Sunday, May 1, 2011

Random blog #2

Over the course of  the 9 visits I have done at West Broadway Elementary, I can say I have seen a lot. I have seen an improvment in my students and in myself. My class at WBE have become a little less like second graders and a little more than third graders, while I have become a little less like a college student and a little more like a teacher. I have learned that working with inner city students takes patience and understanding. They may not have the best home life or be the smartest kid in class but they all have big hearts and are very smart in their own way. Because I was always there during math and science, I was able to see them improve in those areas. In just 9 weeks, they were able to go from not knowing anything about money to knowing everything. How to add, subtract, and skip count money! There is nothing better than actual being able to see the improvment in person rather than on a tracking sheet because you get to witness first hand the change that the teacher has made in his/her students. One of the first things Ms Carbone said to me was, "I'm not just their teacher but I'm their mother, nurse, friend, and police officer. I am everything that they will ever need roled into one." And as I end my time at WBE, I can see that she was 100% right. Those children need a role model in their life and by being a teacher, you can give them that. This experience has taught me to strive to be the best teacher possible because there are innocent children relying on you to teach them what they need to know.

Random blog #1

Since April vacation (for kids in grades K-12) was last week, I decided to make a special trip into my school. I had known that they were going to have an Easter celebration or better yet a "Vacation" celebration (since not all children celebrate Easter) and I wanted to see what it was going to be like for them. I remembered my elementary school and how we use to watch movies all day and have tons and tons of food. So me being the little kid that I am, decided I would make all 26 kids a goodie bag filled with chocolate and candy...and here is where my oops moment comes...I forgot to ask if anyone had any allergies. There was one little boy in my class who has bad allergies to anything containing nuts. While nothing in my bag was made with nuts, he felt like he couldn't eat any of it so he threw the whole bag away and he was the only one in the class who didn't get to enjoy the chocolate lollipops. I felt horrible after seeing the look on his face while all the other kids were enjoying their candy. To add to it, my bag wasn't the only bag he had to throw away! His teacher had made bags too! So for the rest of the time that I was there, I decided to sit with him and talk. He told me that his favorite candy are those malted whoppers...who would've guessed that those were a 9yr olds favorite? So this past week when I went back, I brought him a goodie bag filled with his favorite. It didn't fix how he felt a couple of weeks before but it definitely brightened his day to know that I remembered him. We can't all be perfect 100% of the time and I think this definitely showed me that.

Random Video Clip

I know we did the disability lesson a while ago but I thought it would be great to post this. A kid by the name of Eric Duquette graduated with me last year and was our salutatorian...the coolest part was that he had autism. He beat the odds that all his doctors gave him and he is obviously one of the smartest kids in my school. The video gives some background on him and parts of his speech. There wasn't one dry eye in the entire auditorium after he finished.

Social Justice Event

     On February 16, 2011 I attended my social justice event at my SL school. West Broadway Elementary was doing a celebration performance for Black History Month. This "performance" included skits, dancing, singing, and A LOT of history. The show opened with a dance choreographed by my SL teacher. The children who are involved in the after school dance program showed off their hard work by dancing to a variety of songs either written or sung by African Americans. Following the dancing came a few children singing songs like Follow the Drinking Gourd. People in the audience learned that this song had historical background because it was sung to help the slaves find their way to the north by using the big dipper as a guide. Two other skits that really stuck out to me was the Oprah skit. Children put on a skit that had a little girl playing the role of Oprah and interviewing other famous African Americans. And lastly, they had a Rosa Parks skit. This skit included a childrens version of what happend that day. They had created a fake bus and even had a police officer arrest Rosa! A lot of thought went into this skit and all the children who particpated did a fabulous job.
     Throughout the performance, I noticed several connections that could be made to other texts that we have read in class. For instance, media played a large role in this day for the kids. They got ideas for skits from television shows such as the Oprah show. While Christensen talks mostly about cartoons and princess movies, I saw some of her thougths and ideas in this. One thing she says in her piece is, "I want to develop their critical consciousness, but also move them to action" (Christensen, 4). To me this fit into my event. The children had learned that it isn't all about white people, that African Americans did just as much as the whites did. Teachers at West Broadway developed critical thinking in their students, they made them put together a 2 hour show that taught people about what they learned. They learned that Oprah was a self made millionaire and she used the money she made from the show to help others. They were able to see that Oprah isn't racist and that she is thought of highly by many people. Another author that I saw through this event was Johnson. While this event/performance was to celebrate Black History Month, it also showed the struggles that African Americans had to go through. The main thing that the children did was they just said it. They didn't tip-toe around what had happened. "It is possible, however, to talk about it in ways that make the strugle and pain worth it" (Johnson, 13). These children just flat out said it and to me that was so admirable because even as a college freshman, I am still cautious of the words I use when talking about sensitive issues. Lastly, the third author I witnessed in this event was Lisa Delpit. One part of the Rosa Park skit involved a bus driver asking Rosa, "Are you supposed to be sitting there?" And Rosa replied by saying, "Yes." Now because most of us grew up in the culture of power we wouldn't think twice at our response. However in the skit I saw a "white bus driver" use the culture of power towards an African American woman who was not in the culture of power. In Delpit's piece, she talks a lot about just saying it instead of asking it, "Each cultural group is left saying, 'Why don't those people just say what they mean?' as well as, 'What's wrong with them, why don't they understand?'" In this specific skit, Rosa was the one asking why and the bus driver was the one asking what. This event also reminded me of some youtube videos I have seen over the years... This first video is composed of images and music showing the past in civil rights, slaves, and celebrities. Short clip on the Rosa Parks story. Short biography of Oprah Winfrey to give background on what the kids did.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Education is Politics


