by Honolulu Mother

My daughter spends her evenings in a Hamiltrash chat via Instagram. I have heard (upon information and belief) that many other teens do the same.

Hamilton’s teenage superfans: ‘This is, like, crazy cool’

What, if anything, will it mean for this age group that their big teenage musical obsession involves a rap battle over whether to found a national bank instead of the usual boy band output? Will this come to be considered a generational marker?


123 thoughts on “Hamilteens

  1. Lin’s “In the Heights” came out when we were living in the NY area and my two oldest were giant theater nerds. We became super fans of his. Now (after studying theater in college,) and now living their dream of working in the theater biz, they went to the Hamilton premiere and shortly thereafter got us all tickets. WOW- we go to everything, and that is my all time favorite. 15yo DS can rap the entire thing and it has made him very popular with the girls….

  2. I’m sure this will be a generational marker, similar to other cultural ones like Disney movies or TV shows. I find Hamilteen social media posts both endearing and cringeworthy, which is my typical reaction to many middle-school behaviors. From everything I see this is primarily a girl thing, so I think boys are missing out on learning some history. I wonder how that plays out in schools that have started to use Hamilton in their history classes.

    BTW, a big thank you to the totebagger who suggested the Presidential podcasts. I’ve just started, and this may become my new podcast obsession.

  3. And certainly nothing wrong with it! It is just that I think of myself as a young person and then I get these reality checks that, nope, not any more. A young person would get this.

  4. unlike other tween obsessions, this is a NATIONAL obsession- Hamilton has been referenced in NYT and WSJ articles almost daily since it came out. It has won every conceivable award, it is referenced in podcasts I listen to, on TV shows, by politicians, etc, etc. I think the idea that that this has caught on so much among teens shows this generation to have some taste and sophistication.
    (until they prove me wrong by the next big thing being something gross & offensive.)

  5. Yeah, I have a Hamilteen and a Hamil-pre-teen. It started with DD. She was already in a big Broadway phase (triggered by “Wicked” around 13). But when she discovered Hamilton, it was like all the excitement of Broadway, but with really cool, hip music that spoke to her generation. I also think the diverse casting spoke to how she sees the world — the music and the cast basically made the story much more relatable to her and her friends.

    And, let’s face it, it’s a pretty awesome story. The problem is that (a) it involves a bunch of Dead White Guys (the epitome of the un-hip to a teenage girl), and (b) we tend to only hear the story told like this — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhiCFdWeQfA. So if you take a fundamentally great story, replace the caricatures we get from history class with actual characters (wait, you mean these were real people?), dress the whole thing up in modern clothes, well, bingo.

    Not that this is the first time that approach has succeeded — remember “Rent”? Same story, different generation. The difference here is probably the explosive growth of social media, which allows these things to spread like wildfire. And there you are.

    DS has also been grabbed by it. Because, you know, guns and ships and war, plus cool rapping. And, yeah. Our entire summer vacation flip-flopped between Hamilton and “watch me whip. . .” (The good news is that I can still tolerate one of those two).

    Now I just need to figure out how to get some tix to take the kiddos.

  6. I have to say that I disagree. I don’t think this is a cultural touchstone for 98% of Americans. I’m on the other coast, and I’m pretty confident that I don’t have face-to-face contact with any person who knows a single Hamilton song. I see lots of social media posts about it, but I would guess if I surveyed the nurses at work, no one would know what I’m talking about.

    Related, the “curating” of our social media feeds provides more of a media echo chamber than we realize. For example, I see three or four positive Hillary Clinton article today on Facebook as well as one or two articles about parenting issues (validating positions I agree with). I think it’s easy to start to believe that everyone is seeing the same things that I am seeing. I read the New York Times online almost daily, and I can’t say that I’ve seen more than half a dozen articles about Hamilton.

  7. This looks like a compelling story told in a very energetic, creative way. I can see why people like it.

  8. I was going to say something to the effect of what Ada said, and I only held back because of Honolulu’s distance from NYC, but since Ada said it, I agree with her.

