Sunday, December 4, 2011

#10 Education is politics. By Shor

In Shor's article he talks about teachers teaching against the "normal" way of teaching. He believes that the teacher should get the student more involved and have discussions in the class. By doing this students will develop a better understanding on the topic at hand instead of the teacher lecturing and feeding them fact after fact. I strongly agree with Shor mainly because of my own personal experiences.  When I have taken classes where the teacher wants us to engage in conversation and is always willing to answer questions I believe I actually learn more effectively. The way these classes get setup it makes me want to go to class and listen to what everyone has to say.  Now when I go to classes that the teacher doesn't let us talk  and does nothing but give us fact after fact I tend to not pay attention and not learn as well.  Classes like that make you feel uncomfortable while your in the class and makes you not want to even go. 
Shor believes that by doing this you can change from a bad teacher to a great one.  To me it makes sense a teacher is suppose to teach their students, so by opening discussions to the class the teacher can see what the students believe the topic is about.  The teacher will also be able to find out what the students may not understand or struggling to learning.  By letting kids have conversations in class students get to use critical thinking to learn.  I wish more classes taught this way mainly because I believe students would learn at a more effective rate.

Occupy Wall Street

Sunday, November 20, 2011

#9 Citizenship in school: Reconceptualizing down syndrome. By Kliewer

Kliewer talks about the effects of students with Down Syndrome being segregated in schools. Just because someone is different does not mean they should be separated in schools. Even though kids with Down Syndrome have a disability, Kliewer brings up some interesting points as to why these kids should still be treated equally.  This article relates a lot to the article we read last week which talked about  separating students into different classes and giving special treatment to some certain groups. 
When I was in high school there was a class set up for kids with special needs to be placed in, in order to get special help learning. One of the kids in the class happened to be a boy that I knew and grew up with.  He was a funny, nice, and caring boy that never saw anything wrong with himself.  He may have had a disability but still acted just like a teenage boy would normally act at his age.  I learned many things from him when we were growing up and also was inspired that he wasn't gong to let anything get in his way if he wanted to do something. He was in drama performances, went to every dance, and played every sport at school.  Just locking special needs kids up in a room by themselves all day really destroys the way these kids are looked at.  Just like the stories in this article if you can actually see these kids and realize they are just like normal students you can learn a thing or two from them.  But as long as they are segregated from normal students, students will view them differently and will never prepare special needs or regular students to handle being in the same environment  or respected equally. 

#8 Tracking: why schools need to take another route. By Jeannie Oakes

Tracking is a terrible way to teach kids in school.  I strongly agreed with Jeannie Oaks and her article.  The purpose of tracking is to put kids in groups from the smart kids all the way to the kids that need a lot of help.  Once these kids are put in these groups they then end up learning the same material only in different ways.  For example the kids in the lower class are usually given a worksheet in the attempt to learn the material while the kids in the higher learning classes are treated with more respect and have discussions about the learning material.
In my eyes tracking is like a hidden version of segregation, maybe not by race but by how smart a person is.  When I was in the high school there were honor classes that were for the kids that learned at a faster pace then others and general class for the kids that took a little more time learning the material.  I was stuck in the general class, as for my brother he was in the honor classes. Everyday when we would come home from school my mom would ask us how was school.  After I told my mom about how boring my day was my brother would start saying how exciting his day was and how his classes were filled with long discussions about the material.  When I would here all of this I would get very mad wondering why weren't my classes having these discussions?  Just because someone takes longer to learn something does not mean they are incapable of having discussions or  can not do an activity someone that can learn faster can do.  If we could stop tracking and have students mixed into classes I believe discussions could help everyone benefit from them, and kids will feel like they are treated more equally then being separated into classes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Promising Practice

