Is Blubber still imporant?

I am writing a paper on bullying in my tween literature class. One of the books I am using is “Blubber” by Judy Blume. I liked the book but one of the images that struck with me is at the end of the book. Throughout the book there are different targets of bullying and the last scene involved the children on the bus picking a new target to pick on. The narrator is matter of fact when she describes this scene. I had a problem with that image because at first it seemed like the author was saying bullying is a part of going to school. That it will not change and remain the same. I did not like that ending.

I was doing research for another project and I came across Judy Blume’s website. She wrote about her reasoning for writing “Blubber.” Her daughter had a bullying incident at her school and she was angry because she felt the teacher was not aware of what was happening her class. Her daughter’s  had their own version of “Wendy” who was controlling and manipulating the class. After reading that article, it changed the way I looked at the book. I started to notice how often adults were absent allowing Wendy to take control of the class. The students were not supervised that well during lunch. They were not supervised when they went to the bathroom. They were not supervised on the bus. The teachers did not seem to know what was going on with their students.

I think about the ending now and I think that Judy Blume is criticizing the adults surrounding the child characters. They are not stepping in when they should be. The reason the bullying continues is that the adults supervising them are not doing anything to try and stop it. I think she wrote this book for children but also for parents and teachers to make them aware of what was happening in their classrooms. To make them aware of how cruel kids can be. I think that teachers have to let their students know what is acceptable and unacceptable in their classrooms.

I think that “Blubber” is still important but as a warning of allowing a bullying culture to develop in a classroom. Bullying can become acceptable because the teachers allowed it to happen. I am a teacher now and I understand that it is hard to know everything that is going on in a classroom. But you do things to minimize the chance of bullying happening. You also let your students know what is acceptable and unacceptable. You try to do things to build community in your classroom and try to build empathy in them. This is hard to do but it helps your students.

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Tween Website-Friv.com

Many of my students enjoy a website call Friv. This is a gaming website. There are over 250 games on this website.  They market themselves as “Only the Very Best Free Online Games.” It is a very basic site with just the games on it. There is no about page that example the site. It just the games with no real explanation of what the game is about. You have to click on the game to find out what the game is for. One of the favorites among my students is a two person game called “Fire Boy and Ice Girl.” Players have to work together to get their characters to the end of the level. It involves a lot of cooperation. Some of the games involve physics. There are a number that require logic to solve them. It does tap into math skills.

I wish the site has some information about what each game is and what it is about.  Where do these games come from? I do not think any of these games contain violence or gore but I would have to look at each game individually to find out what it is about. I think that this site is fun and safe site but it is not anything more then that. It might be nice as a reward to allow students to use this site.

Here is the link:

http://www.friv.com/

Digital Divide

Reading the “Born Digital” one of the issues that I am concerned about with my students is the fact that there “is the huge divide it’s opening between the haves and have nots” (p.14). Palfrey and Gasser talk about this divide between countries. Countries like the United States and Japan are more likely to have access to the internet and to technology. There are many people in the United States who do have access to the internet and computers but that is not true of everyone. I think this is a common assumption that everyone has access to these things because it seems to be everywhere. I live and work on a reservation. Not everyone here has internet or cable because of where they live or they cannot afford it. One of the teachers, at my school, made a comment that if students could not work on their presentations for his class at school they can do it at home. A paraprofessional had to remind him that not all the students on the reservation have computers or internet.

For some of my students, school might be the only place that they can get access to the internet. If they are given assignments that involve the computer in someway, they are only going to be able to get this assignment done at school. This means that as a librarian, I have to make sure that my students have access to the resources they need to be successful. One of the issues I have is that filters on the school computers are sometimes too strong. I wanted to show teachers the glog I made for this class but I could not because the filters would not allow me to access that site. I think that the filters sometimes make it hard for us to use free tools on the internet. I think it would be cool if I could help my students make glogs. I see so many cool websites to use at library school but I cannot access them because of the filters.

Even through they may not have the technology at home, it is important for us to make sure their skills stay strong. At my school, we have a very good computer teacher and he is able to show them how to do different things. As a librarian, I think I need to work with him to make sure students are working on their information gathering skills. My students use Google but they do not know how to judge the information that Google provides. We can work together to teach them how to read the information. Palfrey and Gasser talk about telling the difference between good information and bad information . People can post whatever they want and is not always true. My students have to learn how to tell the differences between good and bad information.

