Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Reflection on Leading Discussion

In the week leading up to the discussion on Kliewer's article I was very nervous.  I wanted to make sure that we got at the true meaning of the article.  I had watched as each of you went before me, I listened to each of the Plus/Delta and how I could use this information to make my discussion engaging and challenging.  It was hard to figure out how to start the class.  I wanted everyone to connect and build upon the community that we had already been a part of since the beginning.  I also wanted to make sure that everyone's voice was heard.

I really enjoyed prepping for the discussion,  I did a lot of surfing of the net, on sites like National Down Syndrome SocietyMayo Clinic: Down Syndrome.  I also did some thinking of the people who I have met in my life with disabilities, whether they be mental or physical. I thought about how these people impacted my life, how they were or were not part of the community.  There was so much that I wanted to share with everyone; I love all the videos and links that were posted by you, and your careful reflections.

I found it hard on the day of the discussion to fit it all in.  I felt that many of my deltas, including my own, were about slowing it down, or getting time to discuss other facets of the article.  Like many of you that came before me, there just wasn't enough time to get it all in.

In the end I want to thank you all for your great participations and your wonderful sharing of ideas.  I greatly enjoyed the discussions that we had and I learned from you and more about you.  I hope that you feel as if our community has grown and that we bring this forward to our own schools.


PS. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Multilingual Learning

Aria- Richard Rodriguez & Teaching Multilingual Children- Virginia Collier

When I first read Aria, I was sad.  I was sad for the loss of closeness that Richard felt from his family, a separation from their closeness.  As he went on to discuss how the conversations at the dinner table diminished and how "never-mind" (pg. 37) became a common saying from the children to the parents, I grew even sadder.  I was sad for the loss he felt, his culture and attention to detail of language drifting away as he assimilated to the "public language of los gringos" (pg. 34).  "We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close, no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness." (pg. 36).

*I do wonder if all children/parents feel this bond breaking as children grow older and become their own "public individual." (pg. 39).

As I read Collier's article I thought back to the multilingual programs in the schools I have worked in and the schools I went to.  Most programs were taught the transitional method, noted by Collier to be the one of the least affective models.  "To dismiss the home language in literacy development instantly places immigrant children at risk" (pg. 233).  "Research states that first language literacy favorably influences subsequent second language literacy. Once a child becomes literate in the home language, literacy skills swiftly transfer to second language settings" (pg. 233).  There seems to be enough concrete research out there that proves that it is just as important for ESL students to be proficient in their first language, as it is for them to be proficient in English.  We need to give students the opportunity to become proficient in their first language (speaking and writing), and we can only do this by having teachers that are proficient in the language of their student.  Often ESL students are in a classroom with a teacher who is not proficient in the students first language, and may not even speak the language at all.  We call upon parents to help us with literacy of the first language, but often parents are not proficient either.

I was not an ESL student, though I struggled greatly with learning english.  I am dyslexic and I understand how hard language/literacy learning is.  I also know that a strong foundation for learning is important, I tell my math students everyday.  When students come into 8th grade math but still have little understanding of what number sense is we cannot move on.  A foundation for learning is important.  If students are being taught a second language without being literate in their first language we are trying to build a high-rise building on a foundation of straw.

Monday, November 3, 2014

On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Tim Cook and Being Out At Work in America

This evening I was driving home from class in PVD and I turned on NPR for the 7-8pm hour for On Point with Tom Ashbrook.  He was talking with people around the country about being LGBTQ in the work place and the impact that Tim Cook's (CEO of Apple and the first Fortune 500 CEO who identifies as gay) announcement has and will make.  I thought I would share it with you all.

Tim Cook and Being Out At Work in America

Tim Cook; "I'm Proud to Be Gay" Businessweek

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ze, Hir, and Hirs

Safe Spaces- August and GLSEN.org

While reading Safe Spaces, I often reflected at the breaks and though of my school, and what exposure I had to LGBTQ issues, I could not think of a single example.  Though I remember one student from high school who was openly gay, that was it.  I do not remember learning about gay rights activists or the LGBTQ communities.  I do remember when Ellen DeGeneres came out in 1997.  I do remember the controversy over that, and how people were shocked and could not believe she "played" such a good straight person.  I feel like now-a-days there are constant media reminders of the different types of lives that people can lead.  Shortly after DeGeneres came out, Will and Grace started on NBC.  Now we have a variety of shows and media that represent LGBTQ people and issues: Modern Family, Glee, Orange is the New Black, Shameless and the list goes on .  I feel that times are changing, but that is not enough and we still need to part of the solution, and help put an end to the prejudice, "Making schools and communities welcoming to LGBT youth."

There is still a very large Global Divide on Homosexuality .  As of 2013, 60% of people in the US said that society should accept homosexuality, with countries such as Canada, Spain, Germany, Czech Rep. France, Britain and Italy having rates as high as 88% saying yes to acceptance. US is second in our percentage gain since 2007, with an increase of 11%, demonstrating that we are ready for this change.

We need to think about how we "shape attitudes and ideologies" (August, pg. 83).  I enjoyed how the chapter was broken into two section curricula and communication.  August shared examples and remedies for starting the conversation and continuing it.  I especially connected to the communication section, on page 96 the pronouns Ze and Hir were used, at first I thought it was a typo, but then I read on and noticed they were used again, and I realized it was intentional.  I looked up Ze and Hir and found out they are pronouns along with Hirs that are not gender specific.  It is our responsibility to educate ourselves so we can help educate the youth on these exact types of instances.  ( I also took the time to make Google Doc and Word "learn spelling" of both Hir and Hirs).

As a I read though GLSEN.org and watched some videos I thought to myself, how and where can I bring this into my school, my Catholic school? Can I discuss LGBTQ issues at school? I don't like the idea of teaching through tolerance, because I don't think that tolerance is the right word.  It should be more understanding, accepting not tolerating.  I will continue to role these thought around and I would love to hear back from you all about how I could approach LGBTQ at a Catholic school.