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.

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