Saturday, May 12, 2012

Anti Biased Activity

Class Family Tree



Butcher paper (any color)

Brown paint

Paint trays

Paint brushes (optional)



The class family tree is a large wall display of a tree using the teacher’s hands along with the children’s hands to create the tree, once the tree is done you add pictures of each child’s family to the tree to make a combined classroom family tree. The purpose of this activity is to display that each student and their families are important and involved in the class. This activity requires some teacher prepping to be ready for the children’s additions. This activity also requires a few days to finish, one day painting the tree and a few more to add the family photo’s. Here are the steps:

1.      Staple 2 layers of butcher paper to the desired wall (size: gauge how much space you need depending on your class size)

2.      Each staff member paints their hands and uses their hand prints to create the trunk of the tree.

3.      Introduce the tree to the children and explain that they will be adding the branches with their hands.

4.      Have 3 or 4 students at a time paint their hands and create a branch, then at the end of the branch have them do two hand prints like so:

(As each child finishes their branch be sure add their name to their hand prints. Have a staff member helping with washing hands, and the finished children can observe or move on to another activity.)

5.      After the tree is finished let it dry, then send home notices for each family to have the child collect and bring in photos of their family to add to the tree the following day.

6.       Have children sit in a circle around the tree; call on each child to present their photos and tell the class who is in them. Then staple them to the tree where that child’s hand print is.

7.      Continue to do this until all the pictures are up.

8.      After the tree is finished it can be used to begin or aide in discussions about families. Be sure to refer to it often and base activities around the class family tree. You can also read books about families to relate back to the class family tree; these are two books you could use:

The Family Book
By, Todd Parr 

Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers
By Mary Ann Hoberman                                 

This activity I made up myself. I created it by combining my love for classroom decorations, and supporting/displaying each child’s family. I chose this because it is a fun and creative activity that can be the focal point of the classroom, and it will also generate many class discussions about families. There can be many variations of this activity; for example, the children can do individual trees and present them on the walls, the staff can make the tree without handprints, the staff can add their pictures to the tree, the tree can change with the seasons, new pictures can be added, etc...

This activity is age appropriate for children ages 3-8 because they aren’t being taught “facts about a certain culture (York. pg 187), they are seeing all the different cultures within the families of children around them. They are also exploring and experiencing making the tree with their whole bodies and senses. (York. pg 188) By seeing touching a creating the tree with components of themselves they have a deeper connection to the tree as well; they know that they are a part of the tree. The only hard part with this activity is the amount of time it takes; it can be very difficult to keep younger children engaged in the painting of the tree portion because they are waiting their turn or have already finished. The process in making the tree can be adapted to fit with any schools schedule or time frame though.

The theme that this anti biased activity falls under the family category, but it also can be related to I’m me and I’m special and our community because it is giving each child a chance to show their unique family and it’s also connecting all the other children with diverse families in the community. This activity also promotes a strong relationship among staff and families. The handout “Anti Biased Education for Young Children and Ourselves” states that “…collaboration has the benefit of providing more effective anti-bias education for the children and a richer, more complex, and more effective experience for the adults.” So by involving the parents in this class family tree they can be involved in the classroom setting; which builds that strong relationship needed to support anti biased education. This is also an activity that can be used and referred to often so it is giving children many opportunities to better understand the ideas behind the class family tree. With anti biased education it is important that children are given multiple ways and experiences to better understand the concepts you are presenting.

This activity meets most of the 4 goals in some way. The main goal it meets is goal 1, which is; each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities. The children are not only able to experience family pride by having their family photos displayed on the tree, but they are also developing a positive group identity with their classmates. Goal 2, which is, each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connections. Once again the presentation of the children’s families each as part of the family tree helps them to make those deep, caring connections with their classmates. The staff can also have discussions about all the differences the children see in families and help them to develop accurate language to describe those differences. Goal 3 states, each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts. This is a more difficult goal to meet with this activity; however, depending on the things said by the children about different families, the staff can use the importance of all families being equal and why all the families are on the tree as a way to help them better understand unfairness and how to approach it. The last goal is goal 4 and it says, each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/ or discriminatory actions. This can be done with the same actions from the staff as I mention in goal 3; if any discriminatory things are said or done about the family tree, the staff can discuss why it’s not ok and redirect these actions.  

