Sunday, November 27, 2011

Talking Points #10

"Education is Politics" by Ira Shor

I read through the article and didn't really understand it at first, so I had to read through a few other blogs. Then after I understood the article, I realized that I had just pretty much demonstrated Shor's point in the article. By posting these blogs, we are able to go beyond the status quo and relate school learning into everyday life. By sharing our personal experiences (such as the many shared in last week's blogs), we are connecting our education with everyday life.
My Political Science class and this FNED class provide excellent examples for this article. (I know I like to compare these two classes a lot, but it's perfect because these two classes are completely opposite.) As we all know, our FNED class allows us to have excellent discussions about whatever topic we're learning about. We all share our personal stories, and I know a few of us (including myself) even discuss it outside the classroom. As soon as my husband picks me up after class is over, he asks me what we talked about in FNED. We have amazing discussions about the topics. The way that Dr. Bogad teaches allows our education to go beyond the classroom. On the other hand, I typically try to avoid discussing my Political Science class at home. If I am talking about it, it's because I'm complaining. The professor doesn't keep my attention at all, and doesn't even talk about relevant information. He's not even meeting the educational status quo as Shor describes it. I think more teachers should teach so that students at any age can relate to it outside the classroom. I'm still figuring out what kind of teacher I want to be, what works and what doesn't work. It seems to me that allowing education to go beyond the classroom helps students learn the material better and not just memorize it.
I'm still slightly confused on the article and don't think that I got the whole gist of it, so I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's discussion about it.

Talking Points #10

Monday, November 21, 2011

Talking Points #9

"Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" by Christopher Kliewer


Okay so I just literally spent an entire hour typing up a really well-thought out and really long blog post that had my Reflection of this week's article. Then Blogger decided it was going to be stupid and not post the text, so when I tried to edit the post, all it had was the title. The body, all my hard work, was gone. So now I'm angry at Blogger and I'm going to put up a summary of what my post was about:

So when I was in 9th grade, my Chorus class had Special Education students. I was pretty annoyed about it at first, but then one day when we had a substitute teacher, everyone had finished their work and was chatting. I was upset that day and didn't feel like talking to anyone. One of the Special Education students, Stephen, had Down Syndrome and was confined to a wheelchair. He wheeled up to me and asked me my name. I figured I should be nice, so I told him, and then we started chatting. He was extremely friendly, and we both shared a love of music. He told me that his dream was to move to Nashville and become a famous country star. He had an amazing voice and we became pretty good friends after that, until I switched schools.

I remembered how annoyed I was at first that the students from Special Ed were coming into my class, but even now I'm still disgusted with myself on how I misjudged them. I don't know whatever happened to Stephen, but I really hope he was able to realize his dream.

This article was really great, in my opinion. I especially love what Shayne Robbins and Colleen Madison had to say on the matter. Shayne talked about how working, playing, and being together was pure learning, and Colleen talked about how people come in with their stereotypes and don't see the actual person standing in front of them. All in all, I finished reading this article with a lot of hope and a sense of knowing what kind of teacher I want to be. I can't wait to discuss this article in class.

Again I'm sorry this is so short but I'm sure y'all can imagine my frustration. I'm copying my text just in case.
(attempting to post from my iPod, hopefully it's a success)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So much for freedom of speech...

So apparently (this is all news to me) tomorrow Congress might pass a bill that will limit what we can post on the Internet, censoring websites, etc. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? And I could possibly be arrested just for posting my favorite song on Facebook? I could be arrested for filming myself singing karaoke? Not only that, but we as a class could be arrested for having these blogs that could possibly violate copyrights? I realize there's more to the bill than that, but I'm just saying these things to show just how ridiculous this bill is. This is the age of technology, and we as Americans are guaranteed the freedom of press and speech. So why limit what I can do on the Internet? I have a lot of covers of songs posted on YouTube with links to them on my Facebook. I reblog pictures that are probably copyrighted all the time on Tumblr. So if this bill passes and I'm not in class, it's because I was arrested.
Again, I just can't believe how ridiculous this bill is. I'm usually not involved in politics or anything to do with the government, but this is just outrageous. Why can't Congress talk about more important, pressing issues that won't violate the Bill of Rights? Ughhhh the American government makes me so angry sometimes. Whoops, I guess I should start being careful about what I say online!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Talking Points #8

"Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take a Better Route" by Jeannie Oakes

"Learning tasks consisted most often of memorizing and repeating answers to the teacher." I find this to be a huge problem in today's educational system. There's a difference between learning something and just regurgitating information. For example, in my math class, I actually learn new things, and I remember them long after we've discussed it. However, in my Political Science class, I merely memorize the necessary information needed that we'll be tested on, and once I've taken the test, I immediately forget it, just because of the way the professor teaches. It's no different in elementary school. Students should be educated, not just taught to parrot the teacher.

"In low-ability classes, for example, teachers seem to be less encouraging and more punitive, placing more emphasis on discipline and behavior and less on academic learning." This relates to my Service Learning experience. The Interventions that my fellow tutors and I help with are divided into 3 parts: green, yellow, and red. (Side note: I still use the Oxford comma. I refuse to not use it.) Anyway, we help the "yellow" students, who have "average" skills, while the green and red students ("above average" and "below average", respectively) are separated from the group to receive special attention. Although I tutor the "average" students, I still find it difficult to keep them focused and make sure they're playing the game correctly. They're focused more on winning when it should be just focusing on the educational value.

"Unless teachers and administrators believe and expect all students to learn well, they will be unlikely to create school and classroom conditions where students believe in their own ability and exert the effort it takes to succeed." I couldn't have said it better. How do we expect students to do well if we don't believe in them? If we're just as apathetic as they are, then we might as well not be teaching and they might as well not waste their time in school. I remember when I was in 4th grade, I had a math teacher named Mr. Hubbard. I was alright at math at the time, but once we learned about subtracting and having to take away from zero, I couldn't do it. I just didn't get it, and I didn't care. Mr. Hubbard did, however, and he took the extra time needed to help me to understand. He sent home a note to my mom, along with some practice worksheets, and advised her to watch me practice and make corrections. Once I finished the worksheets, I understood completely. Since then, I've had very little trouble in math, and it quickly became my favorite subject. If Mr. Hubbard didn't believe in the fact that I could learn how to subtract from zero, I wouldn't have my love of math. It can be done, we can teach our students, and we can help give them the confidence necessary to overcome any educational obstacle.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Promising Practices Conference

I had Workshop M: "It Gets Better". To be honest, I didn't realize just what kind of workshop I was getting myself into. Whatever I was expecting, the presentation blew it all away. Students from URI's LGBTQ group worked hard to put together a movie about the LGBTQ community's struggles and stories. They asked people to share their stories, and overall they had 12 hours worth of footage. They said that it was hard for them to squash all of it down into a 45 minute documentary, but they did it. I'll admit, I thought it was just going to be some sad yet rinky-dink video. The lights went out, and the movie started. Right from the beginning of the video, I was amazed. The effects weren't overdone and it was very elegant looking.
So basically the video was about various people around URI's campus that had a story relating to the LGBTQ community. A lot of professors and people in higher power positions were either gay/lesbian or was very close to a gay/lesbian person. One woman had a very interesting story that brought me to tears. When she was 18, her mom sat her down and told her that she had a feeling that her daughter was gay. (I didn't think to write down names, and I'm very sad that I didn't.) This woman didn't think much of it until a few years later when she realized the truth.She told her mother and the mother was very supportive. However, 10 years later the woman's mother committed suicide. The woman's message to us was that if anyone ever contemplates suicide, thinking that no one would miss them, there would ALWAYS be someone that misses you, that needs you, that wants you in the world. It was so heartbreaking. There were many stories about acceptance, telling the viewers that even when it seems a lot of people aren't accepting or supportive, there will always be someone out there that cares.
One man told a story that made me laugh a little. He was talking about how his brother was gay and when California legalized gay marriage, he and his partner moved there so they could get married. The gentleman stood at his brother's ceremony and noticed that the state of California wasn't sinking into the ocean, Hell didn't open up before them, and fire and brimstone weren't raining down from the sky. It made me giggle because I've often said things like that myself. Unfortunately, this gentleman's brother died shortly after due to AIDS, but at least he died married to the man he loved.
At the end of the movie, all the people who told their stories told us that it gets better. What I thought was really cool was they even said it in different languages, including American Sign Language. The entire movie was just so awesome and well-put together. Afterwards we discussed how we felt. It was nice to see so much support from everyone. We all shared our own stories and, just like in class, everyone had a connection. As for the other parts of the convention, it didn't really leave that much of an imprint on my mind like my workshop did. I'd really like for us to be able to watch the movie in class, just like I'd really like for RI-PBS to pick it up and show it on television. It's an awe-inspiring message that needs to be spread everywhere.
Of course, all the GLSEN articles really connected with the stories told in the movie, especially this one. One of the members of the convention shared her story: her son is in kindergarten and she has a suspicion that he's gay, which she's totally supportive of. However, he's already started being bullied by other kids in school--in kindergarten mind you--and it's so upsetting. To know that kids are being bullied that young is just so heartbreaking. However, it really does get better. There are countless videos that spread that amazing message.
Like I said, the rest of the conference didn't really leave a huge impression on me like the workshop did, although the high school's presentation was pretty interesting. I'll definitely have to use some of the icebreaker techniques that they used!

