Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Hopeful Moment

Positive experience in class today: While reading Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar (one of the best read-aloud series EVER btw), a student shared aloud her prediction that at the end of the chapter, Miss Mush's nasty potato salad would make two best friends - both boys - kiss. In a previous chapter, Miss Mush's "mushroom surprise" made a student kiss his teacher, Mrs. Jewls. Her prediction was rooted in the text and made logical sense to her - and the class. Not one fellow classmate made eww sounds, seemed offended, or said, "Gross!" They took her prediction as entirely plausible and treated it like every other prediction that was shared. I loved this moment. While some adults - religiously conservative and the like - continue to fervently hold on to their homophobia and prejudice against GLBTQ people, our youth seems much more matured on the subject. It's kind of like they're saying, "And? What's the big deal?" They see gay and lesbian families in their neighborhood, and have GLBTQ relatives, friends, and community members. A few years ago, a student comment such as this would've been received much more negatively. I was proud of my students today and proud of how far we've come. Of course, there are many miles left to travel. But authors like Jo Knowles (See You at Harry's) and Tim Federle (Better Nate Than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate!) - amongst many others - are helping our kids learn to respect and appreciate diversity through reading. For that, I'm grateful. #WeNeedDiverseBooks