Using Out of Eden as a Platform for Empathy
A few weeks ago, one of the parents in my Kindergarten classroom shared with me the powerful book by James Mollison, Where Children Sleep. In it, the photographer documents children's bedrooms around the world and shares a bit of how their stories shape where they sleep at night. Based on this book, we began a project that really relates to Out of Eden and the empathy that it so constantly brings forward. I asked my students to take pictures of their bedrooms, and one by one, they began sharing a piece of their lives at home, it truly is amazing how a bedroom tells so much about how you live! As students shared their rooms, we took an in-depth look into Mollison's pictures, specifically those that were age-approriate and told the stories of children around my students' age. Students did a lot of comparing and contrasting, and what struck me the most is the empathy with which these kids look at the world, even at such a young age.
For this particular part of the project, we took a look at Lobsang, an eight year old boy from Tibet who is travelling to India alone to study Tibetan culture. I asked students to think about their own bedrooms, and then compare them to Lobsang's bedroom. Students used a Venn Diagram for their responses, which was perfect for incorporating literacy as well as helping them organize their thoughts. Here are a few examples of students' responses:
Students were especially struck by the fact that Lobsang is not with his parents, since "parents are here to protect us, and if his parents are not there, then who will protect him?" - Nicholas. They mentioned Lobsang's room looks "messy and dangerous" - Aina, and that his bed "must feel like sleeping on rocks! My bed definitely does not feel like that, I am lucky!" - Diego.
As always, I am amazed at my students' abilities to look closely and really reflect on what they are seeing. I highly recommend incorporating this book into your Out of Eden journey, and your feedback in terms of what you liked, didn't like, and what you would have done differently.
Here is the link for the complete book: http://issuu.com/chrisboot/docs/where_children_sleep_by_james_mollison
Kindergarten Teacher, Doral, Florida