Palindromes

[A summer repeat from April 16, 2012]

Can you say “Anna backwards“?  The usual response is “Anna.”  But the correct answer is “Anna backwards.” 

Anna is a “palindrome” (it is a word that reads the same forwards as backwards) just like Otto, Eve, Hannah and Elle.  “Anna sees Anna” is a palindrome.  “Did Hannah see bees Hannah did.”  Sure she did – backwards and forwards.  One of the first palindromes I learned was “Madam I’m Adam.”  Then there was “A man, a plan, a canal – Panama” referencing Teddy Roosevelt.  I began using palindromes for tutoring at Chicago Lights Tutoring (see prior posts).  “Read this backwards” I would say to the student.  And get blank stares.  And then suddenly – the lights (and smiles) went on.  🙂

Cigar?  Toss it in a can.  It is so tragic.

Enid and Edna dine.

Hey Roy!  Am I mayor?  Yeh!

My gym. 

Never odd or even. 

Now I won. 

Too bad I hid a boot. 

Was it a car or a cat I saw? 

Too hot to hoot!

Live not on evil.  

Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.

So Ida – Adios. 

Tuna roll or nut?

Stella won no wallets. 

The earliest recorded palindrome dates to 79 A.D.  In Latin, it is “Sator Arepo tenet opera rotas” (“the sower Arepo holds works wheels“).   The longest palindrome?  It’s 17,826 pretty random words.   No I won’t repeat it here . . . . .

Palindromes

Can you say “Anna backwards“?  The usual response is “Anna.”  But the real answer is “Anna backwards.” 

Anna is a “palindrome” (it reads the same forwards as backwards) just like Otto, Eve, Hannah and Elle.  “Anna sees Anna” is a palindrome.  “Did Hannah see bees?”  Sure she did – backwards and forwards.  One of the first palindromes I learned was “Madam I’m Adam.”  Then there was “A man, a plan, a canal – Panama.”  I began using palindromes for tutoring at Chicago Lights Tutoring (see prior posts).  “Read this backwards” I would say to the student.  And get blank stares.  And then suddenly – the lights (and smiles) went on.  🙂

Cigar?  Toss it in a can.  It is so tragic.

Enid and Edna dine.

Hey Roy!  Am I mayor?  Yeh!

My gym. 

Never odd or even. 

Now I won. 

Too bad I hid a boot. 

Was it a car or a cat I saw? 

Too hot to hoot!

Live not on evil.  

Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.

So Ida – Adios. 

Tuna roll or nut?

Stella won no wallets. 

The earliest palindrome dates to 79 A.D.  In Latin, it is “Sator Arepo tenet opera rotas” (“the sower Arepo holds works wheels“).   The longest palindrome?  17,826 (pretty random) words.   No I won’t repeat it here. . . . .

Meeting with the Mayor

I have previously discussed how I tutor with the Chicago Lights Tutoring Organization (see posts of August 8 and 9, 2011, and January 26, 2012) and how I write plays for students to read.  (See  www.chicagolights.org)

Several weeks ago, I wrote a play for my student (Jordan) where he played an NBC co-anchor for the 10:00 pm news.  At the conclusion of the “broadcast,” he invited viewers to tune in next week for an interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  At the end of our session, Jordan asked if I would write a play where he interviewed the Mayor.  So I did.  I sent a copy to Chicago Lights’ administrators so they might use it with other students.  They liked it – and sent a copy to the Mayor’s office.  Long story short – the Mayor asked to meet Jordan and me.    

A few weeks ago, Jordan, his parents, the administrator of the Chicago Lights Tutoring Program and I spent about 40 minutes with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  He was a gentleman, didn’t rush us, showed Jordan around his office (and let Jordan sit in his chair – at his desk), and he read the whole play – interacting with Jordan.  Jordan read perfectly!!   The Mayor asked a lot of questions of Jordan and his parents.  And then he inscribed – and signed – Jordan’s copy of the play.  He signed mine too. 🙂   He liked a line from the play which went “There is no finish line for improvement.”  He told Jordan to listen for that phrase in the coming weeks since he said he would use it – and perhaps say “my friend Jordan says ‘there is no finish line . . . .'”  That, he said, might have reporters going “who is this ‘Jordan’ fellow“?    Pretty cool. . . .

To see a pic and 2 articles on the subject, check out www.chicagolightstutoring.org  And here’s a link to the Play:   Rahm Emanuel Play

Character

When I tutor for the Chicago Lights Tutoring Program (www.chicagolights.org ; see posts of August 8 and 9), each day I try to give my student a 3″ x 5″ card with a quotation on it.  Usually the quote relates to character, integrity, hard work and achievement.  I’m partial to the wisdom of John Wooden (winningest coach in NCAA). 

Character is doing what’s right – when no one is looking.”           J.C. Watts

Character is higher than intellect.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”  James D. Miles

Nearly all men can stand adversity.  But if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”   Abraham Lincoln

Character is much easier kept than recovered.”   Thomas Paine

The measure of true character is what a man would do if he knew he would never be found out.”  Thomas Babington Macaulay

Ability may get you to the top but it takes character to keep you there.”    John Wooden

In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass and a nightengale.  Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity.”          Ambrose Bierce

Education is not just reading and math.  It’s learning about tenacity, hard work, civility and character.

Chicago Lights Tutoring – Part II

In my post yesterday, I talked about my experience with Chicago Lights Tutoring (www.chicagolights.org).  I would like to add a “page 2.” 

Plato in his classic work The Republic said “the direction in which education starts a person will determine their future life.”   Chicago Lights works diligently with students from the earliest grades through high school and is making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of young people.  There are few more fitting legacies – for each one of us – than to quietly inspire the education of young people and to foster an appreciation for learning.  W.B. Yeats once said “Education is not a pail to fill but a fire to light. . . .”  If any reader is interested in lighting some educational fires, check out local tutoring opportunities or – if you are in Chicago – check out Chicago Lights.  You will not be disappointed.

Chicago Lights Tutoring

The Chicago Lights Tutoring Program (www.chicagolights.org)  is a non-profit community outreach organization that fosters education and literacy among underprivileged children.  It is sponsored by the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  Each week, hundreds of students are tutored one on one by hundreds of dedicated volunteer tutors.  

For the last few years, I have volunteered as a tutor each Wednesday during the school year.   I have found it to be an extremely efficient and effective educational experience for these young people (and very rewarding for the tutors).  One of the things I have done to help inspire my students to read is to write plays – where the student not only performs but is the star of the play.  My student Jordan for example will be the chef of a great restaurant, the pilot of a Boeing 737, a news anchor on NBC, or a doctor who sees ailing patients.  It has been fun and inspiring.  I have attached a few examples of plays (I have marked them “Generic” as actual names of students are not used).  If you have any new ideas for play topics – or tutoring, let me know!   

Generic – WGN Talk  

Generic – This is Your Captain    

Generic – Farfalle