chapter  14
4 Pages

Extension: Reading Tags as Texts

ByDebbie Smith

As I pictured Wohlwend and Hubbard’s description of kindergartners arriving at school, bundled in winter clothing and Disney-driven identities, it was as if I were reading a description of my Arizona high school students. Like Hubbard, I read my students’ identities in the color and style of clothes they wore-in my case, they were typically blue and baggy to represent their gang, the CRIPs-and in their language-my students used specific vocabulary like “roll call” and “slobs” that required I create a glossary to keep track. One student’s quickly gestured hand sign would be answered with a second silent sign of mutual understanding and acknowledgment of belonging to a group. Dallas Cowboys caps and tattoos, and objects such as cell phones, mp3 players, and iPods, were just some of the toolsor toys-my adolescent students used in order to construct meaning in their world.