Friday, December 18, 2009

A Recap of the Moral Demensions of Teching

Enculturating the young in a social and political democracy
Foster in the nation’s young the skills, dispositions, and knowledge necessary for effective participation in a social and political democracy
Providing access to knowledge for all children and youth

Ensure that the young have access to those understandings and skills required for satisfying and responsible lives
Practicing a nurturing pedagogy (the art and science of teaching)
Develop educators who nurture the learning and well-being of every student
Ensuring responsible stewardship of schools
Ensure educators’ competence in and commitment to serving as stewards of schools

These standards provide the backbone for my education here at Brigham Young University. The INTASC standards are good teaching practices, but the Moral Demensions give the reasons why I teach. Let me explain one by one.

Enculturating the young in a social and political democracy
Foster in the nation’s young the skills, dispositions, and knowledge necessary for effective participation in a social and political democracy

Many educational psychologists and theorists have stated that for democracy to work there must first be an educated populace to do the work. Without a citizenship that knows its laws and how those laws are created then a democracy will simply not work. Right now Education is failing to provide this enculturation and as such you can see the resulting waves in our political system.

Providing access to knowledge for all children and youth
Ensure that the young have access to those understandings and skills required for satisfying and responsible lives

This is where then INTASC standards fit into the big scheme of things. Teachers need to be willing to make learning accessible to all students. This means that we need to differentiate our instruction and provide accommodations for every student that needs them. We don't wait for an IEP meeting, but rather use sound instructional strategies to make sure that our students get the education they deserve not only as members of this country but as divine children of Heavenly Father.

Practicing a nurturing pedagogy (the art and science of teaching)
Develop educators who nurture the learning and well-being of every student

Classrooms can be very cold and uncaring places for children, and I have never understood why some teachers see that they should be. Yes, there is a great deal of danger that comes with being a teacher but I believe that with a truly supportive and nurturing environment that supports not only learning but also community some of this danger is alleviated. A teacher does not have to dole out hugs to show they care- high expectations, true accommodations and getting to know the kids are good ways to build a nurturing pedagogy. When they say that this is the 'art and science of teaching' they are right on target.

Ensuring responsible stewardship of schools
Ensure educators’ competence in and commitment to serving as stewards of schools

Before coming to BYU I never understood the role that I will have as a teacher. Not only will I be an example to my students but I will finally have a real say in what happens in education. A teacher speaking out on topics has more pull than a politician, and sadly, the trend is that politicians make the decisions on education. As a teacher I need to be ready to support my leaders in making sound decisions regarding education. Also, I need to be a leader in my community. Of course, any politics must happen outside of my classroom but they still must happen. A teacher who sits passively aside will get pushed even more to the side.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dance Integration Ideas

I'm working on ways to integrate dance into Math and I love some of the ideas that I'm coming up with.

My favorite so far is a fourth grade lesson where students identify points on a coordinate grid and then create a dance so they touch each of those points. They can then measure their dance, and so forth.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sample Lesson Plans for 5th Grade


What Taught

Alliteration is the repetition of beginning consonant sounds.

How Taught- Inquiry

  1. Examples/Non-Examples: Give students a tongue twister “Sally shelled sea shells by the sea shore.” Have them say it five times fast.
  2. Question to direct Inquiry - Go back to the tongue twister. Why was the tongue twister so hard to say fast many times? [there were a lot of ‘s’ sounds]
    1. Say these tongue twisters- “Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”.
    2. “Friendly Frank flips fine flapjacks.”
  3. Hypothesis: What do all of these tongue twisters have in common? [The beginning letter is a consonant, The starting sound is the same]
  4. Verification: This is called Alliteration. It is when the beginning consonant sound is repeated. It is most commonly used in poetry.
  5. Practice- Pick a topic together, and have each person add one word to create an alliterated phrase. (topic- Pink, Pink panthers prance in pretty poses)

How Demonstrated

Each student will write a sentence using alliteration with 100% accuracy.


  1. Time: 10-15 minutes
  2. Space: Desks
  3. People: Teacher- gives tongue twisters, guides topic choice.

Student- share ideas to figure out similarities in patterns

  1. Materials: Paper with tongue twisters on them. Pencil and paper for students to write on.

Direct Instruction

What taught

Internet Etiquette.

  1. Etiquette means ‘good manners’. Internet Etiquette (or netiquette) is using good manners on the internet.
    1. Avoid shouting- Shouting is when you type in all CAPS. If you want to emphasize something put it in italics, or surround it with *asterisks* or other _punctuation_ marks.
    2. Be polite- Be careful not to upset people with your words. If you are unsure that someone will understand that you mean well, make sure you either state it or put a smiley face.
    3. Be forgiving- Decoding things on the internet is hard, if something upsets you or you think it is rude make sure to ask questions before getting upset. Usually the person did not mean harm.
    4. Be careful- Never give out your full name, address, phone number or e-mail out on the Internet (not even to friends!) unless you ask your parents first.

How Taught

  1. Anticipatory Set- How many of you use the internet regularly? What do you use it for?
  2. Telling- By the end of this lesson the students will know four rules to Internet Etiquette.
  3. Instruction- See above. List them, let students give examples if they wish.
  4. Modeling- “I enjoy reading blogs online, and sometimes what they say is different then what I think is right. Bloggers like to get feedback, so when I reply I will make sure to avoid shouting (using all caps), make sure to not accuse them or degrade them, and always wrap up with a clarifying question. And I never use my real name, but make up a pen name.”
  5. Guided Practice- Together write a reply to someone on the internet who said something bad about the principal of your school.
  6. Check for Understanding- Once the blog post is written have students say how they kept the rules of etiquette.
  7. Independent Practice: You are writing in a class blog about a book you really did not like. Write the post without breaking Internet Etiquette. (Keep this to 3-5 sentences at most)
  8. Closure: Encourage students to only go online with parent permission, and make sure they know what websites you are going to.

