Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Resilience; A reflection of Promising Practices

On November 5, 2016 I attended Promising Practices where the keynote speaker Robert Brooks lectured about resilience and the importance of being a resilient student and active part of society.
Resilience is being put down and making mistakes but learning from them in a mindful way. Mindsets are the assumptions and expectations which we as humans create for ourselves as well as our peers and this guides our behaviors. Brooks discusses how reinforcement of positive emotions and purpose plays a significant role in creating a climate in which hope and resilience will thrive, he calls this The Island of Competence! After the keynote we separated into the workshops we previously chose and from there we meet with two more instructors in a far smaller group and discussed "Resilience Through Mindfulness" as well as "Resilience Through Play". In these workshops we turned our theory into practice and used mindfulness and play as a way to help build resilience. I thoroughly enjoyed both workshops and feel as though I left with a real tangible sense of what resilience is and how to utilize it. Here are some examples of traits portrayed by an emotionally resilient person
The material we discussed in these lessons are not far fetched from the types of discussions we cultivate in our FNED classroom. We talked about how in order to create a healthy environment to grow resilient children it is up to the educator to create "safe spaces" for these ideas to grow. We also discussed how the tougher your life the more resilient you'll be.

Through reading the article "Safe Spaces" by August we understand that it is impossible for for people to learn in an environment that feels unsafe, cold, and unwelcoming. August says "classrooms are not neutral spaces- they are charged with emotion" and it is largely up to the educators to create these safe spaces so students may excel and create a sense of belonging. Brooks would agree with August, he believes that it is up to us as future educators to advocate and protect students in a positive and warm environment within our classrooms. This means no one will be discriminated against no one based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other means. Brooks says that by creating these types of environments for learning the students are sure to progress and personally improve.
If you are unsure how to create these types of safe spaces in your classroom Rebecca Alber outlines 20 Tips for Creating Safe Spaces!

In articles "Amazing Grace" and "The Land of Limitations" Kozol and Kristrof talk about social and economic class vs. opportunity. They say that people from the lower class bracket often do not grow beyond their social limits or economic barriers. They insist that "your outcome is largely determined by your beginning" and that demographics create a huge gap for opportunity blaming society for their outcome. On the other hand Brooks says that the tougher you have it the more likely you are to become resilient and the more likely you are to use this tool to benefit your outcome. People who grow in a garden full of racism and poverty have to work much harder to gain the same opportunities of someone in a higher class bracket. This means that these types of people are the kind who are less likely to take their privileges for granted and often see the positives in small things. In cases these types of resilient people live in a way that happiness will proceed success in return making them happier people. My beliefs lay somewhere in the middle. I understand that where you begin in life plays a huge role in the type of opportunities achievable to you but i also believe that a persons outcome is of what they make it. Kristof and I believe that in some cases by making the right choices and working hard for what you believe in you can overcome the probability.
Here is an article which discusses how to rise above social conditioning in order to live a wholesome life.

I myself am a resilient person, some of the obstacles I have over come throughout my whole life proves two things; 1, you are what you make of yourself. If you work hard, set high goals for yourself, and don't give up because of your situation then you can graduate high school as a homeless adolescent and be the second in your family to attain a college degree. It is possible!

Pecha Kucha Slide Show

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Empowering Education

Empowering Education-“Education is Politics”
Ira Shor


So, after reading Ira Shor's first few chapters in "Empowering Education" I've summed it up as a pretty decent way to end our reading selection for the semester. There are so many voices, opinions, and ideas that pop into my mind from the pieces we have covered this semester about what we must begin shaping our education system to be in order to keep our students engaged!
Shor suggests that schooling is a prominently social experience for children this mostly means that although children are learning about history, English, science and math, they are most intently learning about the society they live in and their role in it. The system we have in our schools now is pushing students away from asking questions about the world and wanting to learn. We have begun duplicating genetically formed kids to think, act, and dream a certain way in order to fit in.. As Shor says "curriculum is one place where dominant culture can either be supported or challenged, depending on the way knowledge is presented and studied" and I believe it's time to challenge the norms and begin using the creative and innovative methods to keep our children engaged and curious!


Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route
by Jeannie Oakes

Argument and quote discussion:

"Since so much of importance was omitted from their curriculum, students in these low-ability classes were likely to have little contact with the knowledge and skills that would allow them to move into higher classes or to be successful if they got there."

This article discusses how “tracking” students by their academic ability level is detrimental to their learning experience. Student who are tracked as “high-ability” have access to a richer education, better teachers, the importance of development of problem solving, critical thinking, and are expected to do more class/ homework. These “low-ability” children supposedly get a duller education, average educators, and are taught to focus more on life skills. These students are disciplined more often and greatly focus on socializing, class routine more than academic learning.
This topic is definitely a controversial topic because there are two sides to every story.
I do believe that certain aspect of learning are altered when you "track" or group children together by academic ability. As the facts show there are disadvantages, but I've become interested in the advantages of grouping children by academic need. I view ESL as a form of tracking, and these students are all put into a classroom under one impression; Spanish is their first language. SO these students are all clumped into this one classroom.. But is this not beneficial to the kids to be in a classroom full of students who struggle in the same ways? Are their needs not better met in a classroom that specializes in the education of a student whose learning English as their second language? Do the students in these types of classroom not learn because they are considered lower-ability based off of their background? I see an exponential amount of one on one work with teachers, TAs, and mentors, and as our research has shown and Kahne and Westheimer discuss, students strive in these kinds of environments. So in my eyes is see this controversial topic as just that, there are advantages and disadvantages in grouping children and who is to say if this is right or not?

In the Service oh What? The Politics of Service Learning
by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheiner


Service Learning
Joeseph Kahne and Joel Westhemier suggest that learning and service reinforce each other and have benefits when used hand and hand. It has been know that Educators and legislators insist that this service provides rich and educational experiences for students at all ages, meaning it it good for the students who are servicing and the students who are learning. The main purpose of service learning is to point out the various ideological, political, and social goals while promoting self-esteem, the development of higher order thinking skills, and making use of all abilities in order to provide an authentic and wholesome learning experience.
Kahne and Westhemier also suggest that students who are interracial or lower-class need this service the most. School is a place where ideas and interests should grow independently and mixing in mentors who are young and actively showing compassion, interest in academics, and social matters acts as living prof that there is more to the world than what your parents preach.

Down Syndrome, so what?!?

This week, we are orbiting around the idea of the inclusion of all students in classrooms no matter their abilities is necessary as well as beneficial for all students involved. 


                               "I don't think, that those special education kids drain anything. That class would not be half of what it is if anyone of  those kids got segregated. We're all together in there." 

"When she enrolled in a regular public high school as a freshman,Christine's Individual Education Plan was passed on from her segregated school; it suggested that she had extremely poor motor control, low-level cognitive skills, low-level communication skills, a lack of adaptive skills,
 and aggressive "acting-out" behaviors. In the general curriculum of the regular high school, however, these images of defect were dramatically transformed "

"'Now we know that people with disabilities can learn and have a full, rich life. The challenge is to erase negative attitudes about people with developmental disabilities, get rid of stereotypes and break barriers for people with disabilities."