All in all the class family tree provides a creative way to display each child’s family and home culture within the classroom, while also providing discussions and foundations for other activities that can be built off of it. The staff will be able to make strong relationships with each family and make the families involved in the anti biased education presented. Plus the children will love turning their handprints into a giant tree!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Childrens Movie Critique

This film presents a story about an orphaned baby boy, Tarzan, who is discovered and rescued by a female gorilla, Kala. The story takes place in Africa amongst a jungle setting focusing mainly on the gorillas and other animal’s lifestyle. This made it difficult to analyze for racism being as animal dynamics are far different that human dynamics. The main message that comes across in the family dynamics of the gorilla’s relationship towards Tarzan was the rejection of Tarzan being someone “different”. Tarzan’s position can be portrayed as a situation someone in a minority group may struggle with.

Tarzan constantly is searching from approval from Kurtchak, the dominant male gorilla of the pack and his adoptive father. Tarzan tries desperately to find his place in the pack by proving his skills to Kerchak. Kerchak is a darker, dominant gorilla that also is more aggressive than any of the other gorillas; this can show that darker people are mean. He becomes softer throughout the film and you come to understand that his aggressiveness was out of protection and he accepts and apologizes to Tarzan before he dies. Kerchak and Kala’s interaction with one and other is very sexist being as Kerchak is always the dominant one in the relationship, yet Kala shows forms of independence by keeping Tarzan even though he doesn’t want him and ignoring his commands or insults towards Tarzan.

When the humans, Jane, Professor Porter, and Clayton come into the jungle and new problem comes about in the form of separation. Now let’s remember this is a film about animal and human interaction; there will always be boundaries. Some people may say that the fact that the gorillas want nothing to do with the humans and avoid them is a form of segregation; however I don’t see it that way. I simply see it as humans being something foreign and scary to the gorillas so they want to maintain a distance. And in the end they learn to accept the humans anyways. This article:  speaks about how there are no African Americans in this film, yet it is set in Africa; and according to Bertram Rothschild the gorillas take the place of African Americans in this film. Rothschild writes about the caging of the gorillas and how that symbolizes the capture of African Americans for slavery; which is a reasonable observation. I view this film a little less intentional than that. Capturing of gorillas is a realistic scenario, and the only reason why the gorillas speak and have humanistic actions is because it’s an animated Disney film. Everyone has their own perception and views on this matter; I just disagree with Rothschild’s view.
Jane is an interesting character in this film because when she makes her first appearance she embodies and proper English woman who is unsuited for the jungle. And the males are leading the group while she struggles behind them which is a sexist undertone.

Yet she learns the ways of the jungle life and he shows her the beauty of the jungle which in the end shifts her towards becoming less of a stereotypical proper woman. Her personality changes as she learns more, and she ends up staying in the jungle with Tarzan because it makes her happy.

The struggle Tarzan has trying to find his identity once the humans enter the jungle becomes the main focus. He takes time learning through pictures how humans act and the human cultures; and he starts to mimic them. This is showing him trying to change and fit in with people like him and he starts to lose the values and traits of being a “gorilla”. Ultimately Tarzan is faced with the decision to choose one or the other, he finds a compromise with maintaining the things he has learned from Jane and the professor while remaining in the jungle with his gorilla pack. Parts of this struggle can be perceived as Jane and the professor trying to erase Tarzans “culture” to have him become a human and be where he belongs. Even as a child I picked up on that from watching this movie.

Along with his struggle of finding his identity his adoptive mother, Kala, tries to instill a very important message when she discovers him looking at himself in the water and hitting his reflection, then covering himself in mud. Tarzan says “Why am I so different?” Kala responds “Look at me, and do you know what I see? Two eyes, two ears, a nose and two hands…”
Tarzan notices the difference and becomes discouraged. Kala then says “Forget what you see, what do you feel?” And places his hand on his chest, Tarzan says “My heart”. Then she lifts him to her chest and has his listen to her heart “your heart” he says. This comforts Tarzan and makes him feel accepted and alike with Kala and the other gorillas. This shows equality in the form of being a living thing with a heartbeat, no matter how different you may be on the outside.  