    The NYT and the WSJ do not represent much in the way of national audiences. They also made frequent references and ran regular columns on shows like Downton Abbey and Mad Men, neither of which ever had a significant national audience.

    On the other hand, the country is so much bigger and, ironically with more communications connectivity, far more divided, so it’s hard for anything to have the same mass following as shows once did.

    But a show that, to actually see on Broadway, requires tickets that cost something like $600 or more, is not going to be it. And I say this as someone who’s seen probably 25-30 shows on Broadway.

  9. Ada- That’s so interesting. It really feels like the whole world is into it to me and I’m usually pretty savvy about what is coming to me because of my bubble!

  10. “I’m on the other coast, and I’m pretty confident that I don’t have face-to-face contact with any person who knows a single Hamilton song.”

    I agree. I can’t name a single song, and I’ve only heard Hamilton mentioned once in the past year in conversations with my friends.

  11. I have a Hamilteen and she has converted me. We start each day listening to “Helpless” because it makes us feel happy. I am proud of my ability to do the Hamilton part of that song……flawlessly. I always cry during “Its Quiet Uptown” and I walk around humming the “10 Duel Commandments”. I love it! It has lit a fire in her both relative to musical theater and history. She is sitting down and reading the Chernow book. Asked me to take her to the Archives so she could see the Constitution and is pretty disappointed that none of the Federalist Papers are on display. She wants to get into the Treasury Department so she can see the bust of Hamilton. She’s so excited for American History this year. I’m hopeful that this humanizing of these people in the past will help her stick with an interest and appreciation for history.

  12. My kids have mentioned nothing about Hamilton. If my DD actually attended a Broadway show in NYC, she would probably be interested. I have seen two shows here long after they were initially popular but I quite enjoyed them. I recall seeing Rent with teen relatives a long time ago. The teens were from a small town and were so excited to be seeing a Broadway show in NYC. I couldn’t see what the hype was about. DH got us all from the hotel, to the train, to the show, to dinner, so if we have to make a visit now DH is our tour guide (as he is in many places we visit).

  13. Yeah, the country is a pretty big and varied place! What may be hot on east coast will not be in the Midwest (one of the many reasons for Trump support) Hamilton gets talked about, but nowhere near as implied by some posters. Like Milo said, at 600 a pop, not many are even thinking about it. I sure am not!

  14. But then again, I don’t have teenagers or know many people with teenagers with whom the soundtrack seems to be popular!

  15. Same down here, people know about it (and I’m sure some have gone up and seen it) but it’s not a thing that teenagers or adults seem to be talking about. It’s on my FB feed and I see references on here but we’re not really theater people so I haven’t bothered to listen to any of the songs.

  16. My DD isn’t a Hamilteen but I could totally see her becoming one. She has all the makings of it — loves U.S. history, would love the social media chatter, etc. How do kids get into this if they haven’t seen the production yet?

    For those of you w/ Hamilteens, what got your kids into it? Did you just buy the soundtrack, or did they watch a bunch of YouTube videos about it? What’s Step A in my Create A Hamilteen Plan?

  17. These generational milestones/markers come from unexpected places. I was recently click-baited into one of the ubiquitous 30-page slideshows of shocking facts you never knew about Saved by the Bell.

    As a matter of fact, Saved by the Bell attracted more teenage viewers on Saturday mornings than did the most popular television show in primetime, The Cosby Show. That’s probably why those slideshows are so damn popular.

  18. What may be hot on east coast will not be in the Midwest.

    Give it time.

    “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always twenty years behind the times.” – Mark Twain

  19. My singer sons downloaded and apparently memorized the soundtrack, which we listened to in the car a few times, but they are a bit older than middle school. They are not obsessed and have barely mentioned it. It’s just one of the many music things on Spotify that they enjoy. Totally agree with Milo’s take that this generation isn’t going to have the same sort of generational markers as we did. Popular culture is all niche now. And the vast majority of people are not in a position to see Hamilton on Broadway for quite some time. It’s great for Totebag kids whose parents, like some of you, will use it to spur interest in history, but it’s not going to be another Harry Potter at that price point.