I look at my students and a lot of them seem to understand how to use a computer but I am not sure how strong those skills really are. I worry about the fact that they only have a few places where they can access computers and the internet. That place puts a limit on how much information they have access to. I understand why we have filters but sometimes I feel like too much is filter out. I just want to make sure that I can provide a place where students can get the information that they need. I can help them with what they need to be successful.

Palfrey, J. and Gasser, U. (2008). Born digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives. New York, NY: Basic Books

Bullying Glog

I had fun putting this together. It is the books I am going to be using for my paper. I hope you like it.

 

Bullying Glog

The Misfits

Author: James Howe
Reading Range: 5.2 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: 4-8 (AR Finder)
Plot: Addie, Bobbie, Joe, and Skeezie are the popular targets of bullies at their school. They have been friends for a very long time and they call themselves the “Gang of Five” even through there is only four of them. Addie is the most outspoken member of their group. She often gets into arguments with their teacher, Ms. Wyman. When the student government election come up, she wants to run a third-party called “The Freedom Party.” She picks DuShawn to be their president because he is  and his people have been oppressed. He is one of the most popular kids at school. He ends up dropping out of their group but before he does he tells them that he thinks they are the ones who are the most picked on. Plus, they are not allowed to run their third-party unless they have a platform. Bobbie has an idea that instead of being “The Freedom Party” they should be the no name calling party. They start a secret poster campaign with the names they have been called. Their platform is accepted but then they have to get elected.
Review: This book is for anyone who is an outsider. The “Gang of Five” are outsiders in their school for different reasons. Addie is an outsider because she is smart tall. Bobbie is an outsider because he is overweight and he sees too much. Joe is an outsider because he is gay and has no problem with being gay. Skeezie is an outsider because it seems like he stepped out of a James Dean movie. They accept each other and their quirks. One of my favorite side stories from this book is about Bobbie’s boss. His mother has just died and Bobbie’s mother had been died for a number of years. They start to bond over that and find they have something in common. I would recommend this book even through I know that the subject manner would make some people uncomfortable. In fact, this book has made a few people uncomfortable.
Additional Info:
This book uses language some parents might find objectionable. It also contains a scene where a character has comes out. I did some research and this book has been banned and challenged in a number of schools. I just read a story where a teacher was using the book in class to teach but she had to stop using it because a parent complained. I thought it would be because of the issue of homosexuality in tweens.
Main Characters:
Addie-Addie would be considered the brains of the group. She is very passionate about issues and expresses her mind. This has gotten her in trouble a number of times.
Bobbie-Bobbie is the narrator of this story. His mother has died and he lives with his father. He has a job selling ties which he is very good at.
Joe-Joe is very expressive having no problem with his sexuality. He feels he does not fit in.
Skeezie-Skeezie is a greaser. He is one of the most unusual characters in the book. He does what he feels is right.
DuShawn-DuShawn is one of the most popular students at school. He likes Addie but she does not know.
Colin-Joe and Addie both have a crush on him. He is another popular student.
Ms. Wyman-Ms. Wyman is their history teacher. Addie and her often fight over issues.
Mr. Kiley-Mr. Kiley is the principal of the school.

Theme: Coming of age, Dangers of ignorance, Desire to escape, Empowerment, Names – power and significance

Bibliographic Info:

Howe, J. (2001) The Misfits. New York, NY: Aladdin Fiction

Tagline:  

Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will break our spirit.

