|"The Watch" by Hebru Brantley|
Don’t be scared. The flat, floppy, beige thing that some adult just handed you is called a newspaper. It’s how people learned about stuff long ago, before phones. Don’t bother dragging your finger across the page—the text won’t change, and you’ll only smudge your fingertip.
Fun fact: phones used to be called cell phones, because they communicate to a network of towers that cover hexagonal areas, or cells. The towers hand your signal off from one to the next as you move past, say, on your way to school, were you going to school. Though you may not go today because Chicago teachers and staff are on strike. Welcome to the Chicago Sun-Times Virtual Schoolroom. I am Mr. Steinberg, and I’ll be your teacher for the next six minutes, or until you lose interest and wander off. Though if you stick here to the end, I will share the secret to writing well.
And yes, writing well is something you will need to do someday. Not a column in a newspaper, God knows, but maybe an email to a potential employer or a love note to a special someone. If it’s poorly written, the job or heart you seek might go to someone else.
First, a lesson in the value of school. We are going to conduct an exercise. I’d like you to pair off—you can enlist your brother or sister if nobody else is around, or the parent who handed you this newspaper (a compound word, formed by combining “news,” from the Latin nova, or “new” and “paper,” from the Latin papyrus).
This is why kids hate school, isn’t it? All this irrelevant information. You don’t find it cool that the term we use today, paper, echoes back to ancient Egypt, papyrus, leaping across 2,000 years in a single breath? No? Not even a little bit?
See, this is why teachers are always pushing for more. Teaching is hard.
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