Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Dreams

Yesterday my class talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. Most of my first graders had no idea who he was. We read a big book about him, mostly looking at the pictures of segregated places, the lunch counter in Greensboro, MLK in jail, and more. The idea of segregation is such a difficult one to get across to young children. I wanted as concrete an image as I could find so I looked around our circle to name a white student and a black student to explain that they would not have been able to go to school together at that time. I started to panic as I looked thinking that I had no white students. Then I saw one girl, the only one in my class. I have three African-American students. All the rest are Latino, middle-Eastern, or Eastern-European. I managed to avoid any discussion of what school they would have attended or whether or not they could have gone to certain places. I'm never sure how to answer those questions.

For those students who were really listening and beginning to grasp the ideas we were discussing, I think they were shocked. It was amazing to watch them grapple with this concept compared to the world in which they live. After our discussion I sent them back to draw a picture of their dream. Below is a video of some of them sharing their dreams. A few literally drew something they had dreamed about recently, some drew things they would really like to have happen to them, and some truly got the idea of drawing a visionary dream.

In case it's hard to follow what they are saying, here's a brief synopsis of each one.
  1. She wants everyone to have a special house (a shockingly profound dream in the current economy).
  2. He says, "All the persons be together, it doesn't matter which color of skin they have."
  3. He is talking about everybody being able to play together and help each other.
  4. He wants to say sorry to Martin Luther King (we had a brief discussion of his assassination because one student brought it up).
  5. She wants the world to be forgiven (I'm trying to follow up on this one to better understand her thinking, but I'm not sure yet).
  6. She drew herself and her friend finding lots and lots of gold.
  7. This is her in a rainbow spot.
  8. He is describing riding a horse and shooting a ghost.
One of my biggest concerns having switch grades so drastically is that I will underestimate my students. They wowed me with this and I hope I can challenge them enough.


Tracey said...

I've wanted to post some student's pictures, but didn't know if it was ok...did you get parent permission?

Jenny said...

@tracey I've actually wondered about posting pictures. I've made a real effort to only use pictures that don't show their faces clearly so far. However, I loved these videos and I wanted to share them so I checked into our school district's policy. As long as we don't include identifying information (names and such) we can use pictures and videos of the kids.