Forgiveness in Despereaux

One of the hardest things, I have found, is to forgive the people who have wronged us in some way. There is a scene where Despereaux comes face to face to his father after his father has sentenced him to death. Despereaux has run from the kitchen and is covered in flour making him look like a ghost. He interrupts the Mouse Counsel and his father is there. Despereaux has only been in the dungeon for perhaps a few days but his father has aged many years in that time. His father realized the sin he committed when he sent Despereaux to the rats. He asks Despereaux for his forgiveness. In that moment, Despereaux had to make a big choice that would affect the rest of his life. He could choose to forgive or not forgive his father. He decided to forgive him and by doing that Despereaux was able to heal his heart.

Another character who had a choice where he could have decided to forgive or not forgive, and that character is Roscuro. Roscure is very unusual for a rat because he sought the light and he did not delight in the suffering of others. He wanted something different from the other rats. He went to the human banquet one night because he was attracted to it. He was watching from a chandelier when Princess Pea saw him. She told everyone that she could see him. Roscure lost his balance and fell into the queen’s soup. The queen dies of fear. Roscure is so humiliated by everything that happened he vowed revenge against Princess Pea. He got his revenge by using Mig to force Princess Pea in the dungeon. Despereaux goes into the dungeon after them to rescue the Princess. In the end, what saves the Princess is her ability to feel empathy for others. She feels empathy for Roscuro and asks him to come with them. That they would share soup with him. Roscuro accepts. His heart is healed by this but it is healed crooked. Roscuro is struck in between being a rat and something else.

What I liked about this story is the fact that it was solved by forgiveness. Despereaux is able to become the knight he wanted to be by recognizing the pain his father caused him and letting it go. The Princess accepted the rat and gave him what he needed to heal. It was not solved by Despereaux fighting Roscuro but Roscure being offered a second chance. I think that this is a lesson children (and adult) need to learn is the importance of forgiveness. That it not only helps the person who is forgiven but the person who forgives.

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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.

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

Books in Different Formats

I am biased about books in different formats because I am a big fan of graphic novels. I think that there is a value to reading graphic novels and having children read them. Often, it is my reluctant readers who want to read graphic novels. I know people assume that they are “easier” to read then a “real” book because of the reading level. There is a hidden value to reading them. I went to a training a year ago that discussed ways to help students increase their vocabulary. The presenter shows us different places students can learn new vocabulary. One of the top places was graphic novels. It makes sense because graphic novels combine words and images. The writer does not have a lot of space to use words so they have to choose words that are going to best express what is happening in the story. A graphic novel might have a second grade reading level but it might not use a second grade vocabulary.

“Smile” is a good example of a graphic novel that appeals to different ages and genders. Even through it is a story about a girl, it expresses many of the feelings that tweens experience. It uses words but also the images to tell the story. Sometimes the images can tell the story without words. There are a number of graphic novels where I remember the images because of how striking they are. I think people assume because it is a “comic” the story is not going to be as well-developed as a novel. I think they assume that graphic novels are shallow and childish. I do not think that is true. It is just a different format of telling a story.

Reading graphic novels can be challenging. There is a skill to reading them. I have noticed that most students are not ready to read graphic novels until about 3rd grade. A reader has to learn how to read the page layout and figure out what box to start reading. In many graphic novels, the layout of the text boxes may be different from page to page. They have to learn how to read the dialogue between characters. They have to figure out what is dialogue or thoughts. They have to study the image and the expression of the characters in the story. They have to combine the text and image in their heads.

GoAnimate.com: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

This is a scene from the book Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur. Elise is trying to explain to her teacher that she is being bullied by Amanda, her locker partner.

GoAnimate.com: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
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Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It’s free and fun!

 

If you can’t see the above video, here is the link.

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

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