Saturday, February 27, 2016


Safe Spaces
Gerri August


1. “Teachers and peers usher children from the relative protection and insulation of family life into the classroom, where (perhaps for the first time) children encounter cultural and ethnic norms different from those of their family.” (Page 84)

Many students have very different school and home lives. When they enter the school building, they could be entering a different world from what they are used to at home. For a child who at home lives with a mom, a dad, and a sibling, that is what they see as “normal”. It is important for them to come to school and to learn that there are other examples of families. This is why is it important not to avoid talking about the topic of LGBT in schools. Kids should know that not everyone lives with a mom and a dad, and they should be taught that everyone’s home life is “normal” no matter what their family structure is.

2. “So far, so good – until the family is two moms and their children and two dads and their adopted daughter. Such families rarely make the curricular cut – they are invisible.” (Page 85)

I really liked this quote because it explains how most people play it safe when it comes to teaching about families. Why is it frowned upon to read a story to preschoolers about a family with two moms or two dads? It’s very possible that there is a child in that class who has that family structure. It’s important to show that child, and every other child, that there is nothing wrong with that. This quote shows how people are scared to talk about these issues and how they think it’s easier to stay quiet about it and keep these families invisible.

3. “To relegate LGBT books to the counseling center, however, marginalizes the LGBT community and identifies homosexuality with illness.” (Page 91)

This quote talks about when a principal suggested the librarian make a book, And Tango Makes Three, available to “counselors that work with families that maybe have this situation”. She didn’t feel it was the schools place to educate children on the topic of LGBT families. The quote mentions how it makes homosexuality sound like an illness. This is so true. People, like this principal, try to avoid talking about the topic and by doing that it makes it seem like it’s gross or sickening. Students should be taught to be accepting of all people, and I think the librarian was doing a good thing by trying to bring awareness into the school.

This reading definitely connected to SCWAAMP because of how straightness is viewed in society. I also saw connections to Johnson because privilege was mentioned a lot. August said, “Nevertheless, students from privileged groups were not challenged to think critically about their perceptions, and students from marginalized groups were, well, marginalized” (Page 96). People from groups who are more respected in society don’t give it a second thought, while others, for example the LGBT community, gets left behind.

Point to Share:

Why is considered wrong to teach children the different family structures? Shouldn’t we as educators want our students to be knowledgeable about what is going on in the world? Obviously, with the new laws of same-sex marriage, things are starting to go in the right direction, but it’s still important to realize that there are some teachers who will only teach their students the family of a mom and a dad. It’s important that these students learn that there are other forms of “normal”.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us
Linda Christensen


I thought Christensen did a good job of explaining the stereotypes presented in cartoons and movies. I liked how the article was written based on work she had done with her class. The reader was able to see how students reacted to the topic, as well as Christensen. The “secret education” that she talks about is very relevant. Like other people mentioned, one of the biggest issues is body image. This is true for both girls and boys. Young children look at these characters and think that the only way people are going to like them and they’re going to fit it is if they have the perfect body, perfect hair, or the biggest muscles. Another issue is with relationships. Girls are taught that they have to end up with the perfect guy, their “Prince Charming”. Boys are taught that they have to marry the prettiest girl, the Princess. These, and other stereotypes, give children the wrong ideas of what will make them happy in life.

This reading connects a lot to Grinner’s SCWAAMP. First, straightness. The relationships that are seen in these movies and cartoons are always between a man and a woman. This shows children that that is the only option for a relationship. Next, whiteness. Until The Princess and the Frog, there had never been a black princess. This shows children that whiteness is favored in society. Next, able-bodiedness. Both boys and girls are shown unrealistic expectations for what they should look like. Finally, maleness. Girls are shown that the only thing that will give them a “happily ever after” is to marry their Prince Charming. This is also seen with gender roles. For example, the maid in the family is always a woman, and the dad always has a high position job.

