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First blog ever Inspiring elementary teacher. Favorite color is blue

Monday, December 5, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Random Thoughts

So all in all the education system is not perfect to say the least. Changes need to be made and teachers need to be one of the ones to start these changes. Yet change takes time and sometimes a lot of effort. A lot of the problems we have in the system are things we have been doing for a long time and to try and change these things and introduce a new way of doing things is scary. People do not like change and regardless of if it is for the better they will fight you on it.
So I definitely agree that some things just are not working anymore and need to be changed but I guess the question is how? Should we totally boycott the old way and full force the new or slowly incorporate new ways into the old? But the major question is how far should one go for change? If it costs me my job is that really worth it? Yes I would be making a point but without my job I cannot help anyone regardless. What buttons are okay to push and which not so much?
I think a lot depends on the individual but still something to think about.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ira Shor "Education is Politics"

Shor suggests that teachers should teach against the myths and common standard of teaching. Encouraging teachers to invite students to examine subject matters in depth, not to just learn fact after fact.  Challenge the status quo; let them be able to connect academic learning to their personal life. Doing this encourages teaching in and beyond the classroom.
He believes that we need to get away from the habit of a teacher just spitting out knowledge to their students and change to a more dual approach with more student interaction.  I agree this approach works a lot better. In this FNED 346 class alone just being able to have an open discussion about the material has allowed me and my classmates to have a more personal and better understanding of the material.  We get to experience others view points on the subject and get to share real life examples. This helps a lot so unlike some classes were you sit there and wonder when I will ever use this, we already know and I personally pay more attention. Shor agrees and says "A critical and empowering class begins by examining its subject matter from the students' point of view and by helping students see themselves as knowledgeable people. I wanted them to take, from day one, a critical attitude towards their knowledge, their writing habits, and their education."  Students should be involved in their education, it not only helps them but the teachers find what does and doesn’t work.
However in most of my other classes the teacher just spits out information to you and you remember it for the exam but then soon forget.  I can remember things I did in this FNED 346 class and the lesson learnt from the beginning of the semester but I can barely remember that far back in any of my other classes. The whole “just memorize it approach” does not teach anyone anything but how to memorize for a test. Education should be more than that; memorization is not going to help you later in life in the real world.


Blog post on Shor

Interview with Shor

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Talking Point #9 Connections

Kliewer brings up a lot of good points in this article, some new and some very familiar. Some of the new ones were about people with disabilities and how people treat them. Just because someone needs a little help in certain areas or with certain things does not mean that they deserve to be treated any different than anyone else. I totally agree with this and tried not to treat the students with disabilities in my high school indifferently, but a lot of people did and it's truly sad. People that have disabilities did not choose to have them, they were born with them for the most part and the fact that people judge and make fun is not okay to me. In the article Kliewer talked about Mia a girl that has Down syndrome, not being able to take certain classes because of that and being stuck in special education classes. This amazed me; she has just as much right to take a journalism class as anyone else if she wants to. People need to stop judging people, especially those with disabilities; just because someone is disabled does not mean that they are stupid or incapable or having the same cognitive thoughts as anyone else.
Kliewer also touched upon a few other topics that we have previously discussed as well. When talking about the little boy Issac in Shayne's school reminded me about Promising Practices and the Afterzone. The Afterzone is a place for students to go after school and cook; they make all sorts of different foods and research the different cultures that they come from. So not only do they get to have fun cooking but they incorporate math, writing in journals, science, etc. In Shayne's school they have learning at heart but they are making it fun for the children as well with such things as "Where the Wild Things Are" play. I find this very important; learning should be made fun for the students even if it is in an unconditional way.
The article also relates to Finn as well when talking about students being separated based on abilities. Just because someone does not score well on a test does not mean they are dumber than someone who scored significantly higher. They both talked about how school should be more of a community where everyone works together. In Shayne's words "Don't think, that those special needs kids drain anything. That class would not be half what it is if anyone of those kids got segregated. We're all together in there."

