Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Social Justice Event... WOOP WOOP

Social Justice Event: Vagina Monologues Open Books, Open Minds

Okay, so I went to The Vagina Monologues. I went on Valentine’s Day. I have yet to post a blog, I was going to do it today (April 10th, 2014). After my math class though, I went to the “Open Books,Open Minds” conference or meeting for my seminar class. We were presenting my poster. I’m using this event instead since it related so much more to this class! ****I STARTED WRITING THIS THE 10th THAT'S WHY IT SAYS THAT :)

Okay, before I start this… Remember before we entered college, we were supposed to read that "Pym" book? I wasn’t too upset about it, I love reading. Except for this book… I couldn’t get past the 5th page. But on the bright side, it’s a nice decoration on my book shelf. Anyways! There were six students in the front of the room talking about all of the different themes within this book. Kaleena and I kept staring at each other because it was so relative to this class!

One of the students was talking about racism. He also related the author, or the protagonist in the book, to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. He was saying that they faced many difficulties in their lives and couldn’t be heard. This reminded me of Rodriguez, Collier, and Delpit. All three of these authors had a general theme that there
are many cultures within a classroom. In addition, it reminded me of our SWAAMP activity (Straightness, Whiteness, Americanness, Able-bodiedness, Maleness, and Property). We already have these preconceived ideas in life and our lives are constantly being influenced by these dominant ideologies. Within the story Pym, with the main protagonist (Pym himself) being black, he was already struggling. People were already giving him a hard time and no one would listen to him just because of his skin color.

They were also talking about how there was actually violence within this book. There was a tension between Pym’s ship, when he was on sea, and the Native American’s. People were being killed, yet miraculously Pym and his partner, Peters, didn’t die. They end up becoming friends with one of the Natives who ends up admitting that he has a fear of anything that’s white, which is another sign of racism. Or maybe he’s scared because he thinks that they’re racist towards him. This reminded me of, in a way, to Johnson. He openly admitted that he was afraid of someone from a different race and he was talking explicitly about his issue. He knew that white people had more power than him and he was actually afraid of that concept. I also think this is an anti-August situation since this person didn’t feel safe. He wasn’t comfortable in his surroundings, or society.

Another student was talking about a homosexual couple. She was saying how differently they were being treated on this adventure. This reminded me of August because we talked about homosexuality in that article. It’s not necessarily that this homosexual couple didn’t feel safe, but it was more of the fact that they didn’t feel comfortable and were not accepted. August says that you need to feel connected and included, which clearly these characters didn’t feel since they were being treated differently from the rest. Just because they weren't a straight couple, it led to them feeling left out.

Overall, it was a good event for this class. It was kind of funny since I went to an event, the Vagina Monologues, and paid money for it to use as my blog post but instead a chose a completely opposite event. I only was at this event for another class but it was crazy how relative you could make it to this class! I didn’t like the Vagina Monologues that much… I mean, it was funny but for future FNED students – I wouldn’t go to it :)


And I doubt you want this, but here's a link to buy "Pym" on amazon in case you want to buy it! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shor thing, chicken wannnng... TYING EVERYTHING UP.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!! Who needs to go out when you can do homework? (Haha, kidding, sort of…) Anyways, here’s another connections post because… why not?

When I was reading Shor’s article, I was so unbelievably bored! I don’t know why but I was. But then I was thinking, maybe because he covers so many topics at once that I wasn’t really into the text. And maybe because many of the things that he covered was related to the other articles that we read.

On page 20, Shor said that “many withdraw from intellectual work because they are told so much and asked to think and do so little. Rote drills drain their enthusiasm for intellectual life, as do short-answer exams and standardized tests”. This reminded me of that activity we did with Dr. Bogad when we had that “pop quiz”… It was the week we had Jeannie Oake’s article. When you go to school and do that, you’re not really learning anything… You’re memorizing things just to pass but you’re not learning any helpful information. On the next page, another quote backed up Oake’s theory even more. It said, “Large numbers of students are refusing to perform at high levels, demoralizing the teachers who work with them. At times, performance strikes become organized resistance to authority, with leadership and articulate demands. But most often the students’ refusal to perform appears as low motivation, low test scores and achievement, and a “discipline problem”. […] The low performance of students is routinely misjudged as low achievement”. This reminded me of the whole tracking process and how some students had been put in the higher classes while others were put in the lower ones. It kind of shows how kids refuse to do tracking in schools. Then, when Dr. Bogad was explaining to us how ashamed she was that we all just took this “stupid test” and didn’t refuse to take it even though they were just basic questions, this quote came into play: “From the start, I wanted students to be active and thoughtful. A participatory class begins with participation. A critical and empowering class begins by examining its subject matter from the students' point of view and by helping students see themselves acknowledgeable people. I wanted them to take, from day one, a critical attitude toward their knowledge, their writing habits, and their education. The foundation of the syllabus would be their words, understandings, self-respect, and desire to learn more. I hoped they would recognize that they were already writers who knew some important things about writing, even before the teacher told them anything” (37). It showed me that we aren’t dumb, we’re all very smart even though we may not see it right away. We should never look at ourselves as anything less.

