No Disney or theme characters - explanation to parents

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by PreTeacher, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I have this issue with Dr. Seuss. Brought in some books from my previous school. Aide took them all off the shelf. Said that character books, like Disney have no place in Head Start classroom.

    I said that Dr. Seuss is known for literacy skills and social skills. He did not promote any specific characters, such as Mickey Mouse. The Cat In The Hat, has several adventures, and the other characters also do the same. Actually, before Disney took over the rights, Dr. Suess did not have dolls, movies, blankets and Big Wheels. His whole philosophy was to encourage better readers. Period.

    So, in theory, I questioned her point of view. But in practice, I just took my books back home.

    Yet, we may have a sidejack :)lol:) and a whole new thread on literacy and characters. What about The Little Critter (who by the way is also a teenager now, and called LC), The Berstain Bears, and Clifford The Big Red Dog?

    I think what has happened is that commericialism has turned storybook characters into TV stars. I loved Curious George, but I hate the cartoon series! It's just not the same.

    What I think we agree on is the fact that children need imagination, and need to build on prior knowledge. Storybook characters help build literacy and provide an avenue for social interaction. The difference is when a character is so commericalized, it draws away from the basis of learning for the sake of learning.

    Dora the Explorer comes to mind. She promotes billingual education, but she is found on everything from socks to cereal! In that regard, she is an advertising magnet, that causes parents to spend way too much money.

    Some people have the same feeling about workbooks based on Disney characters. They cost an arm and a leg, and the generic brands are much better, but have simple, plain animals and children as characters.

    Popular characters sell.
     
  2. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    and while I'm on this soap box...

    Two other thoughts come to mind...

    We all know teachers who use cartoon characters to decorate their classroom. I've seen teachers who were trapped in a time zone, and had cartoon characters from the 60's and 70's! I mean The Flinstones, Bugs Bunny (and this was before Space Jam!!), Richie Rich, Casper The Friendly Ghost...etc. And what was really sad was that the teacher was also stuck in this time zone! She refused to do anything new, or follow ideas and suggestions brought up in workshops. She just did the same thing, year after year. :(

    So, when characters dictate your room, do children learn the topics, or memorize the characters?? I've seen alphabets with Disney characters. Good, bad, no difference? I see and hear the difference. Some teachers use things that they enjoy, and in doing so promote characters instead of basic knowledge. "D is for Daisy!" How will the child remember the "D" sound if she doesn't recognize Daisy is a duck?

    My other thought is on the issue of school uniforms. As much as parents fight over this, dress codes for preschool help set the proper mindframe for learning. There is nothing more distracting and aggravating for me than those light-up, whistling, chirping, multi-colored gym shoes!!! :mad: And kids who are dressed in matching hats, attached belts and SUNGLASSES which they play with all day, lose, and get upset when rhinestones and buckles become missing! Kids who have-not, they feel left out, with their plain-Jane tops and Wal-Mart bottoms.

    When I have a roomful of little boys and girls dressed in white tops and navy pants, we are all equal. Nobody can brag about being special, pretty or really cool with the latest movie character clothes. I have spent more time settling my group at circle time because they were so fascinated over somebody's skirt, top or shoes, with the movie characters!

    Parents spend money to make their kids happy. Period! They have no idea how distracting their children's clothing can be in the classroom.

    :soapbox:
     
  3. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    I use children's literature to draw attention to and increase understanding in narrative comprehension, language development and mathematical concepts. Therefore, I am very selective of the books I read to them. Most character books do not support this type of instruction.

    The rhyming and predictability of Dr. Seuss does.
     
  4. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    True, and I use Seuss too, but it was easier before he turned into a happy meal character. I spend the first read aloud time looking at the pixs and seeing if it is before or after the movie with the children. When they see it isn't the same as the movie they can finally listen. Without fail during the reading someone has to stop me and say that "xyz happened in the movie" - we have to stop again.

    Same thing with the Christmas Express and so on.

    I think when Hollywood found out we were trying to teach the children they decided that "helping" us/parents could get them a buck. Just made it harder for me.

    Used to be that my rule was on the screen-not on the shelf. Now it is based on story content and ratings and if the book was a book before the movie.

    And in the year of the movie I never read the book-nearly killed me during the Grinch------Cat in the Hat close time frame.
     
  5. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    well, as I said... unfortunately years after the death of Seuss, his widow decided to give rights to Disney. Once Disney got a hold to Dr. Seuss' work, it forever changed.... The original books have value. The story line and characters became commercialized.

