I participated last week in this webinar on applying the HOMAGO framework to informal youth spaces, and community arts programs in particular. HOMAGO is a theoretical framework developed by Mimi Ito to describe youth media practices, and refers to “Hanging out, Messing about, and Geeking out.” One of the implications of the HOMAGO framework is that programs interested in supporting young people’s new media practices should provide ample opportunity for young people to do all three, and that one form of participation is not inherently more valuable than the other. Brenda Hernandez and Sarah Meyer, two program directors at community arts programs in Chicago and Providence (Yollocalli and New Urban Arts) have been using the HOMAGO framework to make sense of and to communicate their community arts programs. At Yollocalli and New Urban Arts, Brenda and Sarah argue that community arts programs need to think about providing multiple pathways in their programs for young people to hang out, mess about, and geek out in the arts. Yollocalli has developed a guidebook to spark this conversation, and in this webinar, we discuss it. It was a great conversation and there are multiple resources that were generated from it. Check it out here.Tweet
Another gem from my daughter’s second grade homework. This question is brought to you by the Evan-Moor Corp, Nonfiction Reading Practice, Grade 3. It’s a multiple choice test about the Boston Tea Party.
Which word means about the same as chant?
Hmm… Well, I guess the assignment isn’t about Gregorian chanting, so I’ll go with b. I’m glad that now I know that yelling is about the same as chanting. My understanding of the Boston Tea Party, thanks to the Evan-Moor Corp, has been deepened.
My daughter often comes home from school with homework designed by Pearson. I don’t fault her teacher or her school for giving her this homework. Given the demands and curricular constraints public school teachers face each day, I understand why they comply and hand out assignments from prescribed and prepared curriculum.
I do wonder, however, how these assignments pass Pearson’s quality controls. Take, for example, this math assignment my daughter and I tried to complete last evening. My daughter presented me the problem because she had no idea what the problem was asking, and at first glance, either did I.
The problem to solve is this:
“Tori has coins that total 65 cents. She counts the value of the coins: 25 cents, 50 cents, 60 cents, 65 cents. Which coins does Tori have? Draw a picture to show your answer.
I should preface my initial response by writing that my family has just returned to the country after living abroad for 5 years (during which time I did my doctorate in Education). The experience makes me more sensitive to children trying to do these assignments who do not have parents that speak/read English as a first language, are not from this country, and may not have parents with doctorates.
So… the first time I read that “Tori counts the value of her coins: 25 cents, 50 cents, 60 cents, 65 cents”, I thought to myself, “Wow… there are 60 cent and 65 cent coins now?! Weird.”
But adding those weird coins up gives Tori 2 bucks not 65 cents. Then I realized that “25 cents, 50 cents, 60 cents, 65 cents” obviously refers to Tori adding up the total value of her coins by adding the value of each one.
Okay, so I felt stupid for a moment.
But then I realized that I have no idea how Tori adds. When Tori counts, “25 cents”, she might have added up the total value of 5 nickels, 3 nickels and a dime, 2 dimes and a nickel, or 1 quarter. Moving onto 50 cents… she might have 10 nickels, 4 dimes and 2 nickels… okay… I’ve made my point.
My assumption is that Pearson isn’t looking for high variability in its responses. Efficiency is the gold standard in corporate curriculum.
Okay… to finish the problem… My daughter has to leap into Tori’s body and imagine how Tori adds, then she has to draw in a tiny box coins that only differ by size and the profiles of their presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or FDR.
So she has to make a choice. She can draw what is presumably the “right answer”, which is 2 quarters, 1 dime and 1 nickel. I guess she can trust that the assessor will figure out that her dimes are smaller than her nickels which are smaller than her quarters, and/or that her Washington is different from her Jefferson (even though they both have pony tails) who is different from her Roosevelt.
Or she could draw 13 nickels with Roosevelt. He clearly doesn’t have a pony tail! Then the assessor could figure out which coin she drew, that her coins were all the same, and that the coins added up to 65 cents.
But 13 nickels isn’t what Pearson is looking for, and I need to teach my daughter how to deliver the goods to pass the test.
Okay… Pearson… I will give you this… It’s not easy to write this problem clearly. How about this:
“The United States of America has different coins that are worth different amounts. A quarter is worth 25 cents. A dime is worth 10 cents. And a nickel is worth 5 cents.
Tori has 4 coins and she wants to know the total value of her 4 coins. So she adds up the value of her coins. After counting each coin, she says, “25 cents! 50 cents! 60 cents! 65 cents!”
Which coins does Tori have and how many of each?”
How would you write the problem?
I spent a fantastic weekend in Washington DC learning the Center for Digital Storytelling’s approach to, well, digital storytelling. Although each of the 5 other participants were new to digital storytelling, they were master storytellers. They presented powerful life stories in compelling and visually stunning ways. Stories about negotiating death, separation, adoption, becoming a parent, having parents… the complexities of everyday life. The storytelling “midwives” were fantastic and their methodologies were tight. They use story circling as an approach to refine stories, and they provide a nice balance of group work and one-on-one mentoring. I walked away a more empathic individual, a better storyteller with a better appreciation for combining text, audio, and video through Final Cut software.
The digital story I made is sad, and as a friend noted, is rated “NC-17 / G”. A strong theme throughout my creative practice has been investigating childhood, sexuality, and different forms of emotional / physical abuse. So the story isn’t for everyone. But if you want to watch it, it’s here. The title is “Some secret things I know.”
My next story will examine newcoming and homecoming. Stay tuned.Tweet