Monday, November 16, 2009

oh heyy

so.. the whole class was invited out, but not everybody could make it :(. so we are most def. going to have to go out again, invite the whole class, and hope more people can make it!

i had fun saturday night! it was really cool hanging out with friends outside of the classroom setting. im glad im developing friendships with amazing people! i could def. see lifelong friendships forming =]

Talking Points #9

Citizenship in School:Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome
By: Chris Kliewer

1. "In establishing a representation of citizenship for all, Shayne recognized the transactional relationship of human reciprocity: Community acceptance requires opportunity for individual participation in the group, but opportunity cannot exist outside of community acceptane (pg. 3)."

I agree with this very much so. In order for a student to fully participate in a class setting, they need to feel accepted, like they have a place and role in the classroom. The student wants to have that inner feeling like that opinion and point of view matters, and if they speak, they will not be shot down by others. They need to feel a sense of safety in the classroom. Where they will not be jugded and ridiculed by others if they say the wrong answer. Feeling accepted in the community
will make them want to speak out and participate. The wont fear anything.

2. "The metaphor of "spread" illustrates the image of defect blanketing the unique humanness of students charged with the differences that matter. What is hidden under the cloak of incompetence is the individuality and personality of the human being.
Teachers who valued their children as citizens recognized each student's individuality (pg. 8)."

I loved this metaphor. Teachers need to look within the students. Dont judge them by their disorder or physical appearence. Whats inside is what truley matters, and thats what makes them unique. Make them feel valued and proud of themselves. Every student is different. Share these differences with the classroom, and allow the students to embrace them. Have no tolerance for bullying. Show students that bullying others is not okay. Have students share their personalities and individualities with eachother. Two students or a different race, or one with a disablity and one without.. may share personality traits which can bring them together. Have students share these traits. A teacher should value each of her students and make them feel this value.

3. "Understanding developed out of a constant process of negotiating and renegotiating relationships with peers, adults, and materials. Shayne and her colleagues saw their role as one of creating a relatively safe community in which the children felt confident in formulating and reformulating their web of relationships (pg. 11)."

This quote is my favorite, and I couldnt agree with it anymore. Allow your students to feel safe in the classroom. This will make them want to voice their opinion and speak out in class. Never make them feel dumb, no matter how wrong their answer is. Have them try again, and find them drive within themself to keep trying and not give up.

Thats what teaching is all about. Seeing that light bulb go off in your students head. Making your students WANT to learn and do their best. Making each one of your students feel like they have a role in the class and really matter. Relationships in the classroom are key. Teacher/student relationships as well as student/student relationships. Allow them to grow off of eachother and share the uniqueness and individuality.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Talking Points #8

Tracking: Why Schools Need To Take Another Route
By: Jeannie Oaks

1. "Many express particular concern about tracking's effects on poor and minority students, who are placed in low-ability groups more often than other students and are less likely to be found in programs for gifted students or in college preparatory tracks (pg.1)." I agree with this quote greatly because of personal experience in the past. I went to La Salle Academy, but I got accepted into the .2T program which stood for .2 transition program. I had to go to La Salle the summer before my freshman year from a month where I took some classes (in order for them to help you transition from middle-highschool). .2T was "lower level" compared to .1. .2A. .2T which I was in consisted of students from different backgrounds, and poor kids who wanted a "chance" to better themselves. I was the only upper middle class white person in this program. But these classmates, became my closest friends over the four years. I never realized that .2T consisted of so many minooritys until I actually thought about it. I guess I never realized it before because it was never an issue.

2. "Moreover, the nature of these differences suggests that students who are placed in high-ability groups bave access to far richer schooling experiences than otber students (pg.1)." If you seperate students based on assessments and what level class room "you think" they should be placed in, are you really helping the child? Answers differ, but Id say no. I believe in diverse classrooms in everyway possible, one way being having children with different learning abilities that way they can help and grow off of one another. Those who are placed in the higher classrooms, have a better chance of going further in life which I dont think is far. Place all kids in the same classroom, allow them varities of learning techniques and let them strive to their full potential. In my highschool, if you were in .1 you were basically going to a D1 college, where as if you were placed in .2T, you felt as though you werent 'as good" or smart as the .1 studets and a commmunity college or D3 college would be your best bet. Now is that fair?

3. "For example, in average classes, many teachers expected. relatively little ofstudents. They established set routines of lecturing and doing worksheets,
held time and workload demands (both in class and for homework)to a minimum. accepted and sometimes even encouraged distractions,and rarely asked students 10 think. deeply or critically. When classes are conducted in this way, average students, too, are deprived of the best that schools have to offer (pg.2)."
Teachers who assign worksheets and overload homework, im my opinion, arent allowing students to become what they could be. Students are going to feel bored, stressed, and just not WANT to work hard. Whereas if your teacher hardly passed out overload worksheets, and instead had discussions, group work, hands on activities, open ended questions- wouldnt that make students want to do their best?