Points of discussion:
I found this website called Kids Together Inc and they're an organization whose mission statement is "To promote inclusive communities where all people belong" and on the site I found some benefits of inclusive education for both mainstream students and those with special needs. The evidence is as followed:

Benefits of Inclusion for Students With Disabilities
  1. Friendships
  2. Increased social initiations, relationships and networks
  3. Peer role models for academic, social and behavior skills
  4. Increased achievement of  IEP goals
  5. Greater access to general curriculum
  6. Enhanced skill acquisition and generalization
  7. Increased inclusion in future environments
  8. Greater opportunities for interactions
  9. Higher expectations
  10. Increased school staff collaboration
  11. Increased parent participation
  12. Families are more integrated into community
Benefits of Inclusion for Students Without Disabilities
  1. Meaningful friendships
  2. Increased appreciation and acceptance of individual differences
  3. Increased understanding and acceptance of diversity
  4. Respect for all people
  5. Prepares all students for adult life in an inclusive society
  6. Opportunities to master activities by practicing and teaching others
  7. Greater academic outcomes
  8. All students needs are better met, greater resources for everyone

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Separation is keeping us Unequal

562: The Problem We All Live With
Separate and Unequal
Separate is Not Equal

Argument through the use of Quotes

On May 17, 1954 Brown V the Board of Education the U.S Supreme court created a law which dissolved any constitutional sanctions for segregation by race. This means that by law no school could refuse a student based on their race or ethnicity. Now, we know that just because a law is passed it does not mean that people are going change their change their opinion or mindset over night.... but i'd like to think that 64 years would be more than enough time to wrap our fragile brains around the idea of  social inclusion *rolls eyes*

562: The Problem We All Live With
"you gotta figure out, ok. How can I stand up for myself without proving to them(her peers and society) that Normandy is ghetto? That was going to be the hard part."
    I chose this quote out of the hour long interview between Ira Glass and Nikole Hannah-Jones because I believe it is the essence of the interview in it entirety. In this piece we talk about integration in today's school systems and how beneficial it has proven to be for students in low class/ low income demographic areas to matriculate into a richer school system. We are then introduced to two young woman who were given the opportunity to get out of their prominently black school and begin at a school whose occupants were more than 85% white.
   These girls talk about some of the pressure and ridicule they were subject to on a daily basis in order to be apart of a public school system. What I took away from this is something we have discussed in class before. These girls like many many others were forced to begin conforming to the dominant culture, in return they begin loosing a sense of their personal identity. This quote, given by Rianna Curtain said to me that Rianna couldn't even stick up for who she is and what she believes in because if she were to mimic the behaviors of her white peers then she would be viewed as barbaric and savage meaning that her peers had won.

Separate and Unequal 
"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"
Word Bank:
racial integration
Black and Hispanic

   For this article I used a skill we have been working on in class, as I read and took notes on the article I noted the words that were used the most to gain a sense of Bob Herbert's point of view on academic racial integration. He speaks about how poor Black and Hispanic school are characterized by their high concentrations of poverty. In return with lower standards these schools get lower educated teachers who do less to meet state academic standards, in return affecting consistency in scores, and this creates a lack of want for academic success. By segregating the rich from poor schools we are clumping similarly characterized individuals together based on demographic. This does nothing to improve standards, and only punishes the lower income group because of their lack of opportunity to improve based on their standards.

Points of Discussion:

  • Studies have shown that the race of a person does not determine a person's academic successes. Rather it is dependent on well trained/ motivated teachers(that's us!), lowered class disruptions, academic engagement and the presence of an adult figure.  
  • What do we do as future teachers to allow social, personal, and academic success for our students?? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Influential is gender to the 2016 Presidential Election?

Donald Trump, Locker Rooms and Toxic Masculinity by Jill Soloway
Hillary Clinton Raises Her Voice, and a Debate Over Speech and Sexism Rages by Amy Chozick

                                                Power, privilege, and voting

This, the 2016 Presidential election, has to be the most talked about, argued over, and exploited election in all of history. Or if not in all history, then most definitely the most controversial in my life time. Which is saying something because in 2008 America's first black president was elected and held office for two full terms! He inspired many people by defying statistics and rising above expectations by challenging the image of who is eligible to be the president of the United States. Our track record of white, wealthy, well educated men, upholding the position of power was diminished when Obama proved that anyone despite their ethnicity, race, religion, or upbringing is eligible to be president.