"To socialize students, education tries to teach them the shape of knowledge and current society, the meaning of past events, the posibilities for the future, and their place in the world they live" (14) I feel like every child experiences this at one point throughout their school career. From the minute we enter elementary school, to the minute we graduate, we are constantly taught the past (in our history classes), society in our economic classes, and everday life in every single one of our classes. Our guidance counselors, home room teachers, principles and just about every teacher in the school tells us what our place is and what we should do for our future profession. Things like this, is just the beginning to a child's life in school.

"People begin life as motivated learners, not passive beings." (17) Think back to kindergarten and first grade...were you excited to go to school? Most children are thrilled to enter school because they get to learn everything and anything they want. Kids can't wait to start their first day, see their friends, meet their teachers and see what else they can learn this year that is better than the last year. Now think back to the beginning of this class, while most of us were counting down the days to spring break, some of us were ready to start a new schedule and see what we could learn from this FNED class. I myself was on that list of  a motivated learner. It's like a cycle that you can't break out of. The more you desire to inquire, the more you become an active participant in your classes and every day social life. Participation eventually leads to empowerment.

"Many students do not accept these limits, which is why teachers often face resistance in the classroom" (20) Due to the limits set up by elites that kids don't like, teachers are having a harder time teaching the social lessons. Kids are beginning to challenge and resist what their elders say because they are no longer agreeing with these rules.

Everything that I read in this weeks assignment made me realize that education is a lot harder than it looks. I know I should have realized that probably at the begging of this class but for some reason it hit me now. This reading made me think about my own education. I realized that when I started out in elementary school, I was so excited to wake up, and go see my friends, my teacher and learn my multiplication tables. I knew that if I mastered my times tables then I would be smarter and smarter meant I could go to the next grade and so on and so on. It is this cycle that we create as a society. All of the kids who resisted my teachers may have been right to push back. By pushing back, the teachers had to find different ways to help their students. Educators can no longer take the easy way out. They have to find ways to help their students instead of passing them along to the next person. In my opinion, the education system needs a lot of work in order to be better and up to date. So to wrap this blog up, I ask you...What kind of education system do you think we need?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome


Directly in the opening of this chapter, Kliewer has a quote given by a student on her feelings about being in a segregated classroom because of her down syndrome, "'I started to notice that I didn't like the classes I was taking called special ed almost all my life. I wanted to take other classes that interested me. I had never felt so mad, I wanted to cry." (Kliewer, 1)
-This quote set the mood for the chapter. The minute I read it, I began to feel for the student. She was never allowed to pick what she wanted. She was never allowed to challenge herself. Mia, the student, got by with what others thought that she could handle and she never had an option. Even though students with down syndrome might have struggles with their school work, it should be up to them as to what classes they feel they can handle. This quote is an example of what most students with down syndrome have had to face their entire life and school career.

Right after Kliewer gives Mia's story, he gives another quote by Jason Kingsley, "'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 disablities." (Kliewer, 1)
-This quote sets up this idea for the following topics. The idea is how do we get rid of the negative attitude? In my opinion, Kingsley is right. People with developemental disabilities should have every opportunity available to them and they should be allowed to decide for themselves. The rest of the chapter goes on to talk about different things that challenge people with down syndrome.

