Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hollywood Indians

There is a new Adam Sandler movie on Netflix called "The Ridiculous 6". In April of this year Native actors walked off set when no one would listen to their requests that the insulting display of Native American culture be changed. Stereotypes of Native culture are still around, but there aren't enough people fighting for change. I have found that representation of Natives is rarely found in any media, positive representation even less so. Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison collects statistics on diversity represented in children's literature. "The books represented by these numbers are based on everything that comes into the library annually. This includes picture books, novels, and non-fiction." From their collection of 3500 books in 2014 only 38 were about American Indians and of those 38, 20 were written by American Indians. [link] If we don't actively take part in making our cultures known, understood, and respected, then we can not expect change to happen. It's difficult, but we need to talk about stereotyping and how it affects not only our communities, but the individual as well. The more these types of issues get discussed the more can be done to resolve them and we will have problems like "The Ridiculous 6" happen less and less often. Talk to your community and Tribal leaders, make a plan, post something on social media, talk to your families and children, bring these issues to light and let each other know that none of us is alone.

This first article from Indian Country Today Media Network discusses the walk off and was originally posted on the 23rd of April 2015.
Native Actors Walk off Set of Adam Sandler Movie After Insults to Women, Elders

This article and 3 minute video from TakePart discusses the importance of positive representation of Native culture in media and was originally posted on the 11th of December 2015.
Native Americans Dispel Stereotypes in Response to Adam Sandler Movie

Saturday, December 5, 2015

End of Semester (finally) Self Assessment

Looking back at the semester, I’m ultimately proud of myself for having tackled both Children's Literature and Adolescent Literature. Yes, I would have been able to do better had I taken the classes individually, but that was not the case. I’m a little disappointed in myself for having missed the assignments I did, it all goes down to having the time and I didn’t. I’ve had a rough semester and admittedly a tough time adjusting to the amount of work expected of me at university. My most effective piece this semester has to be my response to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It was also the most difficult piece I think that I have ever written in my life. I wrote many drafts, until I figured out that I had to be honest in my writing or it just wouldn’t work. It was difficult writing about something so close to my heart and my home. It was a lot different than what I believe to be my best critical piece, which was on Jumpstart the World. Though I spent probably an equal amount of hours on each piece, there's something to be said about being able to take a step back when writing. I’m calling this semester a success and I’m hoping that my grades reflect that.

Here is the permalink to the complete list of books with tags that I read this semester, most of them have reviews as well!
Library Thing Book List

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lesson Plan for "American Born Chinese"

This one was tough. I had to create a lesson plan for my YA Lit class and use it with my peers as my students. Talk about nerve racking! I was pretty nervous, but I think it turned out alright. Below is my self evaluation after the lesson followed by the lesson plan itself.

The class had an option of two books, only 3 people chose to read American Born Chinese, which was a little disappointing for me. I think, though that my lesson plan went well considering that I had a very small and quiet group. It was difficult to get discussion going and to keep it going with the quiet ones, but I learned the importance of having a lot of bank questions. We used all of them. It was nice that we got to go over so much material in the book, but I would have rather had a more robust discussion about a few questions than short answers to so many. I could have used more practice before the lesson and I am really glad that my first lesson ever was with the students from my class. Everyone participated, but I really was hoping for a bit of a larger group. For future lessons, I will have to make sure to have much more material prepared just in case I have a quiet class again. I’m not sure what all you would like to have for this response, but I honestly don’t have much to say. In short; it went well but, it could have gone better if I were a more prepared teacher.

American Born Chinese Lesson Plan
“It’s easy to become anything you wish… so long as you are willing to forfeit your soul”.

Define and discuss stereotyping.
Discuss the use of the graphic novel format.
Discuss the ending and the big reveal in terms of idenity.

