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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pecha Kucha (Oh look I spelled it right)

So when  converted this from Microsoft Powerpoint to Google Slides it decided to get all funny looking and I have no idea how to fix it so I apologize for that. If for some reason the link does not work you can email me at

Pecha Kucha

Monday, April 27, 2015

Social Justice Event

For my social justice event Josh and I both attended a lecture on "Blogging Dissent Under a Dictatorship? Alternative Art and Civil Society in the Era of Renewed U.S.-Cuba Relations." I know right that is quite the mouth full. The talk was given by Cuban blogger, writer, and photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.

Now for those of you who are like me and don't particularly find history that fascinating I was not exactly looking forward to going. But thankfully to my surprise, the lecture was actually rather interesting. Orlando was a man who lived in Cuba for the majority of his life but left based on dissension he had with the cuban government. He left Cuba well over a year ago and has been teaching at Brown University, blogging about his experiences, and photographing anything he finds prevalent to today since leaving.

Now some of you may be saying how in the world does this connect to the authors and the articles that we read in class, well let me shed some light on that.

Johnson/Delpit ~ Orlando tells it how it is. He does not sugar coat anything and because of that he got a book that he wrote censored. He spoke out about the corruption of the Cuban government and the truth behind what really goes on in the country. Clearly people did not like him talking about this so they censored his book, arrested him multiple times, and people constantly harass him and his family. At one point he even had the secret service come and talk to him to try and silence him. This is obviously Johnson because he speaks the truth and tell it how it is. But I also can connect this to Delpit because Orlando goes against the rules and codes of power. He defies the government, speaks out against the norm, and doesn't care about the consequences. Many political activists in Latin America are killed for speaking out so he was very brave to do this.

Macintosh ~ Orlando spoke about how the government tries to keep order to the extreme, it is to the point that it makes it so citizens are unable to move from the position they are in (economically, socially). Minorities can only have rights if they respect the frame of the cuban system. This is very much along the lines of you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make life the best that it can be. And that is what Orlando did, he found a way to get out and he took it, to come live a better life.

Rodriguez~ Orlando also spoke about the language used in Cuba. Spanish is the dominant language and if you do not speak it you are automatically at a disadvantage. It is almost required for the people of Cuba to speak both Spanish and English in order to go about day to day life, if not they are looked down upon and treated differently for not always being able to understand.

Finn (I think..... lets roll with it) ~ Cuba is at a disadvantage. They have internet modem dial-up, which immediately puts the citizens (and students) at a disadvantage. the embargo and lack of resources and advancements make Cuba a not well used trading destination and cannot be connected with the rest of the world. This connects to how students who are born in poverty and go to bad school districts are put at a disadvantage that those born to the upper middle class in a very wealthy district.

Christensen ~ Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us. The speaker opened our eyes to what is going on in Cuba and the U.S. relations with them. It took us away from how we were raised that the only thing that happened was the Cuban Missile Crisis and immigrants coming to Florida, but it is actually so much more.

If anyone is interested in learning more about Orlando and the work he does you can find his blogs online or look up his book that got censored called Boring Home. It is fictional but it has seeds of truth all throughout it.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Empowering Education ~ Shor

I think that this was a great article to wrap up the semester with. Not only did it really tie everything together but it left us all with so much to think about. 

Shor describes empowering education as "A critical democratic pedagogy herself and social change; it is a student centered program for multicultural democracy in school in society. It approaches individual growth as an active, cooperative, and social process, because the self and society create each other."

This relates to so many topics and authors we have already discussed. This makes me think of Rodrigues due to the multicultural democracy, as well as Christensens' Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us in the thought of seeing everything for how it truly is. Shor makes the point that students and teachers need to work together to make a curriculum and learning environment that benefits the students in the best way possible. I think that this is an amazing perspective and idea. Imagine a curriculum where students learn not only what they want to but what they feel will best suited to them. What could be better than a mutual understanding between teachers and students on why they are learning what they have to sit in class for everyday. 

