Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Check-In 10/29/14

Today's Weather:

  • Today started off as a wonderfully sunny day: doing some chores around my mom's house, including setting up her internet, and getting her an online ID for cable. I'm her technician for anything technology-wise. 
  • A few clouds passing over during the mid-day: found out my classroom is being moved to a little hut that is outside, that I will need to walk into school to pick up my students, then walk them back to class, cutting much needed time out of my instruction time, and there is no bathroom and possibly no wi-fi or printing abilities.
  • Ending in a glorious sunset: great time catching up with my sister-in-law, via iMessage on our iPhones, its free and a great way to stay in-touch with my family in France and England.

Forecast for the rest of the week: It will be a great weekend, lots to look forward to.  My first time dressing up as a couple for Halloween, Friday night: Wayne and Garth and Saturday night: Jenny and Forrest.  My friend Margaret is celebrating her 30th birthday on Saturday night with a Halloween, costume party.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Future Generations

The Flight from Conversation- Sherry Turkle
Anti-Teaching: Confronting the Crisis- Michael Wesch

As I read both of the articles this week I thought about my own technology use and how it affected my life now.  I thought about how I like to always have my phone with in reach, how my iPad sits beside my bed, and my computer is always charged up waiting to be used.  I thought about the social media side of the equation. "Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be.  This means we can edit. And if we wish, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the body. Not too much, not too little - just right." (Turkle pg. 2)  I thought about how I present myself to others through social media. I am a pretty avid use of Instagram and Snapchat.  I love photos, and I love seeing what others are doing through photos and videos.  I still use Facebook for communication and organization of events. Do I use technology too much? Could I go a day, a week without my phone? Tablet?

I'm in awe of technology and also scared of what it might become.  I think that we use technology in so many wonderful ways and their have been amazing advancements because of technology.  But I also worry about people loosing their ability to communicate with each other.

Top 10 Reasons to Use Technology in Education are great examples of positive uses of technology in the classroom and Technology in Education: A Future Classroom  is a great example of what technology in the classroom might look like in the future.  I agree with Welsh that we need to help "students recognize their own importance in helping to shape the future of this increasingly global, interconnected society..." (pg. 7).  The internet and technology has done so many wonderful things for our society, creating a more global world.  I think it is important to incorporate technology into the classroom, because it is the way of the future, and it is important that we set our students up for success, but at the same time we need to make sure that our students are well rounded and still can carry on discussions and conversations with other people.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Potential Weapon, Literacy

Literacy with an Attitude - Finn

I really enjoyed this reading.  I felt that it finally got at one of the biggest issues in education, economic status and how it affects students' education.  

As I read I broke up the classes into the three sections that Anyon did and I created this little table:

Working Class
Middle Class
Upper Class
Comments about Knowledge
one student mentioned “think”
learn, remember, facts, study, smartness, intelligent, know, school, study, brains
open to discovery, think, figuring out stuff, you can make knowledge
Dominant Theme
excellence, individualism, humanitarianism 
follow direction, quiet
getting right answer from text or teacher
think for oneself, creativity, discovery
to follow directions, do mechanical, low-paying work,
follow orders and do the mental work that keeps society producing and running smoothly, cooperation
create products and art, negotiate from powerful position, masters of the universe

I thought about this in reference to the type of schooling I had, and the type of schools I have taught in.   I identified with the themes that Anyon found, and as Finn said are still present in education today.  I thought about this also in reference to our upcoming paper.  I recognized a lot of my middle-class background coming out in my teaching style.  "Knowledge in the middle-class was "more conceptual"... more a matter of gaining information and understanding from socially approved sources." (pg. 13).   When thinking about the type of questions I pose to my students or have been posed to me they are mostly questions that can be answered by looking in the text or referring to what the teacher has said.  "You got the right answer by following directions, but the directions allowed for some choice, some figuring, some decision making, and the teacher explained the purpose of assignments and why the directions would lead to the right answer." (pg. 13)  This quote really ties in with how math was taught, and how I was taught math.  You follow the steps that the teacher gives you, if you follow the step correctly you get the right answer.  Now, I do see a shift in math instruction, there is more reasoning abstractly, modeling and strategy that goes into it.  Students are now having to problem solve and discover the algorithm instead of just being told it.  Students are being asked why.  This is probably how students in elite schools have been learning for a while, and now we are asking all schools to teach this way with the Common Core.  I think that teachers are struggling because they think that their "lower" students can't handle mathematical reasoning. "the teacher in one working-class school commented that she skipped pages dealing with mathematical reasoning and inferences because they were too hard." (pg. 10).  This is probably the same issues that teachers and parents are dealing with when it comes to the Common Core.  But I think it is learned behavior,  if we create a culture of "anti-dialogue," (pg. 169) how can we expect our students to reason abstractly and make inferences when we have been shutting them down for so long.  Freire's method in Brazil was dialogue, get people invested and concerned through dialogue and they will strive for an education, they will strive for literacy because they will have something to say and they will want to be heard.

"It was about empowering the powerless as a class so they can stand up for themselves." (pg. 172).  

There is a game here as Johnson said, and we need to empower the powerless so they can take a place within this game.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Voices of Students

Empowering Education- Ira Shor

I will admit it right off the bat, this was the hardest reading for me so far.  It wasn't just the length or small hard to read text.  I found this reading to be very word, without it needing to be, with many examples that did not differ much from each other.  Also, as a math teacher I am alway looking out for great ideas to bring back into my classroom but it always seems that articles, or PD sessions or example lessons always tie into English or social studies history classes.  

I want to empower education, I completely agree with Shor's list of empowering pedagogy: "Partcipation, Affective, Problem-posing, Situated, Multicultural, Dialogic, Desocializing, Deomacratic, Researching, Interdisciplinary and Activist." So I began to think how I could empower through participation and problem posing.  Problem-posing empowering really keys into the problem solving side of math and the new Common Core Math Practices.  But I couldn't see how I could start my school year off asking a bunch of middle school students: What do you want to learn in math?  My fear would be that they would say NOTHING.  In this day and age I feel that we do not need some of the same math skills that we have needed in the past, because there is so much access to technology.  But then I began to think of more high school math topics and how we could really get students involved in money and money management.  So many students go off to college and have to get loans, with out really knowing what they are getting their selves into, or get a credit card for the first time.  So why don't we teach students about these type of problems.  It is hard being a teacher sometimes and students ask you "what do I need to know this for?"  Sometimes I don't have an answer, here is an article about 5 Math Lessons You Don't Really Need (but are still taught).  

While I continued to research this topic of Problem-posing math issues I came across a neat website has "Real-world lessons from Mathalicious help middle and high school teachers address the Common Core Standards while challenging their students to think critically about the world."  It has lessons about increasing the horse power of an engine, how the urban population has change over time and how we will all fit on this planet.  I would love to be able to have my students pose questions that they have and see if we can find ways to mathematically solve them.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I have enjoyed reading your comments, here are just a few other interesting link/videos that I have found.

** Food for Thought:

When did you choose to be STRAIGHT?- See how people respond to the question that is often asked of gay people

30+ Examples of Heterosexual Privilege- "If you are straight (or in some cases, perceived to be), you can live without ever having to think twice, face, confront, engage, or cope with anything listed below. These privileges are granted to you, and many of them are things you’ve likely taken for granted.  (Otherwise known as the “Why it’s easier to be straight” list.)"