  20. I love Hamilton. Have played a few songs for DH (who actually liked it!!!) and the kids. My FB feed is full of my law school musical friends obsessing over it – probably last fall/winter was the peak. One of them now teaches at the MCU and is trying to figure out how to take her students to it. (Milo, in return, they have her watching war movies.)

  21. Oh, but haven’t seen it yet, of course – the only tix I could fine were like $2K each. Will wait until next year.

  22. Many of the teen social media posts I see about Hamilton include laments about how they’ve never seen the show, either because of cost or of where they live. I do think this trend is popular (maybe not the most popular) around the country, but not necessarily across all age groups. Here’s a Business Insider article.

    To learn what American teenagers in 2016 really like, and what they don’t, we polled about 60 of them from across the US. We spoke with teens ages 13 to 19, in middle school, high school, and college….

    We didn’t want to focus on one particular geographic area, so we talked to teenagers from across the country, including California, Colorado, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania….

    We asked teens to name the coolest celebrities….

    Some of the more popular names included Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, 5 Seconds of Summer, Kanye West, DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Ruby Rose, One Direction, “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, Drake, and Nicki Minaj.

    Yes, the star of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” was named in the same breath as Drake and One Direction.

    I wonder if he’ll show up in next year’s Teen Choice awards.

    Rhett — Sorry, I must have missed it. Please send or repost.

  23. Risley, my daughter and friends haven’t seen it, of course. I can’t say exactly what got them started because you know how these teenage things are, it seems like one day all of them are talking about it and as a parent that’s when you first pick up on it. But it was right around last years’ winter break that it seems like it started with them. That was also right around when the soundtrack showed up as free-to-stream-with-Prime on Amazon music, which was nice. As far as I can tell it involves listening to and memorizing the soundtrack, trying to do the fastest-rap-ever at speed, somehow knowing the full story, fangirling over the characters, and of course hanging out on social media talking about it along with the other stuff going on in their lives.

    My daughter just came up to complain that she’s out of clean jeans, and she adds that they sing it a lot during school. Especially when a teacher accidentally makes reference to it. I gather there’ve been a lot of Lafayette references during French.

  24. “We asked teens to name the coolest celebrities….”

    That’s a lot of celebrities. A breakdown of the responses by region would be good.

  25. Risley, my daughter just found it on her own and downloaded it and the descended into the nether world of Hamilton. Not sure what about it hooked her. Certainly the whole underdog theme. Check out the You Tube of Lin Manuel Miranda’s visit to the White House before the world was Hamilton crazy. Him rapping with the President certainly has a cool factor.

    The other videos online are mostly of the cast members outside the theater doing the bits and maybe something from the Tony’s. I do adore this Miranda fellow. He’s so joyful. My daughter had me watching the wedding dance he did for his wife on You Tube last night. He seems a delightful human being on top of being immensely talented.

  26. honolulu – yes being able to master the rap portions is a HUGE deal. Also my daughter loves saying “inimitable”.

  27. CofC,

    OK, I’ll just repost:

    Cordellia mentioned that her house has three water heaters because as a child she promised herself she’d never take a cold shower as an adult. I grew up in a house that was hot in the summer and freezing in the winter so I promised I’d always have powerful HVAC.

    What are some of the things you’ve promised yourself as a child that you’ve achieved as an adult? What are some of the things you haven’t achieved?

  28. The first time I came across her listening to this one I was like shiiit, when I was your age every song I listened to was basically about “oooh, you’re so special to me, love love love,” and you’re hidden in your room listening to this?:

  29. Ah, sounds like it’s more of a middle school thing, in terms of the obsession bit? I’ll still download it and check out the You Tube stuff w/ DD. I think she’ll really like it, even if she’s maybe a little too old for true Hamilteen status.

    Here’s how slow I was on the uptake about this: in May, DH and I had a week in NYC. A month or so before that, I was looking for Broadway shows for us to see, and on the Monday that week, Hamilton was the only one open. I thought, “Eh, it sounds a little dull, but we might as well give it a shot, since that’s all that’s on that day.” Of course I didn’t get tix – to my surprise, it was completely sold out. When I told DH, who’s far more with it than I am (and spends a lot more time in NYC), he couldn’t believe I thought seeing it might be an option.