My last quote comes from the last part of the chapter. "It is instead a web of dynamic, constantly shifting relationships that encompass the individual with Down Syndrome and all other human beings." (Kliewer,  13)
-I found this quote to be a great way to sum up the reading. This quote is talking about school citizenship and community. It is saying that like everything else in life, it will always be changing. As more people obtain knowledge of people with Down Syndrome, they will grow and change to see that those children are able to make their own decisions, relationships will change between eachother and maybe those negative attitudes that were once present, will become a thing of the past.

This weeks reading meant a lot to me because I have a cousin with Down Syndrome. My cousin Katie lives 822 miles away from me and yet no matter how much time goes by, I can pick up the phone, call her and it is as if I have missed nothing in her life. The last time I saw Katie was in 2003. At that time, she was beginning her freshman year in high school. The only thing was, Katie wasn't going to graduate with her friends at the age of 18, she was going to have to stay back for at least an extra 2-3 years until the school felt like she was ready to graduate. She was put in a classroom with other students who had develpomental disabilities and there they would work on the school levels that each child was at in their life. At the time, to me it seemed like a good idea, my cousin wouldn't be around the students who would tease her and she would be able to learn at a grade level that she needed. It wasn't until I reached high school that I realized what they did to her was wrong. In my high school, we too have a classroom for students with developmental disabilites. The only difference is that the teacher in that classroom brings the children into other classrooms every day in order to incorporate them with other students and to make it a learning experience for everyone. The students in the ALP classrooms are given tasks and jobs, such as running the school store, so they are able to interact with other people and they can learn everyday skills like counting money and taking inventory. This way of learning and intergrating all students with eachother is what my cousin needed but never recieved because back then, no one believed that is what we should do. Because my cousin was never intergrated, she was a home-body. She has finally graduated high school and now works at a nursing home where she is in an enviornment with people who won't judge her or make her feel bad about herself. But what if she had recieved a different education, one where she was allowed to pick what she wanted and where she was introduced to other people? Would she still be a home-body? What many people don't realize is that anyone who has Down Syndrome is just as much like you and me, the only difference is they learn at a slower rate. Down Syndrome is a genetic condition where you are born with 47 chromosomes instead of 46. The extra chromosome is another copy of chromosome 21. Another common name for Down Syndrome is Trisomy 21 (a name for the extra copy of chromosome 21). There are plenty of websites that further explain what Down Syndrome is and what symptoms are caused by this. One website that will give info is :

Here is a video froom youtube that has Mia Peterson (the girl who gave my first quote in Kliewers piece) in it!!!! I hope this video helps everyone to see that people with Down Syndrome are just like us.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Literacy with an Attitude!


"First, there is empowering education, which leads to powerful literacy, the kind of literacy that leads to positions of power and authority. Second, there is domestic education, which leads to funtional literacy, literacy that makes a person productive and dependable, but not troublesome." (Finn, ix)

-This was the first quote that stuck out to me when I began reading Finn's work. I found it interesting because it made me stop and think about my schooling and if they did this to us. In many ways, it seems like they did. Finn is saying that there are two different kinds of education and those two different types, lead to different literacy levels. He continues on to say that he doesn't believe this is a conspiracy, instead he says that we have all contributed to this.

The second quote I found was in chapter 2, when Finn is talking about the difference between 5 schools, two of them being working class, "While the same arithmetic book was used in all five schools, the teacher in one working-class school commented that she skipped pages dealing with mathematical reasoning and inference because they were too hard. The teacher in the second working-class school said, 'These pages are for creativity--they're extras.' She often skipped them as well." (Finn, 10)

-The second quote shocked me beacause teachers aren't supposed to give up on their children. They are there to inspire them and push them to their limits to get the best out of their students. Students can't learn and grow when their teachers are not challenging them. This reinforced my first quote. Finn's point in including this part of the chapter was to show that there really are two types of teaching, the empowering education and the domestic education. While this isn't right or kay, it exists.

Lastly my third quote is a quote from a teacher regarding her thoughts on her students, "When asked 'why?' she responded, 'They're lazy. I hate to categorize them , but they're lazy.'"

-My last choice was based on my second quote. It isn't that the kids are lazy, but rather that the teachers don't want to take the time to show them the extra work. The teacherse would rather skip it or call it "extra work".

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gender and Education

Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding.

