Nothing noteworthy happened today at school, so I will relay a story from about a month ago. I would have related it at the time but I was too busy railing against my job back then to be in the mood.
So we were reading a story called "Sees Behind Trees" about a Native American boy who can hardly see but needs to prove himself with a bow and arrow in order to become a man. Before reading any story, I start by tapping prior knowledge and building background. I didn't get very far before I realized my 8 fifth graders didn't know what "Native American" was.
At that point, I realized I had to define and give examples of "race". (I have two African American students, five Hispanic students, and one Caucasian student). So I gave examples using my students because they already know what "African American" is and what "Hispanic" is. I also said that different races and cultures are known for different things. Like Asians eat a lot of rice. And Hispanics eat a lot of tortillas. And... before I could go any further, an African American girl piped up in the back with "I LIKE FRIED CHICKEN!"
But it gets better, folks. I was pointing out which students were what (you know, to make sure everyone knew what "race" is. You can never be too explicit when you're dealing with kids with language impairments!). And I said: "Alice and Martha are African American. Jose, Norma, Gabriel, Luis, and Roberto are Hispanic". Then before I could say another word, my one Caucasian kid shouts out: "WHAT AM I? I know, I'm WHITE". And I said "White isn't really a race."
Then, he ventured: "....French?"
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