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Under Deadman's Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children's Violent Play
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Under Deadman's Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children's Violent Play

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  52 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The five-and six-year-olds in my class have invented a new game they call suicide. I have never seen a game I hate so much in which all the children involved are so happy.

So begins Under Deadman's Skin, a deceptively simple-and compellingly readable-teachers' tale. Jane Katch, in the tradition of Vivian Paley and Jonathan Kozol, uses her student's own vocabulary and storyt
Paperback, 144 pages
Published February 18th 2002 by Beacon Press (first published January 18th 2001)
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Roslyn Ross
Another waste of my time. More personal essays where a lady with no information who does almost no research "tries to make sense" of something and then concludes at the end that life is just soooooo complicated. Just like the last book I read there was a ton of transcripts of children's conversations--which made me really glad my son will never be going to public school. (And it's not even what the kids say that is so horrifying, it's how this teacher "helps"!)

Dear Katch,

if you read this review,
This was an excellent and thoughtful book overall. There was one awkward chapter where Katch used disabled African children as inspiration porn for her class of American kindergarteners. Katch's niece had volunteered in Zimbabwe at a school for children with physical disabilities, and Katch sees the photos of two of the smiling, dramatically disfigured kids and brings the photos in to her classroom to teach her American kindergarteners about how African children are impoverished but happy, and t ...more
Jul 24, 2014 Beth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: play
Fascinating insight into the play of kindergartners - how they use play to process the violent images they see on the screen (television, movies, video games) and, more importantly, how adults can assist children through empathetic conversations about these violent games and obsessions.
Saw this woman featured on a PBS special on schools and the education of boys. I'll probably have to face this one day. This was a fascinating read. It is broken into small chapters and easily understood. She mainly uses actual dialog recorded at the special school she worked at. I think this goes well with my other recent read, 'Why Gender Matters' on understanding boys. It is a fairly short book, so I would suggest checking it out from your library.

Katch is a kindergarten teacher who explores the violent play that is brought into her classroom by children who are exposed to TV/movies at home with violence and sex in them. Through the children's dialog the author describes her own learning process of understanding exclusionary play as related to violence, and the difference between violent play (a means for children to process violence that they see) and violence itself.
Follows a teacher and her understanding of why children play contains so much violence and what we can do to help them past it. I thought she could have made more suggestions for other teachers dealing with the same problems. Her descriptions of her classroom and students were excellent, but I could have used a more thorough discussion of her philosophy, background and situation.
Teacher records conversations in her first grade class and reflects on them in an attempt to understand their violent language and play. She also discusses violence with 9 year olds in another class. Coincidently, the massacre at Columbine occurs during this very school year and is discussed by the first graders.
An interesting topic presented in a more or less diary form as the author recounts experiences teaching young children who are variably fascinated with violent images and play. A little light on conclusions, but still enlightening overall.
Holly Rayl
Jane Katch explores her own avoidance and hatred of violent play in the classroom with discussions from her own kindergarten class and an older 4th grade class.
this book was not what I had expected. It was not informative but made very basic observations of the play of 5 and 6 yr olds.
We should not shut down children's play, but explore it. Even if it scares us or we don't understand it.
Sep 09, 2007 Nephyr rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents & teachers
This book changed the way that I veiw violence in children's play. It's fascinating.
Man, was this book a waste of 3 precious nights of reading.
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For the last thirty years, Jane Katch has taught young children, first at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and currently at the Touchstone Community School in Grafton, Massachusetts. She received a BA from Oberlin College and a Master of Science in Teaching from the University of Chicago. She was a counselor at the University of Chicago Orthogenic School, a residential treatment center ...more
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