Thursday, November 17, 2011


check out http://www.mypasa.org/  for afterschool help oportunities

Promising Practices

Upon going to Promising Practices, I was not too happy; it was way too early in the morning and I am definitely not a morning person. Luckily they provided me with coffee once there so that helped.  I could not get over how many people were there, I did not think it was going to be more than a few other people besides our class. It was kind of intimidating knowing that I was going to be with this many strangers all day but luckily I was able to find Courtney and at least had someone I knew with me! We soon found Kate and all sat down waiting for it to start. Once they gave us our little spiel we all went to different Workshops and I was on my own again.
I attended Workshop A: Education Beyond Classroom Walls.  Despite the fact that I was still half asleep I found this workshop very interesting and it brought up a lot of good points.  They first started talking about Informal Education; how education does not only take place in a classroom. It can take place in a museum, during non-school hours, anywhere you let it pretty much. People from Providence After School Alliance or PASA explain a little about what they do to help. One of the main concepts I got from them is that informal education expands the concept of teaching.  I agree with this concept, in PASA they take students and bring them to places like the Bay and have them test the water. Teaching a child how to do this in a classroom is fine and they might understand it, but there is no better way to learn something than actually being able to do it yourself and see the outcome.  While on the boat the children were using math to figure out the equations needed to test the water and incorporating science all while having fun as well.
I think it is important to help students learn not just in the classroom with the standard textbooks but also to learn in real life situations, because when it comes down to it knowing and reciting facts from books is all fine and dandy but actually being able to do something first hand and see how it can be used is a more rewarding experience.  Looking back on this, this workshop relates to the articles we just read this week by Finn and Oakes. The common standard run classroom or separation of students by tracking does not always work, often the students in the middle become invisible and the lower are taught to behave not prepared for college/life after graduation. PASA works with these students and gives them something that helps them get the support they need and teaches them better than the classroom does in a way.
Afterwards people from Afterzone talked to us about their after school cooking classes they have for students. I thought this to be cool because I used to always want to help my mom and grandma bake when I was little and would think that many students would enjoy this. They incorporate Math with the measuring and such, reading and writing with the background on the different cultures of the food they are making and their journals, as well as Science mixing different elements together and getting an outcome.  I found that I never looked at cooking to be so educational and find that it is a great opportunity for children to learn hands on but once again also enjoy themselves while doing it.
After the workshops we had the expo and were given the chance to walk around and talk to each other and other groups that had tables and posters as well as people to describe what they were all about. They had many interesting ones and I hope once I do not have such a hectic schedule with work and school that I may get involved in one of them or even something similar.
Once the expo was over we moved on to Teen Empowerment. I thought that they had a nice presentation and presented a good opportunity.  A few main points I got from them were that feeling powerless leads to misbehavior, which I think is totally true many kids or even adults act up in some way because they want the attention or need the power in their hands.  Another thing they said that I found true but not stressed enough was that youth has ability to make meaningful changes.  Yet one needs resources to change. This right here I think is exactly Finn, acknowledging a problem is great but if you don’t have the resources to change anything, nothing will get accomplished.  You need people that want the change bad enough and are able to get some kind of resources and help that will make change a possible outcome.
After this presentation we had lunch and got a chance to have a panel of people share their personal stories with us and interact with us.
I think there is also a little hidden Delpit throughout the day. At least for the places I was in I got a sense of if you know the rules and codes of power you can make a change. In my workshops it was about the students learning yes but also the teachers understanding how society works and how they can better it for their students.  All in all I got a lot of information about how we can change what goes on in the classroom or in education in general, BUT change takes time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quotes from "Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route"

 Preface Pg3. "The status quo is the status quo because people who have the
power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are. It
takes energy to make changes, and the energy must come from the
people who will benefit from the change. But the working class
does not get powerful literacy, and powerful literacy is necessary
for the struggle. How can the cycle be broken?"
This is essential to making changes; those that are going to be affected by the change need to be willing to fight for it or else it will not work. Like Finn said earlier in the article, when the rich get empowering education nothing happens, it’s when the working class or lower do that they have a chance to challenge the status quo and make a difference.

