Tyler too

Having two kids under two doesn't seem like a lot of work, really; or at least, it doesn't seem hard. But it takes a fair amount of time, and so does keeping the garden alive and making dinner and applying for jobs for next year. Writing blog posts too, actually, but these days that's fairly far down my list of priorities. As you have seen! So are all sorts of other projects, including writing all the books I've been telling my students I'm going to write.

Because there are, let me tell you, some books that need to be read. The fifth graders are studying the presidents ("studying" in the loosest possible terms: they're each reading about a president and preparing a mostly context-free poster) and there is a definite lack of grade-level material available for their use. Sure, you can find plenty about the well-known presidents—Washington, Lincoln, maybe even FDR—but what about the fifth grader who wants to learn about John Tyler? The biography at whitehouse.gov, the approved source for the project, is all well and good if you already have a firm grasp of the platforms of the Whigs and Democrats in the mid-1800s and know all about the dispute over the national bank, but neither of those feature prominently in the fifth-grade social studies curriculum.

But John Tyler is worth studying, surely, if only just to fill out the time at the end of the year when it's not worth starting another new unit. So my job is clear: I need to prepare appropriate John Tyler material for students at the fifth grade level, and disseminate on the internet where it can be used and enjoyed by students all across the United States and at American schools around the world. As soon as we get that fence built.