True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
“You sure have a sophisticated security system!”
I was chatting with the cashier in a convenience store, looking at the monitor over his cash register with images from a dozen cameras. It turned out Stan owned the store, and he shared that there was a surprising amount of theft in the little beach town. “The system works really well,” he explained, “though we did have a theft earlier this week. My youngest cashier, Amy, was working alone and a man distracted her long enough to steal money from the food pantry jar before he left. She felt terrible about it.”
I was taken back 40 years, to a time when I was a teenage cashier in a small convenience store just a couple miles from my home. I could greet most of the folks who came in by name — the harried moms with toddlers, or the construction workers who stopped by too often for another case of Jenny Cream Ale.
One quiet afternoon, a charming middle-aged man came in and bought some cigarettes. He chatted with me a bit, then paused before leaving and said, “Hey, could I trouble you to make change for this $20 bill?” I carefully counted out the change, but before I finished, he had pulled out two more ten-dollar bills and some fives and asked me to exchange the bills for a twenty-dollar bill and some ones. He was moving quickly, and I was trying so hard to count out the money accurately and keep up that I didn’t notice how odd the request was.
Suddenly, the owner of the store who had been listening in on the exchange came storming out of his little office ten feet away. “You get out of here!” he yelled at the stranger. “And don’t ever come back!” He then told me to tally up the money and receipts in the register, because the count was going to be short. I promised him I had given the man the correct change, but sure enough, I was $20 short. My boss explained I’d been taken in by a flimflam man. In my naive existence, I didn’t know it was possible to be tricked while making change. I apologized profusely and offered to cover the loss, but my boss refused any compensation. I felt horrible about it for weeks.
I hadn’t thought about the flimflam man for many years, till I was chatting with Stan in that convenience store this week. I pulled out a $20 bill and put it in the food pantry jar. “Will this cover what was lost?” I asked. Stan assured me it would, and he promised to let Amy know yet again that she had nothing to be ashamed about.
Walking away from the store, I thought about the wounds we carry, and how one of the magical elements of life is the chance we have to right wrongs, even from many years ago. We have ledgers in our head, and the tough entries are the ones where we know we fell short — when we saw someone bullied and said nothing, or when we were shamed by a situation that in retrospect we realize we had little control over anyway. The beauty of life in schools is that we are given chances again and again to right wrongs, and in doing so we hear echoes of our own childhoods. I thought that flimflam man had stolen $20 from me 40 years ago. It turns out it was in my pocket all along, just waiting for me to give it to Amy.
This week we look at digital literacy. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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A daunting task for teachers is to help students learn to use new tech tools, as well as understand community standards for each one. Katherine Sokolowski finds that tech anchor charts are a great way to provide ongoing support to students as they navigate new software and apps:
If teachers are still using technology as a reward, Bill Bass explains why they are far behind their colleagues in integrating computers and applications into workshops:
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Matt Renwick finds there is value in connecting video games and literacy in classrooms, once he and the teachers he works with can get past their leeriness:
In this week’s video, Gigi McAllister helps fourth grader Aidan revise his writing on the computer to flesh out character development:
Bill Bass provides a range of search options for students, and encourages teachers to promote different tools in different contexts:
Jennifer Schwanke reflects upon how the iPad and other touchscreen devices have changed the way children interact with all texts, even traditional storybooks:
Catch up this summer on all our print and video offerings on digital literacy at this link:
That’s all for this week!