How Demonstrated

Students will write a blog post about a book they do not like that follows all rules of Internet Etiquette.


  1. Time: 15-20 min.
  2. Space: At desks
  3. People: Students giving feedback and insights into their own internet experiences.
  4. Materials: Paper to write blog posts on.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Case in Contrasts

I would like to present you with two cases.

A) Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (aka, Texas State Standards)
(See: Scroll to Bottom, Open 4th Grade, find Social Studies Core 4th Grade p. 18)

B) Utah State Core Curriculum
(See: Social Studies Core 4th Grade p. 13)

Now, your assignment. Look at both cores. Tell me how they are the same. Tell me how they are different. Now, tell me which one you would like to use to plan your curriculum. (Hint, the answer isn't Texas.)

Why do they have such a ridiculous core? Seriously? It makes NO sense.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


To start out, I wish to say that I have no problem with the idea that teachers and school administrators have a special duty to foresee situations which could be potentially dangerous. I think that is a very good expectation to hold up. For myself, I think I'm fairly good at it. I can see a million and one ways in which an activity can go wrong and decide if the risk is worth it. (Example, playing wall ball. I know that there are splinters on the wall, and that sometimes the grass is slick. However, I know that my children are also aware of this and are use to running on the slick grass. Therefor, I allow it. However, dodge ball. I know my boys tend to be more energetic then necessary and have little self control when it comes to throwing the ball. thus I see a child getting hit in the head and sustaining a major injury. Therefor, I do not allow the game to be played.)

My issue with forseeablility is how teachers are suppose to have these skills. Most teacher preparation programs do not have students out in the schools untill their pratical skils section (aka, Student Teaching or Internsip). If they have the unforutnate situation as to have been unable to work with children outside of that time they have no chance to practice these skills. How do first year teachers then develop this skill quick enough to prevent a liablity suit leveled against them? I realize that there are protections in place (namely, the word 'reasonable'), but could a court not say that the new teacher in question should 'resaonably' have been taught about general situations which would cause harm?

I have major problems with the subjectivity of the law. I realize that there is no other way to phrase it so that there are more streamlined ways of dealing with liablity suits but the whole set of rules simply puts a bad taste in my mouth.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quick and Dirty Math

Lets start with a link. Algebra Help: The Math Video Tutor

Sounds good so far, right? I mean, who of us little people couldn't use a little help when it comes to our Algebra skills. "The Math Video Tutor - Fractions Thru Algebra is a 10 hour course that will fully help a student master all of the core topics in Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1." Why don't the schools implement this, I mean, why waste all that time in the classroom teaching math skills when we can get it in ten hours from a DVD. Someone tell the teachers! They can spend most of their year drinking coffee in the lounge rather then actually having to deal with those pesky students.

Also, "There are no traditional lectures of background material that won't help you solve problems and improve your skills." Background material? Who cares about background material? If you can cross multiply fractions, who cares to actually understand what is going on? You'll pass the test and go on with life!

Okay. I'll drop the sarcasm. A friend sent me this link saying he'd been thinking about getting this to help with his math skills. It took me about thirty seconds to figure out that this was a complete waste of money. Yeah, this'll teach you all the shortcuts you forgot from High School, but if you never understood why the short cuts worked how will you know when to apply them? If you understand that the bottom of a fraction is the number of pieces in a whole, and the top is the number of pieces present in that whole you'll have a start of understanding. You'll realize that you can divide up work between people, or how to know how much food to give another person (if you're in the service industry). You can see how your profits are and then be able to do the math to figure out if you are doing well or not. If all you understand is how to do the math then you miss out on the application there of.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Here is a question for all of you to chew on. What is the proper response when you're talking to someone and they say, "I was just at a funeral." Is it, I am sorry? Or Did you know the person well? or Are you alright?

They all seem misplaced.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


So. I'm suppose to be writing every day. Today, I've decided the topic is cursive.

I was taught cursive. And for one HORRIBLE year, I had to use it on EVERYTHING. I could not turn in an assignment unless it was in cursive. When I got out of elementary school they thankfully discontinued this practice. Rather then attempt to make my writing 'pretty' I go for legible. When I cannot read someone's writing I grade much more harshly on what I can read. I would rather chicken scratch print then lovely unreadable cursive. Having never felt any desire to practice it I find that now that I am once again required to prove that I CAN write in cursive I am having great difficulties. My school journals will now be cursive written, though it takes me twice as long to use cursive then to print.

I still like print better.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quote about Sexual Orientation

"Sexual orientation does equal sex. The only definition of a sexual orientation is - get this - sexual. Maybe that's why they call it sexual orientation? Homosexuality is not anything except sexual desire towards one's own gender. You cannot talk about homosexuality without talking about sex. Because to talk about homosexuality is to talk about the sexual preference of homosexuals. In otherwords, the sex they prefer to have. Yes, saying "Harvey Milk was a gay man" and "Harvey Milk enjoyed anal sex with many male partners" is not quite the same thing. One defines the person as a homosexual. The other explicitly defines his acts of homosexuality. They both are talking about his sexual preference. That's sexual in nature, either way you look at it.

