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Posts Tagged ‘inner city’

A young boy and his grandma ride the bus each week. This week, CJ has a lot for questions for his Nana:  Why do they have to walk in the rain? Why don’t they have a car like his friends? Why is the neighbourhood so dirty? As Nana answers CJ’s questions, CJ’s perception of things begin to change. A lovely story about shifting the way we see things.

When I first cracked this book, I thought it was about a boy learning to see his neighbourhood differently, but after a more careful reading, I see that Nana and CJ are in that neighbourhood to help out a soup kitchen. While I still feel the book would be a great read aloud, I think it would be more poignant and relevant to my students, who live in the inner city, if CJ and Nana lived in the neighbourhood with soup kitchens, boarded up stores, and graffiti littering walls.

I love how the main characters have brown skin and yet the book isn’t ‘multicultural.’ I  get so tired of only seeing/reading about people of non-European descent in books only if the book is specifically about ‘culture’ or multiculturalism’ or cultural holidays or the non-white person is the sidekick. Enough already.

I also love how the minor characters are diverse: many skin tones, a blind person, someone in a wheelchair, a homeless person,a guy with tattoos…

A lovely read aloud to prompt discussion, gorgeously illustrated.

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Please read

Carrie Gelson is my good friend, colleague, and an amazing teacher at Seymour Elementary, an inner-city school in Vancouver only a few blocks from Strathcona. Please read Carrie’s incredible letter to the People of Vancouver.

And check out the CBC Podcast and article in the Vancouver Sun.

September 22, 2011

To the people of Vancouver:

It will be Thanksgiving in a few weeks. Time to reflect on what we are thankful for:our families, our health, our people, andour experiences.

In my classroom each week we pass a gratitude stone and students share what they are grateful for. Sometimes answers are unexpected but certain things come up again and again. “I am grateful for my teacher.” “I am grateful I go to school.” “I am grateful for my friends.” “ . . for my family” “. . . that I have a house.” etc.  Nothing unusual it seems. Personally, I find myself grateful each time for a group of children that emphasize these important things they value and never mention material items. It says something. Definitely it speaks to our discussions and studies at school. It speaks to their families and experiences. It also reflects their place in the world. My students live in the inner city. They don’t have a lot. Some are grateful for a house because last year they were homeless. Some value school because it is the place of comfort – of daily breakfast, of hot lunch, of abundant books, adults who care and if they are lucky, clothes and toys passed on when they need them.

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