Author: Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Title of work: Thousand Pieces of Gold
Sandra Childs uses critical pedagogy to help students understand Ruthanne Lum McCunn's Thousand Pieces of Gold. The class discusses the Chinese practice of footbinding and then explores how contemporary American women suffer to make themselves conform to society's standards of beauty. Divided into groups, the students read first-person accounts by women addressing the pressure to conform. In a simulated tea party, each student takes on the persona of the article's author/narrator. The activity prompts students to contemplate and write about the political effects of cultural practices. The author Ruthanne Lum McCunn visits the classroom, discusses the historical basis of the novel, and answers students' questions.
To prepare for the lesson, view The Expanding Canon video program 7, Part II. Online, review the Session 7 theory overview, strategies, information about the authors and literature, resources, and the downloadable print guide. Read Thousand Pieces of Gold and related articles -- some texts available in the print guide.
Teachers will need the following supplies:
Standards for the English Language Arts
In advance of the lesson, Sandra Childs asks students to read Thousand Pieces of Gold.
1. Childs begins the lesson by asking students to summarize the novel, asking questions such as:
3. After students share the thoughts they've written down, Childs asks them to place their sticky notes on the floor. She points out that each note is about the size of a bound foot. She then prompts students to discuss:
6. Childs divides the class into groups and gives each group a piece of writing to analyze: "Tar Baby," "A Woman's Silent Journey," "My Body Sucks," "Finding My Eye-dentity," "Bubbe Got Back," and "My Jewish Nose." Each group writes a paragraph in the voice of the narrator.
7. In a simulated tea party, students take on the personae of the authors/narrators of the pieces they analyzed, mingling to hear others' stories. Childs asks students:
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