Friday, January 8, 2010

They Know So Much

Recently I was at the mall with a 5-year-old friend. We were looking at calendars, thinking about which ones we would like to buy.

She picked up one and said, "Princess Protection Program! That's the one I would like." I had no idea what that was. "It's a program" was all she told me. (I later learned that it was a TV movie on the Disney Channel.)

I turned one calendar to the front. She saw it. "Jonas brothers! That Nick is so cute."

Now, I do know who the Jonas brothers are. She showed me Nick. We looked through a few more calendars before we left. But my mind was dwelling on her comments. She's 5. And she's talking about how cute someone in a boy band is.

Our culture is so pervasive. The kids know so much, at such a young age. Well, they know about a lot. I can help them try to get some context on what they hear and see.

And I was reminded that I need to keep up. I need to know what the kids are talking about. If I am not familiar with the kids' culture, then I won't be very effective as a teacher.

I guess I need to spend the day watching Disney channel and Nickelodeon. If I can take it.

Photo from
Photographer: ♡ Jonas Brothers ♡


  1. Ha ha, I know exactly what you mean. When my nieces come over to my house they turn the TV on to Disney or Nickelodeon and it stays on ALL day. It is kind of painful for me to watch but you are right, we do need to know some of the current trends. I can remember when the big deal was Ninja Turtles - every boy was kicking all the time:)

    And on I side note - I am sorry I messed up your description on my blog. I corrected it. That is what I get when I am not too careful with the copy/paste method of organizing my thoughts.

  2. Ah! Don't do it, Scott!

    I just let the kids stay experts on their own little niche of pop culture. When they mention some character, I like to ask, "Is that your friend?" They love to provide me the details, which I promptly get mixed up. When it was Harry Potter, I kept calling him "Pooty Hooter." When it was Lightening McQueen, I called him "Lightening Steve McQueen." When it was the Teletubbies I called them "Tonky Wonker, Dropsy, Lulu, and Poo." They love being experts and correcting me.

    You'll never keep up. Just two years ago I could ask a room of 2-year-olds, "Can we do it?" And they would answer in unison, "Yes we can." I tried it today. Crickets. Blissful ignorance, my friend, that's the ticket.

  3. Our home is full of little girls, and the last one is around your little girls age, she is 6. Since she is the youngest she is a little embarrassed to tell her sisters she still likes Dora The Explorer. She refuses to take the lunch box she raved about 2 years ago, so I get to take it to work with me:)

    My husband is as bad as Tom, when he hears the Jonas Brothers he jumps up and down and points at the tv. He purposely messes up the names Mitchell Musso-Russo? So the girls can laugh like crazy. He downloads every song and put them on his ipod so they'll have something to dance and sing to. When you watch it as much as we do you notice every last actor on the the Disney Channel also sings too! How does that happen? In addition, Disney recycles them throughout the shows and movies. How clever! We should own some stock in the company.

  4. You two are too funny! I think I will try that approach when my nieces come over. They are always talking about some teen pop star and I try to play smart and hip but I do a terrible job so I might as well just jump in full scale and mess it all up.

  5. Tom, you're right. Things change so fast that it's impossible to keep up. I'm always saying, "Tell me about that." I certainly like hearing from them...but sometimes I have to watch something to understand what the kids are talking about!

  6. I had to jump in on this. First, I am not a Disney hater. They have obviously figured out the formula for captivating kids and use it very well. I find with my own children, they often need a dose of reality.
    "Kids that live on a cruise ship or work unsupervised on their web show all the time is not reality. Your life won't be like that but it can be fun to watch."

  7. The 'culture' I create is in the classroom. Like seeds we all have to be careful what we can spread like wildfire,or the some pop culture. I'm with Teacher Tom on this one. I don't discredit parents for allowing kids to watch, but it's not in my classroom. I don't even see it enter into their play-they seem to welcome the break as well.
    In my case- ignorance is bliss.

  8. I always made sure my children never watched the "tween" shows on Nick, since I didn't think they're appropriate for young ones. My son is now eleven, and my daughter is now seven. While a friend of my daughter's has followed American Idol, and thinks certain singers are cute, my daughter is oblivious.

    I'm not a big Disney fan either, but I try to steer her to watch shows that keep her from growing up too fast. Too many children act older than they are or older than they think they are.

    Maybe I'm just overreacting and it's harmless. I did chase a boy named, Sean around the playground during recess in kindergarten because I thought he was cute. Never caught him.