And I'm sorry there is "heterosexism" in history... Forgive all of humanity for promoting the one thing that, you know, allows humanity to continue to exist. tongue.gif

The difference between Milk and Spizter/Clinton: The issues the later faced were side issues to their political careers. You don't have to talk about Spitzer or Clinton's sexual scandals because those were circuses. They were private things that unraveled in the public eye, marring Clinton's Presidency, and ending Spitzer's carrer. You don't have to talk about them, because both men stand alone without them on their accomplishments as public servants. They are not defined by those sexual scandals, even if a portion of their careers was. Harvey Milk's entire narrative is "first gay man elected to something." His only accomplishment in office was a gay rights bill. He was elected by energizing the gay community to his cause by making his sexuality a theme of his campaign. He was assassinated for being gay. Remove "gay" from Harvey Milk, and you have just another local politician from the 1970s not notable for anything. Remove "gay" from Harvey Milk, and you have no power point presentation."

Beautifully put. This is a wonderful argument to use in the debate on teaching homosexuality in the schools. Of course, it is also a wonderful argument about teaching heterosexuality in the schools. There is the catch 22. But, still. A beautiful way of putting it. I wonder how many people would be offended?

(For the debate this came from see Student's Harvey Milk Report Censored by School @ USGS)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Abinadi Teaches Teachers

So, teaching moment from the scriptures.

Abinadi is preaching and teaching the priests of King Noah and he says something profound.

Mosiah 12:29 "If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it?"

Now, teachers, for you. "If ye teach why do ye not keep it?"

That puts our personal life in a new light doesn't it? If we are teaching our students to be lifelong learners, to be strong and upstanding individuals... shouldn't we be doing the same? I will never accept the idea that one's personal life and one's teaching are divorced. The children will find out about what your out-of-school life is like, and they'll see you as a model- good or bad.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Doing and In-Class

In my doing part of the Internet safety thing I talked to my older sister that has a young child. She admitted that she knew nothing about internet safety and was really worried about it. So I was really excited to talk to her about it.
One of my main points was how she needed to not forbid anything to her daughter. Instead, help them sign-up and be involved in their online activities. This keeps it from being a 'secret' and makes it more so that her daughter will talk to her about her internet activities. I also am going to send her a page of links for internet safety so she can browse them. I walked her though how easily someone can get more information then was intended about a person on the web.

In-Class technology sharing-
I was given this really cool link, National Library of Virtual Manipulatives. I have already used it to do my final in this class and I love it so much.

Also, I learned how to use a flex cam for in-class sharing of projects.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I mean, what else do I need to say? The awesomeness of that just blows me away.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Inetnet Safety

1. What article did you choose to read for your fourth article?
I read the article by William C. Porter called "I Have a Question."
2. What were the most important things you learned from the readings?
I learned ways that parents can protect their children. They need to learn about the technology, place the technology in public places and be involved. If you know you can share everything you do on the internet with your parents then the chance of you doing something objectionable drops because you always have a measure of the acceptability of what you're doing.
3. How will what you have read influence your actions as a parent and/or teacher of children and youth?
I will never let my children have a computer in their room. It just does not make any sense to take the chance that they will get into a situation and not tell me. It is very easy to block the content of websites, and if a parent does it before the child had a chance to stumble upon the material then the ouch will be less later.
4. How can you use what you have learned from the reading to have a positive influence on family and friends?
I am involved a lot on the internet. I have a few forums I post to, as well as the social networking sites. One thing I will do is that if I see children getting onto those type of places when they are underage I'll mention it to their parents. It is not a bad thing, but parents need to be aware.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Not Your Normal Schoolhouse Rock

This was so horrible I had to pass it along. No, I do not agree completly, but so far as radical left propaganda goes... this one does it fairly well.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Parents Empowered

The good news is, teen alcohol use is not an inevitable rite of passage. Research shows that addiction begins (and can be prevented) in adolescence: "A child who gets through age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs is virtually certain never to do so." (Joseph Califano, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2006) Parents can make a powerful difference in their child's decision to remain alcohol free by learning and applying the research-proven skills of BONDING, BOUNDARIES, and MONITORING. (Click here to go to the Parental Tools section.)

Amazing article about teen drinking. This is just the very end which I found powerful. Read more at Parents Empowered

Technology in Classroom

I used Stellarium in my guided reading group because we were reading the first chapter in Poppleton: Everyday the sky. It talked about Poppleton and his friend Hudson watching the sky and how Poppleton could not focus on just one star because there were so many in the sky. They looked at our own night sky and how hard it would be for us to focus on just a small one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

iPhone, Blackberry and the Rule of Law

Mistrial by iPhone: Juries’ Web Research Upends Trials

My first reaction was disbelief, not that the jurors were looking things up, but that there was a controversy over it. I have long believed that those picked for jury duty in this country tend to be on a much lower end of the spectrum of well informed-normal US Citizen. Not to say they are horrible... but there is a reason why they are on a Jury- neither lawyer objected to them. And as we know that lawyers want what is best for their client (aka, uninformed, unbiased or biased TOWARD individual/company involved), they will choose people who fit that spectra. A normal US Citizen would never serve, seeing as they at least glance over the internet and tend to have many experiences.
If we are talking about law, would we not want our juries to be as informed as possible? But as I think continued reading, I started thinking a bit more. Where are the juries getting this 'insta-info' from? The answers being Google, Wikipedia and news outlets. None of these sources is unbiased, and they can unfairly sway a jurors decision.

