Laptops in Class, Trump’s Use of Twitter, Best 2017 Books and More: Our Favorite Student Comments of the Week

Laptops in Class, Trump’s Use of Twitter, Best 2017 Books and More: Our Favorite Student Comments of the Week

Shanelle White from Wekiva High School gave many concrete examples of how they have impacted her learning:

Personally moving from middle school where there were no laptops to high school where everything we do depends on one was a huge transition. I’ve noticed that I am so much more reliant on the laptop than anything else, in that short span of time I’ve forgotten to spell, because I have relied on the computer to fix any mistake I might have made. I had google at my fingertips if I was unsure of a word. I didn’t really need to know how to spell or not, because the computer would fix it for me. The things I learned in class don’t fully stay in my mind, because I can type what they said word for word instead of rephrasing it into my own words when I write with pen and paper to make it more understandable to me. Laptops also cause so many distractions, because you have an abundance of things you could do instead of what you’re supposed to be doing.

Noah from HHHS in Michigan processes information more effectively without a laptop:

When I take notes I tend to “process and condense” as that is much faster than writing word for word. It also forces you to process the information that you were just told and then summarize it. When I took notes on a laptop for a college course I took this semester at my high school I found that my notes were excessive and many things I wrote down were unnecessary. The students in the image definitely are making the same mistake that I did. They simply write down everything that the professor says, they don’t think about it.

I would tend to agree with Ms. Dynarski, laptops and tablets should be banned in classrooms. The best way to do that would probably be to force students to bring a notebook to class and maybe just have an area where they can temporarily store their device. If I were an educator I would definitely ban electronics in classrooms, I’ve rarely if ever seen them put to good use.

McKenzie Ingram from Hoggard High School in Wilmington, N.C., sees many students misusing laptops:

I believe that it should be up to the teacher or professor whether or not laptops should be used by students in class… While I believe that laptops are an amazing tool for the classroom, some students abuse this tool. They will use the laptops for games or social media and it can really affect how they perform in the class. I believe that the best solution to this issue is to have stricter punishments for those who mess around while using a laptop.

Josh Failla from Wilmington, N.C., has never used a laptop in class, and doesn’t want to:

I feel like if I had a laptop in my hands while my teacher is doing a lecture, I would not be as focused on the content and I would become easily distracted by the electronic. If I was sitting in class while taking notes on a laptop, how would the teacher be able to know if I am focused on the content they are teaching. The screen is faced toward me and I can get away with a lot more things.

EXUME 4D from YC CLIP agreed with teachers who ban laptops in the classroom:

Students spend more time checking the emails, Facebook, snap-chat, and email because of all this they lose focus. By the time they look at the teacher, they are already lost.

Khadeja from Antartica likes taking notes the old-fashioned way:

I would rather take notes with pen and paper. I think I take in the information better when I’m writing than when I’m typing. I also prefer pen and pencil because I can draw little pictures and other things to help me remember what I’m writhing about. Also when I’m trying to type fast, I usually make a lot of typos, which distract me and make me want to go back and fix the mistake. Then I’d end up missing something important.

Gabrielle Schmit from FSI in Asheville, N.C., describes a “love-hate relationship”:

I have a love-hate relationship with using computers to take notes. Though I am just in high school and have not been exposed to having to take as much notes as I will in college, I think that computers can help and hurt. I am a person dedicated to getting good grades. This means that when I am listening to a lecture I try to take in and record as much as I can. I tend to get overwhelmed with information and I am always scared I’m going to miss something. Computers really help with this. They allow a person to write a lot faster and to have more notes to study later.

However, I’ve found that when I write things down, I remember them better. I hope to develop my skills of note taking so that I can take notes by hand but have the notes be condensed and make sense.

Katherine Varga from Athens, Ohio, is one of several teachers who weighed in on our prompt:

I’m a grad student who teaches playwriting, and I ban electronics in my classroom, partly because I need to practice spending focused time away from my screens. I tell my students that learning to be bored is a vital part of learning to write.

Bruce from Northern California is a professor who learns from his students:

I’m an old professor. I was stunned the first time a student corrected me in class. He had checked something (on the Internet) that I’d said and found it wanting. At first I was embarrassed, but when I reflected on it, I felt joy. Think about it: That student was actively engaged in truth-seeking! He cared about the subject and took personal, intellectual action. This is a very good thing.

Students are not all alike, and people learn differently. Some would do best to stow their gadgets and just sit and soak it all in. Others should get real active with their laptop while the teacher is “teaching.” (Some people are not able to focus effectively if they are not doing something with their hands.)