This reading has proven to me that my highschool was tracked, and still is. Do I agree with this? No. But everybody is free to their own opinion. I hope schools start to track less and instead give ALL students equal opporutnities to achieve whatever they put their minds to. Allow students to learn and "bounce" off of eachother.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Promising Practices :)

The first session that I attended was called Teaching Transgender Students. I basically already knew everything that she went over. I felt like it was common sense, but Im glad that I was placed in this session. But there were some things that were said in this session that I didnt know. The number one concern of transgender children in the classroom is if their child be welcomed. Parents want to make sure that their children aren’t bullied and teased, and that the school is safe. Does that school have co-ed bathrooms for the students? That way a transgender student wont feel uncomfortable using the bathroom. We all know how uncomfortable it can be to hold in your pee, and im sure that would distract their learning process. The school should welcome EVERYBODY, have knowledge of transgender students, have no tolerance towards bullying, and have a strong anti-bias commitment, which means a number of things, such as other students sticking up for peers if they're get picked on. Teachers shouldn’t use students legal names, call them what they want to be called so the student feels comfortable. If a students legal name is Chris, but wants to be called Christina, respect that.

Collier says, "To allow the child to express him/herself you should motivate the student, which encourages learning (pg.230)." Allowing students to express themseleves, such as how they dress, will allow them to feel uncomfortable, accepted, and like they have a place in the classroom and arent invisible. This in itself is strong enough to motivate students to want to learn, which is key.

Carlson says, "First, regardless of how young people construct a gay identity, the very existence of more-or-less "out" gay-identified youth in schools poses a threat to silencing practices. It remains to be seen how long public schools can fail to respong to the existence of "out" gay youth, and gay teachers." Lets end this silence in schools and in socities in themselves. Lets stop looking at being gay as a bad thing, because its not! Its what certain people are. If society stops being so afraid of homosexuality, maybe more youth and teachers will come out. Embraces differences, its what makes the world unique and spunky.

I was shocked about the
suicide rates of transgender students. 50% will have made one suicide attempt by the age of 20. I believe that If schools make transgender students feel at home, comfortable, like they are just like everybody else, like that matter, then the rate will decrease with time.

The second session that I attended was for
ALLIED. I was excited about this session since I was a presenter. I was able to share some of my personal experiences, and read a poem I wrote about who I am and who I am not. Here’s a few lines from it:

I am a 21 year old lesbian, who is positive about liking girls
I am not a college student who is just going through a "phase"
I am myself at all time, take it or leave it
I am not a flamer, dyke, or whatever term people want to associate me with
I am one outgoing and friendly
I am not a lesbian trying to get your number
I am being true to myself, and doing what makes me happy
I am not choosing to like girls just to get attention
I am following heart and being the best person that I can be
I am not "plagued" by anything
I am a strong, open minded, determined individual
I am not a weak person whose going to let the thoughts of people of power put me down
I am one with a big heart, full of life.
I know what I want in life.

I shared in this session my example of how when i go to allied I feel like certain people actually understand me. When i talk about certain things I have to deal with, they show me
empathy, while when I share my struggles with other people, they show me sympathy. People in allie show me empathy because they actually understand what im talking about. They have been through want I have been through, or something like it. They want to help me through it.

At the end of the conference, I asked if they got something out of it. My personal goal at RIC, is to share my experiences, and to share my mind set with others to help them better understand homosexuality. Maybe this will make them comfortable around gay people. Maybe heterosexual people will accept homosexuality and maybe, just maybe, one day it will be legal to get married. Maybe teasing will increase in school systems in the future. Maybe people wont stay "in the closest" because they are afraid to be themselves. Maybe, me continuing to help others understand my homosexuality, will help make all of this possible.

After the allied meeting, a couple girls emailed thanking me for sharing my experiences with them and just being myself.

One girl said in an email, "thank you for being so great, the things you share in class and in your blog are so inspirational, although im not a lesbians i also face some hardships among many other things and for you to be open about yourself and for people to accept you it gives me hope in the world."