I don't know about the rest of you but I do not feel prepared for the real world yet. I don't know how to handle insurance, file taxes, pay bills, get a mortgage, or any of that! Why didn't we learn these valuable life long skills in school? They say high school trains you for the real world but it doesn't. All it does is make you memorize (not learn) info for a short time to do well on standardized testing to make the school and the state look good. Pardon my language but its crap. The way that Shor says the education system should be set up is a fantastic idea in my opinion. I want my future students to excel in LIFE not just on their SATs. 

Talking Point: Did you feel/ do you feel ready for the real world yet? Or are we all just lost young adults who are going to have to struggle to find our own way? 

(Referring to the lack of knowledge gained in high school) 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Quick Little Thing

I meant to mention this in my previous post but of course forgot to. RIC actually has clubs that do a lot of work with students with dissabilities both physical and mental. One is called Active Minds, and the other is Advocacy and Beyond Club (or ABC for short). If you are very passionate about topics like this then I highly encourage you to get involved in student life and this is a great way to let your passion show! 

Citizenship In School

In this article "Citizenship in Schools; Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" by Christopher Kliewer, it talks about the integration and acceptance of people with Down Syndrome in schools. While reading this article I felt many emotions that just made me want to change the world. The author talks about accepting all disabilities (hate that word) and that is exactly as it should be. From a personal standpoint, being gay was actually considered a mental disability and in the DSW manual.

This topic is so important and so prevalent in todays society, that it is a shame it is ignored. The author argues that children with Down Syndrome should be allowed to be a part of the same classroom as children without the disability (hate that word). Even though a child with this condition may learn differently from others it does not mean that they should be shoved in the basement of the school where they can't actually live their life. One thing that Kliewer said that I found to be very true is that we need to focus on shattering the stereotypes and negative connotations that are put onto this. Children are born unbiased, it is how they are raised and the environment that they grow up in that shapes who they become. If we can teach kids to accept full inclusion and understand the disability (still hate that word) then acceptance will show and a better learning environment for everyone will come from it. Having Down Syndrome or anything on the Autism Spectrum Disorder does not make you any less human than any other person, and this is what society needs to fix today.

Kliewers argument is one that needs to be heard around the world. We need to try and make an equal classroom citizenship for all students. If we can not break the stigma then we are not creating the best education for everyone. Lets make disabilities abilities.

Talking point: In your High School did you notice inclusion in the classrooms and equal learning opportunities and environments? Or was there a designated room that nobody really knew about?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Literacy With An Attitude

I'm just saying that this piece really stuck out to me. I find that they way this article talks about the way a teacher can run a classroom really makes one think about the future and how we want to be as educators. When the author, Finn, talks about the discipline and busy work in the classroom and not focus on the content and the education it is scary to think that teachers operate that way. It is like treating it as just a meaningless job and not a passion. You are teaching the future generation and educators need to realize how important that is.

I will admit I struggled with this blog a little more than usual. The content seemed lengthy and a little dry but I did notice some connections to the other articles we have read. On the contrary though it is the opposite of my service learning. My service learning teacher is very interactive and proactive with the students. He seems to go out of his way to have a positive creative learning environment, unlike Finn did in his classroom. This also reminds me of Delpit with the rules and codes of power. Finn did not teach, in my opinion, the correct aspects of power to his students. They learned a dictatorship compared to just respecting adults and elders.

Instead of the usual YouTube video I thought I would post a link to pinterest about creative teaching ideas.

Talking Point: What kind of teacher do you want to become? Traditional and educational, or fun eclectic and new age?

Pecha Kucha update

So this Pecha Kucha is a made up word........  Just kidding it is actually really interesting. So far I've been focusing mainly on narrowing down my topics and really trying to focus on what I want to talk about. I figure that if I can nail down the topics and then the pictures and content of the slides will follow suit. I have some quotes that were hanging in picture frames in the teachers lounge that I want to use as slides.... So this will be a long project but i'm excited, I'm looking for a risk to take.