Teachers must: 1) get a thicker skin and not take it personally when students message with friends in class; 2) entertain a real discussion at the beginning of the course and negotiate agreements about gadgets — then remind students later about the agreements as appropriate — and 3) take on the challenge of making your classroom more interesting than Facebook. It can be done. But, you can’t just stand up in front of class and talk and expect everyone to obediently soak in your wisdom. They can do that by watching a video in their bunny slippers in the dorm at midnight. You have to make the most of the situation — where you are present with them for an hour or two — to create something special and valuable.

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A mock Earth was displayed during the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, in November. Credit Patrik Stollarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Beautiful, moving, and even amusing statements came in for If the World Was Ending, What Would You Want to Say?

Julia Broderick from Danvers, Mass., had a wonderfully detailed list:

If the world was ending, I would find a way to tell all those I care about how I really feel inside. I would stop hiding things or pushing things away because I don’t want to deal with them. If the world was ending, I would cleanse my life of everything. I would lay everything on the table. Nothing would be left unsaid. I wouldn’t travel the world or buy something expensive, I would stay where I was at the time. I would do everything as I usually do however I would actually appreciate it all for the first time.

I would appreciate every teacher that gave me homework, that taught me about math or science. I would thank the lunch ladies for making me food everyday. I would thank the janitors for being so kind and keeping the school clean. I would thank my friends, the adiministrators, I would thank everyone because they all deserve it. I would tell the people I love that I love them and I would continue to say it just like I have everyday. I would stop holding all my grudges and finally let them go. I would spend every second with my pets and make sure that they know I truly care about them with all my heart even if I don’t pet them every second or play with them when they want. I would write a letter. I would write down my last words to the universe, to the world, to myself. I would thank myself, say goodbye to myself, appreciate myself (for the first time) and then I would seal the letter and reflect. I would reflect on myself and find a way to be okay with ending this life.

Michael Ward from Massachusetts would spread words of love:

The world has given so much to me, and yet I feel as though I have experienced too little. The world has created so many opportunities and relationships for me. Therefore I would not be able to decide for what I wanted to say with my last words. I guess if I were to say something it would be “I love you” with no other context. There are so many things and people I am thankful for and I love the world for that. I love the people in my life. I love the opportunities and memories I have created. I would not say anything else but “I love you” and leave it to the reader to figure out what I was talking about.

Harley from HHHS in Hanover Horton, Mich., would make amends:

If the world was ending, I would say I am sorry. I would apologize for all of the nights I skipped with my parents to go out with my friends. I would apologize to my sister for not being as good of a role model as I should be. I would apologize to my friends for lying about why I do not want to hang out with them. I would also be honest. About everything. I would tell my crush that I liked him, and tell my friends that I am glad that I met them.

Kate Silver from Wilmington, N.C., would turn to an important woman in her life:

I know it sounds cheesy, but if I found out the world was ending, the absolute first thing I would do is tell my mom, “I love you.” Here is the women who has sacrificed everything for me; her job, her social life, her freedom, her dreams. I know I don’t say it enough or act like it, and it pains me to think about it, but I really do love my mom. She is my care giver, my therapist, my teacher, and most importantly, my best friend. I wouldn’t want the world to end without my mom knowing how much she was appreciated and loved during her life on Earth. She would do anything for me so I would make sure I give her she the recognition she deserves before its too late.

Beck RT from Massachusetts would strive for simplicity:

I would like to believe that my last words would be empowering and emotive. But I fear they would be just the opposite. My last words would be of regret and mourning for the things I could have seen and done. The ending of earth and it’s entirety of the life it holds would mean that there would be no one to remember your last words, save for yourself and your loved ones as they lay with their last few breaths. This would mean that my last words wouldn’t need to be anything big or metaphorical in any way. This could simply mean that I tell my friends and family that I love them one last time or that they meant a tremendous amount to me.

Ideally, we would all like our last words before the world ended to be amazing and beautiful and enlightening, like in the movies, but frankly, I don’t see a greater point to wanting anything more than a goodbye. I wouldn’t want my last words to be anything more than a simple resolution of my life.

And Nathan Wexler from U.S.A. was pragmatic:

THE END IS NEAR! THE END IS NEAR! No, actually, I would probably say one last goodbye to my friends and family, tell my crush how I really feel, tell my parents and siblings I love them, give my dog a final belly rub, etc. It would actually be very sad :’(

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President Trump at the White House on Tuesday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Students did not hold back in expressing their opinions on President Trump’s use of Twitter.