Pg 12 "According to Anyon these children were developing a relationship
to the economy, authority, and work that is appropriate preparation
for wage labor-labor that is mechanical and routine. Their capacity
for creativity and planning was ignored or denied. Their response was
very much like that of adults in their community to work that is
mechanical and routine and that denies their capacity for creativity
and planning. They engaged in relentless "slowdowns," subtle sabotage,
and other modes of indirect resistance similar to that carried out
by disgruntled workers in factories, sales floors, and offices."
This supports that there is a serious problem. The whole idea of getting a good education is so that you don’t get stuck working in places like that and doing things you don’t enjoy. Keeping things like this is as if you are purposely holding these kids back and forcing them to go into the field that they most likely are trying to avoid.

pg 189"The least we can do is face facts. Our schools liberate and
empower children of the gentry and domesticate the children
of the working class, and to a large extent the middle
class as well. You may want to argue that that's all right, or at
least it's all that's possible-fine. But let's stop denying it."

This sums up what Finn believes the issue at hand  is and the first step is that we have to realize that this is a problem and it needs to be fixed.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gender and Education

The general argument from the information I came across is that Gender & Education is improving... for the female at least. Instead of females being seen as simple house wives or being concerned with finding a husband many now take education seriously and succeed. It is more common for women to be in the work place now-a-days than it was back in the day. Yet we still do not get paid equally? We are given the same education as males and encouraged to succeed yet when we exactly go into the real world are paid less than a man in the same position with the same education is.
Another concern seems to be that females are encouraged by society so much that in fact it discourages males to succeed. While the female statistics get higher the males are getting lower. However I don’t know if I buy into this.
I ultimately think that it depends on the person and if they have the drive to succeed. Yet we definitely need to work on the equal pay, it’s just not right.

Too Feminised???? Idk


gender and education article


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Extended Comment to Jen's Post

You bring up a very good point. Like the article said more than half experience harrassment, and truth be told their is a lot of harrassment in the schools these days. Like your highschool mine was not very accepting either, there was always the hushed whisphers behind their backs or even as far as wanting nothing to do with them period just because they were of the LGBT group.It truly is sad.
This also got me to thinking about the words that are used like "faggot" or "dyke,"you mentioned in  your article how your classmates used those words to insult someone who is LGBT. That is the worst way we can use words such as these. Yet there is also the very common way we use these words with our friends such as the infmaous; "that's so gay." NOw I will admit I am not perfect and this does slip out of my mouth every once in awhile but I am trying to catch myself because honestly we should not be saying things like this in my opinion. Society has turned this insults into common day slang that people use on a daily basis, there just is somthing not right about that I think.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Reflection to "In The Service Of What?"

This article discussed Service Learning and how it is incorporated in the classroom. It talked about how there are different approaches the teacher can take with it as well. I tend to favor Ms. Adams' approach, even though her class only helped one organization compared to Mr. Johnson’s I feel the students can get more out of the experience.
Making Service Learning a graduation requirement can be a negative thing, because many will see it simply as something they have to do rather than for the good of doing it and their civic duty. With Ms. Adams' approach the students get to interact with the people and learn firsthand what they can do to help. Mr. Johnson's kids are more of what I felt like in high school when we had to do something similar to this, I treated it as simply something I had to do to graduate.
To me this is unfortunate and I feel that if my school had a different approach we would have taken it a lot more seriously. You can never understand what someone's life is like by reading about it or hearing about it on the news; the kids that went to the elementary school are a perfect example. If you really want to get to know what it is like to be someone so you can help those that are less fortunate you need a more hands on firsthand look.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Extended Comment to Sasha's Blog

I totally agree with you it is very sad that society has embedded this image into our heads of picture perfect happy ending. Prince Charming is not always going to sweep you off your feet and give you that happily ever after ending. And don’t even get me started with the magazines and the photo shopped version of how people "should look." No one looks like that and honestly a lot of people don’t even fine it attractive.
But I will admit I do love Disney movies regardless. Yet it is sad that we can’t over look the superficial stuff and work on our personalities because honestly many people need a better personality to begin with!