    Even The Grinch was a more lovable, understandable character, within the original movie... I didn't see Horton, but I am sure I would be equally dismayed. with the newer version.

    BTW...one school wanted to have a Dr. Seuss week, which coincided with the author's birthday, which used to be a great time to celebrate literacy. (which is why I had such a large collection of his books)

    So, two schools of thought... literally.... :p

    My mother will tell you she credits Dr. Seuss and Curious George to my early reading, and early promotion out of kdg.

    But, I am just one person......
     
  6. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I am sooooooo glad to see that others agree on the no commercialization concept. I thought my staff was going to rebell--and most had a few comments--when I removed over 300 such books from the library. I also removed books that depicted animals as human. Don't panic, we still have a couple thousand wonderful books left. And, if a teacher has a reason for using a book I have removed--that works for me. I agree that there are so many quality books, why waste time with the junk?
     
  7. Dzenna

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    To be honest... I never cared for had any interest in Seuss (even as a child). I inherited a large collection of Seuss books and seldom used them until recently. I started using them for rhyming. Some of the old ones are great.

    I don't read Disney, Clifford, Arthur, Bisquit, Sponge Bob, Dora, Diego, Miss Spider. I don't even read Curious George, Little Critter, Berenstein Bears or Sesame Street

    I love Olivia and pray she doesn't turn into a TV show.

    I really don't have a policy, but I have to be selective with my choices because I have a half-day program. On one hand, I like to read the books that the kids bring in, on the other hand, I don't have a lot of time to be wasted on fluff.

    Okay, I know I sound like an old grouch. Bye for now.
    It hate it when we have the Scholastic Book Fair and the girls buy princess and Barbie books and the boys buy something related to the most recent movie.

    I know the purpose is to get them reading but there is so much great literature out there!!
     
  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Let me totally hijack (or somewhat piggyback) by saying the cartoons today are very adult in nature, crass, cynical, and sarcastic, and not the ones we grew up with. Tom and Jerry would run into walls, and Coyote and Road Runner would be falling off of cliffs. But you never saw their underwear! :confused: They are trying to be on the edge, and in fact keep the parents tuned in as well. I see nothing appealing about Squarepants SpongeBob. The few seconds I watched I saw more bathroom humor than I cared for.

    As educators we should be able to say that there is a fine line between entertainment and education. Putting SpongeBob in a workbook with stickers doesn't make him educational to me. It just promoting a character, and offering a few step-by-step directions.
     
  9. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Tell me how to get to Sesame Street

    When educational programs began, they were... educational. Cartoons were cartoons, and education was education. Yes, there was some mix in the magic, but you didn't have to buy sheets, bikes, backpacks, and pencils to learn how to read and understand math.

    Bozo Circus left TV because authorities decided there needed to be x amount of hours of educational programming for children.

    Based on this information, I have two interesting analogies.

    When we reduced recess, free play, and P.E. in the schools, all of the sudden we saw an increase in Kindergym, Gymboree, and other programs geared towards the equivalent of Bally's Fitness for kids. Why? Because kids need and want to have exercise and parents will pay for it! What happened to the parks? They are free? Not commercial enough. No music, no characters, not enough colors. Sigh!

    And as Sesame Street grew, the characters took over. The concept of learning was pushed to the curb, as Tickle Me Elmo took center stage. Ok, so what is so great about a baby monster that giggles? That is baby doll, right? But it comes from an 'educational' program. I had to sit thru a few seconds of "Elmo's World" for a research paper. Sigh... too much to write here! All I can say is, you have to really reach hard, dig deep and listen to catch the educational part! I know he giggles a lot...and maybe that's why his toys sell. So they can hear him giggle.

    Too much commercialism, competition, and pushing to have more, do more. The computer games seem to be based on dividing and conquering! Blow up something, capture something, destroy something! You win!

    Tires me out just thinking about it.

    You know.. it's almost the same issue regarding preschoolers and homework. Parents demand and insist on homework, because they want their kids to be ahead, and do more. I give them a few sheets of construction paper, BLANK construction paper. They look shocked! "No, we need worksheets and stuff."

    Creativity, is a loss art in education.....

    :unsure:
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    someday, we will be in the Smithonian as the last/best National Treasures for the practictioners of 'old style' childhood.

    The good news is that some families can be convinced. Last year almost all of mine were on board. I would get questions, but, like you when I answered from DAP (and good sense) I was amazed that they listened to me.
     
