September 2009 Archives

MOA and Gopher Tailgating...MN Traditions?

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#1) I found myself continually chuckling as I read the MOA article, mainly because I could place myself in a lot of the same settings as Snyder describes. It brings me back to about second grade when I MOA had just opened. I thought it was Christmas all over because my parents had actually pulled me and my younger sister out of school just so we could visit the MOA! I thought to miss school for the MOA...this place must be really something! Now...I try to avoid the MOA at all costs! Hmmmm...could it be because of the "mallrats." Maybe it is the constant aroma of fast food and loud music from the never-ending fashion shows that take place on the lower level...the corny music blaring while beaming young boys and girls show off falls latest looks. In the meanwhile hundreds of young teens beg their mom's to "go buy those jeans" or "return the sweater they bought the other day for this one!" So these jeans and the new sweater are now what define this teen as they walk through the doors of school. Their identity is made out of 50% denim and 50% wool...and it better be the best darn denim and wool in the district if they are going to survive. It always fascinates me to watch mothers and children school shop. For some it is the dreaded day of spending time with mom and being forced to try on a million different jeans until you are so hot and dizzy from being trapped in the dressing room you might just faint right then and there. For others, it is a time to go hog wild wild with the credit card and gather as much "ammunition" as possible to survive  the school year. I say ammunition because that is what it is: 5 cool shirts to get you through the week without being ridiculed by your peers. And for some it means hitting local garage sales and buying things second hand. I hold a huge garage sale every year. A lot of the local school kids stop by not knowing who I am and buy a lot of my old shirts . I often see a lot of my "oldies but goodies" walking the halls of the high school. Always brings a smile to my face. :)
I always remember school shopping with my mom...a HUGE deal and something she looked forward to more than me. I have the type of mom who buys you enough clothes so that maybe you wear the same shirt twice in one year. So one can imagine the extravaganza I went through every fall. Bless her heart...but I hated it! The mall made me cringe and to this day I hate shopping! I could not stand trying on pant after pant and shirt after shirt. So I guess I could say I developed  a kind of negative connotation for malls. I agree with Snyder that the "mall is like a machine," a busy, noisy public area where one is pressured to conform and develop a false identity. When you think about it very generally, the mall is where teens go to get things that everyone else has...things that will make the fit. Does it encourage individuality or does it thrive on the notion that everyone in it wants the same belong.
Shopping defines Cher, in Clueless. Cher brings the "outcast" of the school to mall and wallah....she fits in!

#2) Location: Tailgating before U of M football game, Dinkytown, MN.
So as I am walking towards my tailgate destination I notice boys and men of all different demeanors but for the most part they are nuts! Bodies painted, beers in hand, aviator glasses, loud raspy voices because they have been up since dawn! I am not quick to judge though...I have had fair share of fun tailgates in college!

"It's my party" to "how many licks"...yikes have times changed!

The 3 required video's for this weeks posting: Leslie Gore's "It's my party", Fiona Apple's "Criminal' and Lil Kim's "How many licks" guide us through a series of changes the represent the relationship between men and women. Let me first start with Gore's video. In this video we listen as Gore sings about losing Johnny...and because of that she can cry at her own party. In my eyes this video and the song lyrics are innocent and do not hold a hidden message. The message is about a young girl hurt by the boy she likes. Yet the video does not focus on this. In this video we see a happy girl singing while while girls dance behind her with tissues in their hands. Boys and girls dance around her, the boys is blazers and the girls in skirts. I would say ultimately in this video the guy "Johnny" has the power. Leslie is crying because of a boy that has broken her heart. Leslie sings about crying and being sad instead of moving on and being strong. This is not the case in Fiona's "Criminal." In this case Fiona, or the girl has the power as she as cheated on her boyfriend and is sexually exploring herself with other men and possibly even women. Fiona talks about taking advantage of an "innocent man", unlike Leslie she is not the "victim." Lil Kim's video takes it one step further as we see her conquest of men unfold before our eyes. Lil Kim has the power here and uses her sexuality to take advantage of men. This is symbolic because she shows that women can have sex without emotion just like men. I think ultimately what this says is that women have power, but only sexually.  In the end I think these video's show 3 extremes. Gore's innocence and submission of the woman, Apple's promiscuity and backlash,  and Kim's overtly sexualized and dominant female. All 3 give youth a dramatized and unrealistic view of the woman. It is funny  to think that so many young girls dance to the words of a catchy tune unaware of the message the notes bring and its implications.

Time to "Toon' In

Hey everyone, this is my first time blogging. I guess I have been "tooning" out this whole blogging phenomenon. I was never a huge AIM'er and do not frequently use my Facebook account. Twitter is odd to me...why is it that we must let everyone and their mother know what we are doing and how we are feeling at every waking moment. It is hard to believe that we have the capability to follow the lives of complete strangers. I probably sound bitter about technology...I am not I just do not use it as a forum to express who I am and what I am thinking. That is why this class appealed to me, not because I love blogging but because I want to understand this phenomenon and how it can be useful for me and why youth connect to it so well. Just recently have I really realized and accepted that the means of communication and connecting for teens as have changed. As I mentioned in my intro I coach dance team at a suburban high school. This is my second year coaching and I realized quick that text messaging is the primary form of communication between the athletes and myself. I have told the girls numerous times that a phone call or email are the only acceptable means of contacting me. This was like speaking a different language to them! The glazed over confused expressions should have been my first clue that this just did not make sense to these youngsters! Never-the-less I receive text message after text message, "Coach I am going to be late," "Coach how much do the T-shirts cost again?" It is not like I am defying society and text messaging but I do think teens still need to know how to make a phone call or compose an email. Text messaging is the easy way out. This is where I finally (sorry I tend to be long-winded) get to my point: are we giving children so many easy options that they do not know what hard work is? For example: it takes 10 seconds to send a text message and a whole 2 minutes to make a phone call. Are kids becoming so used to this fast paced culture we live in that they are missing the big picture of so many things? I have asked the girls I coach why they text me even though I ask them not to, I get 2 answers: 1) It takes too long to call or email 2) Texting is the only way I communicate. So how are our children going to do when they sit down for a live, face to face interview? Or will it be the norm to have "text" lingo in high school papers in the future? Have our kids "tooned" out or must we "toon" in to try and connect and save ideas of the past in order to preserve present and future ideas....Periodic table of texting 

I think that the fist few chapters of Tooning In do a nice job of  encouraging us to explore the pop culture phenomeonon and look at how we can relate to young adults through pop culture. At the same time the book does suggests that if we are going to implement pop culture in our classrooms we must do it deliberately and make sure that learning objectives are still met. I always love the " can't we just watch the movie, why do we have to take notes?"  Students think it's "cool" to watch the movie that they saw in the theater but "OMG" ;) how on earth could it possibly relate to social studies? I recently showed parts of the updated film,  Marie Antoinette and my students were a little leary at first. It was amazing to see how they eventually compared the culture then to today. Without even knowing they started to fuse components of pop culture with education. This can be exhausting for the teacher though, constantly finding ways to incorporate pop culture into your lessons. It is important to find ways to be inspired yet maintain the pedagogy you stand by. I look forward to examining different strategies that White and Walker suggest, in order to open that door in welcoming pop culture to becoming successful in connecting with youth.


First time blogging! :)

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