However I think I have to disagree and say that cartoons and Disney movies do not hurt children in the long run. I mean I don’t see the harm in embedding in a child's head that there is such a thing as a happy ending or a Prince Charming. Especially if they come from a rough background sometimes movies or cartoons like this can me their escape. I mean after all it is just a movie and I find it hard to believe that racism can be taught by watching it, just based on the character being white. They have the movie Mulan and all that now too. And the author states how Cinderella is not black but there is actually a version of Cinderella with real people and she is black. And they are getting a lot better in society making multicultural princesses and shows as well so I mean there is hope for change if it really is affecting them too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


"Two-thirds (65%) of teens report that they have been verbally or physically harassed or assaulted during the past year because of their perceived or actual appearance, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, race/ethnicity, disability or religion."
  • This number is way to high, more then half of the children going to school in America are getting bullyed. The importance of this quote is to show the seriousness of this issue. Saddest part is the harassment is all for things that children do not have any control over. Your appearance and race and religion have to do with your parents when youre this young. Then how you identitify your gender and sexual orientation is how you were born and no one with a disability chooses to be disabled.The fact that kids are getting mad funn of for this is very upsetting.
"The majority (57%) of students who experience harassment in school, regardless of demographics or reasons for the harassment, never report these incidents of harassment to teachers or other school personnel. Although most teachers report that they would feel comfortable intervening if they observed harassment and many say they frequently have intervened, one in ten (10%) students who do not report these incidents don’t do so because they believe teachers or staff don’t do anything or are powerless to improve the situation"
  • This quote shows that many cases of harassment are not reported and just continue on, due to students feeling that the teachers cannot help. Also if the teachers do not know about it they cannot help either. This just shows that bullying goes on because of lack of help from teachers or even students intervening.
 “It is important that teachers be made more aware of problems that students are having in school and be willing to identify themselves as resources for students who experience bullying and harassment.”
  • I agree 100% with this quote. Students should see a teacher as approachable and trust worthy to talk to about issues such a s bullying. It is very important that teachers try and do this so the students can feel safer and not afraid to come to school everyday. And once this is accomplished perhaps the percentage of students bullyed will go down.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Does this help people in the long run or hurt them?

Richard Rodriguez "Aria"

This author Rodriguez argues that when a bilingual family makes English their primary language they lose a but of who they are. He describes English as being a public language and Spanish a private one. Implying that being able to speak Spanish is what makes his family different, and they can have that private connection with one another without worrying about the rest of the world. But after being forced to learn English as their primary tongue they are being more connected with the outside world and losing that private connection they once had with one another.
He feels that speaking Spanish is what held his family so close, and having to learn English pulled them apart. The children now speak English a lot better than the parents and are often misunderstood, so to aviod that they simply rarely talk to their parents at all anymore. Then the father lost his head of the household role by not being able to speak English as well as his wife, so now just remains silent most of the time and lets her control everything.
Pretty much it seems that Rodriguez feels that learning English is what has teared his family apart.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege:Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"

The author being a white female and sharing many the same thoughts as I helped me to connect to this text a lot. She talked about how racism still includes white individuals. It was kind of an eye opening read for me, the things she talked about never really crossed my mind. Like racism to me was when people were mean to other people based on different skin color or sex, but I have never really experienced it myself. Weirdly like she said I never really considered myself to be privileged though, even though after reading this I guess I kind of am. I do not have to live my life wondering if anyone is going to be mean to me simply because of my skin color, or have to fear that I won't be able to get something based on it either. Kind of sad that even today there still are people that have to worry about things like that.  The buying a house example really hit me, I plan on getting my own place in a year or so and I never would have thought of having to worry about if my neighbors are going to judge me based on skin or sex. Yet there are people everyday buying houses that have to worry about that. This just kept making me think about how you never really know what another person’s life is like until you can actually walk in their shoes. It's just weird, I thought I understood racism yet simply reading a 6 page article to figure out that there is a lot more to it and it's been right under my nose the whole time.

In class: 
Never understand what it’s like to be someone until you walk in their shoes.
·         Forget about the everyday little things they have to go through
Why is it that whites are so privileged in a way yet most of us don’t see it or choose not to see it?

Get to Know Me

Hi my names Elyssa Renzi and I am a sophomore at Rhode Island College studying to be a teacher. I just transfered from Umass Amherst and am still adjusting to how different it is. But so far classes this semester seem to be going well. Lets just hope it stays that way! When I am not at school I am usually working at the BK Lounge aka Burger King. I practically live there sometimes working 20 plus (usually plus) hours a week. Other than that I just hangout with family and friends and keep in touch with my sorority sisters.