Then, my little buddy Kohn came into play with the ideal classroom. “The typical classroom is framed by the competition, marked by struggle between students (and often between teacher and students), and riddled by indicators of comparative achievement and worth. Star charts on the wall announce who has been successful at learning multiplication tables, only children with “neat” handwriting have their papers posted for display” (23-24) reminded me of Kohn because it reminded me of the “bad signs” of a classroom. It even mentioned two of them from the chart itself, with only the “good” projects being shown to others and the star chart. It’s a shame that this is considered a typical classroom. Especially since we’ve learned all of the “good signs” a classroom should have, this once again shows you how negative of an affect it can have on your classroom.

When I came across the quote, “From a critical point of view, existing canons of knowledge and usage are not a common culture; they have ignored the multicultural themes, idioms, and achievements of nonelite groups, such as women, minorities, homosexuals, and working people. The empowering teacher who denies universal status to the dominant culture also denies emptiness in students. They are not deficits; they are complex, substantial human beings who arrive in class with diverse cultures; they have languages, interests, feelings, experiences, and perceptions” (32), I thought of August. It reminded me that you need to feel safe in your classrooms no matter who you are. You’re no different from someone just because you’re not straight, or because you’re not a man. You should always feel comfortable in your classroom and included. That’s what will make us all great teachers.

I then proceeded to find a connection in addition to August as well as Rodriguez and Collier. On pages 42 and 43, it said, “Auerbach and Wallerstein, who adapted Freire's use of pictured scenes from daily life, called "codes" or "codifications," to develop language skills, job competencies, and critical thinking in English as a Second Language classes: The goal of problem-posing dialogue is critical thinking and action, which starts from perceiving the social, historical, or cultural causes of problems in one's life... The first step in promoting action outside the classroom is to transform education inside the classroom. Our role as teachers is to create a safe environment in which students can express opinions and, most importantly, generate their own language materials for learning and peer-teaching” (42-43). Not only does this quote talk about ESL students, or students who speak English as a second language, but it talks about how it’s our job to create a safe environment for these students. It’s up to us to make them feel comfortable when they come to school every day.

OKAY, last connection: I promise! I thought of Kahne and Westheimer when I was reading this quote. It talks about how “very young children can learn what health care is by discussing health care at home, visiting the school nurse, and so forth. At this level, they can discuss justice as meaning everyone gets treated by the nurse or by someone at home when needed. In math, story problems can sensitize children to health care costs. Children can then examine which jobs in the community provide health insurance and which do not, and what kinds of people occupy which jobs. Older children can find out what provisions there are in the community for health care for poor people. Some of their own families may use such services” (46). Our major theme this week was charity versus change. Within this quote, it shows you all of these activities that you can do that are community service things and how to go beyond “charity work”. I also think that this quote is important because it shows you, as a future teacher, how you can make learning fun and educational at the same time.

All in all, after painful hours of reading this week’s article, it proved (yet again) to be useful information for us as teachers. It tied in everything we have learned this semester and was a great way to tie everything together. I’m very glad I was able to take this class and I’m kind of upset this is our last blog post… ANYWAYS, Happy Easter again everybody! XOXO

P.S. I found this article online that isn't completely wrong... It's "How to Be a Good Teacher" and it has 20 steps... Steps 2+4 remind me of Delpit, Step 3 reminds me of August, and other steps remind me of other articles... Do you guys see it too!? :D

Friday, April 4, 2014

Kliewer, "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome"

Before I ever start this post, I just wanted to let everyone know that you should avoid libraries near schools. I'm in the library right now in Johnston and there are hundreds of little middle schools who WON'T STOP TALKING. I'm so mad right now. I thought libraries were meant to be quiet? Anyways, this is a "quotes" AND "connections" post, since I already did everything I'm making this a combined one :)

P.S. This is the first time I ever read something in one sitting (it was really interesting)

I think one quote that pretty much summed up a large chunk of this piece was: "diversity is viewed as normal, people are considered of equal worth, relationships are of a mutual benefit, and belongings is a central societal theme" (95). Well, it didn't really sum this article up but this is how disabilities should be viewed. As I was reading all of Kliewer's piece and every individual story, I felt that the theme going on was that you can't view a disability as a bad thing. You have to find the positives and focus on them instead of only looking about the disadvantages.

