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Getting a Reaction

Written by Katie McKay
September 14, 2010

At the end of the school year, the fourth graders who participated in this discrimination unit celebrated the writing they had done throughout the year with a Young Authors Reading. At our school, we are fortunate to be centrally located near many local businesses. One such business, La Resistencia Bookstore (so named due to the organization’s history of resistance), has “sponsored/endorsed readings and political forums that included nationally and internationally known writers, human rights activists, and indigenous artists.” La Resistencia welcomed us into their space to share a variety of pieces of our work. Students were given the option to choose from any piece they had worked on throughout the year. Many students chose to share their anti-discrimination movies. Several teachers, parents, mentors, local authors, and university professors also accepted our invitations and attended the event.

At the end of the reading, we welcomed feedback and comments. One professor pointed out to a proud group of fourth graders that the work we were doing in our classroom was the type of work that many university professors were talking about. Another audience member leaned over to ask a teacher of our then “Academically Unacceptable” school, “What kind of school is this? Is it a magnet school of some kind?”

None of the district supervisors who had spent so many hours in the classrooms of our school throughout the year showed up at the reading that day. However, we remembered their words. Only now their words, like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, hold new meaning. “There is no time to waste.”