Monday, April 25, 2011

Social Justice Event

        The social justice event I attended was the Lesley Grinner's speech on Twilight and SCWAMP. This speech was very interesting to me even though I have not seen the movie I was able to follow along and understand her points. She explained challenges in women studies classrooms. how it is hard to have a straight forward conversation because males think they might say the wrong things. or women will get offended off little things. there is fear of the man, fear of reverse racism, fear of left wing agenda. i never realized people could be afraid of so many things beyond their limits of control.
      First an obvious connection, we discussed, in depth,is the idea of SCWAMP. this stands for Straight, Christian, White[ness], Able-bodied, Male, Property owners. i feel she picked the right characteristics to focus on, she was very smart in her studies, i agree with all six categories, unfortunately. these large aspects of our culture were cleverly broken down into understandable terms that i know everyone can understand. she then continued to open everyones eyes and ears as she related all this to a very popular movie Twilight. in this film the directors created a very multicultural cast. but SCWAMP is visible. we see the wealthy white family with obvious power and the darker skinned family who is clearly living on the other side of life. 
        People should be able to discuss race, class, gender and sexuality without worrying if they will offend the person sitting next to them. this entitles them knowing which words are the right words to be using to discuss these matters. Grinner's talk relates to this idea and this idea was taken from an author of a piece we read, Johnson. He said efforts need to be made to talk about these things in classes, with teachers and students, without judgement.
        Because her talk revolved around a movie, i feel it is appropriate to relate her to Christensen. movies today and in the past touch on subjects about race, culture, gender and sexuality. children learn from TV shows, movies and computers. my parents were always cautious of what my sisters and i watched when we were growing up. there was a time my mom didn't want us to watch 3 stooges because she was afraid we wouldn't catch on to the fact they are "professionals" and that we would start hitting each other. children model their idols after actors and athletes, anyone who gets publicity and they see this publicity on the TV. many young children have seen the movie Twilight and have therefore been exposed to issues of diversity, maybe without even recognizing it. 
        There is a little bit of Deplit in her presentation and some McIntosh. The movie Twilight has the code of power in it, the white family has power and money. the other main family is a different ethnicity and they are less powerful. i have not seen the movie to have taken note on the way the different families speak but i think that would be interesting to do, to see if they speak in the Delpit voice. do they ask questions or give direct orders? The McIntosh aspect comes out of the same things. the white family having power over the other families. even though the vampire family is having affairs within its own house hold that seems to be overlooked by all because they have money.
        the men in this film [Twilight] are strong powerful, muscular, smart men. they seem all powerful. a goal they share is to protect Bella's pure body. this is also showing men are more powerful and have more self control. although i feel this can be debated in real life. women can be powerful, controlling and strong but men always feel they have the upper hand.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Education Is Politics


        I believe that an enthusiastic teacher makes for an enthusiastic classroom. students who are eager to learn will learn better because they feel more comfortable with their teacher and classmates and therefore will ask more questions and help themselves understand the material better.  students learn better when the process is creative. i know this is true from personal experience. i like to do hands on activities and prefer to be in a group or at least allowed to be up and walking around while i learn. i feel this helps take care of my ancyness [?] it also is just more interesting, i am an athlete and have always been use to constantly moving around and having a busy schedule. a classroom that is active but controlled is ideal for me and probably will be how my future classroom will be.
        there is a comment in this article about the star charts and how competition is a good aspect in a classroom. but out of competition is a winner and a loser and soon we being to learn how to categorize other people and judge them for things that do not need to be judged such as a persons pace of learning. i feel that the only competition in a classroom should be friendly competition with no immediate winner or loser. children can be praised for their work and know that their hard work paid off. in the real world their are winners and losers. there will always be someone else competing against you for a job, a spot on a team, a dorm room, a college acceptance, maybe even a significant other. to be oblivious and completely protected from the thought of winners and losers will only hurt the children. i feel there is a happy medium for this situation. i disagree with the statistics about females not being as good in math and other things. anyone can beat the norm. and not just one person but many people can beat the norms. challenging statements and theories is the part of growing and learning. a baby naturally challenges gravity as they try to walk. they challenge their bodies without even knowing it when they start to roll over and crawl. toddlers challenge parents orders and discover good and bad consequences. this continues all through peoples lives and should be occurring naturally in classrooms.

this was a long read, i was getting annoyed with some statements that were being said and ideas being brought up. i feel people think into life too much, maybe i think this way because i try not to let things get to me and have always been very easy going, so statements about not being excited for classes and trying to figure out what was wrong was not so interesting for me because it is different in every class room and up to the teacher to figure out what they need to fix and work within that school to make their learning/teaching environment better for all.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kliewer-Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

        This article was interesting to me because I am focusing on Special Education. One of my good friends sister has down syndrome and in knowing her I feel I can make a connection with the stories shared. My friends sister is enrolled in the public school system. She goes to classes with everyone else but there is a special room for her and others with learning disabilities to go when they are having a rough day or when it is time for them to practice the work they need extra help with. She is expected to meet the class requirements and the same graduation requirements that the rest of the school is expected to meet. She is not a dumb kid, she knows whats up. She has some social problems yes but she has a great sense of humor. She will pick on you and when you do it back to her she is quick with the comebacks. You just need to be careful of what you say because sometimes she does not understand.
        In my senior year I became a member of our schools "Best Buddies" program. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is a organization put together by students to help the students who are dealing with down syndrome, social awkwardness or any other special need, have a fun place to go after school. this helps them make friends with more people in school so they do not feel out of place or threatened. a couple non sped students are assigned a sped student to become "buddies" with. this sounds like it is a chore but it is all volunteer work and the students that participate really do care so it makes for the best experiences. I feel all schools should take part in this.
        "Community acceptance requires opportunity for individual participation in the group, but opportunity cannot exist outside of community acceptance." the students in best buddies are accepted for who they are, the accept the other students for who they are too, it is a judgment, worry free zone. when one person shows they care and want to make a difference it can spread through a community.  i think the first teacher in this reading who puts on the "where the wild things are" play, is making a good move. engaging the whole class and a large part of the community. students are students. people are people. no one plans how they are born and what events will happen in their lives. so we should all make the effort to keep everyone happy and learning.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Teaching Techniques [based on readings from Finn and Oakes]

Connections: Use the reading to make connections to two other readings we have done in class. discuss the texts in relation to one another.

        In Patrick Flin's, Literacy With An Attitude, he makes several observations and points about how being illiterate has a different impact on society today than it did several years ago. He makes a few comments that reminded me of statements made in other works we have read.
        Finn comments on classroom structure. He talks about having different classrooms. There was a school where there were 400 8th graders and they were put into classes based on their reading levels. the "lower" classes got smaller as the year went on because this was filled with many "trouble students who got in trouble and ended up leaving the class or school all together. the classes for the lower students were harder to learn in because they were made up of all the distracted kids who need to much assistance and guidance. this is a factor that contributed to making it hard for a lower student to do well in school and get moved into the higher room. he says "it is a touchy subject to talk about poverty stricken children about the numbers gathered about how poor children are not being educated like they should." this statement made me think of Johnson. this is definitely an issue of privilege, power and difference.
        There was a quote i took from Oakes piece concerning the common result of society's actions, which goes hand in hand with Finns work. " Rich get richer, poor get poorer." "Tracking is a response to significant differences among students and an ongoing contribution to those differences." the schools "fix" to the problems seem to be hurting the issue more.
Also at the end of chapter 2 Finn shows and example from a "executive elite school", the students here have almost no limits. it seems to me that the teachers are more friends and supervisors than instructers and disipline enforcers. the students can run the office, leave class without a pass, they are in charge of their own school day. this to me seems like Johnson because these children are children who have more  money therefore this becomes an issue of class.
        I also found relations to Delpit while reading through these pieces this week. Finn tells the audience about when he was working in a school district that had students with many personal problems and were struggling in the classroom. it went by seniority [for teachers] to decide who would tackle the more challenging students to control. Finn was given a tough classroom, in fact 4 tough classes. He brags about the assistant principle walking by and showing off his classroom because for the most part the students were all quiet and working. this was a big improvement for that school. Finn told us he was very direct with his words and directions. there was no room for discussion. when someone was off task and talking he didn't speak in question form because that can be used as a chance for the student to be further distracted as they would try to out smart the teacher. instead he would say something like get back to work and stop talking, this way the student did not have the oppurtunity to talk back to him. this is a Deplit connection. there can be no communication here. the students always have work to do and the teacher is very direct with them and clearly in charge. he is using a direct style and enforcing the code of power.
        There was also evidence of Kohn's theory in chapter 2 of Finn's work. in the working class schools, teachers in social studies rooms prepare their own notes that the students copy, the teachers then have the students answer questions from the textbook. they do less discussions , especially of controversial topics. these teachers literally teach from the book. According to Kohn it is a bad sign, if the teacher is heard the loudest, there is no hum of discussion and the teacher seems to have total control of a seemingly boring classroom.

i think Oakes piece was very interesting, it kept my attention a little more than the first reading. at my high school we had honors classes which remind me of the "low ability" and "high ability" classes but to a slightly different level. in my high school there were definitely times where some students in my classes were behind on work or way a head and sometimes this did affect the way our teacher was able to conduct class for that section. i also dislike when grades are made public, my physics teacher used to post the grades but instead of your name it would be your date of birth, no one really knew anyones birthday by heart so i feel this is a good strategy if the teachers feel the need to post grades publicly.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Extended Comments on Title IX [focusing on athletics]

        Sarah's blog post for this week stood out the most to me because i can relate to her stories and connections. i also agreed with the statements made in the article she choose. It states that the most popular activities for females to take part in were dancing [square-dancing] and cheerleading. personally i would dislike doing both for an extended period of time but would want to do something because i enjoy being active. since i was little my attitude has always been, i can do anything a boy can do and no one can tell me different. and i feel this is true for anyone, a job or sport can be done by any person no matter what gender they are. men and women should have he same pay for the same jobs and same amount of attention available, even if the audience still prefers to pay more attention to the men.
        As Sarah states, athletics are a good alternative from drugs and other troublesome activities. they have less time to sit around and think of better ways to entertain themselves. being active makes your body healthier which in turn usually makes one think about making healthier choices all around and carrying out these thoughts.  which can decrease the chances of getting certain diseases in life. i am a runner, i was a member of my high school track team for all four years and am currently on the track team here. whenever i go a couple days without running my body feels weird. i feel like i have been making unhealthy choices. i use running as a way to have personal time and get my mind off of daily problems and dilemmas. by being allowed to compete against other schools and other girls i can test my personal limits and satisfy my competitive personality. I am even competitive when it comes to how much attentions girls get compared to boys and the lack of recognition women receive everywhere.
        In an article from Dr. Bogad's blog [] there were several examples of women's personal privacy getting invaded and nothing being done to remedy the situation. This article made me upset. college students do not take rape and sex seriously, i would expect this behavior from high schoolers or middle schoolers but maybe i set my expectations of people too high. soem statements said by these students were disgusting and very rude. it seems that they just constantly taunt women. they women complain but nothing gets done. this is extremely wrong in my eyes and even though Title IX has made some drastic, positive changes, i am not fully satisfied with todays gender controversies. i feel that if men were to realize the issue and try to make a change then things would happen, if women keep trying we may just keep hitting the same wall.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brown Takes on Board of Education

Question: What is the relationship between the historical issues you see in the website on Brown vs. Board of Education and the contemporary issues of race that Bob Herbert and Tim Wise raise here?

        The website informs viewers of the events that took place from 1954 to today. It has all been a battle to change the way the "law of the land" affected blacks. Americans of color were condemned to second-class citizenship in the 1900's even though the end of the Civil War was suppose to bring racial equality. The website informs us that they rose to "dismantle constitutionally- sanctioned segregation." The exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History was only open for one year because of the 50th anniversary of the major turing point in history.
        Tim Wise discusses the bias in school regarding racism in schools. He feels that if we work equally hard then you should have the same opportunities. A quote from him about this is if we are " a truly equal society then we should have a truly equal society." The second video clip discussed civil rights, and voting. He kept saying that the whites are in denial. He backed this up with the fact 2/3 of whites said more blacks want to live off of welfare but only 1 out of 7 African Americans in the country received any kind of public assistance.
        Bob Herbert discusses the topic of children growing up in a poor community and how this affects how they do in school. The best teachers try to avoid these areas. The students are already behind because they do not have much assistance at home and now they are stuck with teachers who are not as qualified as they should be. His argument was that if a poor student is taken and placed in an environment with people in the middle class they tend to begin to do better in school. But depending on their race there may be racial and ethnic integration.
     In Brown v. Board of Education, a final statement was "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." The website, video and article all focus on an issue that has been affecting society for a very long time. There have been several attempts to gain equality for all no matter what race or ethnicity. Some have been successful and some have failed. Although the issues in the historical article are not as intense and terrible as they are today. I feel that teachers all need to be educated in the same way and not be afraid to take a risk and go into a poor community and make a difference.  The students are already struggling and need help and positive guidance.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In The Service of What? by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

hyperlink: Discuss the issues the author raises in the text in relation to real world concerns by creating links to articles, videos, and other websites that illuminate the issues at hand. discuss both the text and the hyperlink in detail to fully explain the connections.

In the text "In the Service of What?" the authors discuss students activities throughout the community. They feel that there needs to be more work done in grades k-12 with the students. One 12th grade student worked with "crack" babies, helping in the home for them. Another student worked in a hospital doing errands and helping patients find their rooms. A third student made and gave out survival kits for the homeless. These are all good example of students working throughout the community. The teachers feel "the students interact with those less fortunate than themselves and would experience the excitement and joy of learning while using the community as a classroom." Another classroom, 7th graders, worked together and listened to guest speakers about homeless groups and together they came up with solutions to the amount of homeless. they looked at social, economical, legal and political aspects. this group did fundraisers to raise money for them. These are things all students should be working on. I feel it is a good life lesson and experience to work with less fortunate and get a feel for how the government decides and takes care of these situations. This video from YouTube is a group called Saint Vincent DePaul they are a catholic group that works to help the homeless. thousands of students in the U.S. volunteer to assist these people.

This is talking about catholic school students but they are not the only ones helping out. these children learn valuable lessons at a young age that will stay with them throughout the rest of their lives. This article proves students are reaching out and enjoying it. this provides "authentic learning experiences" and teach the students discipline because they are committed to a group.Service learning does not have to just be in the open community, it can be  in a classroom. one grade going into an other grades classrooms to help them learn to read or write. overall student service learning is a positive event that schools should continue to do.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beastly Video Clip

This is the movie Beastly I was talking about in class. This film is a twist off of Beauty and The Beast. It is a very modernized form of the popularly known Disney film. The main character, Kyle was an attractive rich young boy but had little respect for anyone. A curse was put on him and this is when he becomes beastly looking. In order for his looks and life to return to normal he must find someone who is willing to love him fully despite his looks. This looks like it will be a good movie!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Films with Hidden Messages

Argument: Describe the authors argument in a short statement, follow it with a paragraph explaining that argument in your own words. The argument is not a summary of ideas but an explaination of the authors worst significant contribution or idea. what is his/her main point here.

This author, Linda Christensen, argues that cartoon shows we watch while growing up are filled with hidden messages or as she says "secret education." I feel that this is true, and I also agree with her statement that most people do not catch these messages or think to look or them until they are told about them. Christensen argues that once people find out about the hidden messages they feel differently about the shows and will not watch them anymore nor will they let their children view the shows. This is not always true because I was told about the hidden messages and at first my response was "noooo don't tell me you'll ruin it for me!" But it actually did not take anything away from me because the films deal with real life issues. Why sugar coat  it, there are issues dealing with race that still exist. I was told by a friend that my favorite movie, Finding Nemo, is a movie which makes fun of people with special needs. Nemo's gimpy find, Dory's short term memory loss, Deb and "Aunt Flow", the fish that is obsessed with bubbles. Although these are not good ways to address situations it does open everyone's eyes to these issues. I can still enjoy Disney movies and will let my children watch them. This might sound bad but I personally do not discriminate and are mature enough to treat everyone equally and i plan on working with special needs children so I will be making it clear to everyone that they are no different than anyone else.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Too Young

        The website created by GLSEN is full of strongly opinionated articles and links. Their mission is to strive to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. After looking over this website for over an hour I have come to realize that this statement is true. One link on this website is On this link there are tips on how to support LGBT issues and the opportunity for visitors to take a stand against anti-LGBT language. This site informed me that this can be done through an interactive pledge form that will allow teens to "say something original" by writing other catch phrases to say instead of things such as "that's so gay." By giving teens a place to put their feelings in the open there is a chance for change. I personally do not use the phrase "that's so gay." I feel that it is not the correct term to use to describe something, not only because that is not the true meaning of the word but also because people get offended by that. Just because someone is a homosexual does not mean that there is anything wrong with them and to associate the word "gay" with an issue that upsets someone or puts it into a negative statement is unacceptable in my eyes.
        There was an article related to this issue that stood out to me from the rest. It was about suicide and harassment that goes on in schools, elementary school, middle school and high school. There was an 11 year old boy who committed suicide by hanging himself. He did so because at school he was being bullied and some of the comments being made were accusing him of being gay. This event took place in Springfield Mass. in the year 2009. 11 years old means that you most likely in fifth grade. There is an obvious problem in society if students this age are harassing others over sexual orientation. The teachers do not know how to react to situations like these so there might be a time where the students are not reprimanded for their actions or the situation is not handled correctly. This article gave statistics from the year 2007. "9 out of 10 LGBT youth [86.2%] are verbally harassed, where 44.1% have reported being physically  harassed and 22.1% said they were actually physically assaulted." This is a survey taken from more than 6,000 LGBT students. These numbers are shocking, students tease each other all the time, especially in middle school and high school. However when they are in middle school it is difficult for some students to decipher the tone the students are using, they may be kidding but they may be serious, either way those are not the right words to be messing around with. An 8th grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in Cali, because he "was gay." This website also gives 4 helpful hints to help solve bullying problems. Which can be found at this link, If one by one we change how we talk others around us will pick up on it and hopefully we can change how others think and speak.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Trading In One Language For Another

Reflection: Much like your think piece writing from early in the semester, write about your personal connections to this text. what does it make you think about? how does it relate to you?

        Richard Rodriguez was born into a spanish speaking family. This was the language he grew up understanding and reciting. That is until he entered school and needed to begin using English more and more. He talks about the struggles he went through while his family made the language transfer. This article reminded me of my childhood. I was born into an italian speaking house hold. My mother was born in Italy so her side of the family speaks fluent Italian almost all of the time. My father was not born in Italy but his grandmother and mother speak Italian so as a child I was around much Italian. As I learned to talk in English I was also learning Italian. I could speak and understand both. However there were times where I would confuse the two languages. This became an issue as I entered kindergarten. I was pronouncing English words incorrectly because I was bilingual. I was made to take a speech class which I was very unhappy and embarrassed about. I made my cousin go with me because I needed support. Like Richard had his siblings to struggle with I too wanted someone to change with. Rodriguez had an experience that was harder to change and affected his life more than my personal experience. Although this is the case it does not change the fact that I have been through a similar situation. When I was reading about how he did not know how to address his parents after he and his siblings started speaking more English made me feel sorry for him. His whole life was turned upside down and he could no longer find a happy place, going home was not the same because it was not "special" for him anymore.
        This made me think of a friend from home. She moved to Rhode Island from Mexico in elementary school, she spoke fluent English. Her mother spoke Spanish to her and her sisters at home. Growing up with her I have heard of the struggles she's been through just because of the language barrier. Her mother can not go to parent teacher conferences because her English is not strong enough. She did not talk to her mom about things because it was too much work and sometimes to hard to translate the conversation from language to language. My friend had to step up with tasks parent usually take care of such as taxes and paying bills and what not. This article and personal connection also made me think of the students in the class I am tutoring. Many of them have proven to be bilingual. I am now wondering how many students have been in this situation or will face this problem in the future. When I talk to the students they understand me, some stare at me for a second as if they are translating my statement in their head and then figuring out their english response. When the teacher introduces new words to them I can hear some of the students try to read them and pronounce them with an accent. The teacher tries to make sure all students are reading with an english accent. Knowing how these events affect others as compared to what it did to me can help me and other teachers become better and more understanding.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Amazing Grace" by Jonathan Kozol

Quotes: Choose three quotes from the text and explain what they mean and their relevance to the text.

"Depression is common among children in Mott Haven. Many cry a great deal but cannot explain exactly why." [Kozol 4]
This statement is important to the text and it is meaningful. Children see and hear events they should not be hearing at a young age. Kozol states almost everyone in the area of St. Ann's knows someone who has died of AIDS wether it was a family member or a neighbor. These young children deal with parents and other family members using drugs such as heroin and cocaine. This is a lot for a child to have to handle especially if they do not have someone to talk to about the events. They may being to think they are the problem, seeing their parents unhappy and sick will make them feel more depressed. Even if they are not in any physical danger the events they see everyday will eventually pay a toll on their behavior which could be a reason they are crying without a clear explanation. This quote gives the readers a glimpse of the rough life the children in the Bronx deal with and we know this happens in other areas as well. Children deal with drug use, abuse, freezing weather conditions and lack of shelter.

"The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants," she says. "The waste incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection." [Kozol 10]
The next question asked is "does this insult you?" The woman replied saying that it use to. This quote goes to show just how bad of an area these people live in. If the people put the incinerator there it is probably not an eye sore for the area. She goes on to explain that she is no longer insulted because all around her is trashy. For example there is a large garbage dump a few blocks away so the trucks are always going thru her area. The people who live in that area are not thought of very highly otherwise the towns people would try harder to put the foul smelling equipment in a different location. This quote also shows how little control the community members have and how little say they have on the situation and what happens in their community. This is a key fact to the essay because the reader can get a better understanding yet again of the poor conditions these school children live in. Their lungs are not good because the air they breathe in everyday is bad especially for them because their lungs are still growing and adapting.

"If poor people behaved rationally," says Lawrence Mead, a professor of political science at New York University, " they would seldom be poor for long in the first place." [Kozol 21]
This statement is very important because it is saying poor people are lower in society because of how they themselves act. I feel this has some truth to it. If you are in a bad situation most people want to get themselves out of it and will go to any lengths to do so. When the lower class residents try to over come the conditions they are in they mostly turn in the wrong direction which is to selling drugs and committing crimes to try and better themselves and the lives of their family members. If you are born into a poor family you can not help that but you can change your own future, by hard work one can obtain an education and be able to get a decent job and eventually they will work their way out of the lower class. So yes one can change their life by their behaviors and this is important because there are many low income towns and if those people can get an education things can change for the better.

Question/Comment/Point to Share: This article was an eye opener, reading the stories all the murders and terrible deaths made me realized what some people are going through. I had heard of events like these taking place but they always seemed so distant. Now reading this article with events taking place in New York I have a better awareness. I also have a new outlook on the children I could be working with in a school in my future. You can not tell from looking at someones face what they have been through and until you know them and their story you can not judge. For this reason everyone should be given equal opportunities.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


hello, I'm Rachel Frazier and I am a freshmen planning to major in Early childhood Education with a concentration in special education. I am from Westerly, RI which is about an hour south from RIC. I have been running track since 6th grade and am currently on the RIC track team. I am a sprinter, I mostly run the 400 meter race. It has been a very rewarding experience so far. When I'm not in class or doing homework I enjoy spending time with my friends and suite mates. I like to be outdoors and am pretty out going. I enjoy all kinds of music and played the saxophone from 5th grade to 9th grade. Music has always been a major part of my life. I am looking forward to the semester but i know it will be a challenging one.