The Missouri Reader Vol. 40, Issue 1 - Page 27


Noah: No, these guys are like polishing the thing, and then he’s telling a story that’s pretty much like a movie. They tell it like it’s the dream.

Brad: Yeah, but it’s true.

Erin: Yeah, this is true.

Erin, Luke: (talking at the same time) It’s…

Erin: It’s not a dream.

Since the children knew that the story was written based on a true story, they were aware that it could not be a made-up story or a dream. For Noah, his idea of this story being a dream was one way of saving the elephants. Luke in the next excerpt also thought about the alternative way that could have saved the elephants, and suggested that the elephants could have been moved to the other place.

Luke: I don’t think they should have like, they could’ve shipped the elephants, I mean to like somewhere else.

Brad: That, they thought that, they thought somewhere else could be bombed too.

Luke: They could’ve, they could’ve shipped it to closer like really close

Brad: (interrupt Luke) What would...

Luke: country.

Erin: What if that got bombed too?

Brad: Yeah.

Erin: The only way is to kill it.

Noah: I don’t, I don’t really…

Brad: Why would they, why would they send them to other country? What if the other country thought they’re giving the elephants to them to be killed for food?

Erin: Yeah.

Brad: (interrupt Luke) they were, they were going to send it to whatever, I don’t know what it’s called. It’s like a safe place or something, but um they thought send it to whatever it’s called could be bombed too, so now the elephants have to be killed.

Since Luke knew the fact that Japan got bombed during World War II, he thought that elephants’ lives could have been saved if they were sent to the other country. However, Erin and Brad challenged Luke’s idea by suggesting the possibility of the other country being bombed. The children in this discussion were trying to come up with the alternative choices for the zookeepers to save the elephants. At the same time, they thought about the situation the zookeepers were in and tried to make sense of their actions. To Erin and Brad, even though it was a cruel decision to kill the innocent elephants, they justified the zookeepers’ action as “the only way” for them to do during the war.

In this discussion, the children shared their ideas freely even though they did not agree with one another all the time. In these conversations, what mattered was that the children listened to other children’s opinions carefully, and if they did not agree with them, they suggested reasons for their disagreement. This discussion pattern - sharing an idea, considering the possibility of that idea, disagreeing with the reason and suggesting a new idea - allowed the children to think about multiple view-points of the same issue and deepened their comprehension of the historical event that they had never experienced.

Focusing on Social Justice Issues

Even though the children understood the situation where the elephants were put to death, they wanted to point out that the elephants were the victims of the war. They recognized the impact of the war not only on people’s lives, but also on other living

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