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Redefining the (digital) Classroom

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Reacting to Toy Stories

Today my students reacted to Toy Stories. Not the Toy Stories that feature a cowboy befriending a spaceman... but the Toy Stories by photographer Gabriele Galimberti.

Last night I saw this tweet from George Couros: "Photos of children from around the world with their favorite toys [30 pictures] http://bit.ly/WozPlC". I clicked on it and ended up looking through the images over and over again. I had so much questions, reactions and a myriad of emotions. Then I wondered, "What would my students think if they explored these photos?"

So today, during our Student Innovation Team meeting, I posted this link to our Schoology course as a discussion. I invited students to share their reactions, questions and emotions as they viewed the photos. I asked them to look through them multiple times with different questions in their minds.

I started off the discussion by first asking my students to think back to their younger years and visualize their own toys. What did they enjoy playing with? What toys did they wish to have? Where are their toys now? Then we looked at the photos. As expected, the kids were enthralled by the series. They were completely silent for over 30 minutes as they discussed their thoughts, via Schoology. After our discussion, the group shared how intriguing photos could be. As such, they decided to do their own photo series once we're done with our current challenge. They've yet to focus in on a topic, but ideas/suggestions are more than welcome!

Below is part of their discussion...
KB: It looks like different environments made a difference of what kind of toy each kid has.
> BM: Yeah. It is so interesting because they all don't have what we have in Illinois.
>> KB: I also saw that I had some of those toys when growing up.
>>> TS: Some places kids only had 1 or 2 toys but others had lots of expensive toys.

CS: It was weird to see little kids around the world with the toys they have and some of them are poor. So they don't have the same as others.
> JM: Why did you think they were poor?
>> CS: You could see from their faces and their environments and where they lived and their clothing. You could really just see it.
>>> TS: It made me feel so sad to see a child with one toy. But some kids go hoem they have a room full of toys. It isn't fair.
>>> CS: Yeah it's just so weird. Because you compare what you see and see what they value and it they value it no matter how much it is or how little.
>>>>: KB: Yeah, like that boy from Kenya with one Teddy Bear.
>>>>> CS: It made me value what I have more.

MW: I could really see the kind of personality each child has and their choice of style by their pose in the picture.
>> MW: Also I wonder if that little girl from Egypt likes enchanted stories - all of her toys are Disney characters.

BM: It seems like this boy was raised around people violent and so that makes him want to be violent (the boy from Ukraine.)
>> MW: What do you think like his parents must fight a lot?
>>> KB: I think more that his parents don't mind weapons. Like maybe his mother loves to hunt. I don't think it means he's a violent child.
>>>> BM: I think he is violent because of that look on his face... he seems so serious and angry. Also also don't think that they fight a lot. I think they might just use violent weapons in front of the boy.
>>>>> MW: Maybe that child will grow up to be very protective of his family? Maybe his parents are police officers?
>>>>>> JM: Maybe he watches too much violent TV?
>>>>>>>KB: I watch lots of violent TV but I don't play with guns like that.


  1. These are great pictures, thanks for sharing! Out of curiosity, how many kids participated in the the chat via Schoology? Were they in several different classrooms? Love the posts! Keep them coming!

    1. There were 8 total - some of the kids were absent. However we've done chats with over 30 before. Schoology will be updating soon so the discussions auto-refresh, which will make the process a lot better! Thanks for reading!