Many found it inappropriate and dangerous. Kenneth L from Germantown, Md., put it this way:

As President of the United States of America, Trump’s use of the internet specifically Twitter is unjustified and completely inappropriate for someone in his level of power. Over the past few days, Trump has made many posts on Twitter degrading Muslims and videos of them doing bad things. What I don’t understand about this is why Trump would do this. He made it clear in his presidential campaign that he didn’t like Muslims but now that he actually is president, these actions are horrible for a man of his position.

America is the land of the free, Right? If Muslims want to be in this country but get racially demoralized by some people up to the level of the POTUS, it truly questions whether or not America is truly the land of the free.

One of the racist videos that he put out was “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” the fact that he would even think of posting this is absolutely absurd and questionable. What’s odd though is that the Dutch Embassy came out and said that this video is unauthentic. So now our President is a racist and he spreads fake news. I would expect this behavior from someone like a white supremacist, not a POTUS.

Jared Casey from United States agreed:

It is my firm belief that a president should not be allowed to use social media – not in the way President Trump is utilising the platform, at least. For centuries past it has been, and will continue to be, the duty and responsibility of the President to keep the states in the Union aligned with one another, and respected on an international level. Thus far in his term, Trump has fulfilled neither of his principle duties. By having the ability to post whatever he wants Mr. Trump is in fact “circumventing the press”, but when this ability is used to slander a religion that accounts for approximately one fifth of the entire globe, he begins to cross a line.

This line is the line commonly referred to as “political correctness”, and while many of his supporters applaud his use of social media to “speak his mind”, I maintain that the English language aligned itself accordingly when it labelled the way a politician should act as “politically correct”. There is a reason that the word “correct” is included in this clever titling (thanks, English). A politician cannot simply disregard this principle, as it encompasses all that constitutes diplomacy, leadership, even basic credibility, and respect. Through his use of Twitter specifically, Trump is abolishing – or at least decomposing – many diplomatic ties, pitting the union against itself in a love-hate relationship, and is slandering his own credibility by making unsupported or unjust accusations against people and societies alike.

And D. BKLYN from Md thought his tweets were oppressive and divisive:

I really think that Donald Trump is a cyberbully in charge. Since when do Presidents tweet about everything and everything regarding PEOPLE nonetheless. It would be understandable if the President would post things about participating in Community Service, or visiting third world countries or even thanking people for their contributions to society. But there is an outlier for everything, and Donald Trump is that outlier. According to the article, there were directed racially targeted tweets.

When in America has it become okay for the President of the United States to openly insult another race? When in America has it become okay for the President to insult women, minorities, and people in general over social media? Or even display acts of domestic violence over social media? The current President of the United States is a child with a tablet. Unaware of the social cues and correctness and even common sense shared by society. But to make matters worse, he’s a grown man and the leader of a once great nation. “Make America Great Again” but how are your actions contributing to your statement? Your base of your campaign? Why share these videos of people committing crimes and place a label on them? For a president to make those types of statements about a group of people and claim to be “ more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office” is absurd.

Grace Leete from Massachusetts pointed out that the president’s social media behavior sets an example for young people:

Obviously, social media must be used since it is most of the time the main source of communication in today’s society. But that does not mean that the President should use it like a teenage girl tweeting in a fight.

The President is suppose to be held to a higher standard than the average citizen. Therefore, he should only be using his Twitter to inform people politely rather than bashing other people or parties. Since his tweets have been so controversial the people in the head of his administration should have taken his twitter away from him during the election. Also, the President is someone who is a role model for so many people.

Imagine all of the middle and high schoolers who are observing his tweets and think it is okay to subtweet mean things about other people. Not to mention that the First Lady’s community service foundation for Melania Trump is cyberbullying, which is extremely ironic. How is she suppose to teach children that being mean through social media is not okay when the leader of our country does it constantly? Another issue with it is the fact that it is incrediably unprofessional when relating to foreign countries and deals. It simply makes America look worse than it already must look to other countries.

Prashamsha Rayamajhi from Danvers, Mass., feared the global consequences of the president’s tweets:

I don’t like that the leader of a global superpower uses Twitter to attack other leaders, dissenters, and make announcements of major policies. It’s ridiculous that our leader, at 3 AM, tweets about alleged “fake news”.

…he does not seem to realize that his words have consequences, and that most of the time his ridiculous tweets only degrades America’s status as a superpower. It is quite inflammatory and reckless, and it does allow transparency, but the effects it has are much more negative. For example, Libya is now using Trump’s claims about “fake news” from CNN to dodge confrontation about a literal slavery crisis in Libya. The fact that his tweets are being cited as “facts” from other nations and used to demote us creates a real negative impact on America’s reputation.

