Sunday, November 27, 2016

   Image result for rules and codes of power in classroom

November 27, 2016
Education is Politics
   by Ira Shor
Extended Comments/Reflections/Connections

This article was placed exactly where it should be as the last one.  I found that I could relate it to many of the past authors we have read. It has been difficult for me this semester to do the extended comments blog as I think many others work on them a lot later than I do. This week I have decided to use Cassie's blog for extended comments and then relate Shor's article to connections of other authors. Cassie used quotes and reflection for her blog. The first quote was "The teacher plays a key role in the critical classroom.  Student participation and positive emotions are influenced by the teacher's commitment to both.  One limit to this commitment comes from the teacher's development in traditional schools where passive, competitive, and authoritarian methods dominated." (Shor 26) I feel like Cassie is right, most people have had that teacher who is not interested in what they are teaching.  Although I have been out of high school a lot longer than most, I can still recall those dreaded teachers.  I had several that were not engaged with the students and time seemed to very slowly drag by.  In my situation, those classes were ones that I did not do as well in as others. The next quote Cassie talked about was, "If the students' task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted." (Shor 12) I also agree with Cassie, students should be taught beyond the guidelines to increase students abilities to think critically and open their eyes. Because I have been out of high school for close to 30 years, there are only a few teachers that I will never forget. I had a great teacher in high school that was so passionate in his subject that he would act out the point he was trying to convey.  I remember him jumping on desks and running around the room just to project his point and make us understand the material.  Well, it worked because I still remember it today.  The teachers that were not engaging I cannot tell you anything that happened the entire year. In fact, there are several classes I took that I cannot remember who the teacher even was. The third quote Cassie used was, "Until students experience lively participation, manual authority, and meaningful work, they will display depressed skills and knowledge, as well as negative emotions. Teachers will be measuring and reacting to an artificially low picture of student abilities." (Shor 21) Cassie's point on this is the same for me.  I have found in my other classes that if a teacher does not attempt to bring their students into a conversation and encourage participation then I'm the one that sits in the back of the classroom very quiet. In our FNED class, Dr Bogad makes it easy to participate and interesting. Some of the authors that I feel Shor's piece connects with is where he says, "School funding is another political dimension of education because more money had always been invested in the education of upper-class children and elite collegians than has been spent on students from lower-income homes and in community colleges." (Shor 15) Kozel had proposed traditional schooling contributes to the culture of power. Empowering education means thriving in a classroom of mutual respect where questioning everything is encouraged. Shor states that a key to empowering education is critically thinking. Also, discourages teachers assuming the stereotypical role of all-knowing adult there to educate the children and encourage teachers and students working together to make learning happen. Image result for tracking in students This connects to Jeannie Oakes' article on tracking. She analyzes how separating children by ability dictates how rich of an education children receive. Children in lower ability classes spend more time learning basic facts that don't encourage critical thinking while those in higher ability classes spend more time on diving into the topics. Finn was critical of the difference of education given to upper-class and working-class students, while Shor believes that education in working-class schools should allow students to understand and demand their political civil rights just like an upper class school. Shor says, "Asking my students to memorize the rules without asking who makes the rules, who enforces the rules, who benefits from the rules, who loses from the rules....legitimates a social system that devalues my students' knowledge and language." (Shor 53) This reminds me of Delpit's "Rules and Codes of Power" where Delpit suggests teachers should create opportunities for more than one language in their classrooms. Shor says, "If the students' task is to memorize rules and existing knowledge, without questioning the subject matter or the learning process, their potential for critical thought and action will be restricted." (Shor 12) This reminded me of our class where Dr. Bogad handed out a "ditto" and gave us 20 minutes to fill it out.  While she said she was waiting for someone to object or refuse, I would never have done something like that.  I was always taught to do whatever the teacher tells you to do. There are many other author connections that relate to Shor but this is where I will leave it for now.

The following video is from the movie Clueless, a perfect example of students from upper class

This video is a great lesson on privilege and opportunity for upper and lower class students:

This video has the song "The Rules of the Classroom", 6 rules for kids to follow...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Image result for down syndrome in school

November 20, 2016
Citizenship in school: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome
  by: Christopher Kliewer

This article by Kliewer discusses how the special education systems work in most schools across the country today.  He talks about the way to be successful in life is to form relationships with others in the community and this article specifically talks about Down syndrome children in the classroom. He states, "Such acceptance is the aim when children with Down syndrome join their nondisabled peers in classrooms, and many schools and individual teachers have entered into this effort, which seeks and finds community value in all children." (74) One of the few teachers that use a very different approach is Shayne Robbin. Her work with children who are Down syndrome is a very different approach of how children with special needs can be integrated with non special needs students and what they may contribute and be valued as an important part of her class. She uses the strengths of each student to develop lessons that appeal to them. She believes you should not single out the student with the disability but instead incorporate his or her needs with the needs of every student. Kliewer focuses on ways schools should avoid isolating children with Down syndrome in a different classroom. Students with disabilities should not be educated differently. Children with special needs have to be nurtured and given additional attention but also when they learn in a mainstream environment, students receive the same education and learn from each other. This reminds me of something Kozol said, "Clumping so many people, all with the same symptoms and same problems, in one crowded place with nothin' they can grow on? Our children start to mourn themselves before their time." (Kozol, 11) And also in last weeks articles, Jeannie Oakes talked about tracking in schools. She stated, "School professionals and parents oppose tracking because they believe it locks most students into classes where they are stereotyped as "less able," and where they have fewer opportunities to learn." (Oakes, 178) Both Kozol and Oakes believe that putting less abled students together will make them believe they are less abled and not able to be what they want or who they are. Segregating children because of their disabilities does not inspire them to become successful.
         While reading this weeks article, it brought back many memories from my own family. My father's sister was Down syndrome born in 1942. She was 3 years older than my dad but her mental state remained that of an 8-10 year old. Her name was Marjorie and she attended elementary school and was put in a special ed classroom for all her years of schooling. When she reached a certain age, she was moved to the junior high and again placed into the special ed classroom. She remained there until she aged out. I think she was approximately 18 and never made it to high school. She was able to read and write in cursive. She could do simple math but did not go beyond a 3rd grade level or so. She did not have any of the opportunities described in this article. When she left school, she stayed home for the next year or so. Her father died shortly after, and because he was their only remaining parent, my dad and Marjorie went to live with their older sister.  At this time, Marjorie went to "work" at the Fogarty Center several days a week. This was a place that welcomed people with developmental disabilities and made them productive members of the community. They would make things or put things together that would be sold. They would be paid for each item they completed.  I remember growing up how important it was to Marjorie to show us her paycheck. Usually she would make $3 -$15 a week depending on what they were working on. But the amount didn't matter to her as the concept of money meant nothing, she was just so proud of her paycheck. She did this for many years until her retirement. She died approx 20 years ago. I think of how much she was loved and well taken care of but her education was not something to be proud of. She was not given the opportunity to be her best.
 Image result for down syndrome in school            Image result for down syndrome in school       Image result for down syndrome in school

the little girl in this video talks about being down syndrome and its not scary at all

Don't Limit Me!! is a powerful story of Megan

Sunday, November 13, 2016

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November 13, 2016
Literacy With An Attitude  
    by Patrick J. Finn

  This article by Patrick J. Finn describes that there are two different kinds of literacy education. One is the functional - which is received by working class students, and the empowering - which is received by the wealthy students.  This shows that there is a big difference between different classes of people and how to bridge that gap together.  This article also discusses who is to blame for this gap?  As Kozol also said who are to blame?  Are the rich responsible for intentionally placing them and keeping them in this unempowered place or is it not a person or group doing so intentionally, but rather the systems we are all involved in? A perfect example of a Delpit moment was on pg 4 when Finn said, "I had work assignments on the board when the students entered the classroom, and so there wasn't a moment when they didn't have anything to do. I didn't say to an errant student, "What are you doing?" I said, "Stop that and get to work." No discussion. No openings for an argument." (Finn 4) Delpit says you need to say what it is you want to get done. Finn also says, "people who have the power to make changes are comfortable with he way things are." That's a connection to Delpit's culture of power where she says, "Those with power are frequently least aware of - or least willing to acknowledge - its existence.  Those with less power are often most aware of its existence." (Delpit) Both Finn and Delpit believe that control in the classroom needs to happen or there will be no order. By Finn telling the class exactly what is expected of them, shows them the "rules and codes of power." Finn also mentions in the middle school, "Teachers made every effort to control students' movement. They often kept children after the dismissal bell to finish their work or to punish them for misbehavior." (Finn 11) Teachers don't feel like students are capable of making their own choices so they directed them even if in a negative way. These are the rules and codes of power they would need in their life.  The number of direct orders given in the classroom is low, but the students were constantly being told what to do because the teachers believed they had enough skills to accomplish their tasks. The problem that Finn is trying to point out is that there should be a universal curriculum throughout all school systems no matter what school it is. Schools should be responsible for providing every student with the skills they will need to succeed. Their education should not be limited because it is believed they will only get so far.

short imovie on Literacy with an Attitude:

What is Literacy?

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Promising Practices Reflection
November 11, 2016


I attended the 19th Annual Promising Practices Multicultural Conference on Sat. Nov 5th in the Donovan Dining Center. I was looking forward to this conference as I have been to several in the past and somewhat knew what to expect. The keynote speaker was Robert Brooks, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Lecturer. The topic of his speech was The Power of Mindsets: Strategies to Nurture Resilience. Dr. Brooks was an excellent speaker. He was funny and told many personal stories from his field. The time passed by quickly as he kept his audience's attention. He presented a power point as he was speaking. He offered realistic, practical strategies for nurturing intrinsic motivation, learning and resilience such as: What is the mindset & accompanying strategies of professionals who are effective in nurturing resilience? An essential belief is to recognize the lifelong impact we can have on others: The presence of what Julius Segal called a "charismatic adult" = an adult from whom one "gathers strength." He spoke about how to identify and reinforce each person's "islands of competence"; it is difficult to nurture resilience if we focus primarily on deficits rather than on the strengths that reside in each individual - changing the questions we ask others. He said to provide opportunities for "contributory activities" that add a sense of meaning and purpose to a youth's life. Dr. Brooks ended his speech with a question and answer session. It was now time to move on to the 1st workshop. I chose "Using Transgender -Friendly Picture Books to Build Resiliency, Understanding and Advocacy" with Elizabeth Rowell. I really enjoyed it. She was a bundle of energy and very passionate on transgender people and their rights. She showed a power point and spoke of several cases of children who were transgender at an early age. One child she spoke of was Ryland seen here. She had many picture books that she brought for us to look at. She gave several handouts. One was a list of transgender children's books that were good. She gave us a short story on a transgender boy called Jesse's Dream Skirt by Bruce Mack. We also got a handout on "What Can a Teacher Do to Provide a Safe, Supportive, School Environment for Young Transgender or Gender Supportive Children Including Those Who Might Not Be "Out" Yet?" Some of the suggestions in it were: Use gender neutral language "children/students" instead of boys and girls and find other ways for children to line up instead; use names instead of pesky pronouns' don't separate groups or line up by boys and girls' and be observant, understanding, and flexible.  There were many other suggestions but those were just a few. Here is a site that talks about supporting transgender children in school. During this workshop I saw moments of August in making children feel safe so they can learn and Liz stressed making these kids feel normal and not invisible. It is very important to help Transgender children be accepted as normal in their school. I also saw Delpit moments in the presentation that teachers need to teach the rules and codes of power to others in the classroom.
        After this workshop we headed back to Donovan Dining Center for lunch. The 2nd workshop was not the same experience for me as the 1st. It was very very boring. I had to fight with my eyelids to stay awake. The workshop was called "Wraparound Practice with Families: Family Voice and Choice" presented by Anne Fortier, L.I.C.S.W. She was very nice and did her entire presentation with power point. She handed out several pamphlets. One was "What is the "Wraparound" Process?" The definition is the Family Care Community Partnership brings community based service providers, family members and friends together to build a stronger, brighter future for your family. After an assessment the Family Care Community Partnership puts the family in the center and wraps them with the right local services, community programs and family members and friends in an effort to craft an individualized plan. To be eligible the following are requirements: children birth to 18 years of age who have serious emotional, behavioral and/or mental health challenges; youth who are transitioning from the Juvenile Correctional Facility back into the community; and children and families at risk of involvement with DCYF. With this workshop I would say I saw McIntosh where white people need to actively pay attention to race so they will not go unnoticed. One of the principles of the Wraparound process was Culturally Competent - The process demonstrates respect for and builds on the values, beliefs, and culture of the family. Here is a link to the Family Care Community Partnership.  I think the program is excellent and very important but the presentation was just a snooze fest. My day had been very long up until this point and I was super ready to go home. Overall I really enjoyed the conference and learned a lot.

Image result for transgender books        Image result for transgender books

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 30, 2016                                
Teaching After the Brown vs.                      
Board of Education                               

As I listened to the radio broadcast, I became emotional at times. I kept thinking how can this still be happening? Why is our country still in disarray? I listened to the This American Life Episode in my car and then chose to read the transcript at home before continuing. I wanted to make sure that what I heard was accurate. I again became emotional while reading. Even though I have never experienced what these people went through in Missouri, I truly felt for them. In my mind, segregation is what you learned about in the history books not in present day America. Or so I thought. The fact that there are school districts today like Normandy District, is unacceptable. Brown v. Board of Education was the case in Topeka, Kansas that resulted in the beginning of integration in schools.  That was over 60 years ago!! It was considered one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century. According to Bob Herbert, his view is that while we claim to be post-racism, we really aren't. Many schools are still segregated. There aren't laws that make this happen, but they are segregated due to where people can afford to live and that determines where they go to school. He also claims that poor children in poor schools do worse than poor children in affluent schools. As Kozol said, "the system traps them." Poor children need to receive a better education and programs need to be developed in those poor schools instead of integrating schools based on socioeconomics. Bob Herbert explains that "Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality." He also says that, "If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning environments that are smothered by poverty." He continues to say that it is not about the culture or race of students that matters but "the improved all-around environment of schools with better teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, pupils who are more engaged academically, parents who are more involved, and so on." (Herbert) The Brown vs. Board of Ed case is still relevant in today's society. As I have taken in all of this information, I'm still wondering why is this still going on today? We obviously haven't come as far as what many people believe, and segregation is a big problem. Kozol had said, "Clumping so many people, all with the same symptoms and same problems, in one crowded place with nothin' they can grow on? Our children start to mourn themselves before their time." (Kozol) By putting all poor students together, they will not be able to improve their situations and lead successful lives. They give up hope and are stuck in a "rut." It is very difficult for them to be successful. When Michael Brown was shot and killed, his mother cried, "You took my son away from me. You know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Not many!" Nicole Hannah-Jones states he has become the national symbol of the police violence against black youth and he was in a school that didn't graduate about half of its black boys.
I feel like I am really lucky to be in a school for my service learning that is making change. I have never seen a school like this that has tackled the many issues prevalent in schools today. The school has a commitment to community involvement and take a "whole child" approach to learning. It was formed to help urban students in 3 surrounding cities to complete high school, attend higher education and contribute to their local, regional and global community. As I was reading and listening to this weeks assignments, I kept thinking of this school and how unique they truly are. Imagine if the whole country could emulate this style and approach to learning.

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 In this video 5th grade students from the Bronx talk about segregation. There are only 2 white kids in their class.....