Friday, January 15, 2016

A Magical Moment That Was Shared with Us and Made Us Think!

Last weeks magical moment...

Last week, Paul Ehrlich, Ben’s dad, paid us a visit to share about a magical experience he had, a once in a lifetime invitation to meet the President of the United States. President Obama contacted Adidas, where Paul works, to help solve a problem that was brought to his attention by some Native American teenagers. These teenagers had asked the President how to help teachers and schools understand more deeply about racism and how using Native American Mascots can be offensive to native peoples.  

President Obama holds a Tribal Nations Summit every year. This year, he invited representatives from Adidas to come and present their idea of how to help solve the mascot problem. Paul was one of those representatives. Adidas went to the White House and shared that they would like to help by offering any high school with a Native American mascot to work with Adidas to come up with a new mascot that represents their school community, all for free. Of 30,000 high schools in the US 2,000 have such mascots. So far, Adidas had only heard from 30 schools. They are hoping they will continue to hear from more.

I asked Paul to come and speak to us because it is my hope for the children to see Native Peoples as living, community members here in Oregon, not just people who lived in the past. I also wanted the children to see how people today can use their power for good to try to make some amends for some of the painful hurts of the past that we have been learning about as a part of understanding Oregon's history.

Below is a link to the talk President Obama had with some of the tribal youth at the summit.
If you watch you may want to start at minute 10:53 and watch for about 5 to 10 minutes.

President Obama Talks with Tribal Youth

Our class watched a few sections of this talk. After it, we wrote and reflected on some of the questions that they asked the President as well as reflecting on using our power for good.

How can you make teachers and schools understand racism or that stereotype mascots are hurtful?  

Why is it important to change things that seem small, like a stereotype mascot?

Why does our president think it is so important?

How were Adidas and Paul using their power for good?

Here are a few of the children's responses:

Catherine:  I think it’s really important to change a mascot because if you want students to feel welcome they might be afraid of the people who support this mascot, especially if it’s this person’s first day of school.  I also think that people should change thier mascot so everyone is happy.  They should make sure that no one feels left out excluded or scared.  Stereotype means to me that people spreading offensive and not true thoughts about someone from a different culture or family.  Everyone deserves a good education that education should feel fun and exciting not scary and offensive.  We can help that.

Charlotte:  Maybe that person thinks that it is important and maybe they really don’t like the mascot?  and I think that some things that seem small can feel big and you can care a lot more than people would think you do.  and a lot of people probably do think that it is important and a lot of people think it is not important.

Victoria:  Imagine, if you had different color skin, people made fun of you for who you are.  A stereotype mascot would mean a lot to you.

Aaren:  Why is it important to change a thing that seems small like a mascot?  I think it is because if you play a sport your mascot might be really offensive to Native and African Americans, because some sports teams are making a stereotype about natives like it’s making fun of them also like being racist so Adidas is trying to help by offering to help schools change their mascots but go of the schools committed to it, because some schools are making assumptions about Natives.

Quinny:  Why does our president think it is so important?  Are president is part Hawaiian and part African American and if there are tribes in Africa and Hawaii he would tell stories to help his people and with the help of big companies it could work.  But it hard to change NFL teams like Washington Redskins.

Native:  I do not like that! (looking at a poster with a team mascot on it)
Boy:  Why is it important to change our mascot?  
Native:  Because it is a stereotype!
Boy:  But it is just a mascot!
Native:  But it is hurtful!
Boy:  Why is it hurtful?
Native:  Because it is a stereotype to a tribe.  Like when you make a stereotype that all girls like pink.
Boy:  Oh I did not know that I should go tell my teacher.  

10 Days later….
Adidas helped us to change our logo to a non stereotype and got new logoed shirts and other things.

Message:  You should check if the thing is right before you make a stereotype.  Contact Adidas today.

Soren:  I think it is important to change a stereotype mascot to make your Native American students feel welcome because say, on the first day of school, a native american is thinking, Wow, it’s the first day of school.  I’m scared.  And Yeesh!  Maybe they will not treat me like other students at the school

Jia:  I think that a changing your mascot is a wonderful idea because they feel great about what they are doing now.  Because the mascot can change how they can work together and agree what their mascot can be.  Well I think how Paul is using his power for good is that he’s letting people…..(unfinished)

Ada:  I think that the president cares about changing Native American mascots because it can be very offensive to the people that go to or work at that school.  I think, the president cares about this problem because he and his nation are the people who make this country fair.  You can help by donating money, awareness and more!  My dad explained how sports can change lives in many different ways, especially through teamwork and helping each other.

Theo:  Why is it important to change things that are small, like stereotype mascots?  Because they can be very offensive and they can make people sad like native americans.  

Uma:  Because our president knows how it feels and doesn’t want kids to have to deal with segregation like how he did growing up.  Because he didn’t like it and it is not a good thing he doesn’t want these kids walking into a school thinking it is not a good school and it is hurtful to Natives being bullied because of their culture.  After much of these stereotypes are gone kids and adults feel better.

Peter:  Maybe because he is an African American and he had experience with discrimination.  He knows what segregation feels like, so he thinks what Adidas is doing is a well thought and he supports it.

