Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ira Shor- Empowering Education (Connections)

While reading Ira Shor’s Empowering Education I found what he wrote about connected to some authors we have already read in class. Shor’s idea of a participatory education is great and I believe it is one of the best ways to teach children. But like Delpit, how can we teach these students the rules and codes of power if we are not being explicit. “While principles, teachers, and textbooks may lecture students on freedom, non-participatory classrooms prepare them for the authority work world and political system they will join”. This quote explains it all I think, the ‘real world’ is not very participatory, most jobs have a boss you have to answer to and do as he/she says. In a participatory classroom you don’t really learn these traits. Another author I thought about while reading was Collier, she says to embrace children’s first languages and not ignore it. I feel this relates to Shor because he wants students to participant in class and not just have them sit there and be lectured too. The more the students participate and become involved the better they will learn and the more information they will retain and use later in life. I do believe that a participatory classroom is a good classroom to have, however I believe that the children should still have rules and know who is in charge so that when they enter the ‘real world’ they know the rules and codes of power.
This Link has strategies and tips to motivate students.
In class I will like to discuss if everyone thinks that a total participatory classroom would work in schools across the country.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Promising Practices

When I woke up on the Saturday of Promising practices I was exhausted and nervous about what to expect of the day. I got ready early so that I could look presentable for the day’s activities. I have never really been to something like this before and I wondered if it would be boring or not.  When first arriving I checked in and the process was quick and easy. After that I sat down and had some of the breakfast that was offered to us. I thought the Don was nicely set up then how it usually looks. I also thought there would be many more people at the conference then there was. My first session workshop was D- Christy/Goodrow: The Elementary Math Specialist. When I first saw this I wasn’t really that excited because Math isn’t my favorite subject, but that workshop ended up being my favorite. The Curriculum Resource Fair I found very useful and it had a lot of things that would be useful in the classroom. My second session work shop was L- Thompson: Destination Fun. Seeing this I was very excited because with a title like Destination Fun I thought it would be a fun workshop. But it turned out being not what I expected, the presenter mostly talked at us and her co-presenter just sat there and didn’t say much. Also when we did a group project she expected us to know exactly how to find longitude and latitude on a map which I haven’t done in years.  After this session it was lunch and I thought it was good and better then what I expected. Finally it was the keynote address by Dr. Dennis Shirley. I thought that Dr. Shirley was very insightful and interesting to listen too. He talked a lot about the struggles teachers face in the school systems and didn’t sugar coat it. He didn’t say teaching is easy and you will never encounter problems. He made it real by saying yeah there is going be problems and struggles but if you have a good support system you can make it through.
My favorite workshop was in session 1 workshop D- Christy/Goodrow: The Elementary Math Specialist. At first I didn’t think I was going to like it but as the workshop went on I enjoyed it. The first thing we did was fourth grade level math problem. These are the types problems we had to do at the beginning of the workshop. It showed us 35x25 solved in three different ways. We then had to explain how each student got their answer.  After that we were asked what method would be correct to use at all times and the answer came to be all three methods could be used every time. When the class was asked what method we used majority of the class answered the same way. But no one knew why we we’re taught that way, we just were. This made me think of Delpit. When we were in third or fourth grade first starting to learn about multiplying two digit numbers most of us never wonder why we were taught it that way, that’s just how it was and we didn’t ask questions. But now students learn so many different ways to solve the same problem which can cause confusion. After the worksheet we went over a power point of research experiment they did. They wanted to try out how effective a math specialist would be in a fourth grade classroom at the beginning of the school year. A math specialist is a teacher who specializes only in math and comes in the classroom to only teach math.  In this experiment there was both a control group and an experimental group. The experiment was taken place B.F Norton Elementary School in Cumberland R.I who’s scores were 30% below basic rate in Rhode Island. After the experiment was over the scores of the students went up from the previous years and the students became more efficient in math.  After listening to the presentation I believe that schools should have math specialist and every other type of subject specialists. I think if schools had this students would be learn about each subject better. This is a website that the presenters gave us that has a lot of helpful teaching advice that would help us in our classrooms one day. I was really happy with this workshop and felt that I learn a lot from it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Schooling Children with Down Syndrome- Kliewer (Quotes)

"Success in life requires an ability to form relationships with others who make up the web of community. Though many of us have a certain level of control over who we meet and interact with, none of us can come close to claiming complete control. So we must learn to work with others."
            I think this is a great quote because everything that is said in it is true. You can’t pick your classmates or the students you will teach. They are just given to you and you have to do the best that you can so that they can learn. It may be hard at the beginning but with time you could form a great bond with these students and would wonder why you ever thought differently.
“If you came into the room and were told there was a retarded child in the class, a child with special needs, I don’t think you would pick Lee out. The kids really agree he’s as capable as they are. Intellectually the same.
            This quote shows that whatever someone may label you as disability or not kids don’t see it. They don’t see how someone looks on the outside but the inside. They like who plays with at recess or who sits with them at lunch. Also if you don’t draw attention to it they kids won’t either and they think that student is just like any other in the class.  
“Lee is in a way he’s branded. People see him. They see Down syndrome. They see mental challenge, retardation, whatever you want to call it. That’s what they see, but wouldn’t be seeing him.”  
            I feel like the word branded is such a harsh word in this quote but I feel like it fits in perfectly. If you always talk about how a student is incapable or what he or she lacks that’s what everyone is going to talk and know about. But instead we should talk about what the student is good at or what he/she is doing well in, instead of only focusing on the incapability of the student.