My solution. Ban Iphones. Ban Blackberries. Ban all internet capable machines. Keep tabs on the juriers. I know this sounds a lot like martial law, but we are relying on our juriers to uphold our laws, they can deal with tigher security. Especially if it saves us millions when the trials go to appeals court because of the technology use of the jurors.

Technology in the Lesson

I had my students write rhyming words that fit in with the book Silly Sally. Sometime this next week I hope to be able to pull them into the lab to type them up on the computer. I do not know if it will happen though, because our mornings are crazy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Technology in the Classroom

I do not really think about technology when I'm thinking of elementary school. They're so kinesthetic that I find it hard to have myself use technology for very long. This inventory made me really focus on what is available and automatically I thought of several ways in which I could use the technology.
One of the strangest things is that in my school, Sprucewood, there are no TVs in the classrooms. Once upon a time there was because the holders for them are there, but there are no TVs in them. It is just this big empty... thing hanging there. I'm also curious about how our Facilitator said there were digital projectors, because I have yet to see one in my classroom, nor have I seen anyway to use a projector. It is very strange to me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

David O. McKay Computer Lab

I am sitting in the David O McKay building (which, for those of you who do not know, is the building dedicated to education type majors) in the dedicated computer lab. And as I look out across the lab I cannot help but see the difference between this lab and every other lab on campus.

In every corner there are small groups actively talking about different projects. Computers are engaged in may different activities, but a common thread is the making of lesson plans. There are people eating while they have papers spread around them. Truly, this is a cooperative learning environment. The lap has been set up so that groups can easily work together, as well as allowing for individual work. The desks are roomy enough to allow for papers to be spread out, as opposed to the normal computer lab set up which shoves as many computers as possible into as much room as possible.

The lab provides materials needed for students to be successful and there are enough lab assistants to help everyone in a timely manner. The computers have both Mac and PC platforms so that students can use their preferred type of platform.

To the BYU education department- full props for building a room where education majors can truly get their work done in the manner in which it should be.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stages of Water.kmz

Stages of Water Google Earth Tour

This tour will take you to some sites that highlight the different stages of water, with a focus on the difference between potable and nonpotable water.

Monday, February 23, 2009

On Students and Professors

As I know schedules are busy, I would like to take just a moment of your time to talk about a two pronged issue which has recently come to my attention. This issue first came to my attention from a New York Times article on February 18, 2009. It was called, Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Dispute. Much of this can boil down to one word: entitlement

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines entitlement as “a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract”. I would like to highlight one particular word, which is ‘specified’. Now, this word states that for entitlement to be true, then one can feel entitled to something if they fulfill the specifications for that something. In this case, we are talking about grades. If one fulfills all of the requirements for a class at or above the level which the professor sets (keep in mind that the professor sets that level, not the student) then that student is entitled to the grade which the professor deems that level of work to be worth. The bare minimum is not enough if the professor has set that bar higher.

Some of the blame can fall back onto the public education system, and parents in general. In our efforts to do away with cruel punishments for children, some of us have swung back to the other extreme, which is to praise when no praise is required. This generation has grown up with people telling them that the bare minimum is all that is required, and that even if one tries they will get by. But the truth of the matter is that effort is no longer enough. When it comes to college, effort plays a part, but the quality of works also matters. If a student spends twenty hours on a paper, but the paper does not meet the expectations of the professor, then that student’s effort is entitled to the grade that best fits the quality of work.

Before people start yelling though, students do not have to throw out completely their sense of entitlement. When students enter a college, they have every right to feel they are entitled to a proper education. Professors that are disorganized, lazy or focus their teaching as if they were teaching to their peers rather then students, are no longer fulfilling the specifications that their students require. I am talking about the professor that comes in, lectures, gives stock tests, and leaves again without ever truly finding out what his students need to learn. I understand that in a large lecture class there is little time or room to do this, but even taking a moment before class to talk to students about what they are and are not understanding will give the professor a good idea of what they need to cover.

To illustrate my point, I wish to refer to an example of a teacher who felt it appropriate to email his students with a very large assignment (it was a review for a test) and asked them to complete it for the next day of class. Here people would normally say, ‘well, that is not fair, but doable.’ The clincher though, is that he did not send this email until 7:00pm, thus not even giving his students 24 hours to complete the homework.

A college education is a two pronged endeavor. The students must be willing (and able) to perform at the level demanded by the professor, and the professors must be willing to meet their students in a mindset that they are there to teach so the students can learn.

Viritual Tour Activity

LocationActivityGoogle Earth Content
Sylvan Lake, ColoradoStudents will discuss and come to an agreement with their partner at the type of water located at this location.Panorama
Atlantic OceanStudents will discuss and come to an agreement with their partner at the type of water located at this location.
At this location, students will predict how much of the Earth's water is stored in the oceans. They will note this on their organizer.
Ocean Layer- State of the Ocean. Locate the Valse ocean bouy, and follow the link to the NOAA website.
Click on Explore Oceans
AntarcticaStudents will discuss and come to an agreement with their partner at the type of water located at this location.
Students will explain why ice forms at this place in the earth. Is there any reason why there would be an over abundance of ice here?
Arctic Sea Ice Extension
Ben Nevis, ScotlandStudents will discuss and come to an agreement with their partner at the type of water located at this location.
Answer the following question-
Ben Nevis is known as one of the cloudiest places on Earth. What makes up a cloud, and predict how it affects this area.
Wikipedia- the section about 'climate'.
A Polygon Tool

Fourth Grade Science-
Standard 1: Students will understand that water changes state as it moves through the
water cycle.
Objective 2: Describe the water cycle.
c. Identify locations that hold water as it passes through the water cycle (e.g., oceans,
atmosphere, fresh surface water, snow, ice, and ground water).