Something to think about...

I came across these pictures on Tumblr. I've seen them before but never really gave them much thought.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Talking Points #7

Gender and Education-Hyperlinks
I did quite a bit of research and this really interesting article is one of the first things I came across. It talks about how schools are gender biased and barely even realize it. I read some interesting points in the article about the different types of gender bias in education. Even over-looking sexual harassment is gender bias, and even gives the hidden message that it's okay to degrade others. I poked around the website a little and it's a very interesting site. It even has a section for songs dealing with social justice.

I came across this informational graphic that seems to contrast with the previous article. The article states that girls tend to score higher on tests, but the graphic above contradicts that with men scoring higher on the SATs. Does that mean that once in high school, men tend to do better? The website that I found this graphic on has some more interesting graphics comparing men and women.

The final article that I came across made a very good point. Instead of constantly forgetting about one gender to help the other gender do well in school, use the same method to help both genders. The article uses a hands-on experiment as an example. If boys learn better with this hands-on experiment, then girls will learn better with the experiment as well. Don't just ignore one gender; otherwise that helps to strengthen the gap!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Talking Points #6

Quotes from the Tim Wise interview.

"We're nowhere near a post-racial America." (Tim Wise)
As he discussed in his interview, even though we've passed the civil rights amendments, outlawed segregation with the Brown v. Board of Education case, and even have an African-American president, the United States is far from being a fully accepting nation. We can't even move past calling African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans "minorities". This is just my personal opinion here, but why do we feel the need to belittle other races by calling them minorities?

"Even in the midst of horrible oppression, individuals of color can accomplish great things." (Tim Wise)
I really love this quote. Tim Wise was talking about how any everyday, bright person can accomplish so much, even in the face of darkness. Take Nelson Mandela, for example. His efforts in South Africa helped to abolish apartheid.

"People don't always say what they really believe." (Tim Wise)
This is sadly true. We are all afraid to give our true opinion, and that doesn't help at all. The interviewer was talking about how in recent polls people seem to be more accepting of others from a different race, and Tim Wise raised this very true point.

Yes segregation has been abolished, yes America is making progress, but it's still not enough. We may not realize it, but there is still certain aspects of segregation in today's society. As I said earlier, we segregate the other races by calling them "minorities".
While I enjoyed the interview, I must say that I winced at the pun Tim Wise used for his book. Clever, but there are just some play on words that shouldn't be used.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Talking Points #5

"In The Service of What?"Joesph Kahne and Joel WestheimerExtended Comments
I'm extending my comments from Kayla's blog post about our week's reading. She says that she thinks it's a great idea to have students teach or tutor those less fortunate than them, and I have to agree with her. When I was in high school, we were required to do community service to graduate, and I chose to volunteer at our local recreational center. I would monitor the children's playtime, then I would help them with homework. There were a few whose parents didn't really care about their school life, so I would be the one to push them to do their homework. I'd help with any questions, I'd check over their answers, and I'd listen to them if they had to read out loud to someone. These students came from poor and extremely diverse backgrounds and I even had to deal with a child abuse case during my volunteer times. It's heartbreaking sometimes, but it made me realize just how good I have it.
I also agree with Kayla about the key to being a successful teacher is to not be afraid of change. A good teacher is one who is willing to change things around in order to make themselves a better teacher. Who knows, the change could actually benefit a child!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Warning for Language