A Wrinkle in Time-Review

Author:  Madeleine L’Engle
Reading Range: 4.7 (Accelerated Reader)
Interest Range:  Ages 10 and Up (Amazon.com)
Plot:  Meg Murry and Charles Wallace’s father is missing.  He has been missing for a number of years.  He is a scientist, as is their mother, who has been working on a secret government project.  Everyone in their town believes he has run off on them. Only they believe that somethings has happened to him. Charles Wallace has special abilities that lets him read the minds of others. They meet another boy named Calvin O’Keefer who has abilities of their own. They become friends with him.  They also meet Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which who reveals to them they know where Meg and Charles’ father is.  The three of them go on a journey to rescue him and discover that there is a great evil keeping him imprisoned. They have to find a way to save him and to save themselves.
Review:  Meg idolizes her father and believes that him coming home will make everything in her life better.  As the story goes on, Meg discovers that even through her father is smart, he is not as perfect as she thought. Meg starts to come into her own power and realizes that she is capable of more than she thought. This book touches on issues of religion and conformity. Meg does not fit into her town because of who she is. When they go to find her father, they discover a planet where everyone is expected to be the same. They are punished if they are not. There is a scene in the book where a boy is being punished because he is not bouncing a ball the correct way. This is done because it is believed that order is better than chaos. Differences are not something to be embraced but gotten rid of. I would recommend this book for people who like science fiction and fantasy. I wish I read it when I was younger instead of an adult because I think I would have loved it as a child.
Additional Info:
Book One in the Time Quartet.
Main Characters:
Meg Murry-She is the eldest daughter of Alex and Kate Murry. She is worried about her father because he has been missing for the past few years.
Charles Wallace Murry-He is the youngest son of Alex and Kate Murry. He is Meg’s brother. They are very close to one another. He an ability that allows him to know things others do not know.
Calvin O’Keefe-He is their friend. He also has an ability like Charles Wallace.
Dr. Alex Murry-He is the father of Meg and Charles. He works for the government as a scientist. He has been missing for years. The people in town assume that he ran off.
Dr. Kate Murry-She is the mother of Meg and Charles Wallace. She is also a scientist.
Mrs. Whatsit-She has the ability to change her shape. She helps Meg and Charles Wallace look for their father. She is the youngest of the three Mrs. Ws but that means she is only a few billion years old.
Mrs. Who-She helps Meg and Charles Wallace look for their father. She offers them advice.
Mrs. Which-She is the oldest of the Mrs. Ws. She helps them travel by tesseract to find their father.
IT-This is the being that is holding Alex Murry captive. It also controls the planet they visit.
The Man with Red Eyes-He is the mouth piece for IT.

Theme: Chaos and order, Dangers of ignorance, Fate and free will, Good versus evil, Growing up

Bibliographic Info: L’Engle, M. (1962). A wrinkle in time. New York, NY: A Yearling Book.

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Bone-Out from Boneville

Author: Jeff Smith
 
Reading Range: 2.4 (AR Finder)
 
Interest Range: 4-8 (AR Finder)
 
Plot:  The book is about the adventures of the Bone cousins. Fone Bone is the good cousin while Phoney Bone is the scheming cousin.  Their funny, friendly cousin is Smiley Bone.  The story begins in Boneville when the Bone cousins get run out-of-town because of their good for nothing  cousin was cheating the town.  The Bones are running away for lives when they get separated and lost in uncharted territory.  The story revolves around all the characters the Bones meet, especially Fone Bone. Fone meets the evil rats who want to eat him up but keeps being saved by a mysterious dragon and a small bug. The bug sends Fone to see Thorn and her grandmother. Fone falls in love with Thorn, who is human. After finding Thorn, Fone locates his evil cousin, who continues being up to no good and getting him in trouble.
 
Review:   This is a hilarious book and a favorite among my students. It is hard to keep it on the shelves because so many of my students want to read it. Even my reluctant readers enjoy the series and it helps it has a low reading level. The graphics are excellent. The plot goes from serious to funny very quickly. Smith has a skill of balancing humor and drama. It is appropriate for different ages. After I read the first book, I devoured the rest of the series in one day because the story is quite addictive. I would recommend this for people who like graphic novels but also those who like fantasy and adventure.
Additional Info:
This is book 1 of the Bone series. There are nine books in the series. The series won a number of Eisner Awards which are given to outstanding graphic novel series.
Main Characters:
Fone Bone-Fone Bone is the hero of the story. He is the smartest of his three cousins. He favorite book is Moby Dick. He turns to stop Phoney Bone’s schemes as often as he can before he gets them into trouble.
 
Phoney Bone-Phoney Bone is interesting in doing whatever he can to get rich. He gets his cousin and himself throw out of their hometown due to one of his schemes. Although he can be selfish, he is also protective of his cousins.
 
Smiley Bone-He is the friendly of the Bones. He tries to help those he can. He often gets sucked into Phoney Bone’s schemes.
 
Thorn-Thorn lives on a farm with Grand’ma Ben. Fone Bone develops a crush on her. She is brave and resourceful.
 
Grand’ma Ben-Grand’ma Ben is raising Thorn after her parents died. She is tough and is very good at cow racing.
 
The Great Red Dragon-He often comes in the nick of time to save Fone Bone. He is incredible old.

Theme:  Fate and free will, Greed as downfall, Good vensus Evil, Heroism

Bibliographic Info: 

Smith, Jeff (2005).  Bone Out of Boneville. New York, NY: Scholastic Incorporated.

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