There was a story about a boy named John Mcgough. Before they even started off the story, they said that when a child has a disability, it's hard for people to recognize that child as a child. He used to live in one part of California where they didn't really accept him. He was left out of numerous activities, did not have any friends, and the school labeled him as "uneducable". WHO DOES THAT. As soon as John moved to a different area of California, everything changed (for the better). Everyone looked past his abnormalities and saw the real John. He was friends with all of his neighbors, everyone in his town, and he was finally accepted. That's all he wanted all along. During this part, there was a quote from one of his siblings that said, "Mendocino [the town John moved to] is what John needed-it's what he never had in North Hollywood. It's safe-what he calls a "safe space." Like a lot of people in Mendocino, he's accepted for what he is, not what he isn't. And he can concentrate on what he can do, instead of being shown or being told what he can't do" (86). This reminded me of August and "Safe Spaces" (not just because it literally says safe space). Once John moved, you could clearly see a change in his life. He wasn't isolated or left out for once. Once people didn't label him or look at him in a bad way, he was able to be accepted. He felt safe as soon as this happened. Although it took him a while, once he felt comfortable (and once people were comfortable with him), he was able to feel comfort in his every day life. 

I also wanted to relate John Mcgough's story to another author that we have read. It's not the best connection, but this quote reminded me of someone: "By the end of John's first year in Mendocino he was holding down two part time jobs; taking weekly voice, art, and guitar lessons; attending aerobics classes five mornings a week; occasionally reading stories to kids at the local preschool; helping his mother teach a class on self-esteem to a group of  troubled adolescents; making daily visiting"rounds" in the community; and going out to dance or listen to music at least five nights a week. He had numerous friends and acquaintances, and he was daily becoming more verbal and more assertive" (89). What does this remind you of?! QUICK, QUICK! Okay, I'll tell you. This reminded me of Herbert's article! Herbert mentioned how drastically where you live can affect your education. He wasn't necessarily talking about children with disability, but this (in a way) was very relevant! You can see that John was clearly not being treated fairly, or right, when he lived in North Hollywood. Once he got out of that bad area and moved to Mendocino, his life was improved in numerous ways. As you can see with the previous quote, his life drastically changed. From being the child that no one included in any activities, that was isolated and "uneducable", to this new person who had two jobs, was constantly out in his community and accepted. This was all because of his change in location. It's amazing. 

Now that you guys have heard way too much about John, let's talk about Christine! Christine was in special educated classes for FOURTEEN YEARS. Her mom wanted to change that and put her in regular classes when she started high school. Christine struggled a lot at first, she had "extremely poor motor control, low-level cognitive skills, low-level communication skills, a lack of adaptive skills, and aggressive "acting-out" behaviors" (92). But this was a whole new thing for her, she has never been in a regular classroom. After going to school for a few weeks or months (they weren't very specific on that), she improved a lot! Her communication skills were better, her social skills, she was out in the community, and her fine and gross motor skills improved. This reminded me of the article I read by Jeannie Oakes. On page 178 in Oake's "Tracking" article, it says "since so much of importance was omitted from their curriculum, students in the low-ability classes were likely to have little contact with the knowledge and the skills that would allow them to move into higher classes or to be successful if they got there". This reminded me of Christine's situation because she was being deprived of the skills that higher classes had. That explains why she was struggling so much when she finally went into regular classes. Once she was able to understand what was going on, she was doing better and better! At one point, Christine even said "I have down syndrome, but I am not handicapped" (93).

I stumbled upon this article from the NBC News about how disabled workers were being paid PENNIES an hour... but it was legal!? My mind literally just got blown... again. I think you should really check this article out because it's awful. People with disabilities should be treated just the same as us. Just because they are handicapped in a certain area doesn't mean that they have any less value than we do. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Literacy with an attitude!

Connections Post

"Literacy With an Attitude" - Finn

This was such a long reading. It took me all day because I kept taking breaks (I can't focus, so I guess that's why too). ANYWAYS, as I was reading I noticed that this post had many connections to previous authors that we have read. In addition, I was connecting bits and pieces to my service learning too. So, it was only right to do a connections post... right?

As most have realized, Finn's biggest connection was to Delpit. When you first began reading his text, he said "But, in fact I was schooling these children, not to take charge of their lives, but to take orders" and "I had work assignments on the board when the students entered the classroom, and so there wasn't a moment when they didn't have anything to do. I didn't say to an errant student, "What are you doing?" I said, "Stop that and get to work." No discussion. No openings for an argument" (4). In both parts, Finn emphasizes the importance of "taking orders" and how important it is to say the word. He says something that Delpit wouldn't want you to say and then corrects it with something she would want you to say. He then goes on to say how great of a teacher he is, so apparently by teaching the same way Delpit would teach, that helps you gain control of your classroom. Another Delpit moment was what Anyon saw in a fifth grade classroom. He said, "the working-class children were learning to follow directions and do mechanical, low-paying work, but at the same time they were learning to resist authority in ways sanctioned by their community. The middle-class children were learning to follow orders and do the mental work that keeps society producing and running smoothly" and "Like the children 
in working-class schools, children in the middle-class school were 
schooled to take orders" (20). Once more, this shows the importance of following directions and following orders. Without this, society wouldn't be able to "run smoothly". 

