Sunday, November 17, 2013

Citizenship In Schools

Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome
Christopher Kliewer
Response to article with use of a hyperlink...
When working in schools, we as teachers are going to come in contact with children of all different learning abilities and disabilities, as well as those who are more advanced than others. When dealing with those who are know to have a "learning disability" it is important not to make the child feel less  intelligent than their peers around them. Some of us know what it feels like to be one of the "special" kids in school who were taken away from the rest of the class to be shown more attention, one on one, by another teacher. By removing a child from their friends to work on a learning disability you are automatically making the child feel "different" which can be recognized by other classmates. This type of attention is known by all to be negative attention because the child who is being separated knows that they are not as up to speed as the rest of the class which makes them feel less intelligent and insecure.
When reading Christopher Kliewer's  article about educating children with down syndrome it was very upsetting to read the stories about how children felt when they were put into "special education" classes. Kliewer talks about throughout his article not only how children with disabilities feel within a school environment, but how as educators we can help them learn. When reading Kliewer I was inspired to learn more about these skills so I furthered my research.
I came across a website within my research of teaching children with disabilities in which I found very helpful. This website can be found on The National Center for Learning Disabilities website and provides helpful tips and advice for teachers who are dealing with students that have a learning disability.  Within this website are tabs that allow you to browse not only by the stage of the disability but the age of the child as well. It includes many commonly asked questions as well as resources such as special schools and programs to help a child with a learning disability. While scrolling through this website I found out that it was not only helpful for teachers but for parents who have a child with a disability as well as for adults who suffer from a disability. It was very interesting exploring and utilizing the resources available to help me teach children with learning disabilities as well as become a better teacher.

By reading this article I was reminded of Geri August's, "Safe Spaces" article and how LGBT children talked about what it was like to be LGBT in a schooling environment. Both articles address a problem of children feeling different and insecure within school because of their own uniqueness and how they are taught that just because they are different they should be treated as well as viewed "abnormal." Both of these articles are very upsetting to me because it is important for a child to feel comfortable in a learning environment because if they do not, no learning can take place. Children should feel safe a free to express their opinions as well as learn not be embarrassed and uncomfortable because of who they are, or what they are.

Questions to ask in class...

It is hard to accommodate as well as make every child feel comfortable in school, what are some ways to teach children that school is a safe space to not only learn but share your thoughts and ideas?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To all my fellow classmates, aka family members :)

Hi everyone! 

As you probably realize the semester is almost over which means our time together in FNED will he over :( I consider you all like family and have grown very close to many of you. Jess and I were talking and want all of to stay close throughout our time at RIC.  We all are so comfortable around each other and have the same major so why not stay friends? Jess and I have recently became a part of the recreation center here at RIC and would love it if all our FNED classmates, (family members) would join with us and do fun activities such as until use the school swimming pool and work out rooms in between classes! Jess and I thought this would be a fun idea to spend time and stay in contact with everyone while being on campus because she and I are both going to miss everyone once the semester is over!!!

Hopefully we can talk about this is class! Or after class!

Love always,


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Promising Practices Reflection

Promising Practices Reflection

On my drive to the Promising Practices Conference early Saturday morning, I began to panic because I realized I forgot to print out my ticket. Upon arriving I entered Donovan to find out that they were not checking tickets which made me think, "did I really have to spend $16 on this?" Despite this small dilemma I was able to find all my classmates and sit with them in the beginning of the conference. Each speaker introduced themselves, and spoke a little about how they were involved in Promising Practices. This may be a little blunt to state. but to be honest this part greatly bored me and I did not see how I was benefitting from listening to the panel of speakers talk about themselves. I began to look around the room and saw that at least seventy-five percent of the people who were attending the conference were preoccupied with their phones and the rest just didn't seem to care. I was completely turned off from the conference when it began to turn into a political debate verses a learning and educational environment.

The part that made me most uncomfortable was when questions we open to be asked by the audience. To be truthful I had no idea what was going on throughout the speeches so I had no need to ask any questions however, I felt very incompetent and uneducated when other people began to speak. They began asking such complex and detailed questions I sat there wondering why I was at this conference because I felt like I did not belong.

After being released from the hour and a half panel of speeches I attended my first conference which was "Real Voices." Once again I sat before a panel of speakers except this time I was a little more interested in the subject they were speaking about. No visuals such as handouts or powerpoints were provided and this honestly made me a little less engaged in this conference. I am a visual type of learning and I feel as if the speakers provided me with someone to look at during their speech I would be more engaged and interested in what they were saying. However, one of the speakers was a girl around my age so it was nice to hear her story and why she was involved with her group because I felt as though I could relate to her.

