Sunday, June 20, 2010


The article by August demonstrates the many teachable moments we have as educators when we discuss gender and family differences. We do this by remembering individuality in our students and having sensitivity to the value and culture of gender. Parents and teachers play a central role in this process because they continually provide children with models of behavior. Every person is born into a human group that shapes or socializes them, whose to say which group is better? A family should be a loving unit regardless of who the members are. It is our job to make children feel welcome in the classroom by providing literature, opportunities through creativity and play to discuss what family is about. As Zeke teaches his students he introduces teachable moments or spontaneous dynamic dialogicality and expands on these moments by including the class in discussions.

How do we attempt to make school an environment that will respect all of our families differences?
Do we have the power as teachers to teach and challenge our students about gay and lesbian couples?
Our we pre-exposed to silence due to the fact of being sued of fired if we discuss the issues to our students?
How do we expand on the teachable moments to teach our students about the difference in gender and family differences?
How do we follow the rules and codes of education and still teach our students the value of differences?
Is the power in the classroom equally distributed? Does every child have an opportunity to be involved in transformative talk?
Do we feel confident enough in our teaching abilities to make an awkward moment into a teaching moment?
How do we use dynamic dialogicality in our classrooms?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rodriguez Hyperlinks

The article by Rodriguez discusses the struggles one young man had being a bilingual student. He was shamed by his social class and his primary language of Spanish. Unforunatly, he did not have a strong advocate at the time, to fight for him and his family's rights to speak Spanish in school. He considered his language, "private" How sad that this young boy lost his "youthful spark" due to an educational system that did not provide him with adequate bilingual services. He was humiliated in front of his class and soon became silent in school. His family was also robbed of their native language due to a teacher saying, "Is it possible for you and your husband to encourage your children to practice their English when they are home!" (Rodriguez) This family was forever changed. The insecurities of learning a new language quickly spread through the family-they were ashamed of their native language! Shame on that school and the teachers! The first language should be valued just as much as the second language. This young boy had an opportunity to learn and use two different languages but was shamed.

There are three links that I attached the first one discusses the benefits of putting your child in a bilingual school at a young age (3-11 optimal age for learning another language)

This link discusses the history of bilingual education and the gentleman who fought for bilingual education in the 70's.

The final link has families that support the schools that provide efficient and effective bilingual programs.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

GLSEN-Extended Comments to Jenn's Blog

The GLSEN website is a wonderful resource for teachers, students and the community. This site not only educates the public on the damaging effects of racism and sexism but gives schools and families resources they can use in their community. Jenn, I too was struck by the concept that in this day and age, very few books are published for children with LGBT parents. We educate such diverse society and yet children's books for the most part, remain the same (heterosexual parents). The story you attached The Boy Who Captured the Moon, is a beautiful story to read to all children. I also liked how they attached the discussion questions for children and lessons for teachers to follow from the story. It was nice that they gave a blank page for students to color or to put their own thoughts in about the story. I agree, The Rainbow Rumbus is a great resource for teachers to download stories for our many different families!

The bullying website was also eye-opening. Some of the research done was very sad to say the least. "86.2 of LGBT children are verbally harassed" -and those are the children that came forward. Can you imagine that almost 90% of these children are hearing degrading comments every day! That reminds me of the saying, "sticks and stones will break my bones but calling me names will never hurt me." I believe the verbal damage is just as hurtful if not more, than the physical damage done. The lessons included for the Bully-Free School Zone were also very informative. I agree, The No Name Calling Week is a wonderful resource because it is adaptable for K-8. It was nice to see that the lessons were customized for a variety of ages and teachers can easily adapt them in their classrooms. I too, liked the lesson pages provided for teachers. They included the Bully Free Guide and materials you need for the lesson- (and the district can't say no-it doesn't involve money out of their pockets, all you need is the resource guide they included and some markers and paper!) I especially liked the approaches they included that schools can implement now- anti-bullying policy, staff-trainings, student weeks(where the children pick whats concerning to them- no name calling, ally week,etc.) I believe all schools should implement a program like this where there is zero tolerance for bullying and harassment. "Principals report that 96% of schools have anti-bullying policies but less than half mention sexual orientation (46%) or gender identity and expression. (39%)"

