Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kliewer: "Citizenship in Schol: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome"

After doing this reading by Kliewer, I would like to talk about a quote that can be found at the very beginning:

"I started to notice that I didn't like the classes I was taking called special education. I had to go through special ed. almost all my life. I wanted to take other classes that interested me. I had never felt so mad, I wanted to cry." 

These are the words of a student named Mia Peterson, who has Down Syndrome. She then talks about how she was actually denied the ability to take the classes she wanted to, such as journalism. She had to go through a separate program because she had Down Syndrome.

Honestly, I did not even know that people with this condition could be denied when it came to taking certain classes. I mean, I know they have to go through certain special education classes, but why deny them access to the classes they would actually like to take?

I see no problem with them being allowed to chose whatever classes. Just because they have Down Syndrome does not mean they are unable to learn.They should be treated equally, despite their ability. They should not be doubted or held back from anything. They are still intelligent people. Here is a quick story for you guys:

     -When I was in first grade, we had peers called "Reading Buddies". Reading Buddies were kids from 6th grade classes, and each first grader was assigned one. They would come in our room once a week and just read children's books with you. They would help you read and sound out word if you needed help. My Reading Buddy was named Danny.

Danny had Down Syndrome.

And even though we were only reading short childrens books such as "Spot", he still did a good job with me. Sometimes, he would have a teacher come over with us and help both of us out. But I did not care. I thought it was good they still allowed him to have a reading buddy. And I also thought it was good the teacher would come over to our group and help us both because they did that for no one else.

People suffering from this condition are no less of people than you and I are. They are such funny, caring, fun loving, happy people.

Promising Practices

Thankfully, I had this saved to my new computer. I had typed this up after the conference on Word and forgot to post it.


Overall, I think we could agree on the fact that this was terrible to sit through. I thought that it lasted way too long, and could tell that many other people (besides myself) were getting very fidgety and were ready to go home. I thought it was going to be a lot more interesting than it was, so I was kind of disappointed. I didn't think it really related to the teaching profession as much as I had thought it would.

Another thing I would like to point out was the fact that many questions got very vague answers. If I recall correctly, there was a girl who asked a question having to do with ESL students, and how they have it a bit harder when it comes to test taking and overall, just learning. I was interested to hear this answer, because personally I believe that students in classrooms that are not 100 percent fluent in English are at a huge disadvantage. The person who was chosen to answer her kind of 'beat around the bush' and gave some vague answer about how they can overcome that obstacle. Well, of course they can, but what is the solution?

My next point about this conference, I think everyone will agree with. I know we all heard this, because when it was said, you could just tell by the look on peoples faces that something wrong had entered their ears. It was this older presenter. To sum it up quick, he basically referred to the African-American students at a certain school as the "Negros". I don't think that term was acceptable since the early 1900's. That is something I would expect to hear on the streets, or maybe even see online, but to hear it from a man who is part of a formal conference in a room full of people? I mean, come on buddy. There is better words to use than that. I honestly waited for him to correct himself, or quickly apologize or something, but nope. He just carried right on.

This was my first time being at a conference like this. I pictured it being a bit different because I had never been to a legit 'conference' before. I just imagined it as being like one of the assemblies you go to in high school. Man, was I wrong haha. Overall, it was bad (not going to lie) but it was bearable. We all made it out alive!!!!!! (even though I didn't think I would)

One thing that I though was cool was the fact the mayer of our capital city, Angel Taveres, was there. He is a huge role model to many kids who are Hispanic in our community.

Teaching While "Keeping Track"

For this blog post, I would like to talk about two quotes I noticed in the reading; One from Finn and the other from Oakes. The fist quote I would like to talk about is one by Oakes:

"To be successful, heterogeneous classrooms probably need to lean to­ward placing students more in charge of their own evaluation - checking their own understanding and asking for and providing feedback." (181)

I chose this because I thought she had a very good point when she was talking about this. She says the point of an evaluation should be "What did this student learn?" rather than "How does this student compare to the others?" I believe evaluation is a necessity for teachers. They can always learn what they need to improve on by looking at their students evaluations on them.

The next quote I would like to point out is one by Finn:

"Progressive methods, empowering education, and powerful literacy tend to go together. Traditional methods, domesticating education, and functional literacy tend to go together. Progressive methods are nearly impossible unless children want school knowledge and cooperate."

I urge you to really think about the last part of this quote. Progressive methods are nearly impossible unless children want school knowledge and cooperate. This made me think of the saying "You can bring a horse to water, but can not make it drink." In order to learn, students must WANT to learn. You can not force knowledge onto students.

Christensen "Underlying the Myths That Blind Us"

The Christensen reading was probably my favorite reading all semester long. I really like her points of view and the examples that she uses in her pieces of work.

One specific thing I would like to talk about is her view on children's cartoons and how she believes they send very stereotypical messages to children. (I actually did an extra credit piece on this topic which can be found at the end of my Prezi). One cartoon she talks about is Popeye. In one Popeye eppisode, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, there are many examples of stereotyping as well as other factors that would upset Christensen. In this specific eppisode, all of the Arab characters look the same; wearing the same turbans, same faces, same skin color, height, size, everything. They also all carry the same exact sword. All Arabs in this episode are depicted as 'Thieves', stealing everything in the city. They steal things like food, teeth from an old man, even the stripes off of a barber pole. It is very stereotypical and offensive because, obviously, all Arab's do not look the same or wear turbans, and they all are not thieves.

