Seven National Crimes in My Classroom

The freshmen are reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  I love history and teaching the kids about Josef Stalin and Russia is a passion for me.  However, for some reason, most teens in 2013 are not as excited about this as I am.   Therefore, I continually look forward to finding ways to bring the novel’s themes to the lives of the students of today.

February 4–11: Yalta Conference

February 4–11: Yalta Conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This summer I ran across “The 10 Cannots” by William Boetcker.  He was an American religious leader and influential public speaker during his lifetime (1873-1962).

Born in Hamburg, Germany,  he was ordained a Presbyterian minister soon after his arrival in the United States as a young adult. The Rev. Boetcker was ordained in Brooklyn, New York. (Wikipedia)

Boetcker also spoke of the “Seven National Crimes:”

▪   I don’t think.

▪   I don’t know.

▪   I don’t care.

▪   I am too busy.

▪   I leave well enough alone.

▪   I have no time to read and find out.

▪   I am not interested.

Everyday, I see these crimes committed in the classroom.  (To be truthful, I am the one committing some of these every once in a while.)  Consequently, while rereading my notes, I started to reflect on my life and “crimes.”  Soon, I will present these questions to my classes with the hope that they will see some connections to an “old” book and their lives.

  • How do you think critically?
  • How do you become knowledgeable, even on matters that don’t interest you?
  • How are you a caring, active member of the community
  • What are your unproductive and unfulfilling activities?
  • How do you get involved in their community life?
  • What have you read recently?
  • What is your passion in life?

“Never mind what others do,” Boetcker said. “Do better than yourself, beat your own record from day-to-day, and you are a success.”

Wish me luck…

Please note: the related articles are meant to make you think.  They do not necessarily represent my ideas.



Filed under Education, Learning, Lesson Plans

2 responses to “Seven National Crimes in My Classroom

  1. What a great idea! I think this plan can connect to any novel– but it probably works best with those that are more political in nature. I hope it goes well and will you write a post about how it went?

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