Jenn, nice connection with the TV show: What would you do?! I took the quiz that was included on the site and found myself more confident to speak up to a person who is treating a down syndrome boy poorly then to a friend who wants me to sign a contract on how many drinks I could have at her wedding! Although, I did say that I would approach the manger if I saw a Waiter telling a couple who is same sex to leave the restaurant. Who defends our gay parents? You are right, it is sad that people do not react to the intolerance even when children are involved. It seems people are scared to get involved or speak up, but how will the world ever become a better place if we all just sit around and watch?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Finn and Kozol Connections

Finn and Kozol seem to have many of the same philosophies when it comes to their observations of the social classes in America. In fact, in chapter one Finn refers to Kozol's book Savage Inequalities which discusses the schooling between rich and poor. Both of these writers give examples of what they have seen in the high scholar schools and the low working class schools. In chapter two of Finn's book, he explains the 4 different classes: (executive elite, affluent professional, middle class and working class).

The section that I felt was most connected to Kozol's article was chapter two, where Finn describes the working class school he visited. In this school there were books intended only for the low ability students, and the sad part is, these children had IQ's that were above 125! Talk about trying to "dumb down" our smart children, based on their social class! Is this so our powerful people can continue to feel comfortable in their social class?!

These writers go into great detail and include quotes from administration, teachers and students who are exposed to inequality daily because they are a "so called" low-working class school. Finn like Kozol, refers to the "control" that teachers must instill in their classrooms in order to "teach these kinds of children." Finn quotes, teachers that say, "the parent's don't care and their not interested." In return, anger and resentment comes into play and punishment is common for these students. There were no clocks in the classroom teachers had supplies closely guarded children were ordered to stay quietly in their seats. (Finn) Referring back to Kozol's article he too describes his visits to the low socioeconomic schools where segregation and inequality exist. One in particular was his visit to the South Bronx where he describes the school's policy of the "zero noise salute" where students were afforded time slots to speak. (Kozol)

Both of these writers clearly demonstrate the inequality that exists in some of our lower-socioeconomic classrooms in the United States. When teachers expect little or nothing form their students they get little or nothing in return. The capacity for creativity, collaboration and community does not exist in these schools, how very sad for these young children.
"No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship."
Dr. James Comer

Sunday, June 6, 2010


This article just pissed me off! Not that I disagree with Kozol, that fact is I agree with everything he says. So you will have to excuse me if I ramble on a bit. This author argues that our students, faculty and families are still living and breathing in a world of segregated school systems. It is both angering and sad to me that our schools have not improved in segregation over the years but have remained the same or even worse off!

The section in this article that caught my attention was that there has been many attempts to encourage families of all races to enroll in the same district. You would figure given a racially mixed area in a nice neighborhood it would be natural to send your child to that school. However, in a Seattle neighborhood white parents would wait with their child to send them to a predominately white school! (Kozol) That is just outrageous! The interesting fact of the matter is no one will step up to the plate and admit to the reality of segregation. We just tiptoe around and let our children become exposed to racism.

On the other side of the coin, there are school systems that pretend and "act" as though they address the needs of all children from diverse backgrounds. When Kozol visited these schools that claimed they honored diversity; the racial numbers were alarming to say the least, (2,800 black and Hispanic, 1 Asian and 3 whites). That is not a diverse school system! Personally, for me this article hit home; especially when Kozol went into detail on the schools in the lower income areas that have one girls bathroom or leaking ceilings. I work in a diverse, low income school system and at times it is a challenge to get middle class or upper class families to stay at this district due to the fact that we are located near the section 8 housing. I also have seen over the years, how we are at the bottom of the list of things to get fixed in our district. (we just recently got a working playground that can be functional for all children!) The sad but true fact is you go into the wealthy area of town where there is predominately white children and you see shinny new floors and you bet those children would never be deprived of new playground! As Marina Warner states, "There are expensive children and cheap children."

