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.