  11. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    I'm ready for the Smithsonian now.
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I have observed staff reverting to worksheets, cartoons, and other non-DAP when they don't know what else to do. I find very few centers in Oregon are able to find educated staff, and that dilutes the quality of education.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Hey, blue, I am not far over the oregon washington border you could just pop up here? I am waiting for a peer!
     
  14. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Does this mean you are that good--or that old and tired:p;):lol::lol: :whistle:
     
  15. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    WaProvider, I hate the traffic around Portland, otherwise I would join you.
     
  16. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    oh, I am on the east side-no traffic-but non of that other stuff that is on the west side either. what is that green stuff????? oh yes, trees. that it's it.
     
  17. Dzenna

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    old and tired!!!:lol:
     
  18. I<3kiddos

    I<3kiddos Rookie

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    In a world where kids are becoming less likely to pick up a book and read, I am by no means going to discourage them from reading ANY book that is not inappropriate. I feel that my job as an early educator is to create a life-long interest in books and reading. If the child comes to me crying because he/she can not watch TV, I am going to say, "Hey, look! Dora has a book, too!" and use it to create interest. I do not use these books to teach from, nor do I think they are in any way, shape, or form literature--BUT they ARE books. It has to start somewhere.
     
  19. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    what's your view on Arthur, blue??

    I did a research paper, and after carefully reading some books, I saw some very sexist, and real negative undertones...which I never noticed before. And again.. don't like the cartoon at all!
     
  20. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    and.... I see teachers using internet sites, and tradebooks to make bulletin boards. Have the page open, and make identical to the picture. They go all out, and these look like storefront signs. People praise them, and they cross their arms with pride.

    There is no creativity there.

    Wait... let me throw this out here. One year, the bulletin boards for December looked like a neighborhood Christmas light competition! Little or no children's work. Very few handmade objects. Too much commerical, store-brought decorations.

    One class, the TODDLER room, had real Christmas lights on their board! I talked about this for weeks in this forum. I had a sp. ed class, and was paranoid each time I walked my class by this room! I mean the cord was draped across the doorway (fire/safety hazard?) and plugged into a wall. I don't get it. :dunno:

    Bulletin boards are supposed to be a way of showcasing children's work, displaying the theme, showing KWL...and also (now-the new policy) adding the state goals, or the learning standards that have been met. Your inside boards can have a variety of things, themes, homemade and store-bought stuff.

    my :2cents:
     
  21. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    serious-toddler room with a draping cord? In the hall or on the wall inside the room?

    scary

    I really like the sounds of the classroom when the children are thinking and stretching their brains. It is a calmer noise than when they are all caught up in what they "got" at home. Now that sibs are out getting school clothes my little ones are going crazy. I can't wait until the town gets back into school and settles down.

    I haven't had it added to my regs to add learning goals/objectives to the board-but I like that idea. Do you quote the whole goal or just reference alphabet soup. so i guess-is it for parents or supervisors?
     
  22. Budaka

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    I am sure my viewpoint would not be the popular one, but I love character books and tv shows and encouraged them for my children. My children read several levels above their grade level and are very creative. I don't think they have been damaged too much! And frankly I think Dora, Blue Clues etc. are much better and healthier cartoons then shows like Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner. Now those are some violent cartoons!
    And of course the original stories of the some classic fairy tales are pretty gory-like Cinderella's stepsister cutting off her toe to make it fit the shoe better. I prefer Disney's version!

    I can understand not wanting to go over aboard on character books and decorations, but completely removing them borders on censorship to me.
     
  23. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    outside in hall, draped around doorway, dangling, not taped, across doorway, leading back into room, plugged into outlet in class

    and yes, one of my kids would pull at it each chance they got!

    I learned our state goals as part of undergrad studies. Had to memorize them like times tables... (oh, that's multiplication tables.. right Dz??!! :woot: )

    State Goal 1. EC (early childhood) 2B. Read with understanding and fluency. Dictate a story and draw pictures to illustrate meaning.

    using alphabet soup just annoys admin and further confuses the masses. So, it's preferred that you write it all out. It's an excuse to B.S :rolleyes: . principal, because you are too lazy to write out the whole thing, so she/he thinks it's probably one you made up... :whistle: (which isn't hard to do)

    S.G. 1.EC2j

    What would you make out of that? :crosseyed

    I write mine all the way out on sentence strips, and laminate them. Store with the rest of my stuff, as I am sure I can use them for a variety of purposes... hey... that's a goal. :lol:

    S.G. 1EC 4Ab. Write for a variety of purposes.

