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Teacher's Blog of Teaching and Learning
Wednesday, 17 August 2005
The undesirability of high school by students themselves
On education

How can I be a proponent of life-long learning and, at the secondary level critical thinking, when I am not much of a critical thinker myself? Problem is, with my attention span I spend too little time on a subject or a book to thinking critically about it. I think critically by matching information and ideas using history, psychology, experiences, science, etc to decipher and contemplate a subject. I cannot think using only the book, I must have outside input to fully analyze the material. My knowledge alone cannot possibly analyze a single text. I feel as though I need a worldly, not personal perspective of what I read. But one learns by DOING not solely reading, that is why critically thinking, making up one’s own mind about the entire sense of the literature is what helps one remember it and discuss it with others.

I cannot imagine the disparities that exist inside my own high school. Youngsters hating high school, hating studying, hating learning, not being able to read well enough to succeed in their grade level, being sold short, not reading…all the things I used to do. I felt trapped in high school – most are probably enjoying themselves with their friends doing wrong things and not concentrating on demanding school work. Finding no joy in learning.

What is hurting these students in terms of education preparation for college
- Constantly low expectations

I miss learning. Engaging in interesting discussions about history, people, and literature. I now want my high school classes to have been as challenging, demanding, and engaging as Mr. Medina’s class in _Gilmore Girls_.

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 15 August 2005
Bringing people and communities together with a cause for learning
8/15/2005 5:29 PM

I woke up this morning with a dream for my community. At 6:15 I was not yet ready to be fully awake and pursue the day with vigor but as I lay trying to attain unconsciousness again thoughts of what I would like to accomplish with my education nonprofit came to mine. As my steam of consciousness flew by I found that I was not interested in running a business for the sake of being president, ceo, or founder, or some head position – which I’ve been doing for the past few days. I dreamed up the idea that I wish to create a community of educated people talking of matters using he high level of intellect (Isaac Asimov, science, literature, books, architecture) instead of the low social level (cars, movies, each other). Both types should be included in discussions varied throughout the day, but my community and the remainder of the nation seems to gravitate toward the basal level of communication.

In March, when I was struggling to become the best teacher I possible could I already had the dream of instilling the love for life-long learning in my students, it seemed the best possible venue to affect so many people at once, but for now, I’ve chosen to continue my education – but how then can I contribute to youth? Launch my own business, which is what I am now working on.


It’s no longer about me, it’s about everyone else. I looked at my painful to read writing composed when I recently turned 15 – it was filled with curses, “gonnas” and “wannas” as well as little material content. Only five years later, and I’m an incredibly changed person. Much more literary, generally better written, better spoken, still as ambitious but much more hard-working. I was vulnerable at that time to peer influences, so I cursed, on paper, less then they did of course, I hated reading, but I knew I wanted more from life. Through education I mad that happen. Today’s teenagers are equally, in fact, more vulnerable than I was, yet during adolescence, I accepted the norm even when I so much free time to make the most of my like, instead I waste my time not being social, not being much of a writer, hating school. I thought as I teacher I could change this, and from the Senior internship students, I suppose I could not. For four months I resisting getting back into such an ego and emotional well-being shattering experience and reverted to what made me happy, now that I’ve gathered my hurt, emotions, began cruising back out into my community I know I need to help. They need me as much as I needed a mentor in my life at that time.

Toward noon I realize I was a resource gatherer and one who binds people and interest, well as information. I convinced, in some ways forced, my sister to eat breakfast with me so that we may talk about anything. We began slowly, she complained, but eventually we ended up speaking to Edith Wharton’s book _The Age of Innocence_ which she is currently reading. She found she enjoyed telling me about the story line, and I was joyus about hearing it! It is about an intellectual man engaged to fashion and social interests related woman, set in late 1800s. He complains of his having to mingle with those whom he does not find intellectual in high class society and instead mingles with his low calss artist friends. It’s simply an interesting one I’d read. I also introduced her to this book community found bookcrossing.com, one she was reluctant to join, but did so on my account, she found she liked it slightly but on her own she would never had approached it or tried to find it. If this is any indication, maybe I will have a talent for improving the education of my community members as well.


Posted by Mari at 6:03 PM EDT
Music making us reclusive
8/15/2005 9:11 AM

Driving my mother to her work place I always pass my old high school. This morning I saw a high school aged girl waiting at the bus stop (during school hours, for some reason) wearing a pair of headphones, probably listening to some music which is supposedly, and temporarily, to provide enjoyment without actually human interaction. I felt a sort of sadness for not only her, but all those her age, and beyond. I recalled a moment when in the business building at the University when a college age woman sat doodling or studying (I could not tell what) and listening to “My Boo” by Usher on her headphones. She must have sat sitting and inadvertently waiting for minutes! When she saw the assistant director of the accounting school enter she got up and rushed into her office. She basically pleaded for an override, or something related to a course she took or wanted to take. It was one of my first days back at the university as a student after my Jan-April teaching internship where I had been solely teaching and observing at a local public school and had forgotten the college atmosphere. From then on I saw dozens of college students walking by listening to their music hard rock or pop, whatever it may be.

Even at lunch in the student union I asked a woman sitting nearby to come sit and eat with me because she was sitting alone. I didn’t realize she had ear plugs, probably listening to some broadcast or music, in her ears. People are unconsciously making more and more of a distance from people instead of connecting. They must realize that constantly listening to music will not bring them true happiness. People are what make life worth living. They bring joy, happiness, but even sadness, guilt, and desperation. But if we continue to keep a valley between us we will remain a world apart. Unhappy and always wanting. Many times we keep that distance for fear of being hurt from people, but without hurt there is no happiness. We need to become stronger humans, people, and better educated.

Unfortunately high school students do not know any better because they wear headsets solely because others do and think it will bring them some connection, some happiness – but all it propagates is passivity and less of an education. Less understanding of the world. It’s not music in and of itself - the distance from people is what is creating depression, unlearned-ness and soon after catastrophe in this society.

Sadness overwhelmed me when I saw that high school girl because it seems as though no one is there to teach her the importance of learning and connecting with human beings instead of wasting away her hours concealing from the world through a wall of music. No one. Only me. I understand at high school age we are all unknowledgeable about many things about life, and I know she is helpless unless someone like me or anyone with my knowledge can be of help. Give a motivating speech to teach her to learn and connect, instead of enjoy temporarily and disconnect because her primary and secondary grade years are in which the brain is ready to be formed into the type made for optimal learning new things – not after 20 or 30. The time for her and all her peers is NOW. But if no one helps her, she will enter the college atmosphere unable to learn and helpless.

Posted by Mari at 10:37 AM EDT
Saturday, 13 August 2005
Parent education; disparities don't exist everywhere
8/13/2005 3:34 PM

I went to my brother’s basketball game at the Y today and find that I am actually beginning to enjoy it. Today’s game was rather intense, the team was losing at first, but eventually won with flying colors with a score of 17 to 5, I believe. I could be a few numbers off.

I noticed many mothers today try to be strict, but children rebel because mothers do not use the right tone and verbiage. Mother states “Now, Eric, get back here. I’m talking to you” in a non-stern but almost weak manner – why should the child comply? Most mothers seem not to be willing to learn how to raise child well (O, knew well, but had only 1 child. She was strict and said the right things) The talent to tell stories that set kids aright, a stern tone, consistency in privileges, tone, etc.

“I told you to get back here.” “Stop playing with that ball.” These are all commands, and child doesn’t feel the parent things they know anything but in fact they do, they want to be treated like humans not animals. Dogs listen to commands, but children need logic, consistency, and an authority figure. Parents lose control of their kids before they complete elementary school. Problem: parents are unwilling to learn, or claim that they do not have enough time. It’s not the century we’re living it, it’s the inadequacy of education among the entire nation of citizens.

Minority children…need help?

I met a wonderfully nice African American lady today with four wonderful little boys with very cute faces, a natural ability for basketball and even a little bit of an attitude. Her son, 9, played on my brother’s team and is probably the best player on the team, He shoots, he scores, he passes, he is quick – he’s excellent. Anyway, I was happy to find that the father is supportive. He is the one who began playing basketball with the child by throwing paper into trash cans. The mother is also not raucous, as sometimes they can be, she is pleasant and really very nice. It seems like the boys have a supportive home, but not a strict mother – which they probably need.

I have this misconception that many African American families are broken. This boy was wearing dreads, as were all the boys in the family, so I assumed wrongly. I interned at an extremely low socio-economic school where I saw so many things rebelling and being loud, as well as disrespectful so my mind has been tainted, but the truth is, I want to help them all. I’m glad to find not all of them need to be helped. Some have supportive homes. This makes me very happy. I wish to see both sides of the social perspective, because I know there is work to be done in terms of education.

I remember one of the little boys, the one who was 3, did not wave to an approaching elderly man as he came forth, but his eyes lit up in awe when a pretty little girl, 2 ? years old, with princess eyes and some jewelry chains, walked up to his mother and began talking. He was fascinated with her jewelry and said “I’m already 3” in a cute way when the girl said I’m almost 3.

Posted by Mari at 3:56 PM EDT
Friday, 29 July 2005
Helping others
7/29/2005 8:52 PM
Today I came up with the idea to be less selfish and do what I’ve always wanted: help others; no matter how difficult it might be. Surprisingly, I’ve always taken the easy way out of things. Anyway, I realized I might find more satisfication doing what I enjoy: teaching. So I gathered my good qualities, skills, and talents and realized I have the ability and desire to write, communicate, and work with web sites – this resulted the idea of working with online education in some way. Sometime in the near future I will likely be part of online education, but for the time being I choose a subject to do something for: my brother. He is rebellious and defiant. He will not do anything unless he believes it is his choice to do so. I remember I was somewhat the same way, and he is becoming an adolescent, so I understand his actions completely. Nevertheless, I have to find a way to motivate him to read. He is interested in basketball and NBA players, so I searched for a quiz he could take on it (interactive website) and e-mailed it to him – then informed him to check his email. Luckily he was interested enough to take the quiz. I visited him during the time he was taking it and showed in interest in his performance on it. For once, I saw the face of someone interested in something I suggested – especially the defiant little kid he is, so I was proud. There was a question on Walt (or some name) Chamberlain I asked “Are you sure that’s the right answer?” and he stated “Yes” so I asked how, and he stated “I remember he had the highest 100 game play on the video game” unfortunately he got the question wrong but his interest in the quiz was amazing. He was reading and enjoying. I may find some more interactive online pages the younger siblings can use to engage in education. This proves that I can be a teacher, to some respect, regardless of my not being a full-time career teacher.

Posted by Mari at 9:26 PM EDT
Saturday, 23 July 2005
Why is it that parents are unwilling to learn and re-learn?

Generation X, or the babies of the 90s and beyond a different of group youngsters, and it seems as though parents are unwilling to learn how to raise them the best way so they instead of being rebellious, they are parent-minding, and sensible, and generally well-behaved? One reason I that quickly enters my mind is that fact that are no longer in a learning institution. In school and college we are constantly stretching our minds to learn more about all the things our different classes teach us, but many parents have been stuck in their work places for years. They are becoming experts in their fields, why would they want to return to a challenging and time consuming stage of learning? Whether they enjoy it or not, they must take the time to learn to understand the mindset of today’s youth so that they can best approach parenting, help make their children attentive enough in school to learn! And enjoy reading… This truly upsets me.

Posted by Mari at 10:20 PM EDT
Caring for the youngsters' intellect, yet not given the power to do so
Saturday, July 23, 2005

Now that I am no longer on the track to become a teacher nor have the energy to spare to act older than my age and be an example for my younger brother and sister I hate myself for it. I should always be a role model, but lately, I have been a goof. My last teaching experiences was three weeks ago teaching 6th grade students and now I return to wanting to be young. Maybe because I finally have given myself the permission to be so. Until April I thought I was to be a first-year teacher beginning this August because I would be completed with my degree and entering the teaching force, but then I decide due to my final internship experience that I am simply too young and don’t have the life experience to be teaching youth only 5 or 6 years younger than me, so I decided to take the available opportunity to get another degree but because I’d be forcing myself to act mature, adultlike, motherlike and teacherlike since I was 18, I think my mind is tried to taking such pressure. Now, for once, I can be a typical college student and not be so stiff and authoritative, but by doing so, I feel I am selling my 9, and 11 year old siblings short. They need my guidance because my mother is too busy to do more for them than speak to them at night during their homework time, make all the meals, clean the home, and go to work. I need to be the older sibling who encourages them to pursue their life with ambition, make the most of their school years, learn all the interesting things they can about dolphins, the old West cowboys, how to calculate simple algebraic equations, and the literature of Shakespeare so they be excite about life and be well-prepared for it because I remember I never had anyone cheering on my ambitions an or desire to learn, if I don’t encourage them to learn and read at home (both things which they hate) then they will end up in high school reaching for instant gratification things like music and movies, waste the capacity of their brain, and struggle, or even drop out of college. How can I let that happen? No one even cared to instill my ambitions, they don’t deserve that. This world is already filled with too many decisions. They cannot make wisely without a proper education and support.

