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Fecha: 5 de enero de 2016

Thinking differently

by Elaine Gallagher Following are several short articles, poems, thoughts, intended to provoke discussion in your classroom, in the teacher lounge, at home, with your colleagues…or even inside your own brain. The articles are not intended to be read, taught, or discussed in ONE class session. Depending on how much English time you have each […]

by Elaine Gallagher

Following are several short articles, poems, thoughts, intended to provoke discussion in your classroom, in the teacher lounge, at home, with your colleagues…or even inside your own brain.

The articles are not intended to be read, taught, or discussed in ONE class session. Depending on how much English time you have each day or each week, these 3 articles could be spread out over 2 or 3 weeks. This will allow you to work on the topics more profoundly than in a rushed-non-comprehensive way.

Take your time. There is no rush. Let the things you read and discuss sink into your students’ brains and hearts.

  1. The first contribution is called, “To the Crazy Ones”. As your students read it, ask them to think about several questions. Do I know someone who’s described in this free-verse poem? Would I like this kind of a person? Why” Whom do I believe might have written this? Can I create something similar? (The answer about the creation of this poem is at the very end of the article. You, too, think who might have written it.)
  1. The second article is a parody on Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” It’s called “The 7 Habits of Highly Hypocritical People” . It was written by James Mac Donald. Have your students define or explain what “hypocritical” means. Ask if any of the 7 habits describe people they know? Can they help those people change the toxic habits? How? Why? Can they write a similar parody of a famous book?
  1. The third article is called, “Too Busy for a Friend?”. It’s based on a true story of an activity a high school teacher conducted with her students. Even though the story is from many years ago, the lesson makes an impact, and can be used in 21st century classrooms. Have your students read is silently. Then, discuss the level of comprehension. What lesson did your students learn from the story? Can they organize or propose a similar activity? Could a project stem from this story> Can teams of students each, independently develop a project for his/her team?



Students can compare/contrast, choose, organize, analyze, and raise their levels of consciousness.

These 3 readings/activities can stretch the imagination of your students.




Here’s to the crazy ones.

The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify them, or vilify them.
About the only thing you can not do is ignore them.

Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
Because while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

And it’s people who are crazy enough to think they can
change the world, who actually do.
Think differently.



From the book “AUTHENTIC”  by James Mac Donald

  • Habit 1 Making education as complicated as possible.
  • Habit 2 Getting what I need from people even if it hurts them.
  • Habit 3 Squirming my way out of any promise that I don’t really want to keep.
  • Habit 4 Making a bif deal out of little things and ignoring things of critical importance.
  • Habit 5 Exhibiting laziness in all matters of the heart.
  • Habit 6 Looking good to others no matter what the cost. 
  • Habit 7 Pretending to be better than others, no matter what the evidence.


                             TOO BUSY FOR A FRIEND?

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down on the line under the student’s name.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments..

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

‘I have mine too,’ Marilyn said. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.


The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

If you’ve received this from a teacher in your English class, it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

If you’re ‘too busy’ to take those few minutes right now to write a loving message to someone, would this be the VERY first time you didn’t do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationship to someone?, To a friend?, To a parent or grandparent?, To a classmate?, To a teacher?

The more people that you send a loving note to, the better you’ll be at reaching out to those you care about. Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

May your day be as satisfying and as special as you are!


WHO WROTE “To the Crazy Ones” ?

It was an advertisement in 1997, to recruit employees, by Apple Computer, Inc.