The last few weeks of school are both exhilarating and infuriating. They are infuriating because both teachers and students are antsy and done with school, especially if the weather is nice.
But they are exhilarating as well because if you're lucky, your kids have finally gotten to the point where you can have real discussions and all of a sudden you realize just how far they have come in a few months. This past week we have been talking about globalization and consumerism (materialism) and some of the things they have said are totally awesome.
I have been using the book "Hungry Planet - What the World Eats" by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio. If you haven't had a chance to check out this book, I would highly recommend it, as well as the book photographed a few years earlier, "Material World" by the same authors.
from Material World, Kuwait
from Hungry Planet, Bhutan
In Material World, which was inspired by Madonna's song, "Material Girl," Menzel and D'Aluisio photographed families with all of their possessions outside of the family's house. Hungry Planet was written a few years later and was inspired by Menzel watching a refugee child in Somalia downing some dry Top Ramen while the refugee's younger brother ate the seasoning packet. He was struck by how a convenience food in the west is also eaten in other continents but in such a different way, and decided to do a book where a family's food consumption for a week was tracked. In both books, families that were "statistically average" were chosen to represent the various countries.
both from Hungry Planet, top- Darfur refugees, bottom- North Carolina
These books are fantastic to visually show globalization, consumerism, consumption, and materialism. The kids get those concepts after seeing these books and I love seeing how they start pulling out and identifying items that have gone global and how they start applying that knowledge to the concepts of consumerism and materialism.
Hungry Planet, Japan
I love weeks like this, when the kids actually GET a concept that I am trying to teach, and not only get it but apply it and debate about it. Not only that, they asked questions that allowed me to guide them into discussions about processed vs real food, chemical additives, and why processed food is cheaper than unprocessed food here in the US. It has been one of those weeks when I have actually felt like they are taking something away that they might actually use.
from Material World, top - Japan, bottom - Russia