I cant put into words how much this touched me. It put me in the best mood ever. I really felt like i did something good for somebody. Like im a role model in some way, by just being myself. It makes me feel really good inside :)

Their are a few things that I "filed" in my mind when the key note speaker, Dr. Tricia Rose, made her speech. As teachers, we need to teach painful topics to our students in ways to empower students and create that vision in the world. Its not just about the facts, but how the students feel about these "painful" topics, and what we can DO to make sure acts like these don’t occur again. Don’t just talk about the topic-act upon it. This is a long process, that will not happen in just once class. To enable this process, we need to be painfully honest, and make sure that we don’t skip over the "ugly parts." We need to also recognize that we are individuals but also members of certain groups. I agree with this statement very much. I feel as though we considering yourself part of a group, "Lesbian" "Italian", people tend to generalize us, and make false judgments. But that’s where individuality comes into play. Others need to realize that not everybody in the group is the same. Everybody is a unique individual. Just because Im a lesbian, it doesn’t mean I like to get my hands dirty and work on cars" Dont generalize a person, to your personal thoughts about the "group" that they belong to.

I enjoyed Promising Practices very much. I'm glad I got to hangout with my friends from class, and Im happy we are all becoming good friends. I don’t have many friends back home, so im happy to be making friends. They are all very sweet and I cant wait to hangout with them outside of the classroom. I felt like I touched some peoples lives, even if it was in the smallest way possible. Maybe it was helping them understand what its like to be a lesbian, and some of the struggles I have faced. Maybe I helped showed some people that even though im gay, im just like them. Maybe i helped clear up some of their foggy misconceptions. Maybe now they will be more accepting and comfortable around homosexuality.

I found this video on youtube. Its a news cast on two different stories about transgender. The first news clip is about an 8 year old boy, and the second is about a crime.

What upset me is that this news lady said, "Arent his parents embarressed to put this on the school sytem" Put what on the school system? The school system should be the ones being embarressed for not letting a child dress the way he wants. Doesnt he have the right to? He should be allowed to be himself and dress how he wants. Other classmates shouldnt tease him either. If so, they teacher should do something about it such as wearing a skirt to class (if its a guy) and embrace they choice to wear what you want. I dont know. Maybe I am too open minded, and im asking to much out of this nation. Then the news cast says that soiciety is afraid to speak out on this matter because they dont want to be looked at and called intolerant. Then he brings illegal aliens into the issue. What does that have to do with anything? Geez. They should be the ones being afraid to talk, since they are so close minded. Then the next video is talking about a transgender who took part in a crime, which is basically putting a negitive thought/image in societys head about transgender people. Then it seemed as though they were laughing and kind of putting down this man. Which is showing others who are watching, that its okay. When clearly its not. Im sure if a straight man did this crime, they wouldnt be poking fun at him like they were with this transgender.

It just mad me upset. But, this is what keeps me going. Makes me want to show others who I am. Allow them to learn from me. Clear their misconceptions and allow this nation to walk towards justice.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Change the message"

I had to post this video. If you have time, listen closely to it. It made me cry. It starts off with random people or society, and people of power, talking about how homosexuality is wrong. Some things that were said really stuck my heart. I woanted my classmates to watch this because in class we talk about how its okay. You all see me being as open and care free of others, but thats not as easy as it seems. It takes an extremly strong indivdual to do that. But, towards the end of this clip you hear Ellen say, "CHANGE THE MESSAGE.. ITS OKAY TO BE GAY" And that right there is what made me smile, and thats what I am trying to do. To show you all, I am the same. Theres no reason to be homophobic.

Today in work a customer was talking about the current Maine issue on homosexuality. Legislature passed a bill saying homosexuals could get married, but when this was brought to the people, it was voted against, which is really sad. This customer asked me my thoughts on the issue, so I told him. He disagreed like I knew he would since he has said before how he was very conservative. He told me that the main issue is.. if homosexuals could get married, revolved around the cathloic chruch. Priests would have to marry homosexual couples (even if he and the bible are against it) since the state would allow them to do so. This is why he is so against homosexual marriage. Personally, my interpretation of the bibles attitude towards homosexuality is different than his but thats another topic. So he doesnt feel that it should be legal, because priests in the Christian Church shouldnt be forced, in his eyes, to marry people of the same sex just because the state made it legal.

Secondly, him and another customer than went off saying that it shouldnt be legal because gay couples shouldnt have children because its "not right for children to be raised like that." I just said okay, and let it go. Because my dad would of got mad if i started arguing with a customer. So basically, this points it down to church and state. But, god created all people. He is loving and compassionate. Theres a reason God created Gay people. I didnt choice to be gay. Yes its hard, but its me and im happy I am the way I am. I would never want to change who I am, and I wouldnt have it any other way. My personal goal is to show people that theres nothing wrong with homosexuality. Look at me. I am just like all of you. Why cant I have children or get married. I will raise my kids amazing. Just as good as any so called "normal" family can. But then again, what is normal?

