We were studying post-Civil War Texas when most of the Indians had been forced onto reservations. I wanted to show the students a map of Oklahoma so that they could see where some of the closest reservations were located. Because I only had a Texas map in the classroom, I had my son run out to the car to get our atlas. He brought me the Texas Atlas. I looked through it for awhile before I realized that Oklahoma wasn’t in the Texas Atlas. (It was late in the day.) I found another book with good pictures and colored dots of all the reservations all over America.
Then we read about how the American settlers killed off most of the buffalo once they had learned how to tan the hides. I had one of my sheep hides hanging over the back of my chair at my desk, and I had one of the students run over and grab it. We all touched the skin on the back of the fleece, and I explained how I had tanned it myself.
Next it was time for science. We happened to be studying the epidermis, and all the lovely things found in the top layer of our skin, like hair, oil, sweat, and dead skin cells. We were learning how oil clogs pores and causes acne. I am not afraid to be candid about these topics, but a little humor does help to lighten the mood. So I brought in a picture of my husband, the school principal, when he was in eighth grade, with acne. It is something we all deal with, and something that none of us should feel self-conscious about too much. A picture and a little humor go along way.