At the end of our Reading Celebration today, I said something like this:
Readers, I want you to have this poem as a bookmark to use as a reminder of this unit. As I read it aloud, think about why I think this poem matches some of the things we discussed during the unit, things like:
* how when reading we stopped at the trouble in our stories and noticed the relationships between the characters involved in the trouble.
*how we noticed who has the power and its effect on the trouble,
*how we named the groups the characters belonged to and the social issues that sometimes come about because of these groups
*and how we identified moments when characters were victims, perpetrators, bystanders and upstanders.
Then I read aloud the poem, emphasizing the pronouns:
What are you thinking, I asked. Their replies:
“I think she’s short.”
“I think he might be blind, like the grandfather in As Brave As You”
“Maybe she’s in a wheelchair so he didn’t see her.”
“I think he is the kind of man who is only seeing his world and doesn’t care about anyone else.”
“Yeh, he’s too important and is acting selfish.”
“I think if the man hadn’t said “Oh my God” then he would just be rude but since he said that, he isn’t so rude.”
“I think the cashier is an upstander.”
“I think if the poem was longer, he’d become an upstander, too and let the lady go before him in line.”
I ended by telling my wise students something like this:
WOW! When I read this poem by myself, I focused on a man not seeing a woman and thought about the women’s movement and the social issues related to gender bias. But now discussing it with you and listening to your comments, I realized this poem could be about so much more. And that’s why I hope all of us keep reading and discussing in clubs. We are better readers when we can do it as a book club! Promise me you won’t only form a club when a teacher tells you to. Read and encourage your friends to read the same stuff and then talk about it.
Finally, my hope is that as we go forward, we rewrite the last line of the poem, “I really didn’t see you” and instead resolve to really seeing all the yous we encounter each day. Let’s try to do all we can to see each other and to stand up for each other.