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.

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

           Image result for service learning

October 22, 2016
In the Service of What?

This week's article from Kahne and Westheimer looked at service learning.
By serving those in need in the community, students can benefit. This article highlights the benefits of service learning programs for both students and the communities.  Students can take what they are learning in classrooms and bring it to real life experiences while dealing with the needs of their community. It is very rewarding to create bonds with people in the community so both sides will feel connected and there is genuine concern. Service learning allows students to have a more hands-on learning experience and connect what they are being taught  in classrooms to real world events. Kahne and Westheimer state, "Service learning makes students active participants in service projects that aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students." (2) Sometimes students do not connect with what is being taught in the classrooms and "drift" off.  When there is "action" in the classroom, then sometimes there is more beneficial learning.
Kahne and Westheimer stress that service learning is not just a civic duty. In, "Paul Hanna in his 1937 book, Youth Serves the Community, criticized efforts to serve which provided token amounts of needed aid yet never identified or responded to structural problems." (9) People need to do more than just give back.
This video shows engaging students beyond the classroom with service learning:

 In this video, Project Based Service - Learning Video,  a quote from Benjamin Frankilin: Tell me and I forgot, Teach me and I may remember, Involve me and I learn. - Ben Franklin

While I was reading this article, I was reminded of Joanathan Kozol's Amazing Grace. I have that picture of poor, poverty stricken area's like Mott Haven in my head. They also had volunteers that would come and try to do what they thought was best by handing out condoms and needles to keep AIDS from spreading but that did not stop drug use or prostitution.
As Lisa Delpit said, 'I suggest that students must be taught the codes needed to participate fully in the mainstream of American life, not by being forced to attend to hollow inane, de-contextualized sub-skills, but rather within the context meaningful, communicative endeavors."
Teachers and other educators can make a difference and help make underprivileged children successful. We have the power to give them the tools they need to have a positive impact.

Image result for lisa delpit

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October 16, 2016                                                                      
Option 1

After reading the two articles by Chozick and Soloway, I feel Hillary is presenting herself to the country as powerful and enthusiastic in her speeches. Over the years, I have heard many men shout or speak very loudly in their political speeches and it was never an issue. As we talked about it in class, women tend to change the pitch of their voice when trying to get a point across or ask a question. Now when a woman such as Hillary raises her voice during her speeches, it's not okay because it's not familiar and she's not a man. While Trump thinks his "locker room talk" is perfectly acceptable, his video with Billy Bush shows what an arrogant ass he really is. Soloway states, "and so locker-room talk isn't just talk of women, it's talk of a certain kind of woman. It's talk of the dark half - the degraded feminine. This degraded half has a purpose. She not only invites men into a seemingly whimsical sexual conversation, but also inspires a kind of homosocial proximity."    
This reminds me of White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by McIntosh. She spoke of men's denials that they are over privileged. She says that they may agree that women are at a disadvantage but they aren't willing to lose their power. She states, "males are taught not to recognize male privilege." and "White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks." (McIntosh)
I also thought of Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us by Linda Christensen. Her article was about racism and sexism in cartoons and children's animated movies. Students from her class stated, "what they now see in cartoons, they also see in advertising, on prime-time TV, on the news, in school. They can't escape." (Christensen) Sadly racism and sexism is everywhere and that needs to change. By electing Trump, one would be condoning his actions and lewd comments. Would that then make it okay for men to continue to behave in this manner? Is it okay to degrade women? I don't believe all men talk like Trump does, but I know he is not the only one.
Donald Trump's sexism and extremely rude, degrading comments have been his pattern for many decades. These videos show his long history of belittling women and treating them as objects.


Monday, October 10, 2016

A short video on how sitcoms have handled gay characters through the 70's and 80's. It is a great example of how homosexuals have gradually gained a voice through TV. But, still have a long way to go.