When Anyon teacher went to go observe the five elementary school classrooms, one part stuck out to me and reminded me of my service learning. He said, "children were required to plan lessons and teach them to the 
class. Among other things, they were evaluated on how well they 
kept control of the class." Recently, my teacher was telling me that they had a faculty meeting and they were going to try something new out. She said that they have to have the children be the teachers and take over the classroom. She wasn't too fond of the idea and didn't think it would go too well, but since it was the new rules, she had to go along with it. Luckily for me, I was there to witness it the first time they did it. Of course my teacher started them off. She did this thing where she would start reading a story, and she would tap on someone's shoulder. Once you have been tapped, you have to start reading out loud WITH who ever else is reading. By the time everyone's shoulder was tapped, the room was loud with voices all reading the same story. It was a good way to teach fluency and they all had to practice not reading too fast or too slow. Once the story was finished, a child had to lead class discussion. They were really nervous and confused. They weren't used to having this power and they kept raising their hands when they didn't have to. On Tuesday, they have to make up their own lesson (like Anyon witnessed) and teach the class. I'm excited and scared to see how this goes...

In multiple parts of this weeks reading, I noticed things that related to the article we read by Bob Herbert. At one point in the text, it says “those at the top have gotten a whole lot richer. Those in the middle are in about the same place economically, and those at the bottom have gotten a whole lot poorer. The question is, do the children of the elite and the middle class and the working class still attend schools like those Anyon described. The answer is, you bet!” (22).  And then Finn says, “when I suggest to my hard-bitten students that poor children are not being as well educated as they could be, they are not amused. They take it as a personal attack from someone who has been living in an ivory tower for the last thirty years, and they resent it-a lot” (8). I couldn't stop thinking of Herbert's article. The schools that are poverty schools usually consist of black and Hispanic children, that's just the way it goes. It's due to the area that they live in, it's not saying that these children are the reason why it's a poverty-written school. But since teachers tend to "avoid such schools", according to Herbert, then they are not getting the best education. So what Finn says is that they're not being as well educated as they could be. I believe that Herbert's article went hand-in-hand with what Finn said. It still breaks my heart that this is the way things are, but hopefully one day we'll be able to change it. If you read this article, you can see that social class doesn't only affect you in elementary school, yet it can affect you in college as well. I thought it fit well :)

My last connection to this piece is relating to what Viv said in class one day. This isn't really a big connection, but it was on page 23 when a student was writing about this new high school in Amherst, New Hampshire. He said, "For example, students had their own smoking section, they called their teachers by their first name, there were no honor level classes, and a lot of material 
taught (from science to English) was done through projects involving the kids to the greatest extent." It reminded me of Viv's service learning in The Met because she mentioned before that the students call their teachers by their first names and she talked about how they learned in different ways and did all of these different projects. 

Even though this week's reading was extremely long, I learned many things from it and was able to connect it to many different things. Not only was I able to connect it to different authors, but I also connected it to my service learning and Viv's. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brown Vs. Board of Education... CONNECTIONS BLOG

Brown vs Board of Education
Between Barack and a Bad Place - Wise
Separate and Unequal - Bob Herbert

Connections Piece

Last semester, I took a political science class and we briefly went over the "Brown vs Board of Education" act from 1954. Other than that, every thing that I read for this weeks blog - between this webpage, the interview, and the article - was completely new information. Even though they were from different types of media and not by the same person, one could clearly see the connections within them.

The Brown vs Board of Education act was a very huge part in our segregation history. It was a big turning point and was when the "court stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race, and made equal opportunity in education the law of the land." Countless hours were put in by many different people in order for this law/act to be passed. This shows how compassionate people were about this issue. Although it took quite some time, it made a big difference. 

As I was listening to the interview with Wise, I couldn't help but notice how relative his points were to the issue of racism. A few quotes really caught my attention. Wise constantly brings up Obama and says that racism still exists even though some people think otherwise. At one point, he says "where in order to be a successful person of color, you have to bring it the way Obama brings it" and you "have to be truly exceptionable". This is the sad truth. It's a big change that we have a president that is a person of color and it's a very good thing. Barack Obama is our very first colored person. But then again, he also has had many years of education and many degrees. For example, Obama went to four different
colleges/universities while Bill Clinton only attended two colleges/universities. As you can see, Obama worked harder in order to have his position. If two people were running for president with the same degrees and same amount of years in college, yet one person was white and the other was black, who do you think would be chosen? Do you believe our societies no longer racist, and that they would have an equal opportunity? Probably not. Nearing the end of the interview, they said that "all [of] these events are moving us in the right direction even though it's taking quite a few decades". Yes, we have come a very long way and I think that we could only improve. I don't believe that the issue of racism is gone, but I think we have made many changes and we're doing a lot better than we were fifty years ago.