  • What is the content you’ll be using in your lesson?
    I will be using information about the different stages of water. This includes ice, vapor and liquid. I also want to differentiate between potable and non-potable water. This lesson will rely heavily on student's prior knowledge as it will be an introductory lesson to the water cycle.
  • What is the pedagogy you’ll be using and why is it a good fit with the content?
    I will be using self-discovery. The students have enough information to get bored quickly, but I want them to see if they can learn more then what they already to. My questions (as part of the activities) have them stretching their knowledge. I hope to scaffold them so they are ready for a unit on the water cycle.
  • What is the technology you’ll be using and why is it a good fit with the content and pedagogy?
    I will be using Google earth. This is a good fit because it will give students a better idea of all of the stages of water, and how it occurs over the entire world. It will help them experience more.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Refugees in Utah

If we just do what we can do, then we have done enough.

Amazing presentation. It really makes you think.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Crazed Chimp Cartoon

Okay everyone. Lets take a step back for a moment. What was your first reaction when seeing this cartoon? If you're like me, you laughed because you immediately thought of the story about the woman mauled by the chimp and how atrocious the new stimulus bill is. It only makes sense that a crazed chimp would have written it!

However, those who like reading /way/ too much into political cartoons are raging about how this is attacking the president and that it has strong racist overtones. But really.... I don't see that.

Let me say this, I don't see this new 'stimulus' plan as Obama's. The idea might have been, at one point, but by the time Congress got done with it, then it hardly looks like what it should have been.

Seriously people.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cultural Snapshot

A list of references, dynamic and embedded links and so forth used in this article.

One of the purposes of this class is to defeat deficit theory. When I went looking for artifacts, I kept deficit theory in mind. It is the idea that because a person comes from a different race, socio-economic class, or has other such group traits, they cannot learn and perform on the same level as those who enjoy a "white, middle-class" socio-economic status. I have a particular interest in Hispanics, because I am in a relationship with one, but I have never really researched it. I was quite willing to believe the stereotypes portrayed by those back home, without thinking about why those stereotypes were in place.

My first instinct was to go for movies and TV shows. They are watched by many and are a very easy source of cultural information. In the TV shows I found (Scrubs, Without a Trace) I saw successful Latinos that were struggling with their cultural identity. Carla felt that she would 'lose' part of her identity if she let in too much 'white' influence (such as the language), whereas Danny, despite his high-ranking job in the FBI missing person's department, cannot escape his past.

But what does this mean? It highlights a theme found in our students, that they must hold onto their culture because they can 'lose' it. This was highlighted in class when the First Year Latino teacher was called "El Prep" because he seemed to act in accordance with the dominate culture. They are responding to passive racism, namely, the racism that is prevalent in our culture, but is not outspoken or violent. If it was not for this passive racism Carla would feel no backlash because her dream was in English, and Danny would be able to be more proud of his hard Latino background.

In theme with the movie clips, I cam across a trailer clip from a movie, The Perez Family. It highlighted a particular segment of the Hispanic population- Cuban refugees. Often, in our color-blind states, we ignore this segment of the Hispanic population because they rarely contribute to one of the biggest issues we have with Hispanics- illegal immigration. However, this show shows that this segment is not immune. Even though they are going to legal means, the 'Perez' family is still skirting the laws.

Our students will see this, combined with the stories about Mexican illegal immigration statistics (from the New York Times) and think that nothing their cultural group does is within the law. This builds a sort of sub-culture in the culture of poverty. Because these groups are coming from having very little or nothing (as showed by the Perez "family") then there is little chance that they will rise above this. They are stuck in the trends that have been set for them. This image is also underlined by the two Cagle Post Cartoons (Calgle Post is a website that features political cartoons printed all over the United States) in their reaction to the place of Mexico and the work that we have for immigrants.

In one, we show the derisive attitudes that the United States have towards Mexico. As many of the Hispanics (I will not say all) can trace their origins back to Mexico, this is a direct insult to an entire groups nationality. The culture of witness also attacks the role we give our immigrants in the second Cagle Cartoon, in which Uncle Sam sends the immigrants to go do all the jobs that we don't want, but at the same time calls them 'free loaders'. This is deficit theory at it's best. It is human nature to react when one attacks the background or cultural group one is in. This is negative resistance theory. When we say that the place where these Latinos are coming from is second-rate, and not worth respect, we are applying that label to the cultural group also. When we give a certain group the 'bad' jobs of society, and reserve the 'good' jobs for a particularity culture (in this case, the dominate white culture) we also send the message that these people are not good enough. We do not expect this of them.

As I moved on I found a fairly explicit rap-song talking about the life of a Latino. I was shocked by the negative resistance theory found therein. The star was wearing a well know soccer logo, Chivas of Guadalajara. This artist clearly believed that in the "Ethnically Different" paradigm. Which is not true, but if this is part of the popular culture of not only Hispanics, but whites, it is no surprise that we have such a mindset of deficit theory when dealing with the Hispanic populations within our country.

I tried to move away from the media hereafter, and started to look more into the news. I found a 'Latino Wish List' from the New York Times, which had immigration reform right at the top. Ant it made me wonder, how could our students develop an interest if our media is telling them that the only interest that matters about Latinos is their association with immigration? When we are talking to African-American's, we do not continually talk about Africa; why then is immigration forced up the noses of the Hispanic population? I would not be surprised if some Hispanic Americans roll their eyes a politics, because they are not seen has having opinions on other things.