A comment by Josh Falia from Wilmington, N.C., sparked a debate about tweet moderation:

I do feel like President Trump can use the Twitter platform for good, but when he uses it to post racially charged videos like the one on Wednesday that was anti-muslim, it becomes a problem. All this post is doing is putting fear and hatred into the hearts of muslim citizens. Instead of being a truth teller like some believe, he is being counterproductive and dividing our nation even further.

I do feel like President Trump is too reckless with his tweets, but he also tweets things that keep the US informed on certain things like some of his plans and ideas. An example of this is a tweet from him in Janurary, “Busy week planned with a heavy focus on jobs and national security. Top executives coming in at 9:00 A.M. to talk manufacturing in America,” Tweets like this can keep American citizens in the light about what trump has been doing through his presidency. Twitter can also be a great platform for Trump to interact with the press. According to Sean Spicer, Trumps press secretary, Twitter town halls and Reddit forums may replace some typical presidential press interactions. In my opinion, Trump should be able to use Twitter to his advantage, but he should have someone moderating his tweets so any anti-muslim or inflammatory tweets won’t be posted.

Olivia Lain from Wrightsville Beach, N.C., agreed:

I agree that many of his tweets contain useful information like you have mentioned, and also that some tweets he posts just create fear and hatred, and that sort of thing should never be posted by anyone, much less by the President. I definitely feel like it is a big problem and perhaps your idea of tweet-moderation could help with that issue.

Just Me from Lincoln, Neb., countered:

The Tweets are the only place Trump does not lie and show how much we need to see what he really thinks. What he thinks is what he he believes is absolute fact.

Others, like Micah from United States, defended Trump’s use of Twitter:

I think that Trump’s tweets are a good thing, it is the only way that Trump can give his own public opinion to America that is uncontrollable by the media. If the news knew what Trump would say they would not let him on the air. This way he can express the concerns that he has and tell us what he thinks. This is my own personal opinion.

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Credit Olimpia Zagnoli

We loved reading your picks for the Best Books of 2017. Be sure to check out the post for all the recommendations, but here are a few of our favorites.

Jessica Reed from Freehold, N.J., couldn’t put down “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell:

I’ve read a variety of books throughout 2017, but “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell stands out not only as my favorite from this year, but of all time. The book is everything I want to be as a person; clever, funny, sweet, and interesting. The characters worm their way into your heart and soul, and yet manage to be believable. Each one flips a character stereotype on its head in a beautiful way. The “chosen one” of the story is horrible at magic, the “evil British vampire guy” is sweet and in love, the “smart female best friend” actually has flaws (wow!) and the “beautiful girlfriend of the main character” is, in my opinion, vile. Despite my opinion, she is extremely realistic.

Reading it in one seven and a half hour sitting during the summer was not my best decision. If I had known that it was a work of pure genius, I would have savored the book, tasted it like a five course meal, and finished it with a content sigh. Instead, I stayed up until 1:26 am and wasn’t able to think about the book without internally shrieking for another week, but there are worse things, I suppose. There are worse things than falling in love with a book.

Looking into 2018, I’m looking forward to reading any new book by Rainbow Rowell, having read all of her past ones and loving each one of them. And while a part of my heart will forever remain tucked into the off-white pages of “Carry On,” I will keep my soul open, ready and waiting for a different book to sweep me off into a newer, brighter world.

Shadow from Germantown loved “The Silver Mask” by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare:

My favourite book of 2017 is The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. I like this book because the previous books that came out lead up to this part of the story and the wait made so much more fun to read. The book before this one ended with the death of the main protagonist’s friend.

Jen Nguyen from NC recommended “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcolm Gladwell:

I’m not really someone who typically reads non-fiction book for fun, but the second half of the title, “Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” really appealed to me. The first chapter gave a summary of the famous biblical story, David and Goliath. Then Gladwell proceeded to analyze the story and explain to the readers why certain things happened and why people should have expected them to happen. The rest of the book was filled with relating real life stories, some of success and some of failure to all relating to his early analyses. He captured the audience by giving information many people didn’t know about some historical events, college statistics and advances in medicine. Every single chapter was captivating and made me reconsider my outlook on life.

