Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pink Raspberry Play-dough

I am behind on my blog posts, but am hoping to post some of the activities I’ve done over these past couple of months. During the month of February, I made raspberry play-dough for Valentines. The more obvious choice was chocolate, but I had already done that for the month of January. The raspberry smelled good and came out a pinkish reddish color.

Here is the recipe that I used.

  • 2 cups flour,
  • 1 cup salt,
  • 2 table spoons vegetable oil,
  • 2 table spoons cream of tartar,
  • 1.5 cups boiling water
  • A few drops of raspberry extract,
  • A couple drops of red food coloring.
  • A few drops glycerin.
  • 1. Mix dry ingredients.
  • 2. Stir in oil.
  • 3. Add water and mix until lumps are gone and it comes together.
  • 4. Then kneed. Add scent, food coloring and or glycerin for shininess at kneading stage.

Store in an air tight container.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Assignment: Professional Hopes and Goals

One hope that I have when I think about working with children and families who come from diverse backgrounds is that they feel welcome in my classroom.
I hope that each child and family is represented in the classroom in a respectful way and that all children can relate to the toys, materials and learning opportunities available to them.

Overall, I hope that each child that I work with feels accepted and feels good about who they are.

One goal I would like to set for the early childhood field is to educate early childhood professionals on diversity. Many of us don’t know how to talk about differences with children so we avoid them altogether which sends negative messages to children that are not from the mainstream or dominant culture. Biases and negative stereotypes also get in the way of building relationships with children and families from diverse backgrounds, teaching children or being a positive role model. Educating early childhood professionals on diversity and issues of equity and social justice would help teachers better understand these issues and bring this knowledge to the children and families they work with.

I would like to say thank you to my classmates. Thank you for sharing your personal stories which helped me to relate what we were learning about to the real world. I enjoyed reading all of your blog posts. I wish you success in your future courses and work with children.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Assignment: Welcoming Families from Around the World

The country I chose for the scenario this week is Martinique. Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The country is surrounded by Dominica to the northwest, St Lucia to the south and Barbados to the southeast. Martinique is one of the twenty-seven regions of France which makes it part of the European Union. Its currency is the Euro. The official language spoken is French although many of its inhabitants also speak Antillean Creole.
The north of the island is mountainous and lushly forested. There are active volcanoes and gray or black sandy beaches. This contrasts with the white sandy beaches in the south where most of the tourists go. Martinique's culture blends French and Caribbean influences.
Here are at least five ways in which I’d prepare for and welcome a family from Martinique into my program.
1. I would search for more information about Martinique. It may help to learn more about the geography, environment and culture.
2. I would prepare the classroom. I would start by talking to the children about how there is a new friend joining our class. I would put up pictures of the country and some of its landmarks like the different beaches, cities and volcanoes. I would also include pictures of everyday life. Since their official language is French, I could start incorporating French into the classroom environment. We have all our centers and toy bins labeled in English so I would label them in French as well.
3. I would meet with the family to talk with them about goals they have for their child, questions about the program, their child's favorite things, dietary concerns etc. I would encourage the family to visit our classroom to see how the program works and encourage the child to bring some things from his or her country to share with the class. They could bring toys, books, games, music, foods etc. I would also find an interpreter for communication.
4. I would add some of the child's favorite snacks or meals to the menu. This gives the rest of the class an opportunity to try new foods while making the new child feel more at home.
5. I would ask the parents to teach me key phrases in French or another language that they might speak. I would also put the list of key words or phrases up in the classroom so that other staff members and the children can read them.
I hope that with this plan of action that this family would feel welcome and respected as important contributors to our center.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Assignment: The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

Recently, I read a story online about a black high school student who was asked by his teacher to read a poem, “Blacker.” He was reading a poem and was stopped by his teacher telling him that he wasn’t reading it black enough. When he refused, the teacher demonstrated how she wanted it done. According to the student, “She sounded like a maid in the 1960s,” Shumate said. “She read the poem like a slave, basically.” He complained after she singled him out again while explaining to the students why black people like grape soda and rap music. Click here to read the whole story. The equity was diminished because as the only black student, this boy was singled out. This teacher was reinforcing stereotypes and prejudicial attitudes.
I was glad that the boy stood up for himself by refusing to read it differently. He did not want to be apart of the negative stereotypes that she was reinforcing. I am always half surprised and half not when I read stories like these. I’m surprised that people have such bad attitudes when they are supposed to want what’s best for their students. I’m also not surprised at the ignorance in the world. In today’s world these remarks and incidents shouldn’t happen as much as they do. I feel bad for students when they are singled out for whatever reason. I can relate to the feelings of being embarrassed and ashamed for being different.

This student is already on the road to promoting equity. He is resisting negative stereotypes and is speaking out on the matter. To have greater equity, the teacher would have to look deeper into her hidden and unhidden biases and change her attitude. The school district can use this as an opportunity to educate others in the district and around the country in terms of what is best practice. Finally, to achieve the greatest equity, society as a whole would have to change their attitudes, but I think that starts one individual at a time. Equity does not happen over night. It is a process and a goal that can only be achieved if we all work together.
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