Sunday, November 20, 2011

extended comments to Mabel's blog :)

 Kliewer, "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome"

I just absolutely HAD to base my blog this week around Mabel's post and the video that she showed. ( That was one of the most disturbing videos i have ever watched. To think that a teacher could be so cruel to student about something they have no control over and cannot change about themselves. Why on earth would you put yourself into the field of education if you can't contain your rude comments or respect the needs and wishes of a student?

I completely agree that students with down syndrome or any other sort of special need suffer from a form of segregation. Now of course there are many logical reasons as to why they have been separated into a different classroom, but there's no reason to treat them any differently than a students without down syndrome. On page 72 Kliewer shows a quote from Freire, "Dialogue cannot occur... between those who deny others the right to speak their word and those whose right to speak has been denied them." Every student, whether they have down syndrome or not, has a voice that deserves to be heard. Kliewer later on says, "A sense of reciprocity  shared value exists in relationships in which individuals, including those with severe disabilities, are recognized as thinking, feeling, caring human beings with personalities all their own." I think this is one of the most important quotes in the reading. I have a friend who's little sister has down syndrome, and let me tell you she says some of the most random, but cutest things I've ever heard. She will talk to anyone who will listen and shines brighter than anyone I know. She has a heart of gold, and I hope she never forgets it. She does not deserve to be put down for disabilities, or made fun of for them. She is a living and breathing human being who has thoughts and ideas just like everyone else.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Promising Practice

I woke up Saturday morning with the thought in my head "uugghhh lets just get this over with." I sucked down 2 redbulls and made my way to the campus. When i got there, our entire class was sitting all together and I (obviously) joined them. We all reminisced on how late we had stayed up the previous night and how tired we were. After what seems like hours, we finally made our way out into the cold to go to our workshops.

I was soo happy to see that I got my first choice of workshop H (Diversity: Intergrating Art into the Curriculum). This was one of the most inspiring two hours of my entire life. It made me realize that YES I do want to be an elementary teacher!

Virginia Freyermuth started us off for the first half of the workshop. She told us about her visit to Taos Pueblo, New Mexico where she discovered prayer sticks. They start off as a seemingly piece of an old tree, or drift wood and are transformed into one of the biggest signs of respect in their culture. Every aspect of the way the stick is decorated has meaning to it. Whether it's the type of string used, how many turns the string takes, the colors, the beads, the type of tree and where the stick came from. She took this idea and made it "education friendly" by transforming the prayer sticks to hope sticks.

She told us how she has been sharing this idea with aspiring teachers for many years and how one teacher contacted her to show what a impact it made on her class during the time of 9/11. Dealing with the children, this teacher wasn't exactly sure how to show them how to deal with such a tragedy. After seeing a giant fallen branch in her backyard, she brought it in and had her class create a school wide hope stick. Each child helped decorate the giant hope stick and wrote a small piece of what their hopes were for our countries. It was then displayed in the front of the school to connect and bring together their school through a tough time.

We then were able to create our own hope sticks (I'm hoping Yanill will be posting pictures of it very soon!) and discussed what they meant to us with a partner. Towards the end Virginia left us with two quotes that really stuck to me. "Real learning does not happen until students and brought into a relationship with the teacher, each other, and the subject" and "Every individual is talented, original and has something important to say"

(here's one of her websites: )

Next, Kristen Vito-Silva, who was actually the teacher of the classroom our workshop was held in, spoke to us. I hadn't even realized until she told us that every single thing in her classroom was created by the students. She didn't have one number line, alphabet, or cheesy little poster from a teachers store at all! It was absolutely astonishing. Her explanation was that she didn't want the children to come into her classroom knowing that it was her space in the first day. She wanted the students' first impression to be "Welcome to our space, let's build it together." She connect literally almost everything in the curriculum to art. Using pieces of art by famous artists, or having the students create their own artwork to get their minds thinking and their ideas out on paper.While some students may excel in many areas, others who would normally struggle are given the chance to show their thoughts and ideas through their artwork. Art is the tool that levels the play field. I believe this connects directly to the piece Rodriquez wrote (Aria). His piece mentions not wanting to speak up in the classroom because of his culture, and his language. Art is something that everyone can relate to and use to express themselves, there's no language barrier while creating art.

Now, the rest of the day was sort of a disappointment for me. I started out in such an inspirational and motivating workshop, it was hard to compare anything else to it. The expo was more of a socializing time with the rest of the class. Which wasn't too bad since I got to talk to a lot of classmates i usually don't talk to. But it was way to long!