This is fundamentally not true, but what it appears to be on the surface of the news articles. The truth is that Hispanics (because they are such a diverse cultural group) do not have more then general trends in how they vote. When I went to Mexico this last year, I myself was affected by discrimination because I believed that all Hispanics would be democrats, but I ran into a small inn owner who was flaming Republican. It forced me to reevaluate, and really look at the Hispanic culture as pieces of a whole, not a whole in and of itself. If we are telling our students that all that should matter political to them is immigration, then we are losing a valuable voting block. In the recent elections we saw how crucial this group can be in the election of a president.

Another article I found, dispelled the myth that Hispanics are a very very small minority. The truth is that their numbers are growing exponentially. But in our color-blind society, we seem to be trying to ignore the rise of this cultural group. They can never be 'white'.

One of the most heart-wrenching stories I found was about a Roaring Fork Valley resident, Jose. He is facing deportation, even though he has contributed greatly to his community. The story attempted to be color-blind, but one striking deficit theory comment was made, "Some teachers thought Mendoza Turbin might be a special-needs student. He seemed so befuddled, and his language skills were so poor. His teachers taught him fractions and division by filling a bowl with coins and dividing them." It then goes on to talk about how he has grown into an upstanding young man attending college to become a nurse. But this little sentence provides evidence for how the student-teacher relationship with English language learners go. Rather then assuming that a child is of normal intellect, the automatically assume that because they do not speak our language, that they must be inferior. No matter that we have success stories, such as Jose's we still feel that those who are not on our language level can never be on our intellectual level either.

In the comments to Jose's story, I found a striking display of meritocracy. It was an all-or-nothing approach to the problems of immigration. Either a) they come here legally or b) they should be kicked out. Never mind that Jose had done nothing but contribute positively to his area. The fact that he originally came here illegally gives him a black ball that he will never be able to get with. His 'merit' is torn to pieces by readers who cannot understand that this individual can be outside the social norm, but still have merit. When youngsters read these comments they cannot help but feel the sting as if the comments were directed at them. These comments tell them that they do not have merit, and that somehow, they should have control over the micro factors which brought them to America in the first place.

In the toy industry Latinos are rarely shown, so the appearance of toys called 'Homies' quickly gained popularity among the Hispanic community. These are 'accurate' representations of the hispanic populations. A child looking at this will come to understand that of course, all Hispanics have patchy and take little care of themselves. Even as Barbie (c) shows that all whites must be high class and successful, these homies help display that the Hispanic community is lower class.

All of this applies in the classroom. Students will bring in these negative stereotypes into the classroom. They will share them with the friends. It was once said that a child will become only what is expected of it. If society, though these cultural artifacts, show that Hispanics are a part of a cultural of poverty, ethnically different, inferior to the white culture, etc, then they will take this expectation with them. English Language Learners will give up, because they will come to understand quickly that their teachers are still operating from deficit theory. Teacher efficacy will be low in response. This is a cycle that has to be forcefully broken out of else all will continue to contribute to the culture of poverty and passive racism that are slowly eroding our system. Minorities are already beginning to be a very large segment of our population. If we cannot change, starting in the classroom, we will continue this downward spiral until much comes crashing down.

I found many stereotypes in the media, but I also found the roots of the death of these stereotypes. I found several very successful individuals who come from Latino roots. If we as teachers only pay attention to the surface of the issues which come before us, we will have a very shallow view of the struggles and triumphs of the Latino community. It is important for us to really search the media and stay up on it because if we do not our teaching will be hurt by the bias' that are thrown about. The defeat of deficit theory hides in the articles and media which promote it. If we are willing to turn these things on their ear, and then show them to our students, we can begin to teach them how to look at the media for themselves. They can then start to see the positive of their own culture, not simply the negatives.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bulling PSA

Cultural Snapshot <- Wikipedia article with statistics

Carla Dreams in English <-- Latinos and government immigration change
The Perez Family trailer

Danny in Without a Trace

Do not watch this unless you are okay with explicit music.
Capone - Mi Jefita (Based on a True Story) <- Statistics on America's Growing Hispanic population.<-- Read the comments section
  • <-- Cagle Post Comic about Bashing Mexico
  • <- Cagle Post Comic about Unwanted Jobs
  • - Latino's Wish List
  • - Statistics
  • - Story about Jose
  • - Carla Dreams in English
  • <- The Perez Family
  • <- Danny and Jack in Without a Trace
  • <- Capone - Mi Jefita
  • <- Artickle about Latino dolls called "Homie"


It is interesting. I have never been so interested in a class before that I have gone out and gotten more material on what we were studying, and I have had some classes I absolutely love. But my Teaching English Language Learners has really peaked my interest. Earlier this semester we read the introduction to a book called Revealing the Invisible: Confronting passive racism in teacher education by Sherry Marx.

I highly recommend it. It raises some very good points about racism in a way that unless your purpose is to be highly offended, you will not be.

Here are some terms I have learned so far that really help clarify.
White- to be a person of some European descent who is thoroughly assimilated into the dominant culture and who receives the benefits of racial privilege.

racism- a system of advantage based on race that benefits Whites in the US. Clearly Operates to the advantage of Whites and to the disadvantage of people of colour.

Critical race theory (CRT)- perspective that emphasizes the systemic state of racism- aka, system is always in place, whether or not we admit to it or agree to it.

Whiteness- amalgamation of qualities including the cultures, histories, experiences, discourses and privileges shared above that are necessarily influenced by invisible racial privileges intertwined with white culture, so that as whites when we benefit from them, because we are white, we cannot reject whiteness.