Going into the Promising Practice conference I was not expecting it to be a good time. I figured it was going to be a bunch of boring lectures one right after the other.  As I got handed my folder I quickly found out that I was in workshop K and all of my friends were in different workshops.  When I got to my classroom two young middle school teachers were standing up front getting ready to present.  Their presentation that they were going to talk about was on bullying and how we need to stand up to the bullies. As they started talking I started to get more and more interested as to what they were saying. they were telling us how they believe in order for students to learn more students need to feel more comfortable in the classroom. They then told us how they put kids from different "clicks" into groups and make them work and do activities together.  As the school year went on the teachers wanted to do more with the kids and decided to work on a anti-bullying little skit to show the kids in school that bullying needs to stop. They even brought in two students from the class that were involved in making the skits and they started telling us how great of an experience it was and how they learned that bullying is wrong and they will do what ever they can to help stop bullying.
The link above is the presentation they used and I strongly encourage everyone to go and check it out so they can get a better understanding of what happened and possibly cool ways for others to try and work with their students on bullying. Having done a previous blog on bullying I saw a lot of connections between things that I wrote and things they presented. For example they talked about how social medias like Facebook are so easily to bully people on now and if we want bullying to stop we need to stand up against it. All in all it was an amazing presentation and it was something I definitely didn't expect to happen.
The seconded presentation was done by a teacher that works at Rhode Island College. She was also presenting about bullying, but it had to do more with race.  The first thing she told us was how one of her relatives was in another country and saw someone being bullied because of their race. When she tried to help the person that was being bullied that person then slit her throat. She then talked about why someone would do something so mean and how we need the children to learn that bullying needs to end.  Her presentation was more dark then positive but still was very powerful. I saw a lot of brown and board of education that we talked about going on in this presentation,  showing that racism is unfortunately still alive and strong and if it was up to some people we would still be in separate schools. I also saw "Privilege, power, and difference" by johnson in her presentation explaining how everyone is different and how people are getting treated badly because of it.
The website above is a anti-bulling website for young kids called don't be a bully be a star.  It makes kids give a pledge saying they will not bully and will stick up for anyone that is being bullied.
The website above is another anti-buling site that is made to help kids, teens, adults, and educators deal with and stop bullying.
As for the Promising partnership expo I believed it was a very interesting, and unfortunately I saw not a lot of people actually looking at the stations. One that I enjoyed very much was City Year. while talking to the girl at the station it reminded me a lot of the service learning we do for class.  she started telling me how they go into school that are not the most advanced schools and help out kids in need.  She then started saying how a lot of the kids can't speak english and I had to tell her the stories about my service learning. To me they had the best station there and it is a great thing to get into if you can't get a job right out of school. I also have a friend in city year right now and he told me he is having a great experience and also changing his perspective on life.
The next presentation we had to deal with was teen empowerment. I was not a big fan of this presentation, i got very little from it and I believe the only point to this presentation was to show us how to use foolish ice breakers to get students feeling more comfortable.  I believe ice breaker games are a waste of time and from personal experience ways like putting the students desks in a circle and making them work in groups has a better affect on making the kids more open and feeling equal.
I also felt that the youth panel was a waste of time mainly because I already knew the answers to the questions. Maybe it is because I am still young and know how kids still act which is why I thought it was pointless, but as for older people attending they might have found this to be very helpful.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gender and Education

I have gathered multiple videos showing and explaining gender and education. These videos are very interesting and is an eye opener to me. I knew that women tend to mature before men but i was very surprised to find there is a learning difference as well.  Maybe it is my male ego in the way but i always thought that the men were the ones who were succeeding more in school and going further in school. These videos do bring up good points and i can now see how women are more successful in school.

Figure 1. Total fall undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting institutions (in thousands), by gender: 1980–2001

Figure 2. Percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher, by gender: March 1980–2003