I swear I tried so hard to focus during the Teen Empowerment session, but after about 20 minutes I could hardly take it. I felt like I was in a high school assembly. So many people were just talking, and getting up and leaving. It got extremely boring watching people play ice breaker games after a while. There's only so much excitement I can get out of watching them throw bean bags at each other. However, I did write this little quote down at the beginning when I was attempting to pay attention: "analysis + decision-making + action+ success = POWER.

Oh and here's a lovely picture of me and my hope stick<3

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

has anyone taken the praxis yet?

i just spent over an hour on the phone registering because the website is down. apparently i can't taker the test at the Warwick center for some now i have to take it in Cumberland..and the soonest available date was
December 5th. it says it could take up for 4 weeks for the results to come back..and i was planning on apply to the school of education on the January 3-4 dates!! i might be screwed :( and all my classes next semester will be dropped and ill have to take a semester off and my parents will be upset and my life will be over...okay sorry venting a bit here. BUT my main question long did it take for you to get your scores back? and possibly any tips for me seeing as i have to take the entire 4 1/2 hour test in one sitting...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gender and Education

Going into a teaching career, I've actually thought a lot about gender in the classroom, seeing as girls seem to always out-number the boys. We're supposed to attempting to achieve gender equality. But by, for example, separating boys and girls into different lines, or the fact that girls and boys don't compete against each other in sports, we are telling that they're different and not equal. It's a complete contradiction. I found this quote on and it honestly shocked me!

Across the country, boys have never been in more trouble: They earn 70 percent of the D's and F's that teachers dole out. They make up two thirds of students labeled "learning disabled." They are the culprits in a whopping 9 of 10 alcohol and drug violations and the suspected perpetrators in 4 out of 5 crimes that end up in juvenile court. They account for 80 percent of high school dropouts and attention deficit disorder diagnoses. (Mulrine, 2001)

Clearly, boys are falling behind girls as they make they way through the education system. Although, I think that the school system is made in favor of boys. These results show that girls are performing higher than boys, yet being a girl is always portrayed as being a bad thing. Like how the term "throwing like a girl." is one of the biggest insults a boy can receive. I mean, I know plenty of girls that kept up with the boys in gym class and sometimes even out shined them.

Going back to disney, I found this youtube video of how Disney portrays gender roles:

The women are always sensitive, beautiful and elegant. While the men are brave and strong. I think girls have it tougher in school, especially once they get into high school. They have to worry about keeping up with the latest trends, and making sure they look "beautiful" so everyone else will like them. A boy can practically roll out of bed and come to school, but girls are expected to spend hours doing their hair and make-up. Throughout their childhood all of these movies had forced this picture into their heads of how they should look and act to live "happily ever after" when in reality, they probably will never look like that.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tim Wise Interview


I really liked how Tim Wise defined racism in two different ways. He had racism 1.0, which is the bias, "whites are simply better than blacks" kind of racism. And then there's racism 2.0 which is enlightened exceptional-ism which, for example, would be like considering Obama an exception because he thinks, dresses, and acts like a white man. There's no way to say that we are in any sort moving into an anti-racist country or world. Of course, things have changed dramatically. Whites and blacks can live, work, and go to school together. But unfortunately the racism has just continued to grow and change into even more forms as time has gone by.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

REFLECTION: "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"

I absolutely loved reading this piece! ( I think Dr. Bogad needs to start a class here at RIC about the stereotypes of cartoons and children movies so we can all take it ;) hint hint ) I have always had conversations with friends about how "Disney Princesses" have ruined children today, and that not everyone is going to get that perfect Prince Charming. When we were kids, we never realized how each fairy tale could almost be viewed as the same heroes, enemies, and that unrealistic happy ending. But it goes beyond the childhood fairy tales, and follows us into adulthood. Everywhere we look we see the (nowadays photoshopped) super skinny, flawless skin, and perfect face staring right back at us from the billboards, magazines, television, and everything else imaginable!

I must admit though, that Disney has redeemed themselves just a little bit! A couple new movies, and princesses, have arrived that don't fit the "perfect white girl" stereotype. Although, no matter what color her skin is, she's still prettier than I'll ever be; and she still got her happy ending. It sad when you realize that society has embedded a vision of beautiful in our heads, even from such a young age. It makes us think that we'll never get to that point. Girls starve themselves and spend money on the latest and greatest makeup and clothing just try to fit into this image, when in reality, no one looks like that! Even the girls on the magazines. Society has become so crazy that they alter model's bodies, color, skin and makeup to make that perfect image unreachable everyone, including them, even when they're the image being portrayed.

I like to pretend that one day we won't focus all of our attention to the way we look, and maybe spend some much needed attention on our personalities and attitudes....but I can't see that happening anytime soon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lots of information on the ppst! Practice questions, tips for test day, and tips for bad test takers. Deff take the time to check it out! I'll try to remember to post the link to the book on amazon later today!