White Privilege- ways that whites are advantaged in society because of their race.

Prejudice- a preconceived judgment or opinion, usually based on limited information.

Discrimination- Practices which emphasize group power and institutionalized factions, an institutional process of exclusion against an out-group, practices carried out by members of dominant groups which have differential and negative impact on members of subordinate groups, done with our without the conscious intention of perpetrations which are interwoven with negative 'racial myths' 'fictions and other 'ideological constructions'.

Active racism- blatant intentional acts of bigotry and discrimination

Passive racism- unprotected racism, and the act of ignoring race-related issues.

Biologically Different Paradigm- People of colour constructed as biologically inferior to whites
Downfall- 1) Great Depression, 2) Hitler, 3) Anthropologist working against it 4) decline in activity dealing with intelligence due to WWII 5) Jean Pigeat

Ethnically different paradigm- understand that cultural rather then biological factors influence differences between whites and people of colour.

Meritocracy- intelligence and hard work determines who ends up at the top of society

Culture of poverty- people living in poverty tend to create a unique, self devastating lifestyle or way of life marked by a host of negative values, norms and social practices

antonymous- people who are minorities primarily in a numerical sense- Jews, Mormons, Amish - no 'non-white' groups included

Immigrant or voluntary minorities- people who have moved more/less voluntarily seeking economic wellbeing, better overall opportunities and/or greater political freedom. (query- wouldn't this then include all of our founding fathers?)

Involuntary or castelike- people who were brought into the US society against their will

At-risk-of-failure- children who are predisposed to drop out of school for reasons such as language, family income, family structure, age as compared to peers, and other person centered explanations of school failure.

Economically ad Nationally Different- reaction against the idea that all people can be 'White' inside

Colorblindness- mode of thinking about race organized around an effort not to 'see' or at any rate, not to acknowledge race differences - polite language of race

Color-blind language- language which superficially accepts diversity with the provision that it not be significantly different from the White norm and, most importantly, that it not challenge the White norm.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Story Board for PSA

What is the content you’ll be using in your lesson?
I will be using facts about Bulling pulled from "Health Education: Elementary and Middle School Applications" by Susan K. Telljohann, Cynthia W. Symons and Beth Pateman, McGraw Hill, 2009. When my students do this project, they will be using resources that they find. This includes facts, and their own inferences from the material they read (online or in books.)
What is the pedagogy you’ll be using and why is it a good fit with the content?
In my project, I'm choosing an aspect of school life that is often ignored, but very prevalent. When I have my students do a PSA, I will have them choose an important issue-of-the-day to create their PSA from. That way, they all become experts in one issue. Then I will have them come back together and share their PSA's so that everyone learns something about the topic. I have heard this called a Jigsaw.
What is the technology you’ll be using and why is it a good fit with the content and pedagogy?
I will allow my students to pick from Word, Excel or PowerPoint to make their storyboards. (I used Excel and Word.) If they feel so inclined they will be able to draw later, but I would rather have them use words to visualize what the scene for their text will look like. Next, they will use a video program. They will have microphones to record narration, or they can just use text blocks. All of these ways requires the students to think about their topic. If they do not then when it comes time to interact with the technology they will not be ready. Making a movie will also get kids with different strengths (vocal skills, writing, computer etc.) involved and working toward their specialty. It will also remove the fear from standing in front of class to present their material. They will have more opportunities to make it interesting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Education Majors

So, I've decided that Education Majors must be a /pain/ to teach. Seriously. Think about it, you're /teaching/ us to /teach/. Therefor, we /will/ call you out every single time you do not live up to those principles you teach. It isn't that we're being brats, just that we're seeing inconsistency and refuse to accept it. It isn't that we expect perfection (Okay, LIE, we do.), but we do expect for discrepancies to be accounted for. I know that a lot of learning going on this semester is not so much learning material, but watching our teachers to see how they teach.

If they're going to teach "Do what I say, not what I do," then that is how we will teach too.

Tech Savvy Teacher Reflection- TPAK

  • What is the content you are focusing on in your science lesson?
    I am focusing on the shape of orbits, particularly the shape of the Moon's Orbit around the Earth. This is to dispel the notions that we usually have of a circular rather then spherical orbit.
  • What is the pedagogy you are using and why is it a good fit with the content?
    I am using discovery learning. I have the children identify their misconceptions (draw the moon's orbit, what you think it looks like), then discover why their misconception is wrong (try to draw the orbit as you watch it move(, then last of all present the material in a concise manner so that they know exactly the answer we are getting at (click the label button so that you see it displayed). Sometimes when using discovery learning teachers do not wrap it up so that the student understands exactly which points are suppose to be gotten out of that.
  • What is the technology you’ll be using and why is it a good fit with the content and pedagogy?
    I am using Celestia. This program is good because it allows students to be a bit more hands-on in a subject that usually must be just direct instruction. We cannot observe the things, thus teachers usually just lecture. Having a simulation lets the students reach out and interact with the subject more.
I apologize this was not done before I did my self report then went SHOOT, I didn't check to make sure everything is done.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Moral Dimensions of Teaching

"It pains me deeply when I read about the defeat of a measure to provide additional tax dollars for a school district to give needed help to poor and minority students who are at serious risk of failure because they can't read. I've often thought, "If I can't support something like this because I care about all children, why can't I at least support it for selfish reasons like wanting the poor and minority children to be well educated so they won't break into my gated community and steal what I have."
- Steven Baugh, in The Moral Dimensions of Teaching.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tech Savvy Teacher

Gabriela Sanchez, third grade teacher at Archive Elementary School takes her children to space, without ever leaving the classroom.