While exploring the web and what not, I came across a website( that had an article titled: Beyond Title IX: Gender Equity Issues in Schools. The article had tons of information about all different things that are evident in classrooms including: Girls at risk of dropping out of school, Gender bias in student/teacher interactions, The participation and achievement of girls in mathematics and science, Gender bias in standardized tests, Gender differences in learning styles, Sexual harassment of students by their peers etc. For the blog, I decided to focus on Gender bias in student/teacher interactions. I learned that studies show teachers do not treat their male students the same as their female. It has been noted that male students recieve more of the teachers attention, yet female students recieve a lesser punishment than the boys would for the same crime. The website also included questions that would help any teacher to see if this was going on in their classroom. One of the questions they asked was, "Are boys and girls given equal chances to answer both recall questions as well as questions requiring higher order thinking skills, e.g., expressing an opinion, comparing and contrasting, dicting consequences?" I thought that was one of the more interesting questions because in my SL classroom, I have noticed that my teacher doesn't discriminate by sex, but by who she knows is smarter. She will always give the hard questions to the student she knows will be able to give the right answer. The website then goes on to give possible steps in correcting the classroom to make it a better enviornment. Overall, this website was really helpful in teaching me about Title IX because I never knew it existed.

Other things I found exploring the web:
A website all about Title IX:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brown vs Board of Education


Once I watched both videos on Tim Wise, I came to the conclusion that racism is still around. The conversations that he has with the interviewer seem to make is point very clear, "Evidence of racism and discrimination against average everyday folks of color is still very much in evidence." I myself use to work for a retail company that would very clearly profile people of color who came into the store to shop. If someone was walking around tables and not really looking to purchase anything, the managers would always come around and repeatdly ask them questions and if they needed help. It was all in hopes that if they were stealing, they would get nervous and leave. The quote and my old job made me think about the difficulty that people of color or of a different race have to face every day. Difficulty comes in the form of gaining respect, getting trust, or even getting a job. Everyone should have a fair shot.

After Wise's video, came the article by Bob Herbert. As soon as I finished reading his articles, two quotes stuck out to me..."If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning enviornments that are smothered by poverty." After I read that quote, nothing else in the article mattered. It was the only thing I kept thinking about. By doing my SL project in a school, where most if not all children live in poverty, made me realize that not everyone lives a "comfortable life" or the "American dream". Every time I go to the school, I am always trying to figure out just why these children aren't getting the same education I recieved in elementary school. The quote made sense to me, I had never looked at it that way before. Those children live in poverty, grow up in poverty, and are taught in schools that esentially have no money. If the children had the opportunity to go to a school where they were able to see middle class children, they might want more for their lives. Those kids might be willing to put the effort into their education if they knew there was a better life for them.

The second quote that struck me was, "Studies have shown that it is not the race of students that is significant, but rather the improved all-around enviornment of schools with better teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, pupils who are engaged academically, parents who are more involved, and so on." I know that for me, parent involvement was huge. My parents checked my homework daily and always made sure to help me if they saw a mistake. I personally believe that if every child had a parent who was willing to put the effort in, then the kids would benefit. Maybe the kids would be more engaged in the class room and who knows, maybe test scores would rise. There are endless possibilities that could occur all from one small change.

Both Wise and Herbert were able to capture the topics of race and education in ways that would make any follower or reader think, and thinking is the first step to change.

Link: A small side note from this weeks talking point...In second grade my class watched a movie on segregation/intergration that had to do with a girl by the name of Ruby Bridges, I dont know if any of you remember her but her story is great. Here is a link to youtube that has the first part of the movie:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Service Learning


"Educators who emphasize change would clearly also value the educational benefits of this approach" (pg 6)

This quote is pretty straught forward. It is very true that if more schools and teachers participated in service learning, they would see a huge change in their students. Students who have the ability to get out and view the "real" world tend to open their eyes and realize that there is more to life than they think they know. Service learning would allow there to be more conversations in the class room. It would allow for better conversations between students and teachers.

"This curriculum highlights the explicitly political nature of service and community action, teaches meaningful skills in a systematic manner, and intergrates these ideas with academic investigations." (pg 10)

My second quote speaks about Katherine Issac's curriculum that demonstrates a more common type of service learning. Issac's curriculum is something that you would see in a school today. Educator's are pushing to have everything and anything that they can connected to something in the classroom. I think that by connecting what we learn to another lesson in the classroom, it reinforces the idea of the original lesson.

"These statements testify to the transformative power of service learning experiences. The effect could be even greater if students discussed the possible causes of these rumors and their impact." (pg 12)

This last quote comes after a series of quotes from children who participated in service learning. The kids talked about how the experience wasn't as bad as they thought it was. This quote that I chose shows a way to turn the reflection pieces into something greater. It gives the idea to expand the reflection and helps to open the minds of students.

