Archive | February, 2014

Scholastic, I Don’t Know If We Can Be BFFs

21 Feb

One of my favorite things about elementary school, besides the fact that the paste in the ’70s tasted like mint, was getting the Scholastic book order forms. I would pore over the catalog, optimistically marking a dozen books. My parents would wheedle me down to two or three favorites, and then, we would wait.

Book order day was like having Christmas in the classroom. Nothing smells quite like a new book — scented with just-dried ink and a whiff of adventure.

As a teacher, I still love the Scholastic order forms. My students can’t all afford to buy books, but every month, Scholastic catalogs offer a $1 book, and I always buy a class set so we can explore a new book together.

This month, I was especially excited to get a catalog  featuring just books on math and science.

Until I saw this:

Girls who like math are nwe

Girls who like math are nerds. Girls who twirl batons are ditzy!

“The Clueless Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Genius.”

Because, you know, the way we need to market science and math to girls is by offering not an experiment kit or a calculator, but two sparkly  “BFF” necklaces.  And the girl who is into math is a “nerd,” while the girl who twirls batons is a “ditz.” Because apparently smart girls are unattractive nerds and pretty girls are stupid.

(I did find part of the advertisement helpful, though — the warning about a choking hazard. Because I was like, totally fighting a gag reflex.)

An educational publishing powerhouse like Scholastic can do better for our girls.  Better than a catalog that only offers biographies of Einstein and the Wright Brothers. Better than the book and LEGO sets for boys “teaming up to save the world,”  while the ones for girls invite you to “adopt a pet, go camping, plan a surprise party.”

The catalog offers plenty of great books to stir interest in STEM for boys and girls. I’ll still spend way more money than I should, and I will still think “new book day,” is the best day of the month.

But Scholastic, if we’re going to be BFFs, maybe you need to read “The Clueless Publishing House’s Guide to Being a Genius,” and give girls something challenging to wrap their brains around instead of something sparkly to wrap around their necks.

“Into the Woods” Definitely A Trip Worth Taking

18 Feb
Full disclosure: we are a family of musical theater nerds, and were delighted when the Woodlawn Theatre invited us to be their guests at a showing of “Into the Woods.”
Photo credit: Siggi Ragnar

Photo credit: Siggi Ragnar

Tight musical harmonies, magical sets, and one of Stephen Sondheim’s most accessible works come to life in San Antonio’s historic Woodlawn Theatre — and they all add up to a don’t-miss local theater performance.

The story pours the traditional fairy tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Rising Hood and Jack in the Beanstalk into a witches cauldron, and stirs them up with a hearty shaking of social commentary and adult humor that looks at the dark side of happily ever after.

All the actors’ performances are solid, but Megan DeYoung’s turn as the Wicked Witch was truly spectacular, and had the audience laughing during her cleverly subversive rap of the “Witches Entrance,” while sighing at the emotional punch of  “Stay with Me,” and “Children Will Listen.” Trevor Chauvin hits the perfect note as Jack, and his “Giants in the Sky,” was a definite high point.

The Woodlawn Theatre itself is rich in history — John Wayne himself hosted the premiere of “The Alamo” there in 1960, and this gem of San Antonio’s Deco District is being lovingly restored bit by bit to its former glory. If you haven’t been down yet to see a show, make the trip for this one.

Into the Woods  runs this through March 16. Tickets are on sale now at www.woodlawntheatre.org or by calling the box office at 210-267-8388. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays 3 pm. Tickets cost $15 – $23 with discounts for students, military and SATCO members. Go on a Saturday night, and hang out in the lobby lounge afterwards for “Broadway Nights,” featuring local singers taking their turn in the spotlight. Feel brave enough, and you can bring your own sheet music and sign up for a turn at the mic.

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