We talk about “windows and mirrors” in the introduction to our Human Bingo lesson. This phrase came from a wonderful essay by Emily Style from the SEED Project (http://nationalseedproject.org/about-us/timeline/26-latest-articles/41-curriculum-as-window-and-mirror) called “Curriculum as Window and Mirror.” Invited by Emily, I sat in a women’s circle in the early 1990’s and found myself expressing the importance and struggle of my mother about whom I had never spoken and honored in the way that I was inspired to that day. I had experienced both window and mirror in one brief session, but the sharing made me aware of the struggles that women like my mother faced, the important contributions that she made in her life, and the advantage that boys and males had and have—all in one session, never to be forgotten.
This is a long quote from Emily, but it explains better than I can possibly do it the power of this thought:
Years ago a Peanuts cartoon illustrated this vividly for me. Schultz’s dog Snoopy was pictured sitting at his typewriter, writing the cultural truth “Beauty is only skin deep.” When the dog looked in the mirror however, it made more sense (to the dog) to write “Beauty is only fur-deep.”
In the following day’s comic strip, the bird Woodstock had apparently made a protest; Snoopy responded by shifting the definition to “feather-deep.” Woodstock, too, had looked in the mirror and insisted on naming truth in a way that made the most sense to him.
Perspective is really everything, isn’t it? Snoopy’s truth and Woodstock’s truth, although different, were no less true for them. The concepts were exactly the same but matched their experiences more accurately. Reminds me of the kind of peachy colored crayons which used to be called “flesh.” What a powerful lesson to infuse in our diversity lessons!
“…it is essential to note the connection between eyesight and insight. As the Peanuts cartoon illustrates, no student acquires knowledge in the abstract; learning is always personal. Furthermore, learning never takes place in a vacuum; it is always contextual”.
Our Human Bingo lesson takes this concept on in a fun and non-threatening way. It has students explore their diversity and begin engaging in conversations that can open windows when they realize their differences. Finding a classmate with whom you have something in common can be like looking in the mirror. And this can be the beginning of an extended classroom conversation. From Human Bingo, we urge you to check out the curricular connections in literacy, art and social studies to inspire you and your students to open that window wider and look into that mirror more deeply.
As always, you help us make these lessons better by sharing your experiences with us. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell you how this lesson works (or doesn’t!) in your classroom or post your stories to our Facebook page.