*If anyone is interested in doing extra service learning here is a website that gives RI organizations:

The website also talks about highschools and how they incorporate service learning/community service!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Unlearning the Myths"

Reflection of "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us" by Linda Christensen.
Article found:

This article by Linda Christensen leaves me with uncertain/mixed feelings. I have read about things like this before and to an exent I do agree with her. It is definitely true that children pick up on things at a young age and their mind can easily be shapped into what they see or hear. I completely agree with Christensen when she writes, "Children's cartoons, movies, and literature are perhaps the most influential genre 'read'." From what we see  at a young age, we begin to have ideas of what our future will be. We hope that prince charming will come and sweep us off of our feet and we will all have the fairy tale ending. The reality check to that is, that it isn't true. Most of us will live average lives but be completely happy. However, where I disagree is with her thought on how the world has a stereotypical view that is presented by the media. I think it is nice to see children who have dreams and hopes of one day being Cinderella or Snow White, but at a certain age, most kids figure out that what society presents in the media is not true. To me, it almost seemed like Christensen thinks that children are naive to the media and they will fall for whatever they put out, and in my opinion, it is opposite. Most kids tend to realize that their life isn't like that. Christensen seems to hate most mainstreamed shows and movies, but it is all a part of our society and we must find a way to live with it. We have to show kids all types of lives and all types of media.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


2009 National School Climate Survey: Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT Students Experience Harassment in SchoolFound at

       By definition, to harass some one is to trouble by repeated attacks, or to torment. When you look at the word harass and you read the definition, nothing about it seems appealing. No one wants to be harassed and in my opinion, not one person should ever have to be harassed for something that is not their fault. When I first saw this article title, I was so drawn to it because I watch the show Glee on the fox network (channel 11) every week and it made me think of one of the characters on the show. This one particular character began being harassed by a football player because his sexual orientation wasn't "normal or socially acceptable." The harassment began to be so bad that eventually the boy switched to a different school. When I was watching the show, I was disguisted about what had happened. Never in my life had I seen something so awful.

        I did not just experience that through the show. At the time of the show, I was attending the University of Rhode Island, and I don't know if anyone has heard anything in the news lately, but URI is having a very hard time controlling and putting a stop to the hate crimes towards the gay community. While I was there just last semester, a boy (who lived in the GLBT Dorms) was threatened and began to feel very unsafe. The University did everything in their power to catch the person who did this, and they fortunately did catch the kid, however, they still are not able to stop every one. This past week there was a small news clip about more hate crimes towards the gay community occuring. It takes an effort like URI (who has a zero tolerence policy towards crimes like this) to help lower this statistics on this survery. The gay community is only expanding.

        For those of you from RI and those who are not, Rhode Island is proudly making strides to help. Once a year, the state has a "Gay Pride" day/night where the state house is lit in rainbow colors, and there is a parade with a night full of dancing, vendors, and plenty of people who come out to show their support. It is great to see that even the state makes an effort to show their support.

      With all of the controversy going on in the news today about gay marriage and gay rights, I think there is one thing we all need to remember...they are people too. They are brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, friends, etc. and they need support.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


When I was reading "Aria," I began to think about my family and my boy friend's family. Both of us come from strong families who still speak their native language. My family is full blooded Italian and we still speak Italian on and off when we are all together. When my great grandmother came to America, she had to learn English to help understand the people she was working with and the people she had to interact with. However, just because she became bilingual, she never let go of speaking Italian. Now that the family has grown, I have noticed that we speak less Italian but it is still present. I never wonder what to call my grandparents or my aunts and uncles. We have adapted to our surroundings but we still try to hold on to where we came from. On the other hand, this reading made me look at my boy friends family. I spent the entire day with them today (hence why I am writing this blog so late), and by doing so I was able to connect some of the things that Rodiriguez was saying. My boy friend is Portugese and his family speaks very very little English, in fact, the only thing that his grand parents can say is "Hi" and "Thank-you". This to me was very annoying because I couldn't handle the language barrier, I felt like I was being rude by not speaking to them. All day I had wished that I knew one maybe two words of Portugese. But as I sat there and listened to them speak, I realized that it was amazing that they could live in America for so long and still speak next to no English. I also that it was amazing that they kept their family so close together. It is refreshing to see a family that holds onto its past. To them, family and religion are the two most important things and if holding onto their native language helps to keep those bonds close than more power to them. They have refused to change and let go of what they know so that they could bring a piece of their old home to their new home. I loved being able to read "Aria" and being able to spend a day with another family who believed in speaking their own language. It definitley helped me to understand where Rodriguez was coming from.