Slice of Life: A Moment Too Late To Forget

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

It was only as I was watching it on the screen that I suddenly remember why we watched only PART of this video last year. At the reference to Whale penises, I was up and at the computer.

Let me explain …

We are working on a lesson around Fake News, and hoaxes, and one of the earliest hoaxes that used the aspect of global news to its advantage was the Nantucket Island Serpent Hoax of 1937, in which a local puppeteer maker teamed up with the local newspaper to report on sightings of a serpent off the coast of the island. It was a publicity stunt for tourism, but the newspaper’s role and its connection to wire services made the story go viral.

That part of the video is fine. Interesting. Nicely paced. Funny, at the right moment of the reveal.

Then the video shifts into a wider discussion of other fictional serpents, in places like Loch Ness and Lake Champlain, etc. Still, fine, and the kids are tuned in. They are curious.

Suddenly, the video takes a shift into explaining what people might have seen and thought were mythical creatures. Thus, not only a reference to the, um, whale’s large body part, but also a flash of pictures to, well, prove the video’s point about said whale body part. By then, I was at the computer, moving things along to the next slide in my presentation in front of a now rather-silent classroom of sixth graders.

Funny, but not one of them asked me about it, although I heard some surprised mutterings at the video references, and they didn’t blink an eye as I kept the lesson rolling.

Me? I was all professional on the outside, just moving things along, folks, just moving things along. Nothing to see here. Inside, though, I was kicking myself for not taking the time to watch the whole video in the morning. I had relied on my using the video last year for using it this year … but I didn’t leave a note for myself from last year. (Self, leave a note for yourself … Self, just did that … thank you … you’re welcome … now, remember … Ok).

Note: feel free to watch the video yourself

Peace (some days),

  1. “Nothing to see here folks.” Love it! The epitome of professional! Some days are just like that! What a refreshingly honest slice!

  2. I can see myself clearly in this scenario, Kevin, and I can’t imagine that any teacher hasn’t had a moment of pause like this. However, this is so innocuous, so harmless in it’s impact. What worries me more are the less understood but more harmful missteps that I know I’ve made unwittingly over the years – the colonized curriculum that excludes, the negative imagery of race…sigh. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful morning smile!

  3. I love your humor in this post – we have to laugh at our mistakes or else…
    This story is awesome! Yes – write yourself one big fat note!
    Funny side note – my anti spam word below is “wide jock” coincidental???

  4. National-Geographic-type-moments never fail to pique interest. I’m awed at the restraint of your students; must have really taken them by surprise! We’ve all had oops moments like these with media. I wouldn’t trust myself with a note, would probably segment the video, if I could.

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