 This is the most important part of the movie to me, and it focuses on these important messages for most of the movie. What I think children take away from this film, is humor with the funny characters, male dominance with Kerchak, cultural differences and the struggle between them, and an overall lesson of learning to find yourself; whether it be Jane discovering she is happy with Tarzan in the jungle, or Tarzan finding that he is happy being a human in a gorillas world. When my sister and I watched this movie when we were younger, we loved the scenes with Kala and Tarzan and still to this day those are our favorite parts. I hope most children look past the racial and sexist undertones and take away the message the film presents with being loved for who you are no matter how different you may be.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Freckleface Strawberry

Freckleface Strawberry

By: Julianne Moore

Illustrated By: LeUyan Pham

Published: 2007

This book is about a seven year old girl who has a hard time excepting something about herself; her freckles. She tries anything she can think to get rid of her freckles, including becoming the “new” kid at school. Yet in the end she accepts and learns to love her freckles.

Are characters "outside the mainstream culture" depicted as individuals or as caricatures?
After observing the illustrations I saw that each character in the book is a unique individual, even the children Freckleface Strawberry interacts with are individuals. The only thing that can be interpreted as a caricature feature is Freckleface Strawberries freckles. They stand out in all the illustrations and she is the only one in which they are extremely noticeable, and even compared to a giraffes spots at one point.

Does their representation include significant specific cultural information? Or does it follow stereotypes?
This book doesn’t give any insight into why people have freckles or red hair; it mainly follows stereotypes for redheaded freckled people. The main stereotype that is pointed out is that there aren’t many people with freckles and red hair; shown by all the children asking and teasing Freckleface Strawberry about her freckles because they aren’t familiar with them. However, this is also somewhat of a fact given that red hair is a recessive gene and only occur in 1-2% of the human population.

Who has the power in this story? What is the nature of their power, and how do they use it?
I think the power starts with the children at school. They tease Freckleface Strawberry and make her feel uncomfortable about her freckles and their comments lead her to want to change herself. Then the power moves to the freckles; which make Freckleface Strawberry feel different than everyone else. She tries to overcome them by scrubbing them, covering them in lemon juice, coloring over them with markers, and then finally wearing clothes that cover them to make them disappear. And lastly the power moves back to the children at school when they miss Freckleface Strawberry and make her feel accepted once they see her again. The children unknowingly bring Freckleface Strawberry down to a level of hating her freckles and then also manage raising her up by missing her and still wanting to play with her, even though she has freckles.

Who has wisdom? What is the nature of their wisdom, and how do they use it?
The mother at the park has the wisdom. She approaches Freckleface Strawberry and sympathizes with her struggle with freckles. The mother says “I know how you feel, I’m covered in them.” Freckleface Strawberry replies “I can’t see any”, the mother then says “I know, mine kind of went away when I grew up, I bet yours will too”. This shows Freckleface Strawberry that she isn’t the only one with freckles and that they could change when she gets older.

What are the consequences of certain behaviors? What behaviors or traits are rewarded, and how? What behaviors are punished, and how?
There are many conflicts and consequences of certain behaviors throughout this story so I will try my best to cover the important ones. . I think the main behavior the goes unnoticed (which is somewhat like rewarding it) is when the students tease Freckleface Strawberry. She doesn’t talk to an adult about it, she simply tries to “solve the problem” by herself. This could come off to other children as they shouldn’t talk to anyone about someone teasing them at school. The children’s comments do get a consequence though, which is missing Freckleface Strawberry at school when she hides under the ski mask. Another thing that’s interesting is to see how her family reacts to her wanting to change. They react like she is being strange when she tries to scrub her freckles off and make them disappear with lemon juice, and her mother even gets upset when she tries to cover them with marker. This hints towards avoiding trying to change yourself.

How is language used to create images of people of a particular group? How are artistic elements used to create those images?
Freckleface Strawberry is illustrated as a unique little girl that stands out among her friends, and her language shows her being a spitfire having a spunky personality. Her friends at school each look different and react in their own ways to her freckles with show diversity among her peers.