  Still Bisexual (@StillBisexual) | Twitter:

October 9, 2016
Safe Spaces
Gerri August

To create a "safe place", the classroom must incorporate every value, belief, and background of all students. It is the teacher's job to encourage a comfortable relationship between the student and teacher and also of classmates. LGBT teens have a very hard time fitting in with others because it is not a comfortable lifestyle to them that they may not have had a lot of exposure with. Possibly due to a society that up until recently did not teach children that there is nothing wrong with interracial or bisexual relationships."Sexual orientation topics are entirely absent from nearly half of our elementary teacher education programs in the United States. It is therefore unsurprising that LGBT people are largely absent from elementary curricula or classroom discussions." (85) August discusses how teachers can make their classrooms more secure for students of LGBT community. Teachers talk about how families come in different forms but hardly talk about two moms and their children or two dads with their children. August feels that teachers need to be aware and educate on sexual orientations so there is more acceptance of the LGBT community.
When I was in school, we had no such term as LGBT and very rarely would you hear about an individual "coming out of the closet" at such a young age. Teachers did not discuss sexual orientation in a classroom and a family consisted of a mother, a father, and children. Today, I think it has become more accepting than it was 30-40 years ago but still not discussed enough.  My best friend's daughter is gay and she struggles with outside family acceptance.  Many are old fashioned Catholic's that don't understand or accept her for who she is. Although she has more acceptance at school, I still see the many struggles she goes through just so she can live her life the way she wants to.

In this tips for teachers page it has a list of helpful guidelines for teachers to help students that have LGBT parents and how to make them feel comfortable. It talks about including discussions about LGBT in your classroom. Show students that diversity is to be celebrated.

In this article there are states in America that still ban the discussion of LGBT in the classroom or the teacher risks being fired. Even though gay marriage is legal, teachers are still not allowed to discuss sexual orientation in the classroom.
Image result for lgbt in the classroom    Image result for lgbt in the classroom

All kids deserve safe classrooms. In this short video, a message from LGBT students about what they want you to know:

Points for discussion....
I believe there needs to be more communication between teachers and students. More discussion on sexual orientation and how it affects their daily life and interactions with others. Maybe what is needed is what exactly does LGBT tolerance and acceptance look like in the classroom. How do we as educators make our classrooms welcoming and a completely safe environment that works.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 4, 2016
Unlearning The Myths That Bind Us
Linda Christensen

In "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us", Linda Christensen explains that children's books, cartoons, and movies have hidden messages that secretly teach them the rules of society. She talks about Disney movies specifically that depict the roles of men and women. Women should act a certain way and are expected to let the man take care of them. They must dress and look a certain way too. The princesses are always thin and beautiful.  The handsome prince will come and save them from their troubles and save the day.  "We are taught, more than anything else, how not to rebel." (128) Stories we have grown up with have given us the rules and codes of power.  You must find love and live happily ever after. Women were constantly portrayed as unrealistically beautiful with a slim waist and a perfect face. People of color are consistently being shown as illiterate, inferior, or even savage. Men were either perfectly handsome or idiots. Christensen talks about how most Disney princesses are white. Children of color find this frustrating because they cannot relate to the Princesses. Female stereotypes in Disney films are shown here as "life lessons"... how to act, stand, smile, never show feelings, and always look your best. The video shows that "Disney princesses teach lessons that could permanently damage young girl's identity."  Snow White cooked, cleaned, and took care of men. Cinderella taught that girls are supposed to do domestic tasks, not boys. Ariel suggest girls do not need to be smart, just be pretty, use their bodies, and you must change to get the man. There is a "life lesson" taught by each Disney princess that stereotypes women.
Christensen believes children are being "manipulated by children's media or advertising." (128) Children are influenced by Disney princess at a very young age and makes them believe the ideas of society. In the "Effects of Disney's Gender Stereotyping" video Disney tells girls what to think about themselves and tells boys how "real men" treat women.

Disney Princes 560x472

Disney movies all promote the same image of big men and tiny women. This is most evident in romantic situations. 
Consider just the differences in hand size. Here are the hands of romantic couples in (clockwise from top left): Frozen, How to Train Your Dragon 2,Gnomeo and Juliet, Hercules, Tangled and Brave.

Points to share:
I enjoyed reading Christensen. She made sure the students saw the wrong in Disney movies, characters, and other cartoons. I believe Disney has seen their mistake from early on and is slowly trying to remedy this situation. Some changes from Pocahontas and on....
Pocahontas is seen as independant
Mulan is heroic
and Rapunzel is driven
Hopefully it will continue to portray women in a more positive way.