*In class I would like to discuss some ways we can bring both children with disability and able children together.*
This is an article that helps prepare children for school if they have a disablity

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oakes & Finn-Extended Comments (Caiti's Blog)

After reading Caiti’s blog I agreed with the points she’s making. I like how she said “Why would we only have the students who are doing well getting special attention and better classes and resources.  Who came up with this idea? The "less abled" kids are expecting to do bad. If you are expected to do bad, then why not do bad.” I totally agree with this statement, why would you want to work hard if you expected to badly? If you put this in to children’s heads then they are not going to work hard. You should want to motivate children to do well and work hard. Also you should teach them different skills that will help then progress with their academics. Not expect them to do badly.
However I think tracking can be good thing in schools. If you breakup classes by levels it could be beneficial for the students. You cannot put a lower level student in a higher level class and expect he/she to do well. But if you have different levels with all the same resources then I think this is a great idea. Only if everything is equal in the classrooms. If this happens then children will be able to grow and develop into better students.
*Does everyone think tracking is a good idea for schools?*
This is an article about Tracking...A thing of the Past?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gender & Education- Hyperlinks

              While researching gender and education issue I came across a lot of the similar information. Research has shown that girls perform more highly then boys do.  Boys need to both visually and verbally while girls can perform just as well or better with one of the two.  This has only been the cast for about the past 50 years because prior to that boys were consider smarter than girls. Don’t get me wrong not all girls are smarter than boy’s; it all just depends on the student and person you are. Studies just so these statics. This link is an article that raises the question why boys under perform to girls and the gender gap.
                 "Sitting in the same classroom, reading the same textbook, listening to the same teacher, boys and girls receive very different educations." This was the opening sentence to another article I read. At first I didn’t thought how could this be true but as I continued to read it all made sense to me. It said that across the country that boys have never been in more trouble, 70% of D’s and F’s are given out to boys and 80% of high school dropouts are also boys.  But it was said in the “American Association of University Women published a report in 1992 indicating that females receive less attention from teachers and the attention that female students do receive is often more negative than attention received by boys.”  I found this statement interesting because I found this both true and untrue. I feel like boys may get more attention at times because they are acting in a negative way, but girls may get more praise for answering the question correctly but not get praised for their good behavior. However boys may get away with this because ‘boys will be boys’. Is this a true or not?
For me personally in my high school the boys got in more trouble than the girls did.  Don’t get me wrong the girls did too but we got away with more things than the boys could. Something like talking or acting up in class we would be told to stop but the boys would get kicked out of class.  But I do feel in different social setting the term ‘boys will be boys’ is very true. Certain things boys do like make a racy joke they can get away with but as girls we would be looked at as how dare she say that. But many things have changed in the education world and I’m sure that things will keep on changing.

*Do you think gender is still an issue in education?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brown VS The Board of Education & Tim Wise Interview- Reflection

After reading the Brown VS The Board of Education website and listening to the Tim Wise interview I never realized the how much racism is still around today. Brown VS The Board of Education was a very big court case about segregation between white and black students. It was said that they were ‘separate but equal’. That case was over 50 years and we are still dealing with those issues. I like how Tim Wise mention how if George Bush was black he would have never became president. But because Barack Obama was a well educated black man is why he became president. Also he talked about colleges and a black man could get passed up because he didn’t go to the best school, but if a white man went to one of those schools he would still have a shot. I thought this was interesting because I never really thought of that but the more I think about it the more I realize it is true.
Another thing I like about the Tim Wise interview was when he mention how when asking whites about segregation and if it is still around in present day most people say no. But was Wise said is that they might say no because they are not black and don’t know how their everyday life is. I believe this is very true because you never what someone is going through until you walk a day in their shoes. I enjoyed this assignment this week because it gave me a different look on something that I haven’t realized before.
Do you think Tim Wise was right on the points he made?
Tim Wise: White Privilege

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning: By Joseph Kahne & Joel Westheimer (Argument)

After reading In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer both authors argue that service learning is very important in American schools. However each author has a different idea of how service learning should be done. The two ideas are 1) a charity like approach VS 2) civic duty.  Both have much in common like provide authentic learning experiences, reflection on matters of social concern and opportunities for interdisciplinary study linked to curricular goals.  Also they stress the importance of compassion and they encourage children and adults to find ways to help.
                Personally I think that both ideas are great and will help the community no matter what because helping and any shape or form is better than not helping at all. But when I think of service learning I think of what we do in our FNED class. Actually going out in our field and helping out in different schools and working with the kids is service learning to me. Like Jess says in her post But service learning for charity is basically just another way of saying "community service."”  I couldn’t agree with her more. To graduate high school we all had to do a certain amount of hours of community service, whether it would be helping at a soup kitchen, library or a church. Those are all great things to do but it doesn’t say service learning to me. After every week of service learning I am so happy and excited to go again. I love the kids I help and it makes me want to become a teacher even more. I feel that that’s what service learning should be about. Getting you excited for what you’re learning to become. Yes community service can also do that but I have never gotten excited like I do for service learning project when I have done community service. But helping out anyway you can make a difference no matter big or small. If everyone could help out a little the world would be a different and better place. There is no way to service learning a wrong or right way, as long as you are doing something every little bit helps.

What do you think service learning should be….like charity or civic duty?