Kleba from Brooklyn, N.Y., believes Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “We Were Eight Years in Power” is essential reading for 2017:

It’s almost redundant to say that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power is must read 2017 material. Redundant for Coates’ weight as cultural commentator and author of 2015 required reading Between the World and Me. Redundant for the essays’ relevance to our current nationally-held breath between lungfuls of Obama and Trump. Through a collection of his commentary from the Obama years, Coates recounts his own racial awakening in humble, intimate, and direct fashion. In a country where any conversation about race can become electric, Coates dismantles and dissects “racial justice” without justification or apology. I suspect that a book like this— a hot potato, a splash of cold water, a lightening rod, a call to “wokeness”— will become an important sign post from this era, a future time capsule that you don’t have to wait to open and learn from.

Ann Nguyen from Massachusetts suggested “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han:

My favorite book of 2017 is “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han. This is the final book in the popular trilogy of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, a young adult fiction series. “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” captures the essence of modern teen romance and pleases its readers with beloved characters, like Kitty Covey (Lara Jean’s quick-witted little sister), and humorous conversations. The dreamy and kind-hearted Lara Jean, our protagonist, returns with bigger issues than her previous “love letter fiasco”. . What I admire the most is how she matured but never stopped viewing the world through rose-colored glasses. Han incorporates flowery language and allusions to 80s movies in the text to assure readers that Lara Jean is still the sweet and girly individual who loves to bake treats and daydream.

“Always and Forever, Lara Jean” is the perfect ending to a great series.

FivebyFive from DC described their favorite book of the year, “Killers of the Flower Mood: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I.,” this way:

My favorite book of the year was “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.” It’s part thriller, part social history, part whodunit. That the whole thing was true made it ever more compelling. Just a great, great read. Who knew that an American Indian tribe struck it rich on land that had been foisted on them, and then paid for it with their lives when white people (of course) got greedy. Yet there are also white folks in the book who were ethical and helped solve the crime. Ultimately, I felt like the book was a snapshot of the best and worst of people.

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Kevin Spacey in the Netflix series “House of Cards.” The streaming service has cut ties with him. Credit David Giesbrecht/Netflix

In response to our Student Opinion question, “Can You Separate Art from the Artist?”, commenters shared their conflicted feelings about the many firings and project cancellations in the entertainment industry in the wake of a flood of sexual harassment allegations.

Most said that the men should be punished for their misdeeds, but agreed that their artwork could still be appreciated in spite of the reprehensible actions.

Zac Gill from Wilmington, N.C., put it succinctly:

I am a firm believer that art and artist should very clearly be separated. In Kevin Spacey’s case, I agree he should be punished for everything he’s done. That being said, I wholeheartedly believe everyone of these artist’s work should remain in the same context as when they were published. I think if we can separate the idea of what the disgusting people have done with the art they have created it is possible to both enjoy the artistry and condemn their wrongdoings.

Phoebe S from Wilmington, N.C., added:

The things that these men have done is horrendous, but their work should not suffer because of it. In the article I strongly agree with Camille Paglia when she says that art should be beyond the scope of punishment. Now, art does not always have to be separated from the artist, but in cases like this, with all of the TV favorites, it is okay to separate the artist from the work they created. When I watch a TV show I don’t think, ‘Wow the director/producer of this show is an amazing person”. Peoples’ actions are not always reflected in their art, and therefore their art cannot be held accountable.

There will be a loss in the industry of talent, but men like Louis C.K., Nate Parker, and Kevin Spacey are being held accountable for their actions, and it is becoming understood that this behavior will no longer be tolerated. Since the #MeToo movement began, women have started to find their voice, and are able to speak out. Punishments for these men should not be individual because it allows for a possible bias based on their TV show. Overall, this inappropriate behavior of some men is not acceptable, and they should be held accountable for their actions, but their art should not have to suffer too.

Kevin C. from Germantown, Md., urged us to think about all the others who are affected by the disavowal of an artist’s work:

House of Cards is one of my favorite tv shows of all time, it’s was intriguing, dark, and really connected with the viewer. Kevin Spacey played a pivotal role in that, his acting on screen, the way he gave power to the words he said in his personal speeches. They made me question his sanity and how far he would go for power. The character was psychotic, manipulative, dishonest, and had very murderous tendencies. In real life, Frank Underwood would’ve been akin to a mix of Charles Manson and Richard Nixon gifted with the mind of Machiavelli. He was terrifying because he represented what one man could do if he played the system right. He was my favorite character and he made Kevin Spacey one of my favorite actors. So the first thought I had when Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct was What’s going to happen to House of Cards?