I subscribe to Jenna Marbles's YouTube videos, and this week's video relates a lot to what we discussed in class. She does like to swear a lot, so I'm warning you now, but what she has to say is pretty funny but it also makes you think!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A very interesting link I came across...
As it says on the website: "Use this map to find out if your state offers protections against employment discr

imination based on sexual orientation and gender identity." I thought it was extremely relevant due to our discussions in class. Here's what it has to say on Rhode Island:
Same-Sex Relationship RecognitionCivil unions available since 2011
Workplace RightsProhibits discrimination based on sexual orientation since 1995; prohibits discrimination based on gender identity since 2001

I just thought it was a pretty nifty website and thought I'd share with the class!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Talking Points #4

Argument for "Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us" by Linda Christensen

Christensen's argument is that children are taught stereotypes from a very early age. "Cartoon images, in particular the Disney movie Peter Pan, were cited by the children (in a research study) as their number one source of information. At the age of three, these children had a set of stereotypes in place." In other words, if you were to show a three year old the movie "Peter Pan", and if you were to ask what a Native American looks like, they would most likely respond by describing them with extremely red skin and always wearing moccasins and animal skins. That's not how it is, though. People no longer need to be stereotyped; this is the modern world! "They assure me that they make their own choices and the media has no power over them -as they sit with Fubu, Nike, Timberlands or whatever the latest fashion rage might be." If the media has no power over anyone, then no one would be bullied for not wearing what's "hot" or "cool" or "in." It seems to me that now  the media is pushing "Be yourself! Individuality! Yay for uniqueness!" so of course, all the kids are "finding their individuality"--by copying everyone else.
"I don't want students to believe that change can be bought at the mall, nor do I want them thinking that the pinnacle of a woman's life is an "I do" that supposedly leads them to a "happily ever after." This is something that I personally relate to. I tried the whole changing my wardrobe and look thing. I dated a guy, and four months later I found out he was cheating on me with a girl who was much prettier than I was. I gave up, I knew I would never be beautiful in society's eyes. Then I met the man who would become my husband. He didn't care about my looks, he didn't care that most of my clothes were hand-me-downs, he cared about me, about my intelligence, my personality, my sense of humor. We started dating, and now we're married. It's not a happily-ever-after sort of thing, but it's real life. We argue, we get mad at each other, but at the end of the day we still love each other and that's a picture perfect ending for me.
Christensen isn't trying to destroy our dreams or ruin our childhood, she just wants to show the truth that the media hides behind. She wants society to break free of the chains of stereotypes. I personally can't wait to discuss this in class, I know it will be a very interesting topic!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Talking Points #3

Quotes from
LGBT Parents Involved in, Excluded from K-12 Schools; Children Often Harassed

  • "All families in a school community should be valued and respected as equals" 
Why should it even matter what family background a student comes from? Why must we disrespect people because of something that isn't even our business to know? It really "shouldn't matter what your background is, everyone should be treated respectfully! We are all human beings, we're all made of bones, muscles, tissues, and organs. Who we are or what we choose to be shouldn't affect what we think of others!

  • "More than half (53%) of parents described various forms of exclusion from their school communities: being excluded or prevented from fully participating in school activities and events, being excluded by school policies and procedures, and being ignored and feeling invisible." 
This just doesn't seem fair to me at all. You're willing to teach someone's child, yet you disrespect the adult? What kind of message does that teach our children? If that's the kind of lesson you're teaching, then I wouldn't want you educating my children. I'm sure many parents who have been excluded from school activities for silly reasons like that would agree with me.

  • "LGBT parents reported mistreatment from other parents in the school community and even from their children’s peers at school – 26% of LGBT parents in the survey reported mistreatment from other parents and 21% reported hearing negative comments about being LGBT from students."

As I stated before, what kind of lesson does this teach our children? It's only okay to be different if you're different in certain ways? It upsets me to know that not only are children disrespecting LGBT adults, but other adults are being disrespectful too.

