Friday, December 12, 2014

Promising Practices

Getting myself up for Promising practices on a Saturday was definitely tough but it was well worth it after getting up and starting the day. When I was walking up to the door I really hoped to see some people from class, and I did which was nice. After a few words from some people we were off to our first sessions of the day. As I went into Gaige I went up into my old math room for Why STEM out when you can STEAM ahead? Where a RIC student told us about a lesson that she planned for a fifth grade class that would have the students “ Create a roller costar model and a marble to move on based on what they know about forces ex. How can they make the marble go faster or slower in order to create a specific track.” She showed us pictures where students used art to draw their designs before they created them and after to show how their design change or stayed the same based on how well the did their original designs.
            After she presented her lesson and her results she had the supplies from the project for us to try. Ashley and me created a really nice successful coaster. It was a great seminar and I really liked how she proved that art is important. As someone who enjoys art it was nice seeing someone from a different discipline trying to integrate it as people are trying to push it away due to budget cuts in some communities.
            For my second seminar I met up with Anthony, Branden, and Lindsey for Using Technology in Early Childhood Classrooms. This was a small shock because it was a misprint on the signup site that had it labeled tech K-12. Although it was center around elementary I didn’t mind because that is my major. They talked about a lot of ways to integrate technology into the classroom, some that I have seen before and
others that I have not. I really like the smart board games that they had to play, the games were also really educational.

            For the final piece we went back for the keynote speaker Dr. Christopher Emdin who talked about hip-hop education and ways to better educate in urban societies. I really enjoyed everything he had to say and would recommend the video link to anyone who else in the education department because I feel that it is a useful bit of information. Overall, I had a good time at Promising Practices

Connection #3 Collier

For my third connection I chose to connect to Collier. I decided this because there was many time that the kids I worked with and others in the class that I interacted with that answered me somewhat or fully in Spanish. For instance a few times students would count in Spanish to do math and so on. As well in the hallways signs were in both English and Spanish.

Collier says that you should use the student’s first language to help the student learn their second. I believe this as well, because in the classes I was working in one student was having trouble figuring out a problem. I then asked the other child if he could help out the other student so I could see if he understood the problem. He went to try and explain in English but stopped and ended in Spanish. This student I believe couldn’t find the words he was looking to say and he resorted back to his first language which Collier would agree with. I didn’t tell them that they were wrong I let them go and talk in Spanish and they got it right.
This brings me to Colliers guideline # 6 “immediately generates a question. Which language is best for English-language learner literacy development: the home language. English (the second language), or both? Happily, the research is clear about the best choice. The ‘most successful long-term academic achievement occurs where the students' primary language is the initial language of literacy’ (174). First, at the early stages of instruction, using the home language for literacy builds the self-worth of language minority students. Further, literacy research states that first language literacy favorably influences subsequent second language literacy (175). Once a child becomes literate in the home language, literacy skills swiftly transfer to second language settings.”
            This to me is showing that it is ok for students to use their first language and that in the early phases of childhood they will quickly pick up their second language. This connects perfectly because the students now are just making it into that stage of picking  it up quickly.


Connection #2 Shore

For my second connection I chose to connect to Shor’s Empower Education. I really connected with his work because I have seen some of the things he has talked about in the classrooms that I tutored in. The first week when I showed up to the school, the math coach told me that the kids I would be working with need help in math. She handed me a folder and told me that this is what I could work on with them. When I opened it up it was a small math game and a big stack of worksheets, they all looked they same but when I looked closer they were all slightly different.
When I started to work with them I decided that I would play the game with them first just to get to know them and see what they know. That game was just simple addition and all they had to do was roll two dice and add them and move that many spaces, then answer the addition problem.  I was extremely surprised to see the difficulty they had staying focused and the trouble they had answering the problems in the setting that it was given. After we finished the game I opened the folder to put it way and they saw their worksheets. They begged me for them; I gave them each one worksheet that had the same problems that the game had just a few moments ago. After just five minutes they were already half way done.
This leads me to my quote that triggered this connection; Shor says “ While principals, teachers, and textbooks may lecture students on freedom, non participatory classrooms prepare them for authoritarian work world and political system they will join. In postsecondary education non-participatory classes confirm undemocratic experiences of adults in school and society. Teacher-centered curricula in the classroom and administration-centered power in the school or college reflects the reality of other social institutions. Traditional schools thus prepare students to fit into education and society nit run for them or by them but rather set up for and run by elites.” This to me connected because the kids here are just doing mindless work and when they are put into a different situation where they have to apply these skills in a real world situation like playing a board game they couldn’t recall how to do the same types of problems when they’re not on a worksheet. It was like they forgot everything they knew.

This passive education is preparing them for passive work in the workplace. College classes that are non participatory are not helping. In my own experiences here at Rhode Island College there have been classes that fit into this category. These classes were full of big handouts full of readings and work that would be due that next week and all we would do is packet after packet. In others we would just be looking at a PowerPoint and listen to a monotone voice tell us why it’s important. My point is that I don’t remember a thing from these classes. Professor Bogad had brought it up in class on Thursday that it’s not learning its memorizing and memorizing is not learning. Further more the way this class was run was ideal and I remember almost all the content that was went over because the discussions in class and the reading engrained them into my brain instead of putting them on the surface and memorizing them for a short instance.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shor- Empowering Education (Hyperlinks post)

This week while reading Empowering Education, I found it to be very interesting. I decided to do a hyper links post, because I thought there would be a fair amount of information on the topic. Just from the title I thought it would have something to do with the way a teacher ran or taught their class. After getting into it I found that Shor’s main topic was, that teachers need to not just teach but to get kids critically thinking and analyzing problems not just memorizing what they were told. I went on to look up critical thinking andanalyzing problems and got a page that defined it gave some tips in how to better your skills at it. I think that at it may be something that would be of value to touch base on in a classroom. I also found a quote that really ties into this, "This would set a questioning tone and show the children that you trust them and that they are intelligent enough at their own level, to investigate and come up with answers” (11). This quote connects to Shor’s main idea because it seems like his point is that student’s shouldn’t be so passive when it comes to their education, they should want to be actively involved in what they are learning. And educators should be willing to acknowledge that students have this ability to critically think about their education and let them do so.
Ira Shor 

The next link that I found is a blog from an elementary school teacher who uses the blog as “A website for teachers to use as a tool to incorporate critical pedagogy in their classrooms.”, another topic of Shor’s.

The final link I decide to include is City University of New York’s web page for Ira Shor. The page includes his research interests, specializations, and selected publications.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome- Reflection

This week while I was reading Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome I thought that I would do a reflections post because from personal experiences from past experiences in middle and high school. From my experiences in school it depended on the grade level whether or not special needs kids were in the same classes as kids not classified as special needs. For example grades k-6 there were special needs children mixed into regular classes and there was no special needs class that was separated from other classes, but they would get pulled out here and there like everyone else who needed help with math or English. Then when I made it to middle school and high school kids that were special needs only attended gym and other electives like art with the rest of the school population. The rest of the day they were segregated to one room for the rest of the day. They stayed in that one room for around four hours or a little more. The bells would ring to change classes and they would pop there heads out of the room for a few and just watched us pass. To be honest it was a sad thing to see. Because if you asked them if they wanted to sit in that room all day, just like us they would say no.

This quote I found in the reading really ties into this on a few levels one being them being separated and a second on the point of them being labeled; “It’s not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label. We’re all here- kids, teachers, parents, whoever- it’s all about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that’s what learning is.” This really hits home to me because I believe that just like kids that are not special needs, children with disabilities have a lot to bring to the table in the classroom as well and including them in regular classroom activities is crucial

This week i decided to do a hyperlink to to an article i thought fight this post well. It is called inclusion in the Classroom.