stephanie jones

Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Goodnight Moon Parody – Closing down the Bush Years in critical literacy fashion

In critical literacy, politics, teacher education resources on July 21, 2008 at 11:41 am

You gotta love this contemporary take on the classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – check out NPR’s story on Goodnight Bush.

A couple years ago Emily Skinner and I were talking about the “seriousness” of so many critical literacy pedagogies and how parody and satire can be incredibly useful tools of critique. Well…here’s one great example:).

Rich read aloud chapter books/working-class stories by Barbara O’Connor

In communities, families, family-school relations, fiction, great books, poverty, professional development resources, social class, teacher education, teacher education resources, teaching reading on July 20, 2008 at 9:40 pm

I discovered Barbara O’Connor this summer and have zipped through three of her young adult short novels – all of which I would read aloud to children in the early grades. Hayden loved Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia and Taking Care of Moses and I read Moonpie and Ivy on my own (reading aloud takes so much longer than reading to myself…). Each of these three books are richly contextualized in the daily lives of working-class and poor characters while none of them are overtly about social class. You won’t find the more typical “overcoming adversity” stories here, but rather nuanced narratives of love, desire, loss, grief, anxiety, anger, friendship, and all the other complexities of living as humans. Hayden and I love the characters – it’s rare to find a book for children with tattooed big-hearted men, aluminum-can collecting dads, or mothers who have reached their mothering limits within a context where everything costs more money than she has and no one nearby can help much. But such characters fill the pages of O’Connor’s stories, and I have enjoyed them immensely. I’ll likely seek out her other books as well…

Sand Dollar Eyes

In language on July 2, 2008 at 8:17 pm

I met a woman on the beach at Huguenot Park in North Florida who taught me and my sons how to find sand dollars. She had an eye for that kind of thing. “Look for something round and yellow,” she advised me. I guess I could have figured that out for myself!

Hunched over, peering into the water, idiotically repeating, “round and yellow,” I soon came up with my first unbroken sand dollar. The incantation had worked. As I’d been searching the sandy bottom for the spiny sea animals, the woman struck up a conversation with me. When she found out I lived in Alabama, she offered, “I love Alabama. I’m not prejudiced, at all, but I love Alabama because there aren’t many Black people.”

My kids and I exchanged quick glances. Did she just say what we thought she said? I had stopped looking for sand dollars and began to focus on the woman. She looked young, with long auburn hair, a bikini, sun burned skin, and a pregnant belly. She seemed earnest. I didn’t see hate in her keen-for-sand-dollars eyes.

“Hmmm. How odd,” I said, “when we moved to Alabama, I chose schools for my kids because I wanted them to be in integrated settings.”

“Not me,” she shook her head in disavowal. She stopped looking for sand dollars, too. We stood in thigh deep water, mutually suspending our search for bottom feeders. “After 9-11,” she continued, “my husband and I wanted to have more kids. You know, to raise some good, patriotic Americans. I got pregnant with twins, and we named them Jet and Striker.”

“Hmmm,” was all I could muster.

“What do you do in Alabama?” she asked.

“I’m a professor.”

“Oh, one of THOSE,” she couldn’t hide her disgust. She pushed her legs against the waves and began making her way back to her truck, which was parked on the beach. Jet and Striker, I presumed, were sitting in the truck bed drinking Gatorade and eating sandwiches. A confederate flag attached to the truck made a hard clapping noise as the sea breeze took hold of it.

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