Friday, July 13, 2012

Pickles and Tomatoes with Heroes

First thing this morning, Mary had us all thinking about social action in our classrooms, and how "real" it might be in terms of the student's participation.  Okay "real" is my word, not hers, but that's what it's got me thinking about.

Anyway, Lacy and I were out in the hall trying to place our actions on Hart's ladder with the rest of the participants and I started telling a story about my children asking to go with a neighbor to glean tomatoes "for the people." I was focusing on the fact that this is something that my children ask to do.  But Lacy immediately problematized me about the language my children are using, "for the people." So, this thing that they are doing is totally disconnected from the community "getting" the tomatoes.  "The people" are made passive and not "allowed" to be involved or even voice their ideas about it while the white middle class children "help" by gleaning the tomatoes. 

And all of the sudden, we were right back into the conversation about "help" and all of the power dynamics around who gets to help and who is seen as "needing" help.  And then the twitter feed started blowing up as we came back into the classroom to discuss.

And then, with tomato gleaning is rolling around in my mind with Pickles the cat, Reynelda moved us into "making" through an activity that had us pulling apart the social construction of the word "hero."

Lots to ponder heading into the weekend with some time to write about the rhetoric of help!  Thanks SI-er's  Ya'll ROCK!


  1. So how could your children become more connected to this activity that they seem to enjoy? I'm really curious about this entire situation. It seems like when we talk about writing and teaching and we deeply reflect on our practice of both, our minds start to go places and make connections not otherwise made. Sometimes, it's not that we need to "change" anything, but to live in a state of greater awareness. This is not an easy place to be. My mind has become even more full. Like you said, so much to "ponder."

    1. Christin and Cindy, Pondering here with both of you for a moment. So I want to think about awareness. Awareness of what and by whom. Middle class children should be more aware of hunger? What should people who are hungry be more aware of? I guess what I suppose is that if both those groups could see how, why, who makes the boundaries between them... what are the social structures that create hungry and helping the hungry. Who gets to help? Who gets to be helped? What is that all tied to?