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Episode 1: Harvest Son, by David Mas Masumoto - narrated by Laura Nadeau.
June 09, 2010 01:24 PM PDT
Harvest Son is an exceptional book about the importance of family history. While he works in the vineyards which have been passed down from his grandfather, Masumoto reflects on the experiences that his grandfather had as a Japanese immigrant in the US in the early 1900s. He tells the history of internment camps, as well as rural Japanese culture. Another important aspect of the book is that it also provides insight into organic farming techniques, and the value of family and tradition. This podcast could be used in a Language Arts, English or Social Studies class for grades 7-12. I might even consider it to be used in any class because the story is about learning. It is about being reflective and valuing the experiences of others as well as your own. I was particularly drawn to the way that Masumoto described the language barriers experienced by his grandfather’s generation. I felt it tied in very nicely with what I have learned this quarter about the digital natives. In the first few pages, the author describes that, unlike his grandfather, he can't remember how he learned to cut the vines because it was something he had always done. This is almost the exact words that the digital natives used in most of our interviews. Unlike their grandparents and parents, they have grown-up surrounded by technology. It appears that there is no separation between themselves and technology, it has simply always been a part of their lives. This is how Masumoto describes his relationship with nature and the hard work that is needed to be a farmer. I also feel that it is important to see the similarities between the immigrant and the native. Such observations would aid in bridging the gap between our generations. I would hope that in reading this with my students, we could discuss these aspects further and gain more of an appreciation for diversity: culturally and generationally. Such discussions could lead to the students and teachers being able to recognize the significance in learning from personal experience. These purposeful conversations could enlighten the students about how important it is to value the guidance offered by the stories of their elder’s experiences, recognize the value of hard work, and actually participating in meaningful learning.