Just to add to my mind blowing readings/interviews about racism, I read the New York Times article by Bob Herbert. I couldn't help but notice how much this article reminded me of not only Wise's point and the Brown vs Board of Education, but it also reminded me of my serving learning. Herbert says that "educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools" and within these schools, "many black and Hispanic children are enrolled". As one can see, it's not technically the race that causes these schools so have bad grades or education, yet it's the area that they reside in. It just so happens that these certain races are located in these bad areas which is why people relate the two. I find this to be completely a shame because no matter where you live, everyone should be able to get equal education (once again relating to the Brown vs Board of Education). It's especially awful when teachers avoid such schools because it's like they don't care. If they don't care, then the children won't care, and if no one cares then of course that's why these bad grades occur... "If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning environments that are smothered by poverty. This is being done in some
places, with impressive results" Herbert states, which is very interesting. As we complete our service learning, most of us have schools which reside in Providence with most of our students being of different races (mostly African American and Hispanic), once again relating both low-poverty with such races. I wonder if we had better schooling systems in Providence if the grades would improve. I know for a fact that my classroom has very lowing testing scores. My teacher was very disheartened because she knows they could get higher scores if they really tried and wanted to. A majority of the children scored below proficient, few very scored above. I'm not even sure if what I'm saying is making sense to what you guys are reading, but I just think that this is crazy. Why do children from a Providence elementary school score lower than students that go to school in a Cranston elementary school? It's not equal and/or fair for these children. If you look at the NECAP Scores for Providence schools, you can clearly see how much of a difference their scores are from an elementary school in Cranston schools (I picked two random schools just to show you).

I really believe that I could relate this last article from the New York Times to our blog post from last week with Westheimer and Kahne. The main point from last weeks blog was the difference between Charity and Change. I still firmly believe that we are in between charity and change. At first it was a charity when we started serving learning, but I think this is a stepping stone towards change. Once we become teachers, we will make a change in these children's lives. I know it. Especially with everything that we know now. Like Wise said, "it's a start, but we have a lot more to do". It's up to us to be the change that we want to see. We are the future and we will make a difference. We have come a long way and if we really want to further the extinction of racism, it's up to us to do so. Racism still does exist, and one can clearly see that by this weeks blog post. We are moving in the right direction and no matter how long it takes we will make sure it will no longer exist. 

We have just seen many different instances of how racism still exists even though we have come a long way. I saw this video on YouTube a few weeks ago from 2009 on another way of racism still existing. Look how awful this was (thankfully it was only an experiment):
Like I said a million times before, we have come a long way with the topic of racism; but it's not gone, it's still existent.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In the service of what? ARGUMENT.

"In the Service of What?" Kahne and Westheimer


The authors Kahne and Westheimer argues the true meaning of service learning. At least, that's what I got from this topic... In many different points throughout the text, they say that when you do service learning - you're either doing it as a charity type of event or you're doing it as a type of "changing" event. Yet, in most cases, it does have to do with charity.

I guess in most ways, I would agree with both Kahne and Westheimer. Over the years, I have done many hours of volunteer work and student teaching. At first, I used to do it because it was required for my school. When I was in tenth grade, I would have never thought of randomly volunteering somewhere to "make a change", I was too lazy for that and didn't really think too much about it. It was a graduation requirement for school and I knew I had to get it done. After going to two different places, I already met my required amount of volunteer hours and I had not even completed my tenth grade school year. That's where I differ with Kahne and Westheimer's argument. Yes, I agree that "volunteer activities in either their school or community [is] a [requirement to] graduation from high school" (page 5), but some people, like myself, go above and beyond. I continuously volunteered for a variety of events. Of course, most of them had to do with working with children because being a teacher is my long-term goal in life. I volunteered at the East Providence Prevention Coalition for three years in a row to do activities based on Easter themed ideas, I volunteered two years in a row for the Autism Project, I volunteered at an elementary school to help the children do a play, and I did many more different places. Our required amount of volunteer hours had to be 15 hours, but by the time I walked across the stage to graduate from high school, I completed a total of 60 hours. So yes, in a way, I do believe that it is a charity thing to do service learning and most of the time it is required by schools, but sometimes people do it for other reasons. In addition, I interned at a preschool for three years, interned at a inclusive kindergarten classroom at the Trudeau Center, and I also interned at a 1st grade classroom at an elementary school. By doing all of these child-based volunteer hours, as well as all of my internships, I believe that has set a really good foundation for me becoming a teacher. Lastly, as Kahne and Westheimer said on page four, "much of the current discussion regarding service learning emphasizes charity. not change." I believe that service learning does emphasize change. All of us in FNED 346 are doing service learning because its a requirement, but we are going to be teachers and we will make a change. This is one step that is helping us and molding us into become great teachers. We're the future and we will make changes, and it all starts with service learning. 