Overall, this article made me angry. I read through a lot of the other articles and was equally enraged by those as well. Slowly but surely I'm losing faith in society, but I still have a small glimmer of hope that one day, no matter what kind of background you come from or your personal choices, we can all just get along without any hate.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Talking Points #2

Aria by Richard Rodriguez
  • "Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid."
This quote can be related to Delpit. Rodriguez felt powerless out of his element. He was forced into another culture, without knowing the ways to power behind it. It was hard for him to transfer from speaking his native language to being forced to forget it entirely. He was forced to forget it; talking in Spanish at home soon became almost forbidden in order to speed along his learning process.
  • "The belief, the calming assurance that I belonged in public, had at last taken hold."
Once Rodriguez finally learned the secret to power in his new culture, he felt the power surge (another relation to Delpit). It was reassuring to know that he could finally understand what everyone wanted, what everyone was saying to him, and for him to get his ideas across. He was no longer shy in class, he was able to speak comfortably and grew confident in his new-found ability.
  • "Matching the silence I started hearing in public was a new quiet at home."
Going with the first quote, once he acquired his new power, his family life grew quieter. Again, he was pretty much forced to forget his native language. He was afraid to speak Spanish to his parents, even refrained from calling them mamá and papá because it brought back painful memories. His parents no longer understood him or his siblings. There was now a language barrier in his own home! I can't even imagine how upsetting that must be.

I want to discuss how having a language barrier in your own home must be, because I can't even begin to imagine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

AIDS enzyme puzzle cracked, can possibly lead to a cure!

This is some extremely exciting news! Now, if only we can get it out to the people who need it!

Also, I REALLY enjoyed our cake activity in class, and thanks again to Vinny for being thoughtful and bringing in snacks!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Talking Points #1

From Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol

By the time I was finished reading this article, I had tears pouring out of my eyes. Having to read about all the destruction and sadness that is everyday life for these people broke my heart. There was one quote that touched me out of the 12 pages we had to read. David is speaking to the author about his mother and says, "Somebody has power. Pretending that they don't so they don't need to use it to help people--that is my idea of evil." Near the beginning of the article, the author is taken on a tour by a young boy named Cliffe; the way that he said certain things ("'I saw a boy shot in the head right over there'", etc.) so nonchalantly frightens me. I mean, I knew that there were destitute people "out there", but reading about all of this made it hit home. While I was reading, I couldn't help thinking of a song that I recently fell in love with. It's called "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. The song can be interpreted multiple ways, and I think if you listen to the song you'll understand what I mean. You should definitely listen to it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

If you guys ever need a laugh...

Just have one of the documents for our Think Pieces be read aloud to you. If you aren't sure how to do that, then open the document (in this case I was trying it out with "The Silenced Dialogue"), click "View" and at the bottom of the menu it will say "Read Out Loud". Activate it, then have it read the whole document to you. I was laughing so hard at Microsoft Sam's voice that I couldn't even focus on what was being said. I don't know if any of you will find it as amusing as I did, but if you have anything like my sense of humor it will surely brighten up your day. Anyway, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's discussion! Have a great night and see y'all tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just don't ask me if I like Green Eggs and Ham.

So I'm Samantha Machado, but I prefer to be called Sammi. I'm 20 and just recently got married (June 4 of this year). I was born in North Carolina, raised in Hawaii, moved back to NC when I was about 5, then stayed there until I graduated high school. Due to family reasons, I moved up here to Rhode Island and I've loved it ever since. I attended the Community College of Rhode Island for a semester, then took a break before coming to RIC. At first I was planning on majoring in Music Education, but due to some personal realizations, I switched to Elementary Education. So far my semester is going fine; I like most of my classes and that's always a plus.
You'll find that I'm an extreme music lover, even going so far as to say it controls my life. I sing and am currently teaching myself how to play the guitar and master the piano. My husband is learning the bass with my help. When I'm not in class, I'm either on Tumblr, singing, or working. I'm a barista at the Starbucks that recently opened up in the Smithfield Crossings Target. I'm very enthusiastic about my job, and if you stop by for a drink, chances are I'll convince you to try something new! I like to chat with people, so don't be afraid to talk to me (: