Saturday, December 12, 2015

promising practices

I have never attended a social justice event before so Promising Practices was a completely new experience for me. Walking into it, I was nervous because I wasn't sure what to expect. I was surprised that the event was focused mostly on health. Dr. Nicole-Alexander spoke about the concerns Rhode Island faces and the future of health. Upon arriving and talking to other classmates, I realized we were suppose to sign up for two workshops. I had signed up for Hearing Empathy... I then tagged along with Taylor. 

When I went into my first workshop, Hearing Empathy... I pictured the workshop to be more teaching directed, and "learning" how to empathize. But i was wrong. It was health centered. The workshop focused on the idea of Schizophrenia and other Neurocognitive diseases and how to empathize with people who live with such diseases. I was unimpressed with the speaker, he was babbling, disorganized and unprepared. i didn't get a true sense of the main idea of the workshop until the last 20 minutes of the workshop when he used someone as a demonstration. The instructor put headphones on the volunteer and the instructor was to ask the man a series of questions. The headphones generated foul language and negative comments. From this, we were suppose to gain empathy for the volunteer because he was struggling to answer simple question because of the Schizophrenia simulation. I didn't really gain any knowledge or interest from this workshop.

I followed Taylor to her second workshop, Recovery-Oriented Systems Of Care

I really enjoyed this workshop, from it I learned a lot about the incarceration rates in the U.S. and Rhode Island alone. I gained sympathy for those who are incarcerated and mentally ill, as well as substance abusers. The speaker was very well organized, and seemed very passionate about her work and the topic. Her enthusiasm encouraged my attention. I really wish I brought a pen to this workshop. 
My biggest take away the amount of time men and women are held in prison while awaiting trial.... now if i had brought a pen i would have the exact numbers. But it was something like the average time for awaiting trial is a few days... but in Rhode Island men and women spend about 25-28 days. That is unnecessary. On it says that " Rhode Island's prison population has increased 250% percent since 1980, according to the DOC report" my question is WHY. 
If we were doing more to support those people... would the prison population decrease? Is the prison system out of whack? or are people turning to defiance for free shelter and food? In Rhode Island, as of 2014, there were 4,097 homeless individuals ( 
Not only did she talk about the rates... but how race and ethnicity come into play as well as gender. 51% of the males who were incarcerated in 2015 were unemployed at the time of their incarceration; 63% of women experience the same. 41% of the females incarcerated will be resentenced within 36 months. And 50% of males will be resentenced in the same amount of time. 
 All of these statistics broke my heart. These people don’t want to go to jail- away from loved ones and the world. It makes me wonder what kind of resources are out there to help those who are incarcerated and to help them when they are out. 
But when they try to get a job… noses are turned up by a record. WHY?! They are trying to better themselves. So a person might lie about their criminal record to at least land an interview, but doesn’t get the job because they lied. Its unfortunate. No one should be judge because of their past and it is truly sad that people can not see more than a check mark on an application. 
Overall, I'm glad I attended promising practices because I gained a new perspective of incarceration. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SHOR- late post

While reading Shor it reminded me of Christensen and Finn ideas. Shor expresses the need for empowering education- which is asking the "why"and "how" to ideologies. The thing that stuck out to me the most was when Shor said we should ask students, on the first day, why we go to school... what is the point? 
I feel like most children would answer with- because our parents make us. 

But making a child realize that education is important and fun can be really empowering for children in poverty. 

Moreover, Finn talks about the different types of education that different social classes receive. Shor says that children are natural born curious and leaders, and schooling can either diminish or uplift it. In domesticated education, the curriculum erases curiosity and creates a singularity amongst all students. 

By combining Christensen views of empowerment- giving students the eyes to see the world they live in with Shor's need for empowerment... it would be beneficial to all students. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Citizenship In School- Kliewer

When I began reading this article the first word that stood out to me was segregation... "What its like to be segregated from educational opportunities afforded her non disabled peers"

It reminded me of my high school.
We had an unofficial wing we all called the special wing where they students with a variety of disabilities would go to class.
Funny enough, I never even took electives with a student of any disability- including art or gym. 

As Jackie said in her blog- this article reminded me of the conversation we had in class about segregation. Although it is no specifically directed to race, in a way students with any disabilities is given an unfair disadvantage of learning. They are not uneducable- they are people. They can learn and should be given the same opportunities as every other student to learn, explore and discover.

I really enjoyed the moment went the author talks about Shayne and her blending Issac with the rest of the students by a book. She successfully created a safe learning space for those children- especially for a student who was unable to communicate. By using August's approach early on that student will feel more confident in classrooms later on.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Finn- Extension Of Mary Abbys

Like Mary Abby notes, there are many Delpit connections in "Literacy With An Attitude"

"All of us-teachers and students-were locked into a system of rules and roles that none of us understood and that did not allow for much in the way of education."

Teachers enter into the education without fully understanding the rules and roles of the demographic, socioeconomic backgrounds and so forth. Those students are then not taught the best they could possibly be taught- and is that just? Who is to blame? 

Its a cycle. People are comfortable with the broken system because for it to be different their would have to be change. For justice we need advocates. Like the example Finn uses of Freire- the man who taught the illiterate poor of Brazil. After a conversation of justice and what they want to gain from literacy they were able to move forward. 

Additionally, as Mary Abby stated,  Finn clearly laid out a set of rules for his students. His classroom was then able to run more smoothly. The vice principle often applaud him on his classroom as well. I feel like Delpit would be happy with his teaching style because you gain more knowledge when you are able to understand the rules and roles.  The quote I used earlier explains how difficult it can be to be in a system where you don't know you're place or the codes in that particular environment. 

Talks about the cycle- people are comfortable and the only way to break the chain and for there to be changes in rules and codes of power and justice we need advocates for change. Freire was an advocate for the illiterate poor in brazil

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pecha Kucha

Delpit- Delpit tells us to the importance to teach the rules and codes of power. i feel like this particularly important in young children. I had a moment where a squirmy child had his feet behind him on the back of his chair. So I looked at him and said "We do not put our feet on our chair. Our feet are to be touching the floor when we sit down." After I told him the rule, his feet remained on the floor. 

Rodriquez??- On my first day I met a little girl who is Spanish. I asked her her name and she told me, I repeated her last name and the girl told me it was Spanish. I told her it was really special to have a Spanish last name and it was beautiful and her eyes lit up. Im not sure if she felt accepted or understood, maybe it would've been more powerful if i was able to talk to her in Spanish.

McIntosh- A single student was selected to wear a special sash and stand outside of their room and direct children to their room in the morning. The Safety Patrol was a good example of power- since those in charge for the day were black or hispanic. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015



I was entering my senior year of High School. From Freshman to Junior year we only had 4 black students in total (one in my grade), we had no hispanic or latino students, and one Asian student ( in my grade). So I walk into my senior year, and I see new faces, new black faces. And I asked myself "Where did you come from?"
Its rare that people move into our town.
And I still don't know "where they came from"

But, that moment reminded me of the Podcast we had to listen to... Where did all those Normandy Students come from? Who let them in here? Why are they here? What now?

While listening to the podcasts- I was most hurt by the ignorance and hostility of the parents. I just couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that they could not see a great opportunity for the students of Normandy- that they were willing to catch a 5:45 AM bus and hitch a ride to get a BETTER education.

It also hurts me that there seems to be a good and bad school.
That the good school is all white students.
And the bad school is all black and latino students.

Look at the bigger picture-  Kristof tells us that our so called "Land Of Opportunity" is more like the land of the standstill. If your grandparents were stuck in the ghetto when they lost their job back in the 60's because the factory shut down... you best bet your present self isn't coming out of that generational poverty. So if there is a 5% chance the poor will get out of poverty.... why is it so bad that students living in poverty go to travel to a town of "wealth" to be educate?
Thats where all the "good" teachers are.
"Breaking up these toxic concentrations of poverty would seem to be a logical and worthy goal. Long years of evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent — that is, middle class — peers. But when the poor kids are black or Hispanic, that means racial and ethnic integration in the schools. Despite all the babble about a postracial America, that has been off the table for a long time." - (Separate and Unequal)

Is SCWAMMP telling us its a bad idea? That "Just because I'm white- doesn't mean I'm a Racist..... but those Normandy students shouldn't go here"
"They will bring drugs and violence !" 
Is it demographic prejudice?
I don't see a bright light at the end of the tunnel... but I will applaud students like Brittney for opening her white arms to her new black friend from Normandy Jr. High. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015


An Extension to Mary Abbys Blog:

I really loved how Mary Abby talked about her own Service Learning experience to talk about the article. I agree with her in that Service Learning is beneficial for both the child and volunteer. When Mary Abby talks about the perceived notion of the school being gang related- tough, the students being rude.... I had the stereotype before going into the school. And i experienced the same feeling of relief to see that it was not as I had expected. I got the stereotype of inner city schools from movies like Freedom Writers and stories in the news.... my friends in different education programs warned me. But like Mary Abby said- "the stereotypes they had were dispelled"

I think that was powerful of her to say. Not only were my stereotypes flushed away- but like what Ashly had experienced in her service learning with "What is this white girl doing here?"
We have opportunities to banish their stereotypes as well- we want to help.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Christensen- Hyper Link

Unlearning the Myths that Bind us, introduce the reader to think about the "secret education". Christensen talks about how Disney movies and cartoons first introduce children to harmful stereotypes. The most shocking I discovered was the lyrics from the black men singing...

Growing up I didn't understand what the men were saying but now that I'm older, I ask myself why did Disney choose black men? Why did they explicitly sing such horrible things? When I read this article, I started charting out stereotypes much like Christensen's students did.
"Then students started noticing patterns..."
Christensen was correct when she said that in later cartoons Disney's "sophistication" of the secret education increased... dumbo for example. Disney plays a really big role in SCWAAMP.

S- every disney movie includes a heterosexual couple
C- some of the cartoons run christmas specials- Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas... or toys are made with santa hats etc.
W- 4 out of 12 princesses are princesses other than caucasian
A- Americaness... It's apart of the american dream to go to Disney Land
A- Ariel is one of the far few who are not of able body ( after she gets her feet).
M- All the males are strong, confident, aggressive.... all except HunchBack Of Notredame (never watched this one so I'm not sure how the plot unveils)
P- You have to own at least one disney themed something... or you're not cool.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Safe Spaces- Reflection

Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August and Megan Kennedy collectively came together to write Safe Spaces to reflect on the LBGT community and how to include students of that community and how to teach without hurting and while using careful language. This piece reminded me of when I first met an open homosexual man. I was literally given the run down before I met him...

"Just so you know Alex... Kyle is gay.... so be careful of what you say..."

Now, I was 12 or 13 when I first met Kyle and this was when the term "Thats so gay" was spilling out of everyones mouth as if it was the term "like".

 As a child, LBGT was not normalized for me... it wasn't even discussed (may I add). It wasn't until i was in middle school did I hear the word gay. When I was in high school and I worked at an after school program, kids all of ages were throwing the word around without respect for its history. Safe Spaces introduced me to the idea of teaching young children that every family is different... that a simple book like the penguin story or the family story... can be one step for acceptance and tolerance for LBGT. 

Safe Spaces also introduced the example of Post Cards For Buster. (Arthur was & still is, my favorite kid's show, so I commend Mr.Brown for his efforts). This example reminded me of SCWAMMP. The system has to work so hard that it can't run one episode that just so happens to include a family with two mom's? 
It seems a little ridiculous to me that in 2015, after the past few years with the marriage laws, that an episode has to be taken off air. But reflect for a second: What TV show do you know that has a family structure different than Male and Female?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rodriquez, Aria


In Aria, author Rodriquez discusses her struggles as a bilingual student in an american catholic elementary school. Over time she lost the connection with her family and culture from a race to become "Americanized". "After english became my primary language, I no longer knew what words to use in addressing my parents" (37). This quote really made me think about the need for universal bilingual classrooms. Before this article I never really had an opinion of the importance or need for bilingual teachers/ education. I grew up in a town where the majority of people were white. However; most of the kids I went to school with spoke Portuguese at home. Although I never obtained a second language I tried multiple times to. In preschool I was taught colors and numbers in Spanish. I didn't pick up Spanish again until i was in the 7th grade which was considered a privilege... because I was doing well in my english class I then had the option to take Spanish. Those students who had a B- or lower in their english course were not offered Spanish. This experience lead to me a youtube video.  

After watching the video of the children learning in Spanish I asked myself if I would have done better in school if my school taught Portuguese much like the elementary schools shown in the video.  Or maybe if the kids who were not offered Spanish in middle school, If they had maybe been taught in a bilingual classroom- maybe they would have done better in english.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jonathan Kozol, "Amazing Grace"


1: " I ask how many people in the building now have AIDS. 
       'In this building? Including the children, maybe 27 people'"(13).
Kozol focuses on the amount of infected people for a few paragraphs. The number 27 leaves a bigger impact rather than Kozol just saying that "most people in the building are living with AIDS".  Additionally, a few sentences later Mrs.Washington adds that those 27 people are those who are aware they have the virus- and the number will most likely rise. This quote stood out to me because I have never meet someone who knew they had HIV or AIDS while the people of St.Anne's are living in apartment building full of sick people. 

2:  "At least 12 people, including two infants, says the Times, have died because of staff mistakes at Lincoln, which is the hospital relied upon by families in the St.Ann's Neighborhood"(15).
This quote reminded me of the discussion of oppression in last weeks class. The staff's mistakes is an institutional oppression because they are not providing the best care. Likewise, the staff of the hospital are most likely from a poor area and have gaps in education or other outside forces acting upon the quality of their work. This idea then made me ask myself why it is that hospitals can't have a universal care system... why is it so that a richer area has a better hospital/more technology and better staff? 

3:  "'That's how it is. What can I say?'" (17)
The people of the communities that Kozor observed have come to their own terms that their is no social mobility. This is their life, poverty will forever surround them and their families. What else can she say? The life she has lived is all she's known and change won't happen over night. Maybe if other people cared that 27 people were infected with AIDS in one apartment building, or maybe if they knew that children went to bed cold and afraid every night. Or that heroin is as common as a box of Cheerios. What can you really say when no one is willing to help, to care, or to listen? You just have to accept it.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

KRISTOF- " U.S.A., Land of Limitations?"


The American Dream: Pick yourself up by your boot straps, make something of yourself, own a home, get a dog, marry a beautiful woman. The white picket fence dream never applied to my family. My mother believed that if I work hard enough, that I will become someone; that I would avoid teen pregnancy and poverty, that I would not struggle financially like she did. However, the reality is that I may never move up a social class. In school, I learned that everyone is unique, everyone has talents, and everyone has equal opportunities. I never thought that my third grade teacher would lie to me. I never thought that I couldn't be a doctor and a ballerina. Mrs.Third grade teacher was protecting my innocence, but also adding a layer of thickness of lies. Unfortunately, in 2015, U.S. citizens are facing one of the largest economic gaps. In the article "U.S.A, Land Of Limitations?" by Nicholas Kristof, the evidence of class gaps and disadvantages is explored. Kristof uses the example of his friend Rick to tell a story of what its like to be raised in poverty and the never-ending struggle to leave. "School might have been an escalator to a better life, for Rick had a terrific mind, but as a boy he had been undiagnosed attention deficit disorder and teachers wrote him off." By  the 10th grade Rick had dropped out of high school. His socioeconomic status of "poor" lead him to a future of poverty. He raised his brother and sisters when his father was too drunk to care. Unfortunately, it is a reality for most children to have to learn how to survive rather then "be the best person they can possibly be". If Rick's father hadn't been an alcoholic, and had he worked to put food on the table, maybe Rick would've gone to school. Maybe he would have gotten a decent education. Maybe Rick would have been in the 4 percent.

Early Education is best way to instill a bright, healthy future. However; there are many limitations.  Kristof explains, “They grow up not in a “land of opportunity” but in the kind of socially ridged hierarchies that our ancestors fled, the kind of society in which your outcome is largely determined by your beginning” (4).  Rick’s future was pre determined by his fathers’ status, and his fathers’ father status, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately no matter how hard I work, I will probably never leave my social class because it is embed into me from my mother. The struggles we faced shaped who I am, and made me a better person. I can never say I was truly in poverty because there was always food on the table. But financial strains were apparent. Kristof’s article was an eye opener for me. I will never stop working my hardest because of one statistic, but I also won’t be surprised that twenty years from now my life is much like my mothers was.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This is me

During the summer I work full time
at the Blount Clam Shack.
This summer was my fourth year.
Because we spend 12 hours together
everyday in a tiny trailer, we are more like
a family rather than coworkers. 

This is my super cute brother Mason.
He is the only person that calls me
by my full name. If it wasn't for
Mason I don't think I would have
ever considering teaching.
Over the summer I bought myself a new camera lens.
In my free time I enjoy exploring the art of photography.
This image was taken at Roger Williams Zoo a year ago.
I grew up by the water, my grandmother lived on a
private beach. I have always loved learning about marine life,
tides, beaches and so forth. Being an aquarius, I like to believe
I really am a water child. 
A little bit about myself:
I am from the small town of Warren, RI. I love animals; growing up I had a cat named Milo who acted like a dog (he played fetch). My moms first major was when I was 14, which resulted into my beautiful baby brother Mason two and a half years later. My favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird, I read at least once every year. I am very excited for this semester!