    Now, watch me mention it to DD today after school and hear her say, “Oh, I’ve been listening to that for months.”

  30. We are all wanting to see it here, my boys love the music. We are taking them to NYC in a couple months and going to try Moxie’s tip of waiting until the day of and seeing if anyone is unloading via stubhub or ticket master. If not, this is going to be one of those shows that’s around for years, so I don’t feel impatient about it. (Already have tickets to School of Rock, which they are very excited about).

  31. “I do think this trend is popular (maybe not the most popular) around the country, but not necessarily across all age groups. ”

    I agree, but admit that I am in a bubble even though I do live in Flyover Country and not NYC. I think its age-related and then also either people who are theater or history buffs are really into it too regardless of geography. (of which I know both)

    The tickets for the first run of the Chicago staging sold out in a ridiculous amount of time. The line for the box office started 24 hours in advance and was the lead story on all of the local news channels when tickets went on sale. Personally, I would like to go, but not with the amount of money or time needed to get a ticket right now. Maybe I will go in a year if the hype dies down. I did read the Chernow biography of Hamilton himself.

    I think cultural touchstones in the future may just be less about a specific show & more about a specific technology. Like “oh remember when Snapchat was cool”. Or maybe the nostaglia will be more segregated. It’s not like the 90’s nostalgia that I click through isn’t specific to my demographic now though either.

  32. Well no surprise, it’s pretty big here. Some 5th grade kids learned one of the very fast rap songs and performed it at a school music show this past spring. Supposedly, someone on the PTA went to school with Mr. Miranda so *we’re* hoping he’ll either donate tickets for kids to attend or donate tickets for a school fundraiser auction. My kids aren’t into it but are aware of it.

    We were just talking about Broadway shows and other venues last night. I think the kids are finally old enough to enjoy a musical and maybe a Carnegie Hall concert. One is still all about the food available pre/post show and at intermission. Wonder if he’s in a growth spurt? He’s been talking about food more than usual lately.

    We took the kids to a puppet show in Central Park when they were maybe 3 and it was a disaster. We left early. Seemed other kids their age enjoyed it, but they were too rambunctious.

  33. My DD is a Hamilteen. I have no idea how it happened, but she even has a Hamilton biography stashed in her room. If I can get her tix to Hamilton, I don’t have to get her another birthday or Christmas present EVER. I have gotten to the point of looking for tix in places that Southwest has cheap flights to.

  34. Far be it from me to nitpick typos–I make plenty of them myself–but if this is written as it was intended to be, then I really don’t understand the question.
    “their big teenage musical obsession involves a rap battle over to found a national bank instead of the usual boy band output?”

  35. SM, perhaps this might be a bit clearer:

    “their big teenage musical obsession involves a rap battle over whether to found a national bank instead of the usual boy band output?”

  36. My kids have enjoyed the plays put on by the Children’s Theatre here. I thought the productions were very good. We went to the Lion King when it came here. A point I wanted to make was that even the tickets for shows here are not cheap for the average family. A performance we are to go to next year had tickets starting at $50. If a family with three kids wants to go that’s quite a bit of money. I know it is similar for other events but still…

  37. Thanks Finn! That’s one of the options I was considering, but not knowing the plot, I wasn’t sure.
    How many of the kids who know and love this musical are interested in pursuing any of the issues it raises by doing research after the final curtain?

  38. DH and I want to see it, but we love theater. The obsession with the teen/tween set is like how it was for Rent when I was that age. I’m sure this may be slightly more age appropriate… :)

    I think I may just get the soundtrack. It comes on Pandora a lot and I do like it. This will probably be the first time I buy the soundtrack to a show I haven’t seen.

  39. We haven’t seen it, but we really want to get tickets. I’m willing to wait for some of the craziness to die down.

    I’m not willing to risk stub hub because of price and some fraud with re sale Hamilton tix.

    DD is not obsessed, but she does want to see it. Also, it is spreading past the NYT and WSJ part of the population because schools are incorporating it into curriculum since kids can relate to the show and connect it to the true history.