Another thing Christensen talks about with Popeye is how it depicts women. Olive Oyl is constantly looking up to her "hero man", as she words it. This cartoon makes men seem more important than women. Also, in this same episode, Popeye slaps a dog leash and chain on Olive Oyl and drags her across the desert. I believe this example right here is extremely offensive and degrading to women, and sends a very wrong message to children about how not only women, but ANYONE should be treated.

You can learn more about this episode, as well as watch some footage of it if you clock here

McIntosh (Late Post)

This was one of our first blogs we did; I accidentally did this is a Think Piece instead of posting it as a blog. (Hard copy will be in my folder)

Anyways, just to sum up what I had wrote for a blog, I would like to talk about the main point I found while originally writing it. On page two of the McIntosh reading, she lists 26 examples of this "White Privilege" that society places upon us. One thing she talks about is this "White Privilege"while shopping. The majority of the time, store managers will not follow white people around the store, or watch them and assume they are stealing something. In some cases, employees may do this if the shopper is, say African-American or Hispanic. Being a white person, I never have to worry about this.
     Anyways, anothetr thing she points out is the fact she can buy things that will 'match' her. What I mean bu this is simply the fact that many products favor Whites (not sure if 'favor' is the best word to use.) For example, you can buy Band-Aids in stores called "flesh" color. The color of these Band-Aids are a peach/tan color that will match the skin color of Caucasians, but not any other race. Another thing you can notice while shopping comes in toy stores. 85-90% of the dolls and action figures you see are based off of white people. Dont get me wrong, they do make dolls and toys of different skin colors, but the majority of dolls are white. This may be problems for children of different races, wondering why their toys do not look like them or resemble their skin color. It is the year 2013 and this problem still exists, but is not as bad as the previous years. It is slowly getting better 

notice in this picture of Barbie dolls at a toy store, there are no African American Barbies. Only Caucasian Barbies, as well as some Barbies of a slightly darker complexion

Monday, November 4, 2013

Separate and Unequal; Reflection

In this weeks reading by Herbert, one of the main ideas he focuses on discussing is how poverty effects 'good results' with students in certain schools. He also says how schools in areas of high concentrations of poverty tend to have more black and Hispanic students. Evidence shows that no matter race or ethnicity, if a 'poor' kid goes to school with mostly middle-class kids, then he or she will do better academically. Why is it though, that poverty effects students grades? Well, as Herbert says, good teachers may want to avoid these types of schools. Good education starts with a good teacher. If all of the best teachers are refusing to teach at these schools where they are needed the most, then who is teaching these kids? Inexperienced teachers who may not care as much compared to a teacher with a good reputation. Also, kids suffering from poverty may not have many tools accessible to them that can be used for school. Middle/Upper class children are lucky enough to have helpful resources available to them, such a computers, internet access, smartphones, other books, etc. Lower income kids may not have these available to them. I know for one thing, internet and my laptop are probably the most useful at-home resources I have for school. I couldn't imagine doing homework or anything school related without them. They both help me out so much. Another thing he talked about was parental involvement in these schools. Families with lower income may have parents who work more, or work late hours just to be able to support their kids. They may not have time to make sure their children did their homework, help them with schoolwork, or to talk to the kids teachers about how they're doing. I found another interesting article about poverty effects not only academic success, but behavior as well (you can read that here).

Monday, October 28, 2013

In the Service of What?

First off, I would just like to build on what Kahne and Westheimer say about service learning. In the introduction of this passage, they talk about how service learning can "improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all levels of schooling". I definitely agree with them on this one. As we all know, our whole class is involved in a service learning project this semester. I believe it is a good thing because it helps us learn in different ways than we normally would inside the classroom. It's more of a hands on/experience based learning; this kind of learning can not be achieved in a classroom. It shows us first hand what it will be like to be a teacher. Even though we are not officially the 'head of the classroom', it still gives us a pretty good feel as to what exactly it is like. Also, as the authors say, it does improve the community. It gives us student who are actually doing the service learning an insight as to what our community is like. I believe all of us are doing this project in Providence Public Schools, and many of us did not come from schools like these. As we know, RIC is in Providence, and for people like me it is a different community than what we grew up in. Being in the public schools of Providence really gives me an understanding as to what this areas community is like. On top of that, I also look at it as us helping the community. As we are learning and building our skills, we are also helping out the teachers as well as the students. When we are in the classroom, our knowledge helps the overall status of the classroom. It is always good to have more than one educator in a classroom, because I feel like the kids will learn more. One teacher can not help 25 students all at once, so our presence in the classroom not only helps the teacher out but helps the students out as well. They now have that extra person to go to for help. At the same time, the students get very happy when we come in. I feel as if they get so excited and look forward to seeing us every week, and them being happy is always a plus.