Skip to comments.Obama curriculum a hit with students (in Canada!)(yes, a barf alert -- again!)
Posted on 01/28/2009 5:27:58 PM PST by markomalley
Rowntree Public School is grooving to a reggae-infused hip-hop beat; Grade 4 boys are breakdancing beside Ms. Boudreau's desk while Grade 1 kids bop tentatively in a room down the hall.
From the speakers blasts Michael Franti and Spearhead's uplifting "Obama song": "Building blocks of a new vow/ A million stops and a new route ..."
"We listen to classical music every day, but this week we're listening to Barack," says fast-talking, fast-walking principal Kyra Kristensen-Irvine, "Mrs. K.I." to the kids.
In past years, the 800 students at this Brampton school have studied Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Terry Fox. Now they're taking part in a week-long Obamathon leading up to Tuesday's inauguration. They have watched Barack Obama shoot from relative unknown to most talked about man in the world in the span of months. They've seen his riveting speeches on television; they've talked about him at the dinner table.
There will be no need for musty textbooks: the kids at Rowntree are learning history as it happens.
"This is a teachable moment," says Kristensen-Irvine, who brought teachers together to form an Obama Committee shortly after the election.
The principal says she noticed a change in this booming immigrant community near Wanless Dr. and McLaughlin Rd. N. as soon as Obama became president-elect. "They stood taller, I tell you," she says. "... You know when somebody finally gives you that chance, you say, `Oh wow, they notice me?'"
It is easy for these children to follow Obama's story, the story of a boy who, like most of them, came from a multicultural background and has connections to countries around the world. A boy who dreamed big and grew up to be the first African-American president.
Rowntree teachers are using the president-elect to teach geography, goal-setting, letter-writing, Internet-searching, and how to properly pronounce "44th" for "44th president" (don't forget to stick out your tongue on the "th").
Many students at the JK-to-Grade-5 school are from immigrant families, with parents born in countries like India or Pakistan, and increasingly from Africa and the Caribbean. They speak 40 languages, and at Rowntree one in five receives ESL training.
Sandy Sparks' Grade 5 students might not know the meaning of "ethics reform" and "nuclear proliferation," and they just learned the word "inauguration", but they certainly have an answer to question number five on their Obama video worksheets: "Why is it significant to have an African-American president?"
Ten-year-old Sophie Mbulu raises her hand.
"In the past, black people, they weren't treated well, like other-coloured people," she says carefully. "Now, they didn't just look at him, his colour, and think he was bad because of his colour."
Past presidents have been old and white. Obama is not, and that means something to these kids.
In another room Grade 2 students sit cross-legged in front of a large screen. Their teacher, Susanne Jackson-Lloyd, is telling them the story of Obama's life, using colour-coded maps to point out all the places he's been red for Kenya, green for Illinois, pink for California.
The kids learn that Obama's parents divorced when he was a toddler; that his mother died of cancer.
They already know the names of Obama's daughters, Malia and Sasha, and that he's written books. "Two!" blurts out 7-year-old Simran Thandi from the back of the room.
The school is inviting parents for inauguration day, when students will gather in the gym to watch Obama's swearing in. Many of the students have been following his journey with enthusiastic family members Monique Fagan, 9, says her aunt went to the United States of America to see Obama; 10-year-old Kaché Campbell's family had a party the day after the election.
Parents Sharon and Augustus Smith call Obama's victory "overwhelming." They were born in Jamaica and have four girls, ages 10, 9, 7 and 4. Three go to Rowntree.
"You know, with Obama being the first African-American president, it does give me hope," Sharon says, looking at her daughters, who are lined up on the living room couch in matching braids and beads.
"It does give me hope they can achieve whatever it is they want to achieve, and that glass ceiling, so to speak, will be removed, and they will not be judged because they will see the abilities that they have."
The eldest, a precocious 10-year-old named Denae who speaks eloquently about the Liberal-NDP coalition and says that Grade 5 has really broadened her horizons, plans to follow Obama's presidency.
"I want to be a lot of things," she says. "I want to be a nurse. I want to be a teacher. I want to be in a band with my sisters. I'm not really sure yet."
She hasn't ruled out politics.
|CLASS LETTER TO OBAMA
Jan. 12, 2009
Dear President-elect Obama,
Congratulations on being the first African-American president. How are you? We are Grade 4 students from Rowntree Public School in Ontario, Canada. We knew you would win, and even though we cannot vote, we were cheering for you. We hope you have a good year and keep our environment safe.
What promises did you make to the United States of America? Is it hard being the president? If you have free time, what would you do? What changes are you willing to make for the United States of America? What party are you from?
You are the best because you are the first African-American president in the United States of America! We hope you will be a good president.
We will always remember your slogan, "Yes, we can!"
Mr. Morton and Ms. Saddal's Grade 4 class
I'm trying to find some more wonderful
education indoctrination stories...after all, "it's for the children."
He’s big in America, he’s big in Europe, he’s big in the Mid East.... now Canada, and onto the world, one world, a savior, a messiah, prophesied in the Bible.
Didn’t idiots ever teach these kids anything? That just because you’re black doesn’t make you smart. obozo is no Condi Rice. Condi is way more qualified than the idiot in the WH.
This is WAY BEYOND barf-o-rama.
These children are WAY BEYOND indoctrinated. They are brainwashed and will likely become useless morons. All the easier for the Mahometan savages to saw their heads off en masse in front of large trenches.
What an unspeakably pathetic exhibition of wanton stupidity.
“Yes, we can!”-—But must you?
In past years, the 800 students at this Brampton school have studied Martin Luther
King, Nelson MandelaJohn Calvin and Terry Fox Thomas Aquinas.