  40. I wish I could find the FB post, but someone did post the other day a strategy that worked for them (or was it here?). I think they used stubhub and waited until the absolute last second to get tickets – the prices for that night’s performance fall between 7:50p and 8p – they were still high at 7:40) You have to not have your heart set on going, and have a plan to print the tickets at a nearby hotel office center, but they were able to snag them at face value.

    FWIW, I think the fraudulent transactions have been via craigslist – stubhub offers a guarantee?

  41. @ Ada – that was here, I think it was Moxie’s husband and son who were able to see it that way.

    Stubhub is all credit card transactions and offers a guarantee – we often buy sports tickets through them.

  42. Although you would get a refund, IMO the Stubhub risk is buying a fraudulent ticket and then being turned away to see a show you had planned to see, maybe even traveling some distance and spending money on hotel, etc. (Speaking as someone who spent 3 hours travel time to see a show last night.)

    For a while I was trying to enter the daily Hamilton ticket lottery, but I lost interest. https://lottery.broadwaydirect.com/show/hamilton/

  43. yes, you can get money back if you paid with a credit card on certain re sale sites. The problem is that people are planning trips around this show, and they get disappointed if they can’t get into the theatre. It happened to our neighbor’s parents. I use stub hub, and I’ve never had a problem with concert or sports in any city. there just seems to be a little more fraud with this show, and it might be too to the large sums that people are willing to spend for tickets.

  44. Kate,

    Proof that I am old/middle age is that I just do not understand this.

    In about 10 years or maybe less you’ll start to feel more tuned in to pop culture again, but in a second-hand way via your kids.

  45. “it is spreading past the NYT and WSJ part of the population”. My friends who are into it do not read those publications. They are either dance/music people or Black, or both.

  46. ” the vast majority of people are not in a position to see Hamilton on Broadway for quite some time.”

    I’m going to guess that for Broadway musicals, including the very popular ones, the vast majority of people never see them on Broadway. They instead find most of their audiences at traveling productions, in movie theatres, in long-running productions outside of NYC (e.g., Phantom ran for years in LA and Vegas), and later in school and community theater.

    I’ve seen quite a few musicals, but exactly 2 on Broadway. Go back 2.5 years, and that would be exactly 0.

  47. “In about 10 years or maybe less you’ll start to feel more tuned in to pop culture again, but in a second-hand way via your kids.”

    But when they leave the nest, you will be back to squaresville again. That has been my observation of those a few years ahead of me. Unless they are still on your Netflix family account.

  48. That’s kind of what I was assuming, Scarlett. With the possibility of getting a second (third?) wind through the grandchildren if your relationship is close enough.

  49. The grandchildren will make help knowing most of the pop culture.

    I see this with my parents because they try to know and understand what their tweens are listening to, or following online. They ‘re not teens yet so they tend to share with adult relatives.

  50. DD does not like musicals which kind of breaks my heart a little bit. When I was a teen, I loved musicals like Chorus Line, Hair, Evita, A Little Night Music. DS has slightly more interest – I’ll have to see if I can get him hooked.

  51. My parents talk to my kids and get a sense of what’s popular. My Mom and DS had this ongoing discussion about the new iPhone. It was fun to eavesdrop on that conversation.
    My parents were also sort of chaperones when the kids were about chasing Pokemon.

  52. That was me with the last minute tickets. It only works if you can wait till the last, last minute and can live with not going. So if you can create a situation in which you are like well if we can we’ll go to Hamilton but if not we’ll get dinner and see a movie then it is fine. For people traveling from far away that is a harder bargain especially if Hamilton is the only reason you are there.

  53. Hamilton will get here when my kids will really use it – a few years from now when they are in high school.

  54. “The grandchildren will make help knowing most of the pop culture.”

    Very true, but there is usually a gap — in the case of some of my friends who are in their late 60’s, a very LONG gap — between the beginning of the empty nest and grandchildren who are old enough to be versed in pop culture. (Not that they seem to care that popular culture has passed them by, but they *really* want grandchildren.)