I still feel guilty when I remember that however good that show is it can’t compare what the alleged victims might be going through. Yes, if the accusations should prove true, Spacey should be punished but one must also realize that punishing Spacey also, regrettably, punishes the producers, directors, and other actors of the show. Regardless of Spacey himself, the show has been someone’s vision for years and suddenly a lifework is destroyed. The only solution left if Spacey actually did the deed is continuing the show without him and give support to all the victims.

Bronwyn Williams from Wilmington, N.C., looked forward to the new artists who would fill the void of talent:

The censorship of an artwork based on the creator is as silly to me as wasting technological advances created by less-than-morally-just men in the past because of their actions. While it might make you feel better, we’d be nowhere if we lived like that. Just like technology, art forms are always changing, advancing, and being redefined.

With the acting industry in mind, I don’t agree with Byers’ statement that talent is being lost due to many men being punished for misconduct recently. Why? Because behind all the big names, there’s so much untapped potential. It’s less like a “drain of talent” and more like a talent circulation. The circulation of new talent keeps art evolving, creators die and some kill their careers before old age has to. Spacey being a prime example.

Gabby H from Germantown, Md., could not bring herself to look at these artists’ works the same way after knowing what they’d done:

Men in Hollywood and even New York use their riches and power to get away with sexual assault. In recent months following accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Anthony Weiner, Tyler Grasham, Bill O’Reilly, James Toback, Ben Affleck, Chris Savino, Roy Price, Mark Halperin, Michael Oreskes, Lockhart Steele, John Lasseter, Al Franken, Eddie Berganza, Andrew Kreisberg, Jeffrey Tambor, Ed Westwick, Brett Ratner, Andy Dick, and many more men have lost their or resigned from their high power positions. While not all of these men are artists or have lost their jobs it has set a precedent about sexual assault. While writing this I learned of more men I had not known of before, and learned more about men I had know of.

After learning of allegations against any men watching or listening to or reading about something they have created I feel uncomfortable with their work. To enjoy something created by someone who has abused and harassed women to get to his position of power is disturbing. As much as I would love to watch the television shows and movies created by these men for their art and not the artist I simply can not enjoy it knowing that the men who made abused and harassed the women in their workplaces. If we continue to associate these men with sexual assault, when we watch the art produced by them it becomes very hard to forget their inexcusable actions.

And Francesca Altunyay from Wilmington, N.C., thought our focus should be on the victims, not the perpetrators:

To be honest, to me, it seems like a trivial and thoughtless concern to be worrying whether your favorite TV show will continue despite allegations against the producer. Judd Apatow, a producer and director quoted in the article, calls this a “selfish instinct,” and I wholeheartedly agree. There are far more important things in this world, such as reshaping our society to make all work fields safe from sexual harassment and prejudice, for one.

I think firing these predators is a completely appropriate response and they do not deserve “redemption” or a “rebound,” mentioned by Ben Travers in the article, who queried if these people would be seen again in their sphere. But I think that there should be a finer line for the art that is created, and removing their creations should be up to the networks that circulate them. We do have the ability to look at things objectively, and appreciate genius impartially. Such as the fascination with psychopaths or serial killers; although psychologists may not condone how they make their name, their intelligence is an intriguing focus of study. Furthermore, I do believe that this flushout of predators from the arts industries does open up new doors for those swept under the rug by said domineering predators, as Mr. Travers says.

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Sara Genn, a painter, stands in front of a portrait of her father, Robert Genn, also a painter. “We would have really been rebelling if we decided to become accountants or doctors,” she said of being raised by an artist. Credit Robert Leon for The New York Times

We received plenty of thoughtful feedback on our prompt Will You Follow in Your Parents’ Footsteps?

Emily from US hopes to follow in more than one way:

Yes, I want to go to the same college, as well as make some of the same decisions my parents make like religion, schooling, and even job. I to develop some of the same personality traits like kindness, patience, and humor. My parents are really wonderful and I want to follow in their footsteps.

Savanna from DNO is making it a family affair:

I think i might want to follow in the footsteps of my mom. She works with people of all ages who have disabilities. I love helping people and making their lives easier. I would not want to work and manage a hospital like my dad, but my sister does; she wants to be a surgeon.

Zach L. from HHHS Hanover is already on the way:

I think I already have fallen in the footsteps of my dad. My dad has been doing concrete his whole life and has owner his own business the past five years. I have worked with him the past four years and already know had to do many things on the job. I think I am very likely to take over my dads business when he retires.