Sunday, October 23, 2011

#6 Wise and Website

After looking over the website, article, and videos I noticed that they all had to do with racism. Racism is not a new thing sadly it has been around for a while. What’s even worse is that it’s probably going to be around for more years to come. While looking at the website I noticed that they had tracked racism all the way back to the 1800's. I have seen racism at school and even while I'm out with my friends.  During high school I had a friend who was African American and kids would always say some racist comment to him just joking around, but after a while I noticed that the kid did not find it funny and some of the comments really would bother him.  There would be times when i would tell these kids to knock it off but they thought because they were just joking around it wasn't being mean and they were allowed to do it.
There is a very funny musical called Avenue Q that focuses on all kinds of issues and racism is one.
The video may be funny but it is true everyone is a little bit racist even if you’re not trying to be.  Most people are not racist but sometimes the things we say end up coming off as it.  It is a serious issue because kids growing up are listening to these racist comments and think that it is ok to continue making these comments. Another prime example is integration in schools.
This video shows a great example of how people were reacting during the times schools were intergrading.
Go 6 minutes in to see what I am trying to show you.  Also if you get the chance watch the whole movie manly because it is a great example of racism and a community coming together. What we need to do is stop the racism and come together as a country.  There are wars going on and the economy is in the toilet, so don't you think its time to come together stop all the racism and find away to save this country?  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In the service of what the politics of service learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

In this article Kahne and Westheimer talk about service learning and the benefits of it. By using service learning kids can not only benefit in school but also improve the community. the article then goes into two  cases of service learning.  The to teachers that were followed were Mr. Johnson and Ms. Adams. Both teachers had different approaches Johnson let his students pick their own service learning project and Adams  had her kids focus on homelessness. Even though they had different approaches on handling their service learning projects they both provided learning experiences dealing with social concern.
I think that social learning projects are great things for people of any age to be a part of.  having projects like this help out the community in which you are living in, and also has children learn and grow from the experience.  Some kids might really enjoy their project and would want to continue with it even when the class is over. Plus another big thing is by having kids work on these projects they are less likely to get into trouble because they will be to busy working on them.  
One of my friends brothers is now in high school and just the other day he was saying his class was doing a service learning project.  He wasn't to happy about it but I believe by the end of the project he will have learned a lot and probably didn't think it was that bad.  I strongly believe there really isn't a down side to service learning projects and they should have a lot more being  planted into are schools, not only for the kids to learn but to start making our communities better.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In the Service of What? by Linda Christensen

Linda Christensen argues that the social media is portraying certain roles to race and sex, and how live life.

The problem with this is the fact that we see this media exposure at such a young age people start to believe that this is their role in society and what they need to do to succeed in life. For example the TV show Duck Tales may seem like a perfectly fine show but Christensen explains how the show makes it seem like the only way to be happy and live such great lives you need to have lots of money. What Christensen wants us to do is to be able to see what is wrong with these media messages and understand that this is not the correct way to act in order to live a normal life.  Another message portrayed by the media was how women stayed at home hoping that one day a man would come and sweep them off their feet.  They never had the women go out work and find a guy they liked it was always them waiting. By seeing and understanding these messages we can take action and let the media know that they way they portray roles or ways to succeed in life are wrong and need to be changed.

Now a good topic I believe to talk about during class would be how many people actually picked up on these media messages? The reason being is when I was younger I never picked up on the messages like Duck Tales was about getting money and how important money is, I was just thinking that they enjoyed going on adventures.  Another thing that I thought would be interesting to talk about is if even though I didn't know about the message being portrayed did it have any impact on me as a kid growing up?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America - A National Report on School Bullying

Bullying is defined by  as a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. This is mainly scene inside schools from elementary all the way to college. This is such a terrible thing that needs to be stopped. The article that I read from stated that students who are being bullied tend to miss classes or do not get involved in class because they feel like they are in a uncomfortable environment. Now bullying is not only physical abuse but it can also be verbal, either way both forms of bullying can be as equally painful.
Just a couple days ago I was watching the Today show and saw a poor kid named Jamie who committed suicide after being bullied for so long. I wanted to post the video mainly to show how terrible bullying is and how unbelievable kids continue to be. I just don't understand why kids find it fun to be so mean to each other.
Another example I wanted to share happened in my own high school. A group of kids thought it would be funny to make a facebook group that hated this one girl, and one day they told everyone to wear a white t-shirt to school to show how much they hated her.  The girl ended up going home crying and only the kid that made the group got suspended.  Personally I believe that every kid that was in white should have been suspended and the kid that created the group should have been expelled.  Kids need to be strongly disciplined if they are bullying someone else.     