Who has written this story? Who has illustrated it? Are they inside or outside the groups they are presenting? What are they in a position to know? What do they claim to know?
Julianne Moore wrote this book and has a personal connection to the main character being as she has red hair and freckles and her nickname growing up was Freckleface Strawberry. It’s almost as if she is taking her own experiences and building a story off of them, which I find to be a wonderful quality to the book.

LeUyen Pham illustrated this book, yet she has no real connection to any groups within the story; or at least none that was talked about in her short bio.

Whose voices are heard? Whose are missing?
The children’s voices are the main voices being heard. Freckleface Strawberry speaks some, however most of the information we hear come from the narrator. The voices I felt were missing the most were her families, especially her mother and father. It would have been interesting to see their explanation if she came to them asking why she has freckles. That could have led to more insight and background on how people develop or are born with freckles.

What do this narrative and these pictures say about race? Class? Culture? Gender? Age? Resistance to the status quo?

Mainly this book focuses on self acceptance and loving your differences. Yet there are also some components of racism, mainly when Freckleface Strawberry is being teased and asked about her freckles. This shows that children react to people’s differences, sometimes in a bad way, and can make that individual feel badly about those differences.

Analyze the illustrations for stereotypes. What are people doing that may create or perpetuate a stereotype?
One silly stereotype I saw was when one of Freackleface Strawberries peers was asking about her freckles; he was depicted as a stereotypical “nerd” or “geeky” boy. He has a laser gun in one hand, has glasses and buck teeth, and when he asks about her freckles he says “Can I smell them?”

Analyze the storyline. How are problems presented and resolved?

Within the storyline there are problems presented, in the form of her freckles and feeling different than her peers. And in the end she and her friends learn that they really don’t care about her freckles, they like her for who she is and they miss her when she hides; therefore the problem becomes resolved

Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?
I would recommend this book, not only because it is a fun original story, but also because it has a good overall message for children to love themselves and their differences.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Introduction

All about me...Well My name is Kristen Hardy. My parents named me Kristen mainly because they just liked that name, however they decided to spell with an e instead of an i at the end to make it somewhat unique. English is my first and only language but I want to learn Spanish. I was born and raised in Grass Valley California and currently still live here with my family. My parents have been married for 30 years (this year), and I have 3 sisters, 1 younger, 2 older. I am a fun, relaxed, curious, creative, and sometimes stubborn person. I enjoy spending time with my family because we are all close and support each other through everything.
I have a boyfriend who has been in the Army for a little over 4 years now. We have been dating for 3 of those years and he is finally going to be finished serving his time this summer. He is a huge part of my life and my family, I look to him for anything and everything; we are best friends. My extended family is spread out all across the USA, which makes it very difficult to spend time with them. My grandparents were all very strong individuals and scared me when i was a child. They have all since passed yet I am grateful for the time I had with them.
My race is Caucasian. My mom's family is all Danish and Dutch and I have been aware and exposed to forms of Dutch culture my entire life, mainly by being exposed to my mother's large family; she has 3 sisters and 2 brothers. My father is a more complicated story...He was adopted at birth so up until 3 years ago we had no idea what his background was. However fate stepped in and connected my dad with some people who could help him locate his birth family. A month or so later he was spending time with the people who were locating his family when one of them handed him the phone, he said hello and heard a voice on the other end, but had no idea who it was until the person said "that's your sister." My family has completely changed since then and now we finally know that most of my father's family is Flemish. I'm still trying to discover what exactly that means, but I'm sure I'll become more in touch with that culture with time.
My passion since i can remember has been teaching/ working with children. I used to sneak out of Sunday school and help the ladies in the nursery down the hall. I truly love the feeling of making a difference in a child's life. I had teachers who were amazing and changed my life; I want to be that kind of teacher. I worked as an after school program aide and lead teacher for 5 years, and now I currently work as a part time nanny for a family with 2 wonderfully hilarious children. As a teacher the most important thing to me is for my students to feel safe, whether it be emotionally safe, or physically safe. Culture some into play a lot with safety being my goal. As we saw in the Happy to be Nappy video, those children being teased didn't feel safe and the teasing was coming from other students who didn't understand their differences. Getting to learn more ways to bring culture into a classroom setting to make each student feel accepted and unique in all the right ways will make me a better teacher all around.

Here are a few pictures :)