Podcast Driven Life
I have to admit that I’ve been living more of a Podcast Driven Life lately, and I’m cringing at how far behind I am on my Goodreads Challenge for the year. However, I think the lessons I’m learning from the podcasts I’m currently addicted to are worth sharing in an upcoming post. Stay tuned, and you’ll see why I’ve been ditching fiction!
The topic of this week’s book is incredibly timely, and I think it fills an important void in YA lit. It would be a stand-out partner read or book club pick that could lead to in-depth discussion and research.
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
I love, love, love the message of this book– that a group of united young women who demand respect can affect all kinds of awesome change in this world. For this reason, Moxie totally kicked ass. The timing of this book is perfect, too, in the wake of the #metoo movement and so many famous men being accused of sexual harassment. Altogether, author Jennifer Mathieu delivers an inspiring story that examines issues of gender, race and sexuality.
Life is as you’d expect in tiny East Rockport, Texas: Friday night football games draw the entire town and shut down all local restaurants. The football players live like kings, enjoying the newest and fanciest equipment while the girls’ soccer team is forced to fundraise for new uniforms. Most alarming, however, is that the principal of the school, Mr. Wilson, is a sexist jerk, and his son, a football star, goes unchecked when he sexually harasses his female classmates.
Enter Vivian “Viv” Carter, a shy do-gooder who is fed up with the inequality and inspired by her mom’s past as a member of the feminist group Riot Grrrrls. Viv gets the brilliant idea to start and distribute a “zine” called Moxie, a newsletter that calls on the girls at her high school to band together to take action against the sexist status quo. Viv wants to keep her identity as Moxie’s creator a secret; she’s both exhilarated and terrified of its impact. Before long, the Moxie movement takes on a life of its own, uniting her classmates and incensing Principal Wilson who threatens to expel anyone associated with the group. At the same time, Viv is in love for the first time with new boy Seth who may not fully understand her anger and frustration with the East Rockport High culture. It’s complicated. . .
As I mentioned in my original post, when I plan a #plotdrivenlife experience, I try to choose an activity that has positive consequences; I hope to learn a new skill or bond with a friend, etc. As I read Moxie, I connected with the idea of inspiring and empowering women by leaving secret messages in the bathroom, just as Viv does by planting copies of her Moxie zine in East Rockport High’s ladies’ rooms.
MacGyver and Me
Since the beginning of this school year, I’ve been rewarding teachers in my building with tech badges for incorporating technology into their instruction in new and innovative ways. I’ve been printing their badges (which I designed on the website Credly), on Avery labels I purchased from Amazon (This idea was inspired by an amazing educator named Josh Howard, by the way. I can’t take the credit! You can check out his site here.). Anyway, I decided to use those same Avery labels to print stickers with motivational messages for the young women at my school.
Using the free Avery label template, I created six different types of stickers with sayings like, “I am enough,” “I am loved” and “I am unique.” I printed them in color and cut them out while watching whatever the hubs had on tv, and then had to enlist the help of my dad– my personal MacGyver–to figure out how to plant them in the girls’ bathrooms at my school without them getting wet or accidentally thrown away.
Dad came up with an inexpensive and simple suggestion: Ziploc bags taped to the bathroom mirrors. Genius! I grabbed my washi tape, some snack-sized Ziplocs and my stickers, and set out to anonymously (like Viv) decorate the bathrooms.
The coolest part of this #plotdrivenlife experience was seeing my students wearing my stickers!
I saw students with stickers on their shirts and stuck to their phone cases. It made me so happy!
Could you do something simple to inspire someone today? I promise it will make you feel good, too.
Thanks for reading,