January 7 fourth grade class before MLK Day
Today was an amazing day in the fourth grade. We began, as we usually do, with chanting the v’ahavta and v’shamru. In Music, the students learned another prayer, Modeh Ani, which is the prayer said on waking in the morning. It expresses gratitude for another day.
After music, we focused on MLK Day. Did you know that noone in our class has white skin? We talked about the idea of skin color and what can we consider when treating other people. Do you think we should treat everyone the same? Should we treat everyone equally? Ask your student. Should we look at every person and ignore what makes them unique, such as their heritage, customs, and history?
Spoiler Alert! The Civil Rights Movement pushed for equal rights under the law and under regulations in cities and towns. No one should have less of a right to vote. One person because of his/her skin color should not have to know the Gettysburg Address by heart to be able to vote, while another just has to sign his or her name. But we don’t want everyone to be treated the same. To have equal rights to enter and use a restaurant or use a school, a blind person might need railings to walk in and might need a braille menu or book. So it is equal rights and fairness we are after.
Together we read: I, Too, Sing America. By Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,"
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
We had a wonderful class discussion about what the poem meant, who was the darker brother, why was he laughing, why someday will they think of the brother as beautiful and they’ll be ashamed. The students were amazing in their insight and empathy.
We also had time to read a story about the prophet and King Solomon and what characteristics he evidenced as valuable for a leader. We also realized that King Solomon was a prophet. Ask your students about the baby and the sword!
Hebrew went well today too. Our students are reading more and more letters. It is wonderful.
Have a nice long weekend next week. See you on January 21.