Children from low-income families should be given just as much of an opportunity to to have nice classrooms and a working playground. The quote from a child says it all, "We want a good school-like all the other Kings have." (Kozol article) Of course being in Early Childhood Special Educator, the section of this article that also touched home was the large number of low income children deprived of Pre-k. These children come to Kindergarten with out social skills, how to hold a crayon, identify shapes, colors or that printed pages go left to right. (Kozol) What a disservice to our young children! WE set them up for failure before they even get a chance to succeed! To make matters worse, as children get older they are put in classrooms with teachers who teach a Nazi like approach where children are afforded time slots to speak in class. What ever happened to collaborative learning! Never mind that the teachers are punished by losing their job if they fail to teach by those standards. Instruction is not driven by students interests or aspirations, they are automatically shut down. "You're ghetto"-"So you Sew." And we wonder why the dropout rate continues to be so high for the High school students.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children

There were many interesting quotes in this article that caught my attention the three that really stuck are the following:

quote # 1

"Child centered, whole language, and process approaches are needed in order to allow a democratic state of free autonomous, empowered adults, and because research has shown that children learn best through these methods."

If this is research based, why is it that our school systems continually take away the things that give our students empowerment? (, art, gym,etc) I believe the author is absolutely correct, if we want our students to learn and succeed as future adults, don't we need to empower them to think for themselves and incorporate strategies in our classroom appropriate for all the many different learning styles? The author continues to explain that in this country, students are judged on product not the process they utilized to achieve it. Delpict continues to state how we have so many children who are culturally deprived and verbally defiant. Perhaps this is because they don't understand what is expected from them. They are expected to act one way at home and the another at school. Perhaps we need to challenge administration and demonstrate the research shown that our students are not just a number on the testing scale, but individually capable of more.

quote # 2

"Those who are most skillful at educating black and poor children do not allow themselves to be placed in "skills or "process" boxes."

In this quote the author clearly states that we teach all regardless of color or economic status. Teachers who work with this population, must understand the process of communicating across cultures, and to really listen, to the family and the student. This is not an easy task, because it is something teachers must do with out judging and really opening up their eyes, ears and hearts. Taking a step back as the authoritative person can be difficult for some teachers, but the author believes that in order for these cultures to harmonize, there needs to be a time for teachers to teach students to use their own voices and continue to coach them on that process. In return we teach our families.

quote # 3

"What the school personnel fail to understand is that if the parents were members of the culture of power and lived by it's rules and codes then they would transmit those codes to their children."

How do we expect the children to "break the cycle" if we can't reach the families first. Delpict explains further that schools call the poor families "uncaring." Here is another cultural block when this families say, "its the school's job." It is the schools job to teach but to also teach our families. These families may not feel united or part of their child's school community. When we empower our families it trickles down to their children and to the community. Delpict continues to explain that schools should incorporate strategies appropriate for all children's cultural orientation. We do this not by separating but including families cultural values in our classrooms.

Monday, May 31, 2010

IAT Reflection

Race Test: slight automatic preference to European American to African American.

The results of this test did surprise me a bit, I have many friends that are African American and I went to elementary, junior high and high school with a variety of cultures and many of these were African American. I found many of the pictures to be African American Males, so I wonder if that affected my results? My African American friends are females.

Gender Test: association male with career and female with family compared to female with career and male with family.

The results of this test also surprised me a bit, because both of my parents work and continue to have full time jobs. My family is very important to me, so I wonder if subconsciously this had an effect. My mother did stay home and raise some of us and then went back to work. So perhaps that also affected my results. I come from a family of pretty much all boys so maybe its still a males world in my subconscious!