So, although people are in uproar expressing their outrage about the first female presidential candidate this isn't far fetched from the progressive steps we took as a country when electing Obama. But why are people loosing their shit?!? Hillary has great potential as our next President, she is "able to string together paragraphs of complex policy talk off the cuff" and does it with grace all while being harassed by her opponent and the media about her lack of attractive appeal, how she speaks, and her credibility as a candidate. We have people coming out of the wood works to making statements like her voice is "loud, flat, and harassing to hear", stating that she choices to use a "decidedly grating pitch and punishing tone", meanwhile she is just trying to be heard over a crowd of misogynistic mean who feed off of toxic masculinity. Besides, in this election have you seen a debate where Trump did not raise his voice to a punishing tone, yell over, talk down to, and humiliate Mrs. Clinton? Yea. Me either.

I think the real problem is as a country we have never had to deal with gender such an explicit manner as a country. Lisa Delpit demonstrates to us in  "Other Peoples Children" that our society runs off of a set of silent codes and rules for participating in power, and these guidelines lay out exactly what type of person would be considered fit to be our president. And i'll give you a hint, it not a woman. Much like Delpit, Griner who introduced the acronym S.C.W.A.A.M.P to us also defines our societies dominant ideology as straightness, Christianity, whiteness, able-bodied-ness, american-ness, male-ness, and property/ ownership.
Trump is a wealthy, educated, established white man who comes from money and demands respect simply because he fits the concrete mold of what our society views as powerful. In Soloways article she discusses how Donald Trump, and men alike, consistently degrade, judge, and itemize woman publicly as a way to defend their masculinity and threaten their opponent. In Chozick's article she speaking in simple negative sentences, with lack of purpose. Often when pressed with questions based on his ethics(instead of taking responsibility) he will turn the prompt of his opponent and highlight their faults and disadvantages.
discusses just how many men have passed judgment on Hillary Clinton for not only political policies but for how speaks, her body language when she speaks, and her lack of sexual appeal.. The last time I checked every time Trump opens his mouth during a debate he is loud,

Points of discussion:

  1. Why is it that when a woman raises her voice its shouting and shrill but when a man raises his voice it's considered enthusiastic? 
  2. This debate is so frustrating and causes me so many anxiety.. I am not necessarily pro Clinton, but if Hillary becomes president then Trump will not be in office... and that is what is most important to me.... How about we have Obama and president forever!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Unlearning the Myth that Blind Us

Unlearning the Myths that Blind Us  By Linda Christensen


Linda Christensen discussed how societies cultural industry colonizes how our children act, live, and dream. She says that the industrially produced fiction "taught a certain style of violence, the latest fashion, and sex roles by tv, movies, magazines, and comic strips; also taught how to succeed, how to love, how to buy, how to concur, how to forget the past and suppress the future." What this means to me is that the main source of information we are receiving as children is mostly bias and distorted opinions expressed to us by our family, and social environments.

This article How do parents' own biases impact their children? discusses just how influential adult opinion, body language, facial expressions are to their children and how a parent can take the right steps to allowing their children to make their own conscious opinions.

Talking Points:

  • Parental influence is more than just how children view the world but also how they act in our societies. Parents who are loving, warm, open and responsive will have children who go out into the world as loving, warm, open, and responsive individuals.
    • In return families who are often angry, yelling, and belittling to their children then breed children who go out into the world as bullies belittling their peers.
    • Children learn more from what you are than what you preach.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Richard Rodrigues "Aria"

Richard Rodrigues "Aria"
Lisa Delpit's "Other People's Children"
Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Lesley Griner's SCWAAMP


This week, the reading I will be covering is that of Richard Rodrigues who wrote "Aria".  The first hand account of a young Spanish speaking boy who, living in America was forced to speak English in all aspects of life and was subconsciously taught the codes and culture of power. The code and culture of power is a topic which Lisa Delpit confronts in "Other People's Children". She outlines the idea that there are strict invisible standards set for everyone living in today's American society. Through these standards there are certain stigmas to obtain power such as speaking the right language and presenting yourself properly in order to be seen as a person of quality.

