive the plot forward, be it through loyalty to an assassinated royalty, or to the downtrodden populace oppressed by the brutal tyrant.

2.  Allow the schemes of the NPCs to play themselves out, regardless of the PCs knowing or not. Some DMs believe the players must experience every treachery personally which can often lead to the story feeling like the plot has an improper flow. while some DM’s can pull this off many times, the case is that the player simply cannot be in two places

3.  Allow intrigue to settle down when coming to the end of a segment as a proper story will have plenty of rises and falls in the drama. many DMs fall into a mindset where each question leads to an even greater question. while, this is an applicable way to get the players to advance quickly from point A to point B you must remember that both A and B should have their very own surprises. it is important to remember that point A should be the cause of point B but point B should only happen after you have wrapped up whatever happened in plot point A.

4.  Let the PCs play a part, either to foil the plot or to scheme the downfall of someone above them to gain power. My favorite reason to run a campaign involving political intrigue is to allow the players have political power. It is of course, a big step to go from a combat based group to one that gears more toward the role playing aspect of D&D. Some ways to avoid a group or players who actively create a Murder-hobo™ is to emphasize the power of diplomacy and intimidation. create added benefits than simply fighting your way through it but as a DM, you must never forget combat is always a fine option (even in these types of settings)

5.  As stated above, let players find their own way through the encounters. though the main focus would be role playing conflict, combat should still be an efficient method of dealing with the big bad even if doing so would have many consequences. Even if the players decide to fight in a situation where it would be explicitly easier to not fight a multitude of bodyguards at higher levels than them, being a role playing opportunity, give the players a second chance to talk things out using their skills even if they had previously attacked (with negatives of course)

Though its rather long, i hope this has been of some use to you. Thank you for taking the time to submit the ask, i dont get the opportunity to publish many of these often.

10 tips for talking about news, politics and current events in schools

Animation by TOGETHER

In schools everywhere, students are deeply affected by current events. Certain policy changes and related commentary can cause children to experience fear, confusion and anxiety. For example, some kids might fear deportation. Others might be upset about hurtful generalizations they hear regarding their cultures and countries of origin. A lot of kids might fear the loss of rights.

Teachers around the world have shared that having conversations about these topics is challenging, and sometimes they end up avoiding these conversations altogether. So how might teachers facilitate a classroom discussion that allows students to express their perspectives and work through their emotional distress? It’s important to note that an emotionally charged conversation requires a different set of skills than leading an academic class discussion. Here are 10 tips for success:

Animation by @rewfoe

1. Come up with class norms. It is hard to have a spontaneous conversation about a controversial issue. Classroom procedures for conversations and discussion can help your conversations go smoothly. At the beginning of the school year, establish guidelines for class discussions with your students’ input. What are the qualities of a good listener? How can students feel heard and understood? What happens if someone becomes overly emotional? Post the guidelines in your classroom, review them periodically, and stick to them during discussions. If you have guidelines in place, students won’t feel singled out if you have to give them feedback about their style of participation.

2. Make sure everyone has the same basic background information. Not all students are politically minded or have access to news media. Before starting a class conversation, provide a basic summary of events. Students are less likely to tune out if they understand what the conversation is about.

3. Provide explanations and clarifications. Sometimes students’ emotions are rooted in confusion, fear, and misinformation. Students look to teachers for information and clarification, so don’t forget your role as an information source. Even if you don’t have an answer, you can search for it alongside your students. If fake news seems to be at the root of the problem, empower your students to evaluate news sources. PBS has an excellent lesson plan for that here.

Animation by TOGETHER

4. Avoid debates. There will likely be a variety of viewpoints in your classroom. Debates can be a constructive activity in the context of an organized, structured lesson. Yet when students are emotionally charged, debates can often devolve into arguments and personal attacks. Shift the focus from changing minds to exchanging ideas. Frame the conversation as an opportunity for understanding and empathy.

5. View yourself as a facilitator. If you view yourself as a facilitator, you can provide a comfortable space for students to express themselves and develop their own opinions. Your role is not to persuade students of a particular point of view. Instead, you are providing a safe, structured space for students to work through a specific topic.