    My dad, who is 85, was in the car when DS played the Hamilton soundtrack, and he might have been listening to Esperanto for all that he managed to pick up. He also watched the first episode of Silicon Valley with us, and one episode was more than enough. Which was fine with me, because it is pretty crude and even at my advanced age I don’t want to watch it with my dad.

    DH often has iTunes running in the background when he is setting up for class, and a student once approached him and asked how it was possible that DH was listening to that music, because, well, “You’re OLD.”

  55. Scarlett, my parents are only sorry they haven’t gotten to see it yet and now it’s too late to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in the role. OTOH, there are plenty of grandchild enthusiasms that they haven’t caught. They’re not playing Minecraft and they have a low tolerance for watching famous YouTubers, for instance.

  56. I am binge watching Americans on Amazon. It’s good. I don’t care for both lead actors and so it works with me not liking the characters as well.

  57. Well, DD and I played quite a few of the songs after she arrived home from school today. She thought they were very catchy, but she wasn’t bowled over by the U.S. history hook the way I thought she would be. She said she’d definitely give the entire soundtrack a listen, but she said it in the same way she says she’ll definitely clean her room, so …. We’re not going to have a Hamilteen in this house, I’m thinking.

  58. YouTubers! Another thing that I don’t get. My boys are mesmerized by some women with an annoying voice and sparkly nail polish who opens up boxes of toys and describes them. They have never seen her face. At first I was a little leery, like why is this grown woman doing this? But it seems totally kid-appropriate. I just don’t get it.

  59. I admit I live in flyover country, but I went to a totebaggy high school and most of my facebook friends from highschool live on the East Coast or California. They are not posting about Hamilton. They are posting about their young kids, family vacations, and sports. They aren’t talking about Hamilton. And no one around me in flyover country is talking about it. If it wasn’t for this blog and the NYTimes Facebook posts I never would have heard about it. I bet if I asked anyone in my office about Hamilton they wouldn’t know what I was talking about. Currently the big news is the first home football game and who has tickets (new stadium and rival opponents).

  60. Lemon, I can’t remember how old your kids are — are these teens you’re talking about?

  61. My favorite moments in the show so far (never having seen it) are the blue note at the end of “Guns and Ships” (Washington) and then the last chord of “History Has Its Eyes On You.” Never fail to give chills. Also regret that I didn’t get to see Jonathan Groff as King George because he is DELICIOUSLY REGAL in that role. :)

  62. My kids are under 10, and so my social network is mostly limited to elementary school and younger. My friends and family with middle school and high school aged kids haven’t talked about Hamilton. I must be a demographic that isn’t awed by it yet.

  63. L, I know a Georgia teen who apparently killed it at her school’s coffeehouse night with You’ll Be Back — had the audience singing along in the “Everybody!” part.

  64. Lemon, yeah, like how with Bieber my young cousins who are now 20+ were true Beliebers but my kids think of him as the nutso with more money than sense instead of as an adorable YouTube sensation that their age group discovered. It’ll be something different when your kids are teens!

  65. Rhett – interesting. I wish their neurons would convince them that they do not need to ask for every toy that they see on her channel.

    HM – how did she figure out that this would be such a hit?! My understanding from talking to other parents is that she is quite popular with a lot of the kids. So bizarre! I don’t even know how my kids found her.

  66. Kate – you should see the christmas wish list my kids already have. Just about every toy that has a commercial between the two Teen Titan’s Go episodes is on there. My oldest can work the remote but refuses to fast forward through the toy commercials.

  67. Kate, I think the unboxing videos started with new iphones and other gadgets whose release gets featured in the news, so presumably the same people who read about the new gadget would be curious to see what it looks like in the box. That, I think, had some crossover to the collector toys with geek appeal like the anime-related stuff. And then meanwhile there were the haul videos, which unlike the unboxing videos skewed much more female, where some young woman would lovingly record her day’s shopping haul — clothes and makeup and such, not gallon jugs of milk and giant bags of apples and yet another box of pancake-sausage-on-a-stick like my usual weekend haul. Those both probably began before YouTube videos were heavily monetized, but were popular enough to have a following. So assuming that this isn’t simply a case where the young woman doing the videos has a genuine passion for toys, she could have gotten the idea from the existing subgenres of unboxing and haul videos, and applied it to kids’ toys for the sake of viewership.