American Born Chinese written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang

Common Core Standards
CC.9-10.R.L.2 Key Ideas and Details: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CC.9-10.R.L.3 Key Ideas and Details: Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
CC.9-10.R.L.4 Craft and Structure: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
CC.9-10.R.L.5 Craft and Structure: Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
CC.9-10.R.I.2 Key Ideas and Details: Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CC.9-10.R.I.3 Key Ideas and Details: Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
CC.9-10.R.I.5 Craft and Structure: Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
CC.9-10.W.1 Text Types and Purposes: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CC.9-10.W.1.b Text Types and Purposes: Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
CC.9-10.W.2 Text Types and Purposes: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CC.9-10.SL.1 Comprehension and Collaboration: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CC.9-10.SL.1.a Comprehension and Collaboration: Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
CC.9-10.SL.1.c Comprehension and Collaboration: Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
CC.9-10.SL.1.d Comprehension and Collaboration: Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CC.9-10.SL.4 Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
CC.9-10.L.1 Conventions of Standard English: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CC.9-10.L.1.b Conventions of Standard English: Use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations.
CC.9-10.L.2 Conventions of Standard English: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CC.9-10.L.2.c Conventions of Standard English: Spell correctly.
CC.9-10.L.5 Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CC.9-10.L.5.a Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: Interpret figures of speech (e.g., satire, sarcasm) in context and analyze their role in the text.
CC.9-10.R.H.5 Craft and Structure: Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis
CC.9-10.R.ST.2 Key Ideas and Details: Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
CC.9-10.W.HST.1 Text Types and Purposes: Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
CC.9-10.W.HST.1.a Text Types and Purposes: Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CC.9-10.W.HST.1.b Text Types and Purposes: Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

  • students are prepared with 2-3 questions regarding the novel
  • choose one prepared question to give to another student
  • make sure everyone has a different question
  • allow 5 minutes to write short answer
  • take turns - share question and answer
    • discuss each question as a group

Bank Questions!

  • discuss the graphic novel format
    • could this book have been successfully written as a traditional novel?
    • how did the use of pictures help propel the narrative?
    • how did the use of pictures help the reader understand character motivation?
  • what is a stereotype?
    • what is some evidence of stereotyping in this novel?
    • how can stereotypes affect a person’s attitude toward self?
  • how could being apart of two cultures affect one's identity?
  • is there such a thing as being overly Americanized?
  • this novel is told from three perspectives, why is each story told differently?
  • Chin-Kee
    • what is the significance of the laugh track?
    • what was your impression of Chin-kee?
    • why do you think Chin-kee is important? unimportant?
      • why do you think Yang included Chin-kee in this novel?
  • Ending
    • did you see the ending coming?
    • did you figure out who was whom?
      • how was the transformation foreshadowed through text? pictures?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Response to "Feed" by MT Anderson

This response was written all the way back in October and I simply forgot about it. It was a long drive back from Austin. 

Feed - YA Literature, dystopian, science fiction/fantasy

As I was traveling for the weekend, I listened to most of the audio book and read the end when I arrived in Austin. When I began listening to the audio I found it pretty easy to follow the plot and understand the language. The new language was meg brag. The read-alouder (I am well aware that isn’t a real term, but it should be) helped me to understand the story through his expert use of inflection and amazing ability to have different voices for all of the characters. It wasn’t until I started to read the book on my own that I had trouble understanding the novel. When I switched from listening to reading I expected to fully understand the story and not have any trouble with the language, I was very wrong. I T-R-U-D-G-E-D through the story as a reader. The language, that I had no problem understanding as a listener, was suddenly foreign to me. I was still engaged, but perhaps only because I was originally enthralled by the read-alouder. I’m typing this before I drive back to New Orleans, but I am going to listen to the last 100 pages of the book on my way home to see if I will be able to better understand it. As a teacher, to help my kids better understand this novel, I would create a vocabulary list that could be filled in as we read the book as a class. I would also read aloud or use the audio book (I really liked it, the commercial banner bits were especially cool!) for at least the first chapter, if not the whole book in class. I think that the kids might be more adaptable to new language than adults and would be able to understand the new language through the context much more quickly. I read often and vigorously, and I had difficulty in reading this book, but when I was listening to the audio book, not only was I completely absorbed in the story, I was also leaving each chapter with more information than I believe I could have from a single read. I really think that the key to understanding and appreciating this novel thoroughly is in reading it aloud. In this way the teacher and the students can experience the book together in a captivating manner.

I also read these two picture books by MT Anderson for my Children's Literature class, both are fantastic reads and make great fun for a read-aloud!

The Serpent Came to Gloucester
- folklore, poetry, fantasy, 3rd - 6th grade

Me, All Alone, at the End of the World
- dystopian, fantasy, 4th - 6th grade