Rather then teaching my rote, Sanchez has decided to allow her students to work from their own misconceptions about the moon and how it orbits, to learn how it really moves.

Her students first form their own hypothesis about how the moon moves around the earth. They drawn on a regular piece of paper their hypothesis.

This drawing, done by Louis, shows a common misconception that many third graders have. Rather then drawing a spherical or elliptical orbit, Louis draws a circle to show the moon’s orbit.

Due to a grant from the Rotary, Archive Elementary has recently acquired a classroom set of laptop computers. Sanchez downloaded a free program called Celistia, which give kids a chance to explore the universe in a virtual setting. It includes 3D pictures of all of the planets, moons, their orbits and so forth.

Sanchez then has her students zoom in on Earth in the program.

After finding Earth students must access their prior knowledge of the moon to find it. Once they find it they must then zoom out so the can see both the Earth and the Moon.

After they fix their view like this, students start the simulation. Celistia allows users to ‘speed up’ time. Fast enough that they can see the moon as it moves through space.

While they watch this action, the students are challenged to draw how the moon is moving around the Earth.

Once they have completed their picture students are allowed to turn on a feature in Celestia which outlines the orbit which the Moon follows around the Earth. They check to see how closely their pictures have come to the reality.

Sanchez based her lesson on the third grade science standard one objective two which states that students should be able to “describe the movement of Earth and the moon and the apparent movement of other bodies through the sky.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I find it amazing the parallels between how the Gospel teaches us to teach, and the leading thoughts on education. They are so similar. Every week as I read Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guild for Gospel Teaching and Learning and Teaching: Research -Based Methods I can draw connections between the simple gospel principles of teaching, and how we are taught to teach in the secular world.

I hope I can continue to find these parallels and keep them in my heart as I begin teaching for real.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I used Stellarium in-class this last week, and was utterly fascinated by it. This is fairly sophisticated, but I can see how it could be used in a few different settings. Often, when teaching about stars, Teachers must wait for their students to be able to go home and look up, and even then they are faced with problems of clouds, smogs, etc. Stellarium gives teachers the ability to teach about the stars and have the students involved.

I think this is a remarkable program I am happily downloading onto my computer for personal use.
Stellarium Download


TPACK has three segments.
1) Content Knowledge.
2) Pedagogical Knowledge
3) Technological Knowledge

Often teachers only combine Content and Pedagogical knowledge, but ignore the technologies available. In the scope of t his class it seems like this would only relate to the resources which would involve computers or other sophisticated technology, but I am choosing to take a broader view of technological knowledge. I would like to define technological knowledge as the tools which teachers use to teach. If a teacher is teaching about rocks, I believe it is fully applicable to use rocks within the classroom as the tools with which one studies rocks. A teacher need not be labeled as not having technological knowledge if they do not have access to advanced resources.

A successful TPACK teacher integrates all of the knowledge they have- Technological, Pedagogical and Content. They realize that students need to be taught in all of these areas and using all of these skills. Other professions (science or math majors for example) may only need two, but teachers are required to have all three.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The New Science of Happiness

The New Science of Happiness

It is funny really, a lot of the ideas espoused here have been a portion of mainstream Christian thought for generations. It makes sense.

RSS and Web 2.0

RSS feeds bring the content of the internet to you. The one thing I really got out of our discussion of RSS feeds is how they have revolutionized the internet. Once upon a time a lot of content was provided for internet users, but today content is provided by internet users. As such there is a lot more information out there then ever before. RSS feeds provide people with a handy way to keep up on information that intrests them.

I can see how I would use the goodreads as an educator. When I begin teaching I will not have my Tunnell Jacobs software at school and thus will not have my database of books at my fingertips. The goodreads allows me to connect with other educators and keep up on what I have read and thus what I can suggest to my students. It will also be a good resource for my students because they will be able to get on, on their own time, and see what I've read and perhaps pick their own choices out of that.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Racism Videos

Avenue Q Clips

Okay, you can skip most of them. But look at the bottom one, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

Babies Buying Babies

Babies Buying Babies - Radio Show

Click on the orange Full Episode button, allow it to load, then fast forward to 41 minutes.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Technology Experience

I have been using the internet and computers for many years.  When I first began I was a part of an online game called Tribes.  After a bit I found a text-based game called Ansible.  It is a game based off of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. There I was involved in a community of computer users, who have, for the last five and half years attempted to drag me up to their level of computer literacy. They have yet to succeed.

I am fairly competent when using the internet, though I do not tend to stray to many new sites. I enjoy playing other text based games other then ansible, such as FracturedMoo and Harper's Tale. I use the social networking site Facebook.

Beyond that, I have basic skills in Microsoft Word products, and as a PC user manage to hold a grudge against Macs. I know a few shortcuts (alt+tab) and such for navigating using my keyboard. The biggest issue I have with Mac computers is their different buttons. Rather then use ctrl and the windows nagivating button the apple button is used quite a bit more.

I can fix basic hardware problems, and can usually figure out if a problem arrises from hardware, software or user-interface malfunctions. Not always however. It has been decided that technology has an abiding dislike for me. If I require more in depth knowledge then I have I can usually find what I want, usually using Google, though at time I deviate and use Wikipedia, though this is a shame I hardly dare to admit to my wikipedia crazy friends.

At one point I desired to be a computer person, but no longer.

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