Saturday, June 18, 2011

August, "Making Room for One Another" ( Extended Comments)

Making Room for One Another
By Gerri August

View Image

      Respect Differences

        Go to fullsize image

Gerri August in "Making Room for One Another" describes in detail her observations of a Kindergarten classroom and the ways in which the children socialize and engage with each other. The democratic lessons that are taught to the children, throughout August's observations, are presented by a teacher named Zeke. It is evident throughout the reading that Zeke is a profound teacher who makes the learning environment comfortable for his students and teaches his students how to respect each others differences.

While conducting her research, August centers her observations around one student named Cody. Cody is a child that is from a non-dominant family structure. He is of Cambodian heritage and was adopted at five months old by two lesbian mothers. Throughout August's observations, she notices that Cody is hesitant to share family stories with his class and felt a sense of insecurity. Was Cody afraid to discuss his non-dominant family structure with his peers? This was a big question that August had while observing how Cody interacted with his peers. As August continued her observations and research, she came to the realization that Cody was more insecure about his adoption than having two lesbian mothers.

 After reading the selected chapters from Gerri August's "Making Room for One Another" and then reading Alison's blog, I agreed with her in depth analysis of the chapters and selected quotes.

“But what if the purpose of schooling in a democratic society is not simply to transmit and reproduce the knowledge and culture of the present order but to evaluate social and political practices according to principles of democratic ideals and, further, to equip students to become active agents in the transformation of society.” (August, 2)

I agree with Alison that this quote is extremely relevant to August's text. It "describes the key reason for her research on Zeke's classroom." Alison mentions how the quote "states that schooling is not just about teaching the “knowledge” of society’s culture of power, but rather incorporating all cultures, beliefs, and ways of life into a curriculum that creates the best pedagogy for all students." 
 I like how Zeke provides opportunities for children to share their personal stories in school.  I agree with Alison that "letting the students from non-dominant family structures share seems to create an acceptance of differences in Zeke’s classroom."
I believe that it extremely imperative for ALL children to learn about diversity.When children become aware of the different cultures and family structures that make up our world, they gain a sense of acceptance, respect and appreciation for differences.

“He [Zeke] wanted students to stretch their social schema's that were already constrained by dysconscious biases.” (August, 143)

Alison feels that this quote "not only describes what Zeke wanted to do, but shows what kind of teacher he is. Zeke wanted to create an environment for his students in which all students were comfortable to talk about things that personally affected them. He wanted them to really think about these topics and try to put aside any subconscious influences that they may have already been exposed to." I agree with Alison. This quote definitely portrays what kind of educator Zeke is and what kind of things he wanted to accomplish within his classroom. Zeke's goal is to provide a comfortable learning environment for his students, where children can discuss personal triumphs and not feel ashamed about who they are or their family dynamics.

“Zeke demonstrated how an awkward moment can be transformed into a teachable moment

 I agree with Zeke that an awkward moment can be transformed into a teachable moment. I like the example that Alison gave on how Zeke transformed a very uncomfortable moment for a child into a teachable moment. "Jackson came into the classroom with shorts on that resembled pajamas, the students pointed to him and said that he was wearing pajamas. Zeke quickly takes this uncomfortable and embarrassing moment for Jackson and says “I’ve got a pair at home just like them.” (August 144). Zeke then went on to explain that there are “many different kinds of people from many different kinds of families who may wear different clothes.”
I like how Zeke immediately intervened and made the children aware that he had " a pair just like them at home" and that not every person wears the same clothes. He transformed negative dialogue into a positive learning opportunity. He made his students aware of differences to avoid future judgement.
 I agree with Alison, that "Zeke’s teaching moments like this one is what created his classroom to be a comfortable place for students who learned through Zeke how to respect each others’ differences."
 This is a great activity book titled " The Peaceful Classroom" written by  Charles Smith.  
                                               The Peaceful Classroom
 Through the 162 engaging group activities, children learn to find friends, cooperate with others, and respect each other's feelings and differences. Each exciting activity uses easily-accessible materials and incorporates the joy of music, movement, puppet-making, play dough fun, gardening, and more. A gem of a book to foster sharing, caring, compassion, and cooperation. Written by Charles A. Smith
 Charles Smith
"The Peaceful Classroom"
Go to fullsize image


  1. Nice blog! I also did my extended comments on Alison's blog. We all seem to have agreed on many aspects of the text. I liked your addition of "The Peaceful Classroom" book and video.

  2. Great blog!! I like your hyperlinks and video!! I relate Zekes classroom to the CDC at URI, very calm and caring. See you in class!

  3. You did a nice job picking quotes that were integral to the reading. The first quote really resonated with me while I was reading and I would have picked it too if I did quotes!