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Not Exactly the Answer I Was Looking For, But . . .

Last week I volunteered in Maddie’s class to talk about art; it’s a monthly district-wide program, and I very much look forward to it each time. In both Cora’s class and Maddie’s class, we have the most interesting discussions. I love seeing how children look at art.

And we have the most, um, enlightening discussions.

This past week the theme was Animals In Art; each painting I brought in focused on or had animals in it in some way. The kids enjoyed seeing animals depicted in various ways over the centuries, and we were having a great time talking about what we saw.

We got to picture of a Diego Rivera mural – “The Conquest of Cortes” – that depicted the conquistador landing at Veracruz. In the painting, Cortes is already enslaving the natives, even while the boat is still loaded with supplies he brought for colonizing the land.

Holding up the enlarged picture, I tapped suggestively on a portion of the picture that showed several sheep and horses in a hold on the ship, a couple of the many things the Spanish introduced to the Americas. “Can anyone tell me something the Europeans brought with them to the Americas?” I asked, again tapping on the livestock.

One boy’s hand shot up excitedly and I pointed at him, happy about his enthusiasm.

“Diseases!” he burst out proudly.

Something ELSE the Spanish introduced to the Americas, but not the answer I was looking for.

I guess the kids aren’t getting the whitewashed version of Plymouth Rock any more . . .

Um, happy Thanksgiving?


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