Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Reflections..."42" to "Wonder"

As some of you know, baseball is a passion of mine--from watching my son play to my beloved (and ever frustrating!) Milwaukee Brewers--the strategy, the skills, and the stories of baseball remain close to my heart.

Yesterday my husband, son, and I went to go watch "42", a movie we have anxiously been awaiting.  We know the story of Jackie Robinson pretty well and have been eager to see how the story is depicted.  For the most part, we weren't disappointed.  There were points we squirmed in our seats with discomfort over the language used, the blatant racism, and the ache in hearts for the injustices done to Jackie and so many other Americans through history.

Discomfort.  

That's all--we haven't lived through death threats . . .  through having pitches thrown at our heads . . . through being deliberately" cleated" by opposing teams.  We haven't had our family threatened.  We haven't been called hurtful names.  We experienced discomfort at watching it unfold on the screen.

So why I am blogging about this?

I have been trying to decide what my next read aloud would be with my fourth graders.  I only have time for maybe 2 or 3 more books this year before I send them off to a new teacher in a new building with new challenges.  Have I done everything I can to prepare them?  So after watching "42" yesterday, I have decided that I am going to read


with them.  I hope they feel some "discomfort" when I read.  I hope they think about how they treat other people.  I hope they make connections to their own lives and that they carry a little bit of this book with them when they leave me.

With all the horror in the world, all we can do every day is be our best, treat others with respect and kindness, and try to make the world a better place.  Words can be powerful--I'm hoping R.J. Palacio's words can touch my students and make them think . . . make them uncomfortable . . . and help them grow up just a little bit more.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!



18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Brandee! I think the kids will love it...

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  2. What a great post! I agree that students need to experience as small degree of "discomfort" in their lives to really appreciate what they have and how far we have come.
    Sadly it seems that we are starting to slip right back to where we were...but, that is another thought for another day.
    As always- thanks for the great thought-provoking post. I just LOVE this blog. :)
    -Mr. Hughes
    An Educator's Life

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    1. Thanks, Mr. Hughes...you are very kind. Have a wonderful Sunday and rest up for the week!

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  3. Great choice! Sometimes we do need some discomfort to understand the perspective of others different from ourselves.

    Amy
    Eclectic Educating

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  4. I too have been struggling with whether or not I should read Wonder to my kiddos. Thank you for this post. It was a good reminder that I need to make my kids experience discomfort in a safe environment where we can talk it through.
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

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    1. I think that's key--the safe environment where we can help build empathy and thinking skills! :)

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  5. This is a very insightful post about an important topic. I was thinking about reading "Wonder" to my class as well. I'm glad I found your blog. I'm a Wisconsin blogger too!

    Jennifer
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

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    1. YAY! I hope you aren't getting SNOW like we are! This is ridiculous! I'm glad you have found me!

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  6. I remember once showing a film about Harriet Tubman to a class during a lifeskills lesson and then receiving an email from an irate parent who was upset because her daughter was upset by the film. (It was a very mild film) My response was that she should be proud that her daughter was ABLE to be upset, to feel the discomfort that I had expected the entire class would feel. So often there is no discomfort, no empathy and no change. It's sad when it's like that. I haven't read Wonder to my class but we've read other books and had other conversations that have created that "discomfort" you're talking about and hopefully some thinking too.


    Lynn

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    1. Thanks, Lynn...and, of course, you teach students one year younger so there is always THAT factor too. It's always hard to know how people will react--we'll see how this one flies!

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  7. Wonder is a great book! I am trying to decide if I want to read it as a read aloud or do literature circles with some reading Wonder and some reading Loser (by Spinelli). Great post!
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack
    Balancing the Backpack

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    1. We are digging in today! Updates to follow!

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  8. Bravo for being willing to take a risk. I read Wonder this past summer and wished I was an ELA teacher so that I could do a book study of it with students. I'll be following closely to see how it goes for you and your students. May they feel some discomfort.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words! Thanks so much for commenting...I agree that they need to feel that discomfort. Today we talked about the idea of "staring" at people...we had a pretty open and honest conversation. It's a good start!

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  9. We are currently reading Wonder and my class loves it so far! The short chapters are nice because there are several built in stopping-places for discussions. This morning we role-played the chapter on August's first day of school (when he sits down and no one sits near him except Jack Will). At first I was just going to have a volunteer act out how August would enter a classroom, but then everyone wanted to play a part, so we did...complete with a "Henry" who originally sat in the same seat as another student and then strategically placed his backpack to block 'August' from view when asked to move closer. I was a little leery about my students making the seriousness of the book into a joke, but they took the acting very seriously - almost as if they knew how awful the fictional characters had acted and they could sense that there was nothing funny about hurt feelings..Enjoy the read - I would love to hear more of your ideas on the book!

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    1. Interesting! I'm glad they took it seriously. Sounds like you are a bit ahead of us...keep me informed as to how it is going!

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