Wednesday, April 24, 2013


There has been a new trend going on with this new Harlem Shake. Many of the Natives of Harlem,NY feel as if this has been created to make a mockery of their culture, but I tutor at Lillian Feinstein Elementary Sackett St school in Providence, RI. The start of my social justice event all began with the Harlem Shake for reading...

This video above lead to a reading challenge for the students of this school by their principal to read 2000 books. This challenge got the directors of the school department involved along with the major and some team players from the Patriots team. Part of this challenge was that if the student read 2000 books, their principal would eat a worm, reenacting the events from a popular book we all know of as "How to Eat Fried Worms". So, on Friday, April 12th the number of books read by these students were announced, 3,721 and the principal had to come through with his promise...
I chose to use this as my social justice event because this, first pointed out something that SHOR had said, which was that we have to learn to talk to our students and allowing them to have an active part in their education. Now, many would as how is this stating rules and codes of power? Well, their principal had set a goal, which was for them to read 2000 books, because reading is important, then he made this goal even more interesting by adding an incentive which was he would eat a worm for their success. He made a wager with these students that not only made them feel like they were apart of something but he also stayed committed to what he said. As a man of his word, if he had completed this challenge, this could lead to the children asking him, if he does not hold to his word why should they, being able to challenge the teacher and feeling apart of the whole, empowering education.  
Second, was when I was in the auditorium, I had heard and noticed something that was a little new to me. One of the host of this event, and in charge of the active minds helpers within the school had spoke to a very bilingual audience in both Spanish and English, and this goes back to COLLIER who talks about Multilingual students. Acknowledging other languages within the homes and environments of our students is important, because we do not want to deprive them of their education just because they do not speak the primary language, but we also have to teach them how to survive in a world where English is the dominant language and that is what she did. Most of the time she did speak in English, but things that she felt was really important and that may be hard to understand for students and parents that did not speak English as a first language she did say it in Spanish, but prior she had said it in English and I think she did a great job of incorporating both.
 Finally, This also reminded me of KAHNE AND WESTHEIMER, this event started off as something fun, and that I know of the school was not given any money for these children reading these books. But, this did make something that could have been charity into change. In the many years that I have attended school and been around children I had not seen such a large group of children in an urban culture so excited about reading. Their principal took something that could be boring such as reading and added a twist to it. He is not doing this for his own benefit, he is not profiting off of it, but he is trying to empower and raise up a school full of students who love to read all because their principal ate a worm. He could have been selfish and backed out of the challenge, but instead he held to his word and ate this worm so that he could help the hundreds of students in his school, and being that his was aired on the news this could be a new trend for schools all across Providence principals making incentives that could change the reading experience for all students.

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