 Having spoken very little English and feeling detached from the language, Richard clung to his family's Spanish heritage and had lack of confidence in his ability to have his English voice heard. He did not feel like his English voice belonged to him. So, for a long time this bullied Richard into staying silent during class discussions, when called upon he kept his voice low and mumbled the best answer he could devise. This lack of interaction did not conform to the standards of the school system(which we know to be the code and conduct of power) and the Nuns from his school came to his home to speak to his parents about properly integrating English into Richard and his siblings lives. From there on out his parents would insist on speaking in English only and what seemed to be a fun and tactical way of becoming more confident in a foreign language soon turned into the detachment of how close he once was with his heritage.

Richard discuses how difficult this transition was for him and it reminded me of a quote from Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" where she states "as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made un-confident, uncomfortable, and alienated". After reading this article I can not agree with McIntosh anymore, through the Culture of Power people are so focused on making everyone look and act the same. The Nuns saw Richard as an introverted child and blamed it on his inability to fully understand the English language, and even though Richard really did struggle with speaking the language out loud it was not because he didn't know how to speak in English. It was because English was not his language, he was un-confident in how he pronounced the language. He was uncomfortable with having people hear his accent, and he constantly felt like an outsider who no one beside his Spanish speaking family would understand. Sooner or later he gained confidence in his ability to speak in English and began becoming embarrassed of his parents who had thick accents and did not understand the language as well as their children. He began feeling distant and alienated from them because their ability to understand English lacked in experience. This is a never ending cycle that is forced upon people in America whose first language isn't English. What can we do as future teachers to stop this cycle?

Questions/Comments/Point To Share:

  • How can we as future teachers make our classrooms more comfortable and accepting of all students who speak all languages?  Is it acceptable to integrate some Spanish and French into our daily classrooms? 
  • Why is the major focus on students being forced to learn English when all other students aren't forced to learn Spanish or French in the classroom. It should be implemented into all elementary class curriculum, to mainly benefit those who are still learning the English language but it will also be for the students whom are going to spend the rest of their lives surrounded by Spanish speaking people having no idea what they're saying. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

"No Business as Usual"

White Privilege to a Broke Person by Gina Crosley- Corcoran 
All Lives Matter by Kevin Roose
and referenced Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol 

Quotes/ Connection

What I love about FNED is that we get to explore a variety of topics heard from a spread of voices from all different cultures, races, and social classes. I enjoyed this weeks selections because we hear from a middle class white feminist exploring her advantages and disadvantages in American society, a lower class white woman discussing lack of privilege based on economic status, and a man's point of view on the how were discuss the "Black Lives Matter" movement.  

"As my racial group has been made confident, comfortable, and obvious, other racial groups were being made un-confident, uncomfortable and alienated" - Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by McIntosh
I chose this quote from McIntosh's piece "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" because it clarifies how in American culture white people are subliminally taught to ignore their privileges. This quote highlights how in our society there are certain standards or ideals which define what our society views as beautiful. As a white person I can be assured that when I turn on a tv, look to the faces of my leaders and people in power I can take comfort in the fact that people of my race will be represented. As a white woman there is comfort in the fact that my body type and skin tone are similar to those represented in the media represented by princesses, pop culture figures, ect.  The same comforts do not apply for people of other races who speak other languages and do not conform to the mold of the power of culture in America. Because they do not conform to the dominant population there are less accommodations to make them feel comfortable. 