It may seem like I’m contradicting myself, but I do want to point out that although I agree that these cartoons and movies provide children with many negative stereotypes, I don’t think Disney is something that people should completely turn away from, like some of Christensen's students suggested, especially for kids. All day long at the daycare I work at the kids talk constantly about Disney princesses and their favorite cartoons. They pretend to be the characters and act out their favorite parts. I don’t see a problem with this. As a teacher, and someday as a parent, I wouldn’t want to take something away from children that they enjoy so much. Christensen said, “…at times my students would like to remain ‘ignorant and happy’” (134). Maybe it’s na├»ve of me to think this way, but I don’t believe that sheltering a four year old from Disney is going to change much about the way society affects them.

Point to Share:

Society and media play a huge role in how children grow up. The people and the lifestyles that are portrayed in the media are what kids look up to and aspire to be. I believe this can be both negative and positive. It’s negative when body image is something that is looked up to, like wanting to look like Barbie. However, sometimes when personalities are looked up to it can be positive. For example, Merida’s motivation to control her own life from the Disney movie Brave or Marlin’s determination from the Disney movie Finding Nemo.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Richard Rodriquez


I thought Rodriquez did a really good job of telling his story and getting his point across. Being a person who grew up surrounded by people who spoke my language, and solely my language, I was fortunate. I was also privileged. Like Rodriquez points out, this is not always the case. For him, growing up in school was something that changed his life. However, I did like how at the end he pointed out how being forced to learn English had both a disadvantage and an advantage. He said, “So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality” (Rodriquez 39). He is saying that although he looses a piece of his private life (speaking Spanish with his family), he gains acceptance into society and is able to become own person in that society. This relates to Delpit’s “culture of power”. In order for children who speak a different language at home to have power, they need to give up something that is important to them, and be taught another whole way of life.

From an education perspective, I didn’t like the way the nuns went to Richard’s house and instructed his family to change their ways. I believe that as teachers, we should have the students’ best interest at heart. For Richard, that would be teaching him English while still allowing him to use his home language of Spanish. I think it’s sad how much Richard’s school experience changed his relationship with his family. He said, “We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness” (Rodriquez 36). They should have been able to hold on to that something that made them a family, and made them different from the families around them.

Point to Share:

In my special education class we recently read a chapter on culture and the importance of incorporating each students culture into the classroom. I think it’s important to do this so that your students know that their culture matters. How can we help bilingual students become assimilated to our society while still being true to their culture?

Friday, February 5, 2016


Amazing Grace
Jonathan Kozol


I really enjoyed reading this piece and thought it to be very interesting and thought provoking. Many times I found myself thinking back to the Johnson article, Privilege, Power, and Difference. Although Johnson wrote his piece six years later, I could see some of the same issues being pointed at. For example, in Kozol’s piece he talks about the lifestyle of those living in poverty. One woman whom he talks to tells him about the many items that get dumped in the neighborhood due to its run-down appearance. He asks this woman if these kinds of things are insulting to them. She responds, “The truth is, you get used to the offense” (Kozol 10). The people living in this neighborhood have learned to “get used to” people dumping things they don’t want, essentially garbage, in their streets. I can’t help but to think back to when Johnson was discussing privilege. In his piece he said, “Privilege is always at someone else’s expense and always exacts a cost” (Johnson 10). These privileged people, lucky enough to have this “garbage” come to a poor neighborhood, and at the expense of those living there, and dump what they don’t want costing the poor to accept their state of poverty.

I also couldn’t help but relate Kozol’s reading to Delpit’s discussion of “the culture of power”. Kozol’s reading actually specifically referred to this idea of power. He quoted the son of a woman he spent time talking to when he said, “Somebody has power. Pretending that they don’t so they don’t need to use it to help people – that is my idea of evil” (Kozol 23). This boy explains that rich people, those in power, have done nothing to help those living in poverty. One of Delpit’s five aspects of power is, “Those with power are frequently least aware of – or least willing to acknowledge – its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence” (Delpit 26). These people living in this poor neighborhood in New York know very well that they are not in power. According to this boy, they also think that those who are in power, in this case people with money, should acknowledge that and do something to fix the issue of power.

Point to Share:

This reading raised a lot of thought and questions for me. One that sticks out is, why do people living in poverty just “get used to it”? Or more importantly, what can be done to ensure that they don’t? Just because you are born into a family living in poverty, doesn’t mean that has to become what’s “normal” for you. Every child deserves the chance at a better life. They shouldn’t be taught that people dumping their garbage in your neighborhood is something to expect.