24 May 2017

Dear Heroes,

Doing the right thing is hard. And sometimes it can cost a lot.

Doing the right thing cost Ralph Carr his political career. But years later he was vindicated. That means that history proved him right. We named a Judicial Center after him and built a statue of him. You sat on that statue yesterday. Now when we think of Ralph Carr we think of standing up for what’s right.

So when you’re faced with a conundrum and you’re not sure what to do, give yourself this simple test: If it will only make you popular at the time, don’t do it. If it will lead to citizens naming a $250 million building after you, then do it.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

23 May 2017

yeats5.23Dear Thinkers,

“There is another world, but it is in this one.” Yeats or Eluard

Books and ideas can take you out of the real world and move you into the ideal Plato knew it–he talked about ideal forms in geometry–and Yeats knew it too–he talked about that place “in the deep heart’s core.”

It’s a place of thought, imagination, and timelessness. It’s a world where you leave the physical limitations of now and get to know humans who lived at different places and different times. And it’s available to everyone.

But it takes a lot of work and commitment to get there. It takes dedication to books and ideas and the belief that they are worth it and that they can change you. My hope is that each of you finds yourself in this other world for much of your life.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

22 May 2017

seurat5.22Dear Thinkers,

Go to an art museum stand close to a painting (not too close or a person with an ear piece in will tap you on the shoulder). You’ll see that it’s nothing but brushstrokes that don’t look like anything. But then take a few steps back and you’ll see that those brushstrokes and paint turn into something.

Then, take a few more steps back and think about when it was painted, where it was painted, and who painted it. You’ll see that it has a meaning beyond what it represents. It says something about human experience in the world.

Reading is the same way. Turn letters into sounds, sounds into words, words into meaningful sentences and paragraphs, paragraphs into stories, and stories into ideas.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

15 May 2017

Dear Readers,

If something’s really, really good, then it doesn’t ever get old. Because when something’s really, really good, it’s usually about the issues that humans have always thought about and the issues we will continue to think about in the future: What’s the best way to live in the world? What is the just thing to do? 

So when we read A Christmas Carol or “The Cop and the Anthem” or a book about a whipping boy in 17th century England, we can empathize with the characters even though their lives are way different from our own. Because when it comes to the big issues, we’re mostly the same.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

11 May 2017

Dear Learners,

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time looking at maps, atlases, and almanacs. And I loved tracing my finger along the shapes of the states. I memorized them, drew them, and bit cheese slices into their shapes. And now my blood flows through veins that make the shape of that meandering border between Kentucky and Ohio.

It’s better to know something than not know it. And it’s really good to know something really, really well. Then it becomes a part of you.

What we’re learning matters. It will determine who you are in the future.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

10 May 2017

numberstars5.10Dear Readers,

The stories we’re reading are made up. They might be based on true stories, they might include real events, and they may include real people or places, but the books we’re reading are fiction.

Therefore, the authors are more interested in telling the “big truths” about what it’s like to live in a certain time rather than the little facts about a particular person. So as readers, we have to be on the lookout for those “big truths” or themes. We have to use them as a lens for reading.

Good readers know what’s important–the ideas!

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

9 May 2017

Dear Readers,

I stayed up late finishing A Long Walk to Water last night. But I stayed up even later because that book sent me off on a journey to learn more about Sudan. First I read about other books about the Sudanese Civil War and the Lost Boys. Then I read an article about South Sudanese basketball players in Australia and about South Sudanese players in the NBA. And, of course, that led me to reading about the tallest player in NBA history–Manute Bol.

A book is just the start. Good books, even fiction, open the world up to us and lead us into the world, showing us what an incredible place it is, and more importantly, showing us that we have a place in it.

Sincerely, 

Mr. Heimbuck

8 May 2017

Dear Renaissance Humans,

Today we’ll see the world through the eyes of Leonardo DaVinci. He was a person who paid close attention. He devoted  his life to studying the natural world and from those keen observations he imagines many incredible inventions. While many of those inventions never left the pages of his journals, today we see that DaVinci was a visionary.

Your job is to study the stuff of the world. Figure out how it works and imagine new ways of using it for humanity’s benefit.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

24 April 2017

Dear Earthlings,

It’s hard to think about the long term. We want what we want right away. We want to be happy and comfortable now, and it’s easy to forget about that same us who we will be in the future. We like to imagine we’ll always have time to fix the things we’ve been meaning to fix.

But it’s really important that we think about the future. It’s important that we think about how our actions will affect (or won’t affect) the world later in our own lives and also after our lives. 

We don’t remember people from history because they were successful, happy, and comfortable in the present. We remember them because of what they left behind. What will you leave behind?

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck

20 April 2017

Dear Marhematicians,

We have learned many ways to multiply. We teach you so many methods because we want you to learn to be strategic in your thinking. Depending on the numbers, you will choose a different multiplication strategy. And you will learn to make the numbers make sense.

If you only learn one method to multiply numbers, then you’ll probably get really good at that one method, but you can only ever use it to multiply numbers. But if you learn to think strategically, and you learn to think about your thinking, then you can apply that to any problem you face in the world.

It’s like having a banana slicer versus a chef’s knife.

Sincerely,

Mr. Heimbuck