My second conference went a lot better then my first one did. I attended "Project Citizen" where State Coordinators, Michael Trofi and Michael Connolly were speaking about education for democratic citizenship. I was handed a manila folder with multiple informational packets in it which I mustb say was impressive. I really enjoyed listening to Michael Connolly speak because he was a very engaging speaker who involved and addressed the audience throughout his speech. He had a very smooth voice and even joked a little while talking which made his conference enjoyable. I felt relaxed and comfortable throughout this conference and paid close attention while the two speakers talked about ways to teach students how to become a part of public policy as a democratic citizen. I found this workshop very helpful because as an elementary school teacher I will be teaching some history and politics and it is important to be educated in the world around us. What I found really helpful was a paper provided that had what exactly students should be learning in each grade regarding politics. I thought this was very interesting and a useful tool for my toolbox for becoming a teacher.

What I did not find helpful at all was the keynote speaker because I was not sure how this speech tide in and to be honest I was quite tired of hearing the word, "Chicago." I found this section of the conference useless and was not very pleased with the speaker. This part of the conference was very long which made me realize that the workshops were very short. It was very hard for the speakers in the workshops to get their points across with the small time they had and it did not help them that they were constantly interrupted by the people who kept reminding them to handout their survey sheets. I believe the speakers were pressured to pack a large amount of information into a small amount of time which made their speeches poor.

Overall I found my second conference very beneficial and I walked away with a lot of useful tools to teach children about the democratic world around them. I really liked how I was provided with the folder and all the information inside it. It was nice to finally have someone to help educate me not only on a specific topic, but how to teach that specific topic to children.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Seperate but why not equal?

Brown Vs. Board of Education Talking Points

When reading that this weeks topic  was centered around the Brown vs. Board of Education court case I grew a little excited because this court case is one that I have studied several times over the course of my education as well is something that I am greatly interested in. This is why I chose to do a free response on the topic of segregation and white privilege.

Within Bob Herbert's, Separate and Unequal, as well as Time Wise's radio interviews, and the Brown vs. Board of Education court case article, I was able to extend my knowledge about segregation and the idea of white privilege. The same theme seemed to exist in a three documents which is the concept of being "separate but equal," which in my opinion is a statement that contradicts itself.

I was very intrigued by Tim Wise's videos as well as his view point of the way society views blacks verses white in a cooperate environment as well as in everyday life. One example that Wise gave that really made me think was his reference to George W. Bush and how society lets him off easy despite his incompetence on the sole reason that he is white where as there is much controversy over Barrack Obama being elected do to the fact he is black.

One statement that Wise makes is that we must acknowledge the problem in order to solve it and this instantly made me flash back to many of the articles we have read already. In particular I thought of Rodriguez and Christensen where they talk about voicing as well as addressing the problem/topic at hand.

Within Bob Herbert's article he states that even in todays day and age we are still somewhat segregated and this caused me to think about segregation within schools now. Remember in high school when there were "cliques"? Not only did the "black" kids hang out with the other "black" kids, and the "Asians" with the other "Asians" but the nerds, the jocks, the popular girls, ect. all separated themselves from the other groups and hung put with those who are more like themselves. You never saw the President of the debate club walking down the hallway with the Prom Queen now did you?
We separate ourselves from others for fear of not being accepted and the fear of being judged. It is very clear that racism still exists today but segregation is allowed to grow by allowing cliques to form in schools. By allowing children to associate with only others of their "kind" we are encouraging them to participate in segregation and the separation of others just because they are "different." We have had the discussion in class about ethnicity and minority as well as the fact that those of the same "kind" tend to migrate towards each other and become close do to the simple fact they are the "same." Why do we pick our friends? Because they have the same interests as us. Why do we pick our mates? Because they complement us. Why do those of the same race tend to hang out together? Because they feel more accepted then when they are around the majority.
This fact is sad but is unfortunately true. This is why when Doctor Bogad mentioned that her "white" son has a "black" baby doll I sighed with relief that there is still hope for society. Just because her son is "white" does not mean that he HAS to have a "white" baby doll and the same rule applies for cliques in schools and society.
By teaching children to become friends with all times of people we can help eliminate segregation and help our schools to become more diverse friendly.
Questions to ask in class....
How to we get children to venture out of their comfort zone encourage them to make friends of all difference?