One thing the article pointed out that I thought was very important was that teachers need to make a better job in showing that if bullying is going on it will not be tolerated and they will take action. Also they need to express that if someone is being bullied they can come and talk to the teacher. This is very important mainly because bullying needs to stop! Parents need to also talk to their kids and let them know bullying is wrong and if they know someone or if they are being bullied to tell an adult so the bullying can stop before it gets worse.   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Teaching Multilingual Children by Virginia Collier

I wanted to talk about Colliers article mainly because I am now seeing and dealing with issues that she brings up.  The article starts off by say how it is difficult to try and teach kids that do not speak english enough english so that they are able to comprehend and succeed in their class.  This is very difficult to do especially if you don't speak their langue. Right now the second grade class that I have been helping out in five of the kids do not speak a word of english, and as for the teacher she is slowly learning how to speak spanish to try and communicate with them. So now she has less then a year to try and understand spanish, and then try to get the kids to learn english.  I did not realize how difficult it was going to be to teach these kids that did not speak english until she had me work with three of the kids.
I do not know how to speak spanish and having to try and work with these kids I felt over whelmed.  They could not understand what i was saying and tried to ask me questions in spanish but I could not understand them.  After trying to use blocks and drawing pictures to get them to understand the kids became restless and gave up all together. Luckily the teacher brought the kids back into the big group shortly after.
The article then goes on to talk about seven guidelines in teaching kids english as a second language.  One of the guidelines to use is "to not teach a second language in any way that challenges or seeks to eliminate the first language." I strongly believe that this is very true mainly because a teacher should not try and get rid of a persons culture or language but to simply just help the student into understanding how to succeed and learn the most affective way.

Reading this article to me seems like it is going to be a big help not only to me but to other people in the class that have to work with kids that do not speak english.  the next time I go to work with my second grade students I will use some of the guidelines that Collier talked about to see if it helps with working with these kids. Who knows maybe I will even be able to get these kids to help me learn spanish this way I can help them out even more by being able to talk to them in their first language.

Monday, September 19, 2011

White Privilege by Peggy Mcintosh

After reading "White Privilege" by Peggy Mcintosh I have realized that this reading continues with the previous articles we have read in class.  So far all the articles we have read have had to do with race and realizing how not everyone is the same.   I wanted to first start off by relating this article to Lisa Delpit's article "Other People's Children." In both articles the authors bring up white privileges and the fact that white males have the power. They both believe that white males hold the power in the society that we live in and believe that changes need to come in order for other race, or gender to go further in society.  In my eyes Mcintosh does a better job explaining and dealing with this issue over Delpit and does it all in a not so aggressive way.
"Privilege, Power and Difference" by Johnson is also a good article we have read that connects to what Mcintosh is talking about. Both of them want to get the message across that gender, race, and sexuality are big factors in our everyday life.  No matter where we go you can see types of racism happing.  Both authors also want us to take a step back and look to see whats going on.  They want to makes us realize we can be part of the solution as long as we start to stick up for other genders, sexuality, and race.

After reading Mcintosh's article I realized more and more people believe that white males are in control of society and anyone that is different does not get treated the same. At first after reading Delpits article I thought it was just a few people that believed this and expressed it in a very poor and aggressive way, but after reading Mcintosh's article I have realized it is more people then I thought. This has now got me paying more attention to the way other people are treated and how much it is still really going on.  Just hanging around campus you can see how different students react to different things and how it is not fair for some people to be treated the way they are. I have now made it a goal to step in and stick up for different people if they are being treated badly, and hopefully can help in making a difference in the world we will in.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Hello my name is Christopher De Tora this is my fourth year at Rhode Island College and I have finally found a major that I like, Health and Physical Education.  Im currently employed at Stop and Shop and enjoy playing any sport when I have the free time. Right now I live at home with my Dad, Mom, Brother, and two Dogs.  Also I am a huge Yankee fan and can not wait to see them win again this year.