Week 7 – Reading Response

This week’s articles:

  1. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” – Peggy McIntosh (1989)
  2. Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling Through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality” – Nilsson (2010)
  3. Lifting Lighter Weights Can Be Just As Effective As Heavy Ones” – Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times


“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”


This was not the first time I read this article.  Actually, this was one of the very first articles, if not THE first article I read in my Urban Teacher Education Program at CU Denver.  I can still remember how eye-opening it was, and I find myself thinking about Peggy McIntosh’s words a lot.

I think the idea that white people are taught to think of their lives as normal, neutral, average and ideal is spot on. I also agree with the idea that I learned racism to be something that puts others at a disadvantage, not necessarily something that puts me at an advantage.

I understand that this can be a difficult article for some people to get on board with, but I feel it is so important that everyone read it.  If for nothing else to open their eyes to the ways in which white people enjoy privilege each day that they most likely had not thought about before.  For example, easily finding makeup and bandages that match skin tone.  I admit that I have never seen Band-aids in a variety of flesh colors.

After reading this article again I am reminded of the impact it had on me the first time I read it, and I am inspired to share it with my family, friends and colleagues.  I can’t wait to get the discussions started!

“Developing Voice in Digital Storytelling Through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality”


Throughout this semester we have begun to broaden our idea and definition of “literacy.”  Like so many others, before this course I thought of literacy as the ability to read or write.  A person is literate if they have mastered the ability to do these two things.  As a result of this course, and articles such as this one by Nilsson, I am able to see literacy as a much more complex and important concept.

Nilsson writes, “Literacy in educational contexts is most often approached as a motor skill and not as a complex social, cultural and creative activity.”  Instead, we need to look at literacy as more than reading and writing, and more as creating and sharing meaning using a variety of methods.  There are so many different types of literacies.  This is not to say that learning to read and write are antiquated and should be left out of school learning.  Absolutely not!  They should just be expanded upon and used as tools to develop other literacies and skills.

The example given in this article is about Simon, a nine-year-old boy with “problems at school.”  He sometimes has trouble focusing or staying on task.  However, when given the opportunity to explore topics that are of interest to him, and to use skills beyond simply reading and writing, he has fun, learns a lot, and exceeds expectations!  This article really makes me think about how I want to incorporate technology and digital storytelling into my classroom, as well as how to adequately develop new literacies in my students.

One interesting point that Nilsson makes is that “There is nothing more harmful to the child than giving him a topic about which he has thought little and on which he has nothing much to say.”  Admittedly, the first thing I thought of after reading this was, “Wow, that sounds like every standardized test I had to take!”  I see this as motivation and inspiration to find ways to engage my students in their writing and encourage them to dive into topics they are passionate about.

“Lifting Lighter Weights Can Be Just As Effective As Heavy Ones”


For my choice reading this week I found yet another interesting article in The New York Times.  As a woman who likes to work out and likes to lift weights, I often hear discussions about the “best” way to weight lift.  There are even some crazy ideas out there that if women lift weights they will looks like body builders, which is just not true.

This article focuses on a study that dives into the controversy: Should you lift heavier weights for less reps, or lighter weights for more reps?  Well, according to some smarty pants scientists in Canada, it really doesn’t matter. (I just had a thought though, I wonder if any of these scientists are regular weight lifters?  Hmmmmm…)

This study found that a new style of weight lifting (lifting lighter weights for up to 25 reps) is as effective at building strength and increasing muscle size as the traditional weight lifting program (lifting heavy weights for 8-10 reps).  It is important to note however, that in order for these two methods to have “no significant differences,” the muscles need to be used until they are exhausted.  So basically, whether you are lifting 100 pounds 10 times, or 50 pounds 25 times, you have to lift until you cannot lift anymore.  This increases the body’s production of testosterone and human growth hormone, both of which help with muscle and strength building.


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