  68. Haven’t unboxing videos been around for a long time? I remember back to when people bought cameras to take photos and camcorders to take video, and seeing a bunch of unboxing videos of various camera and camcorder models.

  69. We went to B’way traveling shows when the saacster was in grade school. We got away from it for a couple years, and now he doesn’t want to go to another one, because he doesn’t want to go anywhere outside of school. I have a plan to get him to go to The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime this weekend; we have had moths in our house, so I’m going to get those coffers and set them off. Once he’s outside & in the car with AC, he’s mine. Mwahaha. At least I hope it works. My parents are getting him tickets to Wicked and he’d better be appropriately excited when he opens that gift at his bday or Xmas.

  70. I’ve never been big into pop trends. It’s been a slow reveal to me over the past couple decades that pop culture can tell us so much about the groups it’s popular with. Idk what I’ll do in a few years, but when my sunshine goes off into the world, I expect I’ll find a little corner to be much more excited about. I went through several trends like that as an adult before he came along.

    About how Hamilton works its way through the country–growing up we saw very little TV, so little that there are all kinds of thngs I didn’t know came from tv or movies for years. I expect songs & phrases from Hamilton will spread to lots of people like that.

  71. Rhett,

    Looking forward to two more seasons of The Americans, but it’s SO hard to watch in real time. Have you caught up?

  72. Those unboxing videos are nuts. DS never got into them but my nieces are nuts for them. I read in the WSJ that the one woman in Brazil who makes tons of them has made multi-millions off of them. It’s really unbelievable.

    The ones where they open kinder eggs are a huge thing with my nieces.

    Everything you could ever think of is on You Tube. Now that DS is older, he is into more mainstream stuff, but he used to watch this video of a guy playing the chimes in a grandfather clock over & over when he was a toddler. And othe obscure stuff. So bizarre. I don’t remember how we even found it.

  73. @Finn – I think we will be trying to get tickets for that next run of Hamilton shows, but that is not my task to complete. I also care the least about going of the adults in the family.

  74. My kids love, love, love unboxing videos. They would much rather see someone else play with toys. I’m pretty confident that this means I am a great failure as a parent (or at least a tote bagger).

    The best unboxers make millions per year. It’s astounding.

  75. I found Play Doh Sparkle Princess videos particularly mesmerizing. The way she fashions those play doh dresses is somehow fun to watch. Weird.

  76. She observes the #1 rule of play do NO MIXING COLORS.

    What is a good unboxer? One who is efficient or one who prolongs the show?

  77. The Play Doh princesses is absolutely something DD would watch. She watches a lot of DIY arts/crafts videos.

    A question – are there any good resources for how to strengthen writing ? Even if it starts off with cookie cutter type templated examples that would be helpful. Writing has become the most important topic in English at my kids’ school.

  78. SM – I am satisfied. Just asking Totebaggers if they knew of any additional out of school resources. Older kid is not a natural writer, so I wouldn’t expect any teacher to transform him into Shakespeare. But he can get better.
    Totebaggers usually have some good ideas and resources.

  79. Louise- are you asking about the physical act? Or the cognitive act? Assuming it’s the latter, journaling or letters to someone who will write back? Some people have success with a back and forth journal (with a parent or someone else- writing and then passing it to the other.) probably easy enough to do electronically.

  80. Louise, I just don’t understand. It sounds like you want him to learn writing because the school is teaching writing. I agree that it’s important to learn, but why don’t you think he will learn it in school?

  81. Louise, you could try asking your kids to submit their requests for stuff or outings in writing. A persuasive essay on why you should buy them a dog, or take the family to Disney, or let them stay up later on weekends. This project lets you cut off every verbal request with “please submit that in writing.”

