Five stories that have North Texas talking: An elementary teacher is encouraging outdoor play and family time over homework this year; thousands of people will be carrying on UT’s campus today, but it won’t be guns; growing into your grito; and more.
“I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside and get your child to bed early.”
Those are the last two sentences of Brandy Young’s letter to parents about her homework policy. The gist: She’s not assigning homework to her second-grade class at Godley Elementary for the entire year.
Young sent the letter home on Aug .16. That same night a parent whose daughter’s in Young’s class posted a picture of it on Facebook with the caption: “Brooke is loving her new teacher already!” The post has been shared almost 70,000 times. Superintendent Rich Dear said the district is getting dozens of calls from around the nation, Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
In the letter, Young says “Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance.” Last year, second-grade students were given homework packets each Friday, the Star-Telegram reported, and grades were not where they needed to be. With the district’s blessing, she’s trying something new.
The only work her students will have in the evenings will be leftover from the school day. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Thousands of people have pledged to strap dildos to their backpacks. They’re doing it in protest of campus carry on the first day of classes at UT Austin today. The event has been almost a year in the making. Recent graduate Jessica Jin created a Facebook event called “Campus (DILDO) Carry” on Oct. 9 and invited 500 people to protest campus carry and UT’s obscenity rules, by carrying sex toys around campus on the first day of the new school year, The Dallas Morning News reported. More than 10,000 people are now on board. It could be the biggest anti-gun protest in the state’s history. Read more. [DMN]
- The Internet turned 25 yesterday — how to celebrate? You can’t go wrong with cat videos. Actually, watching cats get into all kinds of trouble might make you feel happier, even more hopeful or energetic, according to media scholar Jessica Gall Myrick. For her paper, “Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect?” Myrick recruited 6,795 Internet users and asked them how and why they consumed cat videos. “What she found out was that the videos seemed to raise their spirits,” Art&Seek reported. Test yourself tonight during The Internet Cat Video Festival at Texas Theatre. [Art&Seek]
- Many Texas schools are keeping the Mariachi traditions alive. Learning lyrics and chords are part of the basic curriculum for students taking Mariachi classes. But the ever-important cultural cry of sorrow or joy — the grito — is something most Mexican-American students would first hear at family gatherings. “I am pretty sure I could identify my tíos and tías by their gritos,and many Mexican-American children begin finding their own grito voice early,” said Brenda Salinas for NPR. “Since mariachi music is less popular among newer generations, not that many young people know how to do a good grito.” But there’s no reason not to try. [NPR]
- Bon Appétit keeps giving (well-deserved) props to Texas. A few weeks ago, West Dallas taqueria Trompo was named one of the best new restaurants by the magazine. And business has been booming since. More recently, the magazine rounded up the best designed beer labels. Two of the nine featured breweries were Austin Beerworks designed by Helms Workshop and Shiner by McGarrah Jessee. McGarrah Jessee and Helms Workshop are both Austin-based firms. What’s more: Helms created the labels for two other breweries featured on the list: Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, North Carolina and Modern Times in San Diego. Cheers to that. [Bon Appétit]