Education Opinion

Animal Rights

By Jessica Shyu — October 31, 2006 1 min read
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I’m all about language. I believe in embedding language lessons in everything, including math class. I like to stick idioms into my instruction every so often in order to expose my students to the wide world of words.

For example, on Friday I was teaching fractions, decimals and percentages. I teach all three in one unit, because they are related. “We’re going to kill three birds with one stone,” I explain, proud of my ability to toss this idiom into a fractions lesson. I am brilliant.

But my rapt audience is not impressed. “You’re mean!” they exclaim.

“You want to kill birds?!”

“They didn’t do anything to you!”

I was dumbstruck. I wasn’t sure if my students, most of whom have learning disabilities, were teasing me. But before I had a chance to explain myself, one of my students with mental retardation piped up, " What if we just put them in a box and stick the box in a dark place? Then you won’t have to kill them.”

Everyone thought it was a very wise idea. My assistant and I just looked at each other, ready to crack up (and I was ready to cry. We have so much to learn...). I tried explaining what the idiom meant, but my audience of 13- and 14-year-olds was apparenty too hurt to budge on the issue. So I agreed it would be nicer to put the birds in a dark place rather than stoning them to death. Then we decided to change the idiom to “baking three pies in one oven.” PETA would be proud.

The opinions expressed in On the Reservation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.