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 Sweatshops 
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I just read Bill Bigelow's article on sweatshops. I am amazed how countries have students working instead of going to school like students do here in America. I have known that different countries use children in their factories, but I had never really thought about teaching that in a classroom. I love how Bigelow did his lesson with the soccer ball and having his students to describe what they saw. I would also use the idea of having students to find different items in their house and tell where they are manufactured. I think through this, students become aware that other countries are different from the United States. I would also consider giving the "Masks" poem to older grades and having them to write their opinion. This poem is what stuck out the most to me in this article. Do you think elementary students should be made aware of sweatshops?

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Jessica Mundy


Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:33 pm
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Sure. Students can relate easily to people their own age. I believe with any information, you can dumb it down enough for any age level. It would also be a good way to teach kids about currency or simple math skills. You don't have to teach them everything. Young kids could also learn about ethics. At this age they know it's not ok to hit or call names. Students could do a simple activity where they compare how much 26 cents can buy here and how much it buys in other countries. I think the activity could be incorporated into math classes, social studies, English, etc. Hiding "bad" information isn't always the best solution. It lures kids into a false sense of security and they are less prepared as young adults if they haven't had an adult model appropriate ways in which to respond to shocking or disturbing news.

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Heather Lynn Rulifson


Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:44 pm
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I agree with just about everything Heather said except for the dumb down the information and hiding the “badâ€

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Tracy Gardo


Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:41 pm
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I think elementary children should be made aware of sweatshops, but I think the information should be organized in a way for them to understand it. Usually most elementary school students have not reached the same reasoning level as a high school student. I don't think this is the kind of information you should omit in the classroom, but I do think it should be taught in a way to better suite the age group that is being taught.

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Jennifer Nicole Redmond


Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:18 pm
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So what are we doing with are students anyway? Are we just teaching them the curriculum in a creative manner? Are we telling them about sweat shops and hope they know what the implications have?
I hope we understand that as future educators, we need to allow for open discussion. Our students need to be able to ask questions, create solutions, and solve problems. Students need to feel, from the beginning, that they can have an impact. So many of us today feel sorry for different groups or different people in certain countries, but we do not do a dang thing to fix it. In reality it is not the thought that counts. Not really. Your parents might teach you that when your young, and the cake that you baked for their birthday tastes like mud. In this world a thought gets nothing accomplished.
We must take action. We all have a little army in our classrooms. Not a violent army, but a group of individuals we can mold and encourage to take action. We must teach to motivate, and in doing so we must be motivated ourselves. So, if you aren't yet, get ready.

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Lianna Denise Beard


Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:59 pm
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i really enjoyed what the teacher did with his students. I think it was a useful idea fro him to let the students describe a ball and then go into detail with them about where the ball came from and then discuss sweatshops and how children are treated in other countries. The role playing i also thought was an excellent idea because it lets student step into another person's shoes so they can see (in some way) what life is like on the other side. By using open discussion students learn so much more and are open to others opinions about things, and maybe being able to understand each other also helps us to understand the world a bit better.

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Kristen P. Helton


Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:27 am
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Let me clarify, when I wrote "dumb down the information" I meant teachers should teach on a level appropriate to that age level. This can include using vocabulary that is appropriate to the age group instead of scholarly terms. It can also include using stories or examples that the students at that age level can relate to. You can even tie in examples to subject matter that the kids learned earlier on in the year.

Also by showing the bad, you can help them find the good. The world isn't all roses and butterflies. It is crazy, but it also provides good learning experiences. I never want to leave kids, especially really young on a bad note. However, the information can be shared in a way that doesn't have to leave students feeling depressed. It will take work though.

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Heather Lynn Rulifson


Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:44 pm
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Along with the rest of you, I found that what Bill Bigelow did with his students in the article we read was fascinating. It really opened the eyes of his students. However, at my high school, the topic of sweatshops was brought up by students, not the teacher. My friend Scott, who later became our high school valedictorian and graduated from Syracuse with a BS in political science, was always preaching about the injustices of near slave labor in third world countries. He was really into activism and trying to change the world. I guess the point I am trying to make with this story is that while it is important to introduce topics like this to your students and make them aware of them, it is also important to listen to your students and the things that are important to them. They may know problems that need attention that you have never heard of.

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Aaron Ross Jones


Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:21 pm
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