Between the Lines

Random reflections from the youth in a juvenile correctional facility.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This week's lesson is on Communication. The classes created lists of HOW we communicate(sing, talk, dance, read, write, listen, paint, draw) and WHAT we communicate (feelings, thoughts, ideas, viewpoints, opinions). They then defined communication as an expression of feelings, thoughts, ideas, viewpoints and opinions. The writing challenge is to explain why it is important to know how to be an effective communicator.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

300,000,000 and the Economy

With the USA's population reaching three hundred million, it affects the world. There are many different ways it affects the world. Now we need a bigger economic system. We are going to need more jobs and more houses. It's going to affect me because since there are so many people they're going to take those with higher educations for the higher paying jobs. JM

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

We've continued the topic on 300 million Americans and are discussing some great political cartoons on the subject at

This effects us a lot because more people means more stuff we have to use and it also hurts us because that means more people are going to commit crimes and we all have to pay more money for people that are in jail. And the way it effects me is when you get a job you have to pay more taxes. GG
Well, I wouldn't really know how to put it…it effects me because more jobs are getting taken and more people cause more problems and more crimes. It may effect the US by not knowing how many are coming into the US because there are so many of us. I don't know how it would effect the world. GS
I think that the population is due to the people who shouldn't be in the US. They should do what the other millions of people did and get in like they should have. GS

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

U.S. Population Surpasses 300 Million!

This week's topic has to do with the news topic about the U.S. population reaching 300,000,000. After a discussion on the effects of a population on economics, jobs, energy, food, and pollution, the students reflected on how they feel the population growth effects them, the U.S., and the world.

The way this effects me is that my life might end sooner than I expect because of my environment. It effects the U.S. because we will be getting droughts [climate and weather changes from global warming - bjb] and get skin cancer more easily. We've created all of these things that hurt the world and we complain, but we take no real steps to saving the future of this world. We're like junkies if you think about it. MS

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Defining "Family"

This week's topic was to define Family: How do you describe the concept of "family"? How many people do you need to have a "family"? Describe your family and the people in it.

The concept of family to me is a group of people that you live with and they love you, protect you, and help you when in need. Also, family is people you share your thoughts and feelings with. To make a family you need as many people as there are for you. My family are people I love and they love me back. They are people that support me when I'm in struggle and when I need someone to talk to. They also help me physically, emotionally, financially. AV
A family is people that are real close to you and they love you. I think you need two or three people to have a family. It would be my wife and my child, but it can be just me and my son and that could be a family to me. My family is really big and they all care about and want me to have a good life. My mom always tells me to finish high school and get a good job. My brother give me advice and encourages me that everything would be all right. My dad tells me he's sorry for not being in my life. He tells me that that doesn't mean that I can have a bad life. He tells me not to do the things he did so I can have a good life and have a family and take care of them. SP
Family is where the heart lies. They don't have to be blood related. Families always forgive. You only need one person or it could even be your dog is your family if that's all you have. You need two people that love each other and will listen. My family is hectic. My sister is 12 and she is in 7th grade. My dad is a loud, 6ft. 2in., hard working man. My mom is crazy, but I still love her. She's very picky with being clean. MS

Thursday, October 05, 2006's going to be in my belly very fast ;-)

My favorite food is rice and beans with pork and macaroni salad. It smells very tasty and something that is going to be in my belly very fast. It tastes kind of sweet and very homemade. It can be served hot and cold. It is a Puerto Rican meal. The macaroni can be for many ethnic groups. This food is served by my mom and sometimes my grandmom. When I think of this food I picture me and my family sitting down in the kitchen praying before we eat and then eating and talking about how our day was. AV

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Somethin's Cookin'!

For this week's topic, I wanted to choose something that would have a powerful connection, but give the kids a break from the introspection I've been putting them through. As always, my students and I look forward to your comments.

Since smell is one of our most powerful memories, I decided to go with food. I asked 5 questions:
1. What is your favorite food?
2. What does the food smell like?
3. How does the food taste? Is it served hot or cold?
4. Is this an ethnic food? A food served by mom or dad or a family member? A party food?
5. Thinking about 1-4, describe in words a photo or image of people eating their favorite food.

Spanish food is my favorite. My mom makes it all the time. She teaches me how to cook it. It smells real good like fresh food. Every time I smell it it smells like home sweet home and my country Puerto Rico. The food tastes really good if it is served hot. It is served by my mom and my other family. I can see myself eating Spanish food, feeling happy, with a lot of energy and then, when I'm done, lay back and take a nap. SP
My favorite food is Maryland crabs mmmm……. It smells like Old Bay Seasoning. It tastes very inviting and fresh. It's served broiled with newspapers and a hammer. Yes, this is a Baltimore thing. They were probably caught an hour before they hit your mouth. This is a delicacy. I picture everyone sitting around a table with a layer of taped newspaper and a huge pile of blue and red crabs, shells everywhere and a little boy torturing his sister with the dead crab. Then he mistakes a lung for a piece of meet and his sister calls it karma. MS
The reason I like pizza and chicken is because with pizza the cheese just melts and the crust tastes mad good. I like chicken also cause the meat attracts to me and chicken is so juicy. Sometimes the food is good and it is always hot when I'm getting ready to eat. The chicken is usually served by my mom and the pizza is always at the pizza shop. Pizza and chicken are always party food, no matter what. That's why I like pizza and chicken as my favorite food. DJ
My favorite food is yellow rice. It smells delicious. It tastes great. It is served hot on a plate. Yes, it is an ethnic food. My dad and mom make it, but mostly my dad makes it almost every time. When I picture eating my favorite food, they are all at a table eating their favorite food, talking and having a good time and are being polite. AV

Time to Reflect...

The posts about heroes wasn't what I had expected. This just points out the level of prior knowledge and experiences that my students have. Heroes is such a wonderful opportunity to provide positive role models. For some excellent ideas on teaching about heroes take a look at

The same goes for music. I'll need to do a bit of scaffolding before we try that topic again!

Hopefully, the next topic will be more engaging. BJB