Animation by @rewfoe

6. Reflect what you hear and encourage students to do the same. Simply repeating back what you hear can be tremendously helpful. It can help students understand their emotions and thoughts about particular issues and events and it can help deescalate emotionally charged situations by showing that you have heard and understood your students. Model this technique for your students and encourage them to repeat back what they have just heard before they respond to a classmate.

7. Provide space for students to experience their feelings. If students are experiencing strong emotions, that is OK. Oftentimes, adults try to cheer kids up when they are angry or sad. This can send the message that they need to suppress their emotions so that the people around them aren’t uncomfortable. Acknowledge their emotions and encourage classmates to do the same. When students judge each other’s emotions with comments like, “You have no right to feel that way,” encourage them to recognize the emotion of their classmate instead. Remind them that people do not all have exact same experience. When you establish your classroom norms, this can be an important point to cover. Brene Brown’s video resource on empathy can help show the importance of allowing others to experience their emotions.

Animation by TED-Ed

8. Provide time for independent reflection. Give students some time to write (or create an audio file, drawing or other product) independently so that they have a chance to process the conversation. Let students know that this isn’t a graded assignment, and that you are open to feedback about ways to improve the classroom discussion.

9. Check in with distressed students. If a student is particularly anxious or upset, check in with that student privately. If you are worried about a student, avail yourself of other resources in your building and district so that students get the support they need to function well during the school day.

Animation by Cinematic Sweden

10. Consider a class project related to the discussion. A class project can help build cohesion and a sense of community in your classroom. It can also show that even in the midst of controversy and disagreement, people can work together for a common goal. The project does not have to be complicated or expensive. For example, TED-Ed Innovative Educator Kristin Leong created Roll Call, a project that highlights the commonalities between students and teachers.

Author bio: Dani Bostick is a writer, teacher, and TED-Ed Innovative Educator in Virginia.

Men’s Lives Have Meaning, Part 5: The Hour of Ghosts

Series so far here

“There’s a tipping point in every tragedy where inevitability locks the exit doors on free will and you know that after this, there is no turning back.”

@racefortheironthrone

Hello everyone. My name is Emmett, and I could have been imagined, designed, constructed, and sold as a consumer for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. I had just turned twelve when the first one came out at the end of 2001, I’d read the books that summer, and the infusion of swelling Hollywood orchestras and Peter Jackson’s beloved action schlock was perfectly calibrated to take my love for the material and shoot it into the stratosphere. I still look back on those movies with love…mostly. There are moments, especially in Return of the King, where the tone tips overboard: 

On one level, that’s what we want our heroes to say, right? We’re up against the odds, we might not be rewarded for our efforts, but let’s do it anyway; that’s the lesson a lot of great genre fiction is meant to leave us with, in one form or another. The problem with that clip is the knowing wink, the sly acknowledgement that after they’ve escaped so many other hair-raising disasters, this is just another day at work. I get the joke, but it would make more sense for (say) a Bond or Indy movie, where it really is just another day at work and part of the enjoyment comes from how what’s over-the-top for us is normal for them. In the context of LOTR, it’s tonally off, because this is not supposed to feel episodic. It’s supposed to feel climactic, like our heroes are genuinely in danger as everything comes to a head, and that’s marred when you expose the plot armor so blatantly. If this is just another day, why are we supposed to be invested in their risk? 

Of course, Peter Jackson didn’t invent that problem. It’s a storytelling problem. And that is why GRRM created Quentyn Martell. It’s why he tries to tame a dragon and why he fails: to reclaim the stakes and re-sensitize us to the risk. It’s not just that he dies, it’s how and why he dies. What does it mean to not have plot armor? What does it say about quest narratives that they can collapse so completely and yet the quester clings to tropes as if they’ll save him? How are we to live if Story fails as an organizing principle? “The Spurned Suitor” brings these questions to the forefront, right before “The Dragontamer” sets it all on fire. It’s the most reflective and dialogue-heavy of Quent’s chapters, the most thematically explicit; it’s the one that cuts through the hellish imagery dominating this storyline right to what it all means. In genre terms, where previous Quent chapters soaked the fantasy tropes in blood-red horror, this chapter has a distinctly noirish feel to it, in terms of both imagery and theme.

Keep reading

New studyblr!

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