The idea that some people are worth more focus than other people gets re-discussed by Kevin Roose who says;
"If we do not pay as much attention to certain peoples deaths as we do others then we do NOT treat all lives as if they matter equally." 
In relation to what McIntosh explores about privilege this quote solidifies the basis that our dominant society only wants to hear news relating to themselves. Roose outlines the difference in saying "all lives matter" in response to the civil rights "All Black Lives Matter" campaign. I've discovered that even in the best of interests stating that all lives matter in response to the BLM campaign only takes away the importance of discussing how important black lives are. This quote spoke to me because it couldn't be more realistic, there are many people who die every single day but the only people who we mourn as a society are those who our society idolized. I read more "news" on social media that discusses pop culture and who's who than I care to admit. This is reflected on all the news which is selected to be exploited. Selected by people who focus more on connecting with their audience's interests than it does on what the most important news is. If we can't talk about all peoples problems equally than how do we begin creating a fair and equal society???

"Middle class, educated people assume that anyone can achieve their goals if they work hard enough" - White Privilege to a Broke Person by Crosley- Corcoran 
I personally related to this article because I would consider  myself to be apart of the lower economic class, and there have been a few times when discussing the dominant ideology theory where it hits me like a ton of bricks that I am privileged based on my ethnic(or lack of) background and geographic location. Although being apart of the lower working class means that there are privileges that I am handicapped from.  Jonathan Kozol agrees that demographics create a lack of opportunity, which in return keeps people in their economic state. This becomes an infinite cycle that only a percentage of people escape from. But it is possible, and I am a strong believer that your life is what you make of it and with some luck and a whole lot of hard dedicated work it is possible to be more than a percentage.  

Point To Share:
  • If you didn't get the chance to read White Privilege to a Broke Person by Gina Crosley- Corcoran you should check it out. It's a quick and to the point read which I feel like rounded the selections off nicely. 
  • Also I think that the "All Lives Matter" article was a really great choice for material which intrigued me to hear more voices on the topic... Here is Brown Blaze talking about the civil movement. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Land of Limitations

                                          "The Land of Limitations" by Nicholas Kristof

In this article, "The Land of Limitations" by Nicholas Kristof argues that success is not a result of the choices a person makes nor their personal responsibility but it is far more complicated than that. He states, rather repeatedly in fact, about how a persons success is determined based on the social and economic status of their parents and grandparents. Kristof highlights the idea that those who are born in the bottom quintile very rarely become successful enough to rise to the top quintile. He followed these statements with short factoids and multiple quotes from republican standpoints who see minute potential in anyone of the lower class.

What Kristof doesn't fully explain is the WHY when discussing how people are falling into this statistic. Why is it that those with more economic privilege also continue to stay in the highest quintile? I began wondering if this was a mental barrier that humans created for themselves, having only known one economic class their whole lives. Did they go on limiting themselves and their own successes based on the successes of their parents? Why is it that a persons skills and abilities are deemed less resourceful than the amount of money they have in their bank account?

The writer uses a man whom he knew personally named Rick as an example of how no matter how hard you work in life, without money, one's ability to become successful is futile. He highlights how hard Rick had to work his whole life in order to stay afloat and how ultimately he died because he could no longer afford his medicine to live. Having been raised with no father and a mother who died when he was young, Rick looked after and raised his two younger siblings. He dropped out of school so that he could work and take care of them, and from that point he worked for the rest of his life. I believe the purpose of bringing in Rick's misfortunes into the light in this article is to reinforce the ideal that "the best predictor of where you end is where we start".

What you should know about me

These are some of my roommates and best friends here at RIC,
these girls encourage and motivate me everyday and
I could never imagine being without them.
It's true! You really do meet your best friends in college!
I play ultimate Frisbee for RIC, it started out as a way to stay
fit through out the school year but it has become a major part
of my life. This is the only sports team I have ever been I have
ever been apart of!  
I love to travel
Last November my older sister and I went to the Azores in
 Portugal where we swam in volcanic waters, hiked, and
ate some island delicacies.
I love being outdoors, going on adventures, hiking and

This is Mr. Boudreau, my high school Auto Mechanics teacher.
Thanks to the great guy I now know how to work on cars!
I love working on my own vehicles and having common
knowledge about cars!