Considering I was talking about the Autism Project, I was just scrolling through YouTube and found this video. I thought you guys would enjoy it, it's so cute!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I'm pretty sure my childhood is ruined...

"Unlearning the Myths that bind us" -Christensen


When I first began reading "Unlearning the Myths that bind us" by Linda Christensen, I thought it was super boring. Then I realized it was just the introduction to the article, and I started to really enjoy reading it. This article focuses on how my childhood was nothing but a lie that shaped me into becoming the person that I am today... Within each cartoon, there underlies many hidden messages that are not known right away but if you dig really deep into it-you see how awful these cartoons are. 

The first article that I read was similar to some of the examples that Linda Christensen had from her students… It was analyzing very popular children’s cartoons and showing you the hidden message that lies within.

CRACKED” talks about six cartoons in particular (three of them which I have never heard of, but needless to say I didn’t watch television a lot when I was younger). The three I heard of were probably watched by my fellow classmates. These cartoons include Dora the Explorer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Doug. Within this article, it says how Dora the Explorer does indeed feature a bilingual child. Yet, it promotes the idea of talking to strangers or asking strangers for help. I have never really thought of it this way. Throughout every episode, she always used to ask me (the viewer) where she should go next or what she should do. Regardless, she never did what I said, but she was still looking to me for help. In a weird way, it kind of promotes children to talk to strangers which is the complete opposite of what we should do. I don’t want to ruin the entire article, so feel free to read about the other cartoons that are telling young children bad messages. :)

The second article I was reading was called “Effects of Cartoons on Children”. The first two sections of this article were relative to the article we had to read for this week’s blog post. When I was reading Christensen’s article, it kept mentioning how cartoons are bad and how they teach us things at a young age. When I was reading this article, it talks about how watching television affects young children. C.J. Choma, the person who wrote “Effects of Cartoons on Children” made many valid points. He said that watching television “has become a problem because too many children are watching too much television and the shows that they are watching (even if they are cartoons) have become violent and addictive.  The marketing of cartoons has become overpowering in the United States and so has the subliminal messaging […] Children watch the cartoons on the television and they see material that is not appropriate for their age group”. I thought this was really interesting because it says that cartoons (or T.V. in general) have such a great influence on children that it’s making them become violent. If this is true, and what Christensen said about all of these other bad topics that are in cartoons, what is this doing to children? It obviously is harming them since it persuades them into thinking one way or another. It’s remarkable.

The last article I read talks about Disney itself. It was called the “Top 10 Ways Disney Corrupts Children”. Some of the things that this article includes is the way that Disney promotes being small or a “size 0” which was also mentioned in Christensen’s article. The importance of social class was also included, showing Cinderella. Once again, this was in Christensen’s article. Children and their parents may think of it as a fairytale or just another “princess movie” but in reality it shows how marrying a wealthy man made her escape her bad life and make her happy. Since when is life about being happy because you have money? If you want to see more ways of how Disney corrupts your life, I would suggest looking at the other 8 ways :)

All in all, I'm pretty upset. This weeks blog really affects me and my former love for Disney. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Safe Spaces"

Extended comment

For my blog post this week, I decided to do an "Extended Comments" piece on Alex's post :) Ever since I was told that we need to at least do one of the different types of posts each week, I was choosing between an extended comment and relating it to one of our previous readings. I realized I had no idea how I could relate it, so I started reading other people's posts to see who I could expand upon. I thought Alex had a great post because she was able to connect something that I wasn't sure how to connect!

Like Alex said, I wish that Rodriguez was able to read this piece. He lost the only thing that really held his family together, his language. He thought that in order to fit in, and as the nuns said "to get ahead in the classroom", he would have to start speaking English at home too. While reading the "Safe Spaces" piece, one could clearly see that you don't need to forget what you are (or where you came from), but just be aware that there are other things (if that makes sense) besides what you may be. I also loved how Alex said that in "Safe Spaces", they "gave plenty of scenarios in classrooms where teachers connected the idea of being LGBT as a normal, great thing to be or to be connected to". I believe if every teacher did this, there would be no LGBT problem at all since it would be a "norm". But then again, that's not how society works. We can only try to make it better.

I also loved Alex's connection to Collier's piece. She said it could relate to "Safe Spaces" because if "their ideas of instituting topics like these in the classroom all the time, for the sake of giving the students the background knowledge they need and should be comfortable with talking about and thinking about." I completely agree with this because you don't necessarily have to talk about it all the time, but when you need it - it's there. It's not affecting your teaching ability... If anything, it's improving it.

LASTLY, I LOVED THE VIDEO. At first, I saw Madison's and Sarah's comments saying how much they liked the video so I started watching it. In the beginning, I was like "oh, I'll just watch a few minutes" but before I knew it I ended up watching the entire thing. It was amazing how young these kids were and how unaffected they were by the topic. One little girl kept saying it was crazy for a man to propose to a man, but she said it was okay. It wasn't a bad thing. If you're happy with someone, be with them. It shouldn't affect anyone else's life, it's your decision after all.