    :rolleyes:

    ok, I'll stop now!
     
  24. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    good 2 see you Bud!

    I agree to disagree...but you're still my pal! :)
     
  25. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    MPK- For you and me "times tables", for our kids "multiplication tables"....and now they are "math facts"

    God knows what they'll call them next!!!
     
  26. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    I am glad you are glad to see me. I do like this forum because we can discuss things without getting to heated. Most of the time anyway.
    I will admit that what I know about pre-k could fit into a tiny little tea cup. Maybe one of the Disney princess sets. . .:p
     
  27. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    No body enters knowing everything. Parent, teacher, caregiver, foster parent we all enter where we are, when we are. It is most important that you offer love and guidence that I am sure you are anyway - the rest is gravy! Or frosting on you princess cake?
     
  28. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    we call it icing... :D

    Mom used to make it from scratch... and her cakes too!

    ahhh.... Domino's powdered sugar, butter, and a little food coloring and flavoring... maybe Kool-aid... my Mom is a genuis!



    those were the days....

    sigh...
     
  29. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Expanded addition facts!! It will be stored on a flash drive. Kids will plug it into the computer, and stare at them for all of 2 minutes, then go find a game or MySpace page!

    :help:
     
  30. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

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    :



    :rofl::rofl::clap::rofl::rofl:
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  31. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

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    But, really....aren't(weren't?) they called fact families-at least I think that's what they called them when my kids were learning them a couple of years ago---
    you know: one fact family for 12 was 3 and 4 so
    3x4=12
    4x3=12
    12 divided by 3=4
    12 divided by 4=3
    I think that's what it was,BTW both are still asleep otherwise I'd ask them!
     
  32. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    uh beth...

    car note
    mortgage
    insurance

    those are the only facts I am looking at now...

    :(

    btw...I am extremely sorry for hijacking the thread. I did visit a friend's school yesterday, and saw wonderful things. It was really inspirational to see the teachers decorating their classrooms!

    they found great things from Oriental Trading, and other catalogs. My friend has Suzy's Zoo character's all over her door!

    She doesn't remember where she found them. I must find the catalog for her. Anybody here know?? Wait, isn't it Current?
     
  33. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    First, isn't Arthur a moose that dress like a boy? I am not up on him. But, if he is a moose, or a TV show, then no, I would not use him.

    Using or not using a certain type of book is an opinion, and an option. I choose not to, in order to keep my education process as pure as possible.

    Now, don't get excited. When at home, I allow my own children assess to other types of books, but I can present them with my point of view. I have worked in several programs that did not celebrate any holidays for fear of offending a parent. I don't this this issue is far removed from that.
     
  34. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    yep, i think she is in current.
     
  35. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    He's an aardvark. His sister D.W. is portrayed as a spoiled, annoying pain. Everything she owns is pink. Her room looks like a mansion. Their neighborhood looks like Richville, USA. His friends are all animals. They act like people. They cover social issues, but I feel he tends to insults girls to prove his point. D.W.'s Glasses is a perfect example.

    The Berstain Bears cover everything from bullies, thumsucking, babysitters, and mom's going back to work. They also have CDs, where you can read, or play games. I like their cartoon. It does not stray from the books. They are simple country bears, portraying simple life. You don't see any kids in my store whining and screaming their lungs off for a Brother Bear lunch bag or a Sister Bear Hair Bow.
     
  36. lauriloulou

    lauriloulou Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2008

    Wow! This is a very interesting thread. Last year I had so many boys who loved Spiderman, etc. I want to encourage this year's group of kids to create their own stories (you know what I'm saying). And as far as literature, I'm going to really look at my classroom this year (second year back after being at home for 8 years) and begin to weed out books. I'm just getting ready to re-read the Anti-Bias Curriculum which should re-open my eyes to what to look for. Thanks for all the insight.
     
  37. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 9, 2008

    My children call the illegal thing that makes me kick an item out a "nanny" from the kids teasing song "nanny nanny nanny". and a person who does it is called a "nanny bot" here like a robot. until i hear them and remind them that "to say nanny bot is to nanny".

    anyway, my point is that if one person is making another feel bad to make a point regardless of if it is to own an item, attend a church, be a certain way or what ever it is illegal in our program. so-no we don't particiularly like aurthur, nor any other show really.

    the kids are really good at finding vilators of the "no nanny" policy. they tell their parents too. crack me up.
     

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