Concrete work will always be a demand and I already know the skill so I am very likely to pour concrete when I’m older. Out of everyone in my family I think I take after my dad because I’ve looked up to him for as long as I can remember and we like the same hobbies.

Ann Nguyen from Massachusetts had an interesting take on how values help one choose a profession:

When my parents first entered the work field, they searched for a job with the sole purposes of financial stability. They were more concerned with raising a family, rather than fulfilling their own goals or pursuing individual interests. My parents have positions as supervisors in manufacturing departments at companies that they have remained loyal to. I don’t believe that I will ever pick up the exact same occupations that they have due to my different values and interests, which I have acquired outside of the household.

And Kevin Jordan from Danvers, Mass., thinks strong relationships with parents is a factor in the decision:

Cain Miller’s research on the relationship between parents and their children’s occupation is very interesting. He says that boys are 2.7 times more likely to have the same occupation as their father than the rest of the population is. Perhaps kids take the occupation of their parents because they are pleased with the amount of income they bring in. However, I believe it has a lot more to do with their upbringing than economic reasons.

Children often grow up to have similar interests with their parents because they spend so much time together and develop similar ways of thinking. It reasonably makes sense that children would have similar character traits because of this, and thus be suited for a similar job as their parents. But, some kids who have poor relationships with their parents would be unlikely to want a life like they had. Therefore, they will be more likely to choose a more unique job to avoid becoming like their parents.

My mother is a teacher, which is a fine job. However, I do not like to explain how to do things. I am a very hands on learner, and I would want a job that allows me to use my strengths. In this way, I am different than my parents.

Abbey Skinner from Danvers, Mass., wants to buck the statistic … but may not be able to:

I want to touch as many lives as I possibly can, and this desire could have sprung from growing up with a father that was constantly helping people. I don’t like to think of my future as a statistic: “You’re four times as likely to follow in your parents footsteps”. To me that just makes me want to do exactly the opposite. I don’t want my future to be predetermined from an online calculator, but in reality my father’s previous jobs have definatley had an impact on what I want to do with my life.

Polaris Hall, also from Danvers, Mass., has a different role model:

I personally don’t want to end up like either of my parents. I don’t want to be like my grandparents, my cousins, my aunts, or my uncles, either. It’s nothing against them, but they’re not who I want to be.

I always wanted to be like Hikaru Sulu from Star Trek, and have, for years, modeled my life in a way that would facilitate me to study to go to the stars, to pilot spacecrafts, and to grow plants in space. I saw Sulu as a role model, someone I wanted to become, and made myself in his image.

Kali from Sheppard, Mass., is “100% certain” that she will not choose her parents’ careers:

Let’s get one thing straight: I am a people person. I always have been, and I always will be. This though, does not mean that I will follow in my mother’s footsteps as a realtor, or my father’s in public relations. My comforts do not always correspond to my interests.

…By being exposed to both of my parent’s careers, I know that I do not want to find myself in a field where my pay is based on commission or success. Exposure, in the news, politics, and social issues, is the basis for all opinion, and I believe that the same goes for family life and values. As an individual, I believe that I want to be in a place where I am happy, not in a place where I would want to “carry on the family business”, no matter how likely it may be. I am ME, so why not choose another path?

But Meghan Miraglia from Massachusetts says she is so close to her mother that she says it’s “no surprise” she’s inherited her desire to help people:

My desire to enter into this field was not fueled by family conversations. My mom does not (and can’t) gush about her patients over dinner. My dad’s job in the produce industry never thrilled me. Look, I love potatoes, but inspecting them as my job? No thanks. My desire to enter this field was fueled by my own passions – hippotherapy, kids, and teaching. My desire to enter this field was inspired by my mom’s 3-11pm shifts in the ER, where she drank cups of bitter hospital coffee (did I mention I inherited her love of coffee? I was practically drinking it straight out of the womb) and worried about raising us in between administering IV fluids and antibiotics.

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Darío’s homeland is a place of volcanoes and lakes. Here, the Concepción volcano and Lake Nicaragua. Credit Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

Students rose to the creative challenge for our Picture Prompt “Volcano,” which asked for the beginning of a short story or a poem.

Katie from Hanover created a vivid extended metaphor:

The boats like my thoughts,
Water is isolation.
Every unsaid thought just a tiny wave,
slowly leaving.
It’s a cry for help.
Slowly drowning,
with each gasp of air.
Hoping to survive,
the air turns to water.
The almost erupted volcano,
flows over with smoke.
My head works too hard it’s fried.
Smoke billows over.
Anxiety fills my head.
I am completely overwhelmed.