Although this isn't as interesting as Alex's video, I really liked watching this... It's a teacher talking about sexuality and LGBT issues. She started a group called "Affective Beginnings" that talks about a variety of topics. She said that her group is going to help teachers with this subject. I think that's a great idea! :) 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Aria" by Richard Rodriguez


"Supporters of bilingual education today imply that students like me miss a great deal by not being taught in their family's language. What they seem not to recognize is that, as a socially disadvantaged child, I considered Spanish to be a private language" (34).
          This was the first but most powerful sentence, at least in my eyes. Richard was only a first grader at this point, and he considered his first known language as a “private language”. I think this was such a powerful line due to the fact that it wasn’t a public language. When I think of private, I think that it sounds like a language he has to hide from everyone else. If that’s your first known language, why should you feel socially disadvantaged and not allowed to speak it? It really upset me when reading that. He only felt comfort at home because he was able to talk to his close, tight-knit family, since they spoke the language he was comfortable in (which soon was changed).

"Had they been taught (as upper­ middle-class children are often taught early) a second language like Spanish or French, they could have regarded it simply as that: another public language" (34). 
          I thought that this was a very interesting way of looking at learning a different language. You don’t have to say it as a “second language”, or a “private language”, yet you can look at it as just “another public language”. When you say it like this, it doesn’t seem bad. If everyone was accustomed to learning more than one language, no one would have to feel weird speaking a different language since everyone would be. Also, no child would feel “socially disadvantaged” if all of the other children were able to speak more than one language as all. In addition, in high school – it is mandatory to take another language as a class for one to two years in order to graduate. As we get older, it’s harder to learn a new language. I think it would be very effective if we taught children another language at an early age, preferably in middle school.

“But the special feeling of closeness at home was diminished by then. Gone was the desperate, urgent, intense feeling of being at home; rare was the experience of feeling myself individualized by family intimates. We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness" (36) AND "Matching the silence I started hearing in public was a new quiet at home. The family's quiet was partly due to the fact that, as we children learned more and more English, we shared fewer and fewer words with our parents" (37).
          I had to include both of these quotes, because they both have to do with the same subject. Richard’s family was very close, as he said in the beginning, and he loved how close he was to his parents and siblings. As soon as they started transitioning into speaking the “common language”, or English, his family started to become distant from each other. I thought it was amazing how just changing their language that they speak at home changed how they acted towards each other. They didn’t communicate as much and I believe communication is the healthiest part of any relationship, especially a families. It also really upset me that he mentioned that his father barely even spoke afterwards. All because his first grade teachers wanted him to speak English at home.

I really enjoyed reading “Aria”. It was astonishing how much could change by trying to learn the “common language” in Richard’s household. In 2004, it was almost as if it was mandatory to learn English. Nowadays, ten years later, being bilingual is such a great thing and is recommended greatly. In the internship I’m presently taking, half of my class is bilingual. They speak English in class, but they probably speak the other language at home which isn't a bad thing.

In addition, I am currently trying to learn how to speak Spanish. Yes, it’s required to take another language to become a teacher, but I also want to because I think it’s interesting. 

Here's an article that I have attached talking about the pro's of a bilingual education... Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"They listen, but they don't hear"

My mind was opened to things I had never thought of while reading “The Silenced Dialogue” by Delpit. While reading it, there were many good points about black teachers versus white teachers. She mentioned numerous times that the black teachers ways of teaching were not “correct” or “good enough” according to white teachers. Even at the beginning of her piece, she says that

            “When you're talking to white people they still want it to be their way. You can try to talk to them and give them examples, but they're so headstrong, they think they know what's best for everybody, for everybody’s children. They won’t listen; white folks are going to do what they want to do anyway” (21).

When you think of it that way, it seems true. You may not realize it happening but black people probably do have a tough time teaching or sharing their thoughts. I know a few years ago my teacher was talking to us in class, randomly, about how people think black teachers don’t know how to teach (my teacher was not one of those people who thought that) and that they weren't treated fairly. It made us all think a lot and has always impacted me. Regardless, I have never had a teacher that was a person of color, but if I did I would not think of him/her any differently than I would a white teacher. I cannot remember what class, what teacher, or exactly what grade that was brought up in, but it kept reoccurring in my head while reading Delpit’s piece.

Also, while reading “The Silenced Dialogue”, there was one more section that really caught my attention. On page 30, Deplit says “this does not mean separating children according to family background, but instead, ensuring that each classroom incorporate strategies appropriate for all the children it confines”.  I think this is a major problem in today’s world. I started my first internship at Frank D. Spaziano Elementary School this Friday. When the children were doing work from the book, my teacher pulled me over to talk to me. She was telling me about certain students – what they struggled with, who had IEPS, and so forth. She also mentioned something that made me think of the pervious quote above – “there are some really bright students in here, and then there are some students that are really struggling. Of course, you cannot have a class with students all on the same level. That’s the hard part… You cannot meet the requirements for each and every student. Sometimes you go too fast for some students, and sometimes you go too slow and bore the really advanced ones. You’ll find this out when you start teaching, but you just have to do your best”. Although what my teacher said didn’t have to do exactly with what Delpit said, it had generally the same idea. You need to incorporate strategies for all students, not just some.