But on a happier note, in this next video, I felt connected to it since I love myself and my sexual orientation :) I would never pretend to be anything else. I want to teach others about homosexuality and widen their vision. I want to help change the world and others perceptions. You dont have to agree with what I say, just listen and try to understand where I am coming from. It will make you a better person. Dont judge anybody. Look within. Not at.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

me =]

I thought it would be cool to show you my two sides. The first picture is me in drag. This is what I feel comfortable in. My family doesnt like when I paint on facial hair, so the only time I do is when I want to go to a club dressed in drag. And since im not a clubber, i rarely do that. And my style.... is unique. I dress the way I like to :). The second picture is just a picture of me with my hair down. Believe it or not, I do wear it down sometimes. When I want to "dress up" for an occasion. But when I do, I feel uncomfortable. Dying to just put it up.
Well, I hope you enjoyed these pictures. :)

Blog # 7

Gender and Education Information

-When on this site, I read something that I disagree with. To be honest, It kind of made me upset. Maybe, my personal background learning and experiences are what made me disagree with it. Maybe, some of you will agree with this technique.

"Proponents say splitting boys and girls up permits the teacher to approach academic subjects in the way that each gender learns best. Elementary-age girls, they say, respond to detail and color; boys process motion and direction better. By middle school, the same-gender argument goes to adolescent social and intellectual development. The distraction posed by pubescent boys and girls can be gated at the classroom door by splitting up boys and girls. And there is also the feminist argument that all-girl classes allow females to engage, compete and excel academically without fearing a “brainiac” stereotype or being thought of as unfeminine. "

Yes, it makes sense if you think about it. Girls sometimes keep to themselves, but they dont want boys, or their "crushes" in the class to think that they are so called nerds. Or boys being a distraction and girls losing focus in the classroom. But, I think that this is what school is all about. Engaging classrooms with BOTH boys and girls. Girls, just need to stay focused, as do boys. I believe as though they learn off of eachother. Not only are the learning classroom material, but they're also learning about eachother. Their differences. The uniqueness. If you segregate them, how are they going to learn about eachother. This exerpt is also stating that they learn in different ways. Rather than segregating them- how about the teacher teaching in both learning tecnhiques. Interacting both genders. Who says males or females should all be taught in ONE way just because its thought that boys like motion and direction more. What if theres a girl in the class who enjoys learning that way too?! Boys and girls should be in the same classroom so that if the teacher ask a question.. students can listen to a males point of view, as well as a females. They can hear eachother out. Learn. Understand. Keep an open mind of over views.

So, what kind of classroom do I want to see more of? What kind of classroom do I want to have when I start teaching? points out some good aspects such as: show fairness in your classroom, select a variety of books, choose your words carefully, be aware of cultural differences, encourage non traditional courses. All of this researching has shown me that their are very different views, even in 2009, on gender and education. But, no teaching technique is right or wrong. Whose to say? Its what YOU think from your own personal knowledge and past experiences. Personally, i dont believe in segreating students in any way. Not because of race. Not because of gender. Students should be engaged in a class with people different then themseleves so they can learn from eachother and grow into mature adults. Teachers should have hands on activites, group work (were students can interact with others).. make sure each student in the classroom has worked with another classmate as least once. That way nobody is being singled out. Make everybody feel accepted and loved.

No segregation. But, thats just my opinion.

OKAY so i decided to youtube a video on a segragated classroom since my opinion differs. So will an open mind I watched this video..

I ended up getting very upset as soon as I began to watch this video. The guy filming is interviewing a boy and a girl. He ask them what their for thought/reaction was when they walked into class realizing that their sec was seperated. The boy answered, "that its gay." Then the girl laughed, and the guy filming asked, "why is it gay?" (while he is also laughing at the response. Lets forget segreatio nfor a minute. HELLO. what kind of response is that? I HATE when people say "thats gay" when their expressing that they dislike something or that its stupid. Come on people, really..

Back to the video.. Basically the teacher being interviewed is all FOR segregation. She thinks that there will be less drama since girls and boys are now seperated. But, I think that this will cause more drama since.. well i dont want to generalize here.. but a class full of girls is bound to have plenty of drama. Even one of the students being interviewed said that she thought there was going to be more drama since she has classes with all girls. Some students liked segregation in a few ways, and some didnt.

I disagreed with many things that this teacher said. To be honest, I couldnt even watch the entire clip, because I was getting fustrated. Then i read the comments to the video, and one read.. "wow this is throw 6ak. das my girl erica she 18 now. 6ut dis shit was gay as fuk " AGAIN with the use of the word "gay" in a negitve way.