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

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Beacon Press, Jan 1, 2001 - Family & Relationships - 131 pages
23 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 storytelling to set the scene: a class of five-and six-year-olds obsessed with what is to their teacher hatefully violent fantasy play. Katch asks, "Can I make a place in school for understanding these fantasies, instead of shutting them out?"
Over the course of the year she holds group discussions to determine what kind of play creates or calms turmoil; she illustrates (or rather the children illustrate) the phenomenon of very young children needing to make sense of exceptionally violent imagery; and she consults with older grade-school boys who remember what it was like to be obsessed by violence and tell Katch what she can do to help. Katch's classroom journey--one that leads her to rules and limits that keep children secure--is an enabling blueprint for any teacher or parent disturbed by violent children's play.

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

User Review  - Maishaparadox - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Beth - Goodreads

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. Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Jane Katch teaches at the "Touchstone "Community "School " in Massachusetts " ." She is the author of"They Don?t Like Me: Lessons on Bullying and Teasing from a Preschool Classroom" and "Under Deadman's Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children's Violent Play.

Vivian Gussin Paley, a former kindergarten teacher, is the winner of a MacArthur Award and of the 1998 American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement given by the Before Columbus Foundation.

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