I also thought that these two pictures were funny. Within Delpit’s piece, she says at one point that black students find the white teacher boring and the black teacher more fun. The white teacher didn’t know what she was doing (which I completely disagree with) and the black teacher was strict and told them what to do. I thought these pictures were very relative to this topic.

Below I have attached an article that I think goes perfectly with this topic! It talks about whether or not having a white teacher or a black teacher has an effect on a black male student. I think it fits perfectly with what we’re talking about! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Be thankful for what you have...

After reading Amazing Grace by Johnathon Kozol, I was in complete shock. I love reading interesting books, especially ones that make me want to read the whole thing through. This one like one of those books, except it was a real life situation which made it all the more likable. I'm not saying that I enjoyed what happened in the story, but it made me realize how lucky I am and that I shouldn't take things for granted; and needless to say - Kozol is a great author.

Kozol talks about the life in Mott Haven, New York in 1995. I was born in 1995, making this piece around 18 years old, and it's amazing how terrible the living situations were. I was astonished. People always talk about New York in such a positive manner, such as Times Square and New York City, yet I have never heard about the bad parts of this state. That is until I read Amazing Grace. Ninety-five percent of the people living here are the "poorest of poor" (3). Kozol even used the word "destitute" to describe them which goes beyond the word poor. 

It amazed me when Kozol mentioned that only seven out of eight hundred students did not qualify for free lunch (five of them had reduced lunch). I know that when we were talking about internships for class, we had to find a place that had over 50% of the students qualify for reduced lunch and I thought that was hard. Not one school in Johnston, Rhode Island met that qualification. Less than 1% (0.875%) of the children in Mott Haven, NY didn't qualify for free/reduced lunch. It's amazing how different two area's could be that aren't even that far apart.

Kozol then goes on to talk about the shootings in this area. Within three years, 1991-1993, a total of 106 people were murdered (one of the victims had his head cut off in a bathtub) (5). This stuff should only be allowed in horror movies! That's absolutely sickening. I was disgusted by these statistics and it didn't seem real to me. People living in Mott Haven, New York hear of people dying all of the time which seems surreal to me because you almost never hear of this in Johnston, Rhode Island (where I live).

The last thing I would like to comment upon from reading Amazing Grace would have to be Cliffie. This seven year old boy takes Kozol around to show him different areas. It amazed me how much he knew about and how mature he was for such a young boy. He knew directions so well, he seemed smarter than I am now, he was extremely polite and he even knew what needles were. He knew that people used them, why they used them and where they got them. At the age of seven, I was clueless on many topics; especially the use of needles. To be completely honest, I'm pretty sure I didn't even know what sex was at that age. He knew that he lived in a bad area and no one was healthy. People were drug addicts and had sex for money. It's almost as if they gave up on hope. Cliffie even mentions "the day is coming when the world will be destroyed" (10).

In conclusion, I believe that Kozol wrote a really powerful piece. It made me feel like I was right there on the side of him as he was walking through the streets with Cliffie, or when he was boarding the train to see Mrs. Washington. I think the best stories are ones that make you feel like you're actually there, experiencing what they're experiencing. I really hope that Mrs. Washington was able to find treatment. And I also hope that Mott Haven, NY is doing better than it was in 1995. 

I found this picture on google and I thought it was interesting. From Rhode Island to New York, it is roughly 250 miles away. In Rhode Island, the most common race, or majority,  is Caucasian (or white) and New York has the white race as the minority. It's remarkable how two places that are not even that far away from each other have such opposite statistics.  

ALSO: I think everyone should check this out. It has terrible music, but its a youtube video of Mott Haven New York and you could see all the different area's in there. It kind of shows you what Kozol was walking through and it shows you where the people have to live everyday. It's so much different from where we live. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQo_1O4BXa0

Monday, January 27, 2014

Oh na na, what's my name?

Hey! My name’s Brandy. I am eighteen years old. I’m a freshman at Rhode Island College (as you all may know) and I am studying Elementary Education and I have a minor in special education. I work at Parente’s Restaurant in Smithfield and A+ Tailors in Johnston. I absolutely hate Parente’s and dealing with Bryant students, so I actually put my two weeks in this past Saturday. I'm excited to go on an internship because I have been given the opportunity to intern at three different schools during high school and I look forward to doing it again. I’m taking this class since it is needed for my program, and my friend Chelsea had also suggested to take it with Dr. Bogad considering how great of a teacher she was. I’m looking forward to this semester!