Hunter from hhhs Michigan began an intriguing story:

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. That’s what my mother told me as a young child, when my father died, and now that’s what I tell myself as I see the crashing waves and the plume of darkness swallowing the sky whole. Maybe I should be afraid, maybe I should scream for help, or maybe keeping calm is what I should do. But when do we ever do what’s best for us. I run from the swampy shoreline, through the tall grasses and short shrubs, towards the village I’ve called home my whole life. Maybe it’s the first rubble that comes with results, I’m not sure but that’s where it hits me. Soon the dusty sand hits my knees as I start to weep, even if I do live everything will be gone, and that’s why instead of running in fear, I sit and wait for my fate.

Emily HHHS spun some rhymes:

I was out on the lake when I saw the smoke
I started to worry that my boat would get broke
Everyone was screaming
Me, I was beaming
I’ve always wanted to see an explosion
There will be continued erosion
I’m almost to shore
I can’t wait to see the Earth give off a big roar

Thomas Higgins from Wilmington, N.C., imagined an escape:

A boy was out fishing with his father when he heard the sirens roar, screaming at the top of its lungs. They had no motor, just paddles and an anchor, they paddled as fast as they could. Wondering how long they had till it would blow, a cloud of smoke so great it would smother them less than 30 seconds.They continued paddling, slowly, very very slowly. It took them 45 minutes to eventually reach the shore, but when they did they ran as fast as they could back to the house to get into the car to evacuate. They left the boat with no anchor, with the fish rotting, so they could get out alive. They did get out and haven’t been back since the eruption, but hope to come back soon.

And Raegan Cure from Michigan (School) wrote poetically about nature:

Slowly, the empty boat drifted ashore, ash settling from the dull, grey sky. The slowly calming breeze started to coat the soft blue interior with dust. The oars were long gone, probably drifting out beside the volcanic isle that had caused all of this. The earth still rumbled softly, the bright green flora burnt and brown. Mother nature was a harsh woman, uncaring and merciless, but she could stop the waters from settling. Beneath them rested life as it slowly lost it’s breath, squirming and struggling to pull itself from the murky depths. Bubbles, though meters apart, rose to the surface, signalling the end of an era.

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Rabbi Mendel Zarchi helped to distribute food, water and clothing in Guayanilla, P.R., after Hurricane Maria. Credit Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

Our Picture Prompt “Giving honored #GivingTuesday, and asked if students gave money, time or goods to charities.

Luka FSI from Asheville, N.C., has a favorite category of charities:

Although there are plenty of charities, the best ones I think are nonreligious, and non-judgment based. My also favorite charities are foreign orphanages, as many foreign orphanages are lacking the qualities like heating, electricity, and other necessities. My favorite place to donate, is usually Russian orphanages, as I have very high regards for them. I sent about $200 to a Russian orphanage, and in return, they built showers for the many kids, and staff living in the facility.

Tara B from Wilmington, N.C., had a two-part answer. We publish the first half here:

Part 1: I went to a private Catholic school for nine years. During those nine years they had many opportunities to give donations to charities and the poverty-stricken people of our community. Every Friday first thing in the morning the whole school would go to Mass. Everytime we each brought one or two canned goods which we put in a basket when we first walk in. It was amazing because everyone would bring in something to donate every Friday and it was so cool to the the basketball overflowing with canned goods and other foods. It makes a big difference to them because they don’t have to worry about food that day and it just makes them feel better and that impacts their life.

Grace S from Germantown, Md., made an excellent point about the importance of spreading the word:

There are many charities that have gained importance after all of the trageties that happened this year. Many celebraties and famous people who have donated thousands of dollars to relief organizations, but the average American does not have that much money. A lot of people, in my experience, have felt hopeless in these situations since they knew the how badly people were affected but they couldn’t donate money. They didn’t realize that spreading the word is just as important as donating. Throughout all the disasters, I shared organizations so that people who were able to donate could. I shared organizations that I particularlly supported, including Hurricane Harvey aminal relief.

And Alyssa S from NWHS vividly described the place where she volunteers her time:

I volunteer as frequently as I can. It is usually at a school for people with special needs. This is my favorite place to donate my time to. Working here has even developed my passion to want to become a special education teacher. I get to help these students feel like they belong.

The students that I work with are very low functioning. Many of the students can’t walk, speak, or even eat on their own. Every student sits in a wheelchair for the majority of their day. I am fortunate enough to be able to walk around and eat on my own and even hold a conversation with other people. Walking into the classrooms and knowing that I was able to make these kids happier is a really good feeling. I

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