  82. Louise, in addition to the suggestions you received, something else I used to do with my son was make him read bad writing and tell me what was wrong with it. With apologies to Thomas Sowell, his essays are occasionally all over the map with no coherent focus, so I used his as an example sometimes. Being able to read something where it is hard to figure out what exactly the author’s point is, or where they have too many points, can help a student understand the reason why they need to lay out their ideas in a logical manner and focus down to one or two key ideas. And fortunately, there is an unending supply of crappy writing available on the Internet to use as an example.

  83. Thanks Scarlett and MBT.

    Scarlett – that is a brilliant idea ! I am chuckling with glee…hehe…

  84. Louise, I agree those suggestions are great ideas for improving kids’ writing, and I understood that you were looking for those kinds of ideas (my suggestion would be to have them chart/diagram their argument) But in the past you have always sounded very positive about the school your kids are in. What I’m asking is a different question than you are answering. I’m wondering why you want to teach them something that you’ve just said that their school, which you have seemed pleased with in the past, has just committed to focusing more attention on. That’s a duplication of effort.

  85. Louise, I can’t remember where you live but we had good experiences out east with Writopia classes.

  86. SM – I am interested in my kids strengthening this area. Not interested in duplicating what is being taught at school.
    For example in Math, many parents use Khan Academy at home to practice topics taught at school if they think their kids would benefit from more practice.

  87. The SF production seems to be open ended, Phantom was in SF for a long stretch a while back, I think this will be too – and it doesn’t look like individual tickets are officially on sale yet, the $1000 might be subscribers selling tickets – maybe the prices will come down over time (I hope).

  88. Louise, something doesn’t fit, but it’s probably not worth pursuing further. Maybe I just trust my kid’s schools more. Or else we just aren’t communicating.

  89. Louise, some suggestions:

    -Have them read a lot, including a lot of the sort of writing you want them to do. After reading, critique what was read– was it well written overall, what was good about it, what wasn’t so goo.

    -Have them write. Not just the sort of writing you want them to learn, but all sorts. Emails and blog posts can also be good writing practice.

    -Have them save their writing, and go back and critique it after some time has passed. If you already have samples of their writing, say, from last school year, have them read and critique that.

  90. Louise, at my kids’ school, they have them write but the class sizes are too large and grading time is too limited for teachers to offer suggestions/feedback beyond “Not Meets”, “Meets” or “Exceeds.”. My DS1 is slow/sloppy at letter formation, but I decided to let the school deal with that, especially since he was learning cursive at the same time and I don’t want to contradict his teacher.

    For his weekly writing homework, we got permission to write his essay on the computer and after he had drafted it, I would sit down with him and discuss how better to comply with the rubric, have him identify words he had overused, any incorrect words. (Misspellings were identified by the computer and he fixed them in his draft). It’s not my favorite parenting task but I expect I’ll do the same thing with the twins when they start having essays as homework.

    Not sure if this is the response you were looking for, but it’s how I’ve chosen to handle the lack-of-feedback issue.

  91. “Louise, at my kids’ school, they have them write but the class sizes are too large and grading time is too limited for teachers to offer suggestions/feedback beyond “Not Meets”, “Meets” or “Exceeds.””

    See, that’s just wrong — that’s busywork. For something as subjective as writing, how are the kids going to improve without meaningful feedback? Otherwise it’s just busywork. I’d rather them assign half the number of assignments and take the time to let them know what they did right and wrong.

    This ties in to why my mom is retiring — her college is increasing the professors’ workloads, and she’s not willing to either teach two more classes a year for the same pay or lower her standards for the amount of work she puts into each class. And she makes more from her consulting business anyway, so see ya. Gee, I wonder what their President makes. . . .

  92. For something as subjective as writing, how are the kids going to improve without meaningful feedback?

    They’ll improve just by doing it. Perhaps they’d improve more with active coaching, but simply spending the time writing will still help them.

    Basically, what XKCD argues here:

  93. “For something as subjective as writing, how are the kids going to improve without meaningful feedback? Otherwise it’s just busywork. ”

    OTOH, there’s something to be said for writing as a means to get better at writing. For feedback, have the kid hang onto it, then read it later and see for himself/herself how it was good and how it could be improved.

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