Jonathan:  It is important because the Native American people might feel bad that people are stereotyping them and very offensive like imagine how it feels to be a Native American.  A person feels like we don’t all have red skin that just offensive and mean.  I mean do you know how hurtful that is??

Lily:  How can you make teachers and schools understand racism or that stereotype mascots are hurtful?  Talk to a teacher or faculty and say “You are thinking about the past, not the present”.  You are making a stereotype about our culture.  The mascots usually have red skin and feathers in their hair and that we don’t look like this”.  And then introduce them to what Adidas is doing and that they are not happy about their mascot.

Leoni:  Well I think that is is very hurtful schema - if I was a native I know I would be hurt by the fact that 2,000 schools are 1.  making the mascot red skinned 2.  it can hurt to be making fun of or just because you are different.  Evidence - I know - that it is unfair that they (2,000 schools) are making their mascots red skinned or making native looks weird or foolish.  And with that, that is my point.  

James- This represents that not all Native Americans
do what the stereotypes say.
Here are some of the first draft projects the children have been working on to respond to stereotypes about Native Peoples.
Uma and Jonathan- This represents that Native Americans dress and act like everybody else.
Soren- Not all Native Americans wear feathers except for special occasions.
They probably wear necklaces and special things.

Some of the children wrote letters to the President.

Some of the children are writing letters to schools in Oregon letting them know that Adidas can help.

Ask Me Abouts:

-Ask your child what they are working on to respond to stereotypes.  
-Ask them what ideas they have for our play.
-Ask them what questions they still need to research to get our facts right for our play.
-Ask them what adjective they had to add and act out with their name.
-Ask them what might happen if Mrs. Rheinghans, the children, and Emily Stone bring music and drama together in our play?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Math Workshop: Foundations for Understanding Multiplication

This week Mr. Arensberg joined Room 36 to help launch us into a study of multiplication. He began with a story, to engage the children, about a Chocolate Truffle Shop.  The story consists with having to figure out how many truffles can go into each box, if each box can only hold 10.  Each day a new problem arises for the bakers in the truffle shop and the children work with a brain buddy to find solutions.  

Today the children found all of the possible arrangements (open arrays) for boxes up to 10 by 10. By physically constructing these open arrays, the children will then have visual tools to help them solve more complex challenges next week.  We are looking to see how they understand place value, the distributive property of mathematics (knowing that factors can be broken up and distributed to make partial products such as breaking 4x19 up into 4x9 and 4x10 to get to your answer),as well as if they can write an equation to represent the steps that they took to find the answer. The distributive property can be especially difficult to understand. 

While we want students to learn the standard pencil-and-paper algorithms for multiplication, it is also important that they come to an understanding of the properties of multiplication first so that they know why those methods work.  As you see your child work with problems related to multiplication, look for multiple strategies such as; using repeated addition, skip-counting, doubling, using partial-products (distributive property), and doubling and halving (3 x 12 = 6 x 6). 

Ada and Jia wondered what is the answer to 7x7=?
You can see here that they have added 14 plus 14
to get 28,  then they added another 14 =42 and
then went on to add another 7. This is repeated addition.

I urge you to explore multiplication at home as well, perhaps looking for arrays in everyday settings (an egg carton, window panes, package of toilet paper...) or finding ways that items are placed in equal groups to ease counting.  As you talk about multiplication with your child, try starting out with using language such as “groups of” rather than “times”.  This will help support his or her understanding of what the operation actually means.  We will continue after this exploration with Mr. Arensberg to approach multiplication in a variety of ways.

Slideshow of Constructing Understanding for Multiplication

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Turning Small Moments into Winter Memories

A few weeks ago our 1st Grade buddies inspired us by teaching us their technique of looking for small moments (slices of a watermelon) from a bigger idea (the watermelon). They talked to us about using descriptive adjectives (seeds) to make our small moments come to life.  

We decided to write our own small moments from our lives.  We worked on our writing craft by brainstorming in our writer's notebooks, reading wonderful stories by mentor authors that have powerful small moments, and then sharing our stories with one another. 

This process was rich and full of great short pieces of writing. The children's high interest offered a perfect opportunity for some great skill instruction. I challenged the children to focus in on what makes a sentence.  We started with their original ideas and then dove further into the beginning parts of speech, hunting for nouns and verbs.  We even started to search for the subject.

What makes a sentence? 

The children's original responses...

  • a bunch of words and numbers with some sort of punctuation at the end
  • when you write until you get to a period
  • a bunch of words that explain something in your writing, or in your talking
  • part of an idea- a seed of a watermelon
  • pull your reader in, get them interested
  • most sentences are more than 3 words
  • a way to express an idea or emotion
  • more than one sentence can make a paragraph
  • collection of words and spaces that start an idea

Finally, all of the children chose one small moment to gift to all of you. After finishing and editing their small moment, they carved and printed an image to capture the main idea of their story. They are gifting you a memory to help keep your family warm this winter. I hope as you received this gift over the break you were delighted in the heart felt memories your children remembered as well as in the writer's voices that each and everyone of them is developing over time. They are all true treasures!  I hope they warmed your winter holiday!

Print Making Process

Photos of The Winter Party