ABC Who Are We? A Student Exceeds
The Requirements 'Just Because'
— And the Results Are Marvelous.
Poem to Peter 3-17-11
By Annie Ratliff
with an introduction by Dr. Bowles
E D I T O R ' S N O T E :
This feature in presented in two parts. The introduction about the genesis of the poem is written by Dr. Freddie Bowles. Presentation of the poem follows the introduction.
Teachers experience a great deal of satisfaction when they create an assignment that students really appreciate and enjoy. Every now and then a student is inspired to go beyond the requirements and reformulate an assignment “just because.” Annie Ratliff, one of my students in Multicultural Issues, took the ABC Who Are We? assignment and created a second poem. She has kindly agreed to share it with Planet Gnosis readers. Annie uses the ABC structure to create a moving, lyrical, stream-of-consciousness flow in her “ABC Poem to Peter.”
The ABC Who Are We? assignment asks students to create a poem to explore their self-identity by focusing on the ten cultural identifiers created by Gollnick and Chinn (2006). The only requirement is to begin each line with a letter of the alphabet in sequence. (Assignment Instructions and Rubric are available for download at the bottom of this page.)
Bound Together in Cooperation
Multicultural education reflects John Dewey’s suggestion in Democracy and Education (1916) that we, as a nation, should focus on the aspects of being that bind us together regardless of our group identity. Our classrooms should reflect our commonalities. We work with our students to create an engaging environment. We do this by promoting cooperation and building self-efficacy. Students share responsibility and leadership, while we as educators promote social justice and encourage discussion about obstacles to equality such as prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping.
One of the goals of multicultural education is awareness of our own cultural norms and behaviors. We must understand our group’s status and value in society. How do we identify with the dominant culture and its formal institutions such as school, government, banks, and businesses? Do we share the same values, behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes of the dominant culture? If not, how do we interact with it?
Annie's first poem met the requirements of the Multicultural Issues assignment in a sterling manner, but her bonus poem, the one published below, demonstrates the value of going the extra mile "just because." Thanks, Annie, for your creativity, your language prowess, and your disposition for learning.
A child once said, “Oh, the spirits” to me. We were talking about
Butterflies. She said that her grandmother died and maybe she was different now.
Crying, the child starting chasing butterflies shouting, “Grandma, I’m here!”
Death is not one of my favorite topics. I tend to get a tad
Eulogistic, which is never good. Really all I want to do these days is have
Fun. It’s a time in my life when I want really
Good food, adjust my sails when I can’t control the wind, and read
Harry Potter every day. Then again,
I am an English groupie and should probably be reading things by Carl
Jung and Frank
Kafka. My mother
Loves words too. My dad only knows them through his mouth. He is a
Master story-teller. My sisters and I wrote a book about him—“The Story of Sam.”
Never did I think loving family could be so inextricably linked to both pain and
Omniscience. I dream of them every night. Dreams are something I
Probably talk about too much. My BFF and I got in a fight about them once—“Drama
Queen”, she called me, as we were walking in the brisk, cold,
Resilient winter at 5:30 am. All I could do to escape the fight was run home.
Sisters, although we are, we still fight. I have 4, maybe 5 best friends.
They are the loves of all my hearts, emotions, and memories.
Unrelenting am I to keep them close. Boys have come into my life, of course but
Very seldom because I’m entirely too picky and have a massive
Wall that one boyfriend said he was determined to knock down, like Berlin’s.
Xylographing is my brother’s favorite thing to do. He was adopted and still
Yearns to find his path. God, I love him so much and pray every night in my
Zzzz’s that he will let me in, to hold his hand.
My name is Annie Ratliff and I am a Fayetteville, Arkansas, native. I absolutely love to read and have always found comfort in the pages of the book and the characters that fill them. I am currently pursuing my Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) with a concentration in English at the University of Arkansas. I absolutely love teaching and can't wait to have my own classroom.
Assignment Sheet and Rubric Downloads
ABC Who Are We?
ABC Who Are We?