What do I do? It takes all the energy I have to counteract my mother’s allowance for them to do whatever they like and act like the adult in the family who cares not about their health (my mother does that well enough) but about their most important asset: their intellect. It seems as though I can do nothing. What a world.

Posted by Mari at 3:39 PM EDT
Motivate youth to be active!
7/23/05 2:13:51 PM

I went to my younger brother’s basketball game at the Y this afternoon. At my first youth basketball game I sat mesmerized by the energy and activity of these small humans. Many ran across the court like fire bolts dribbling and passing the ball through what seemed like hoops of fire. These licikity-split movements were amazing. They maneuvered quickly and shot the basketball into the hoop against some amazing odds. For it being my first game, it was rather amazing. I even saw a former student there, a 16-year-old 8th grader, but he quickly ducked out of the court, possibly after he saw me. I felt sad seeing him after about three months because I remember my supervising teaching (I was an intern at the time) saying why I don’t care about him and do another child when this 16-year-old doesn’t even have a mother and the other does.

The behavior of youth to chase what they desire unlike adults who, many times, stagnate in their routine of work, eat, sleep raise children and be entertained is refreshing. Sometimes, I wish I were a kid again, began playing basketball at the age of 6, ballet at 8, gymnastics, as 9, and learn the violin at 10 and went to school to learn about the amazing things this world has to offer – everything from ancient Egypt history to John Kerry’s 2004 election loss. But, then again, I thought, even if I did go back and do all those things, I’d want to do more now. I’ll always want to do something more. But, at the game, when I saw a young child holding a game boy I saw the rotten, degradating reality of today's youth.
The passivity they must put up with and parents who don't care about their future well being by inspiring them to do SOMETHING. There are too many kids today who do not use their natural talents because no one is there to support their endeavors, so their vitality for hard work and adventure at a young age dissipates. Instead they begin searching for instant gratification items such as passive entertainment, and other teenager wrong doings – ways to kill time to be in the midst of some excitement.

To believe that the entire population is not this lazy I need to meet and see active youth and young adults like I did today and experience new things/events when kids and people are using their full mental and physical capacities.

Purpose: Education or youth do?

Posted by Mari at 3:27 PM EDT
Thursday, 21 July 2005
Cannot teach through speech
Recalling my experience with The Diamond in the Rough (mentioned above) I remember I was never able to truly motivate him with words. When I wrote things down of what I would say to make him interested in schoolwork, it sounded perfect, but I was never able to translate those written words into powerful words of encouragement. I have a natural desire to teach, but most of my teaching is done best through writing. Including motivational words. When written I can later translate it to speech. My venue to teaching is best done through writing. Online education may be a possibility…


Posted by Mari at 1:21 PM EDT
Becoming attached to the kids, but unable to help
In my second teaching experience I remember one child I call the diamond in the rough because he seemed lost among all the other low achievers, and I almost fell in love with that child because of his innocence and respect for authority, but, being an adolescent, falling into the wretched ways of his surrounding peers.

I need to learn how to teach well, it's where I find the most reward in my life. If I couldn't help that child, though I tried, I will not be able to help many future children who need the help that I am willing to give.

Posted by Mari at 1:20 PM EDT
Those who are resource gatherers
I assume that people in the northeast where there are well-established educational institutions, know how to find and take advantage of resources rather than doing all the themselves. They also expect instituions such as the school will be sufficient to provide the child with the proper education and support needed. Unfortunately, in the south and in many other areas throughout the US, the schools are not often equipped with the most experiences personnel to help the child. Guidence counselors and teachers may not be prepared to accommodate ADHD properly, or familial neglect, etc. I recall a very pretty, young, mother of a 13-year-old boy visiting her son during part of the school year meeting with teachers to help boost his failing grades by asking them to give him more work. She also wanted to find guidence counslers who would speak to him about working to improve his grades, she even wanted to locate a school policeman to scare the child about lock-up detention halls which is where she could place him if he continued to get failing grades, but it seemed that she wouldn't do much else, such as sit with him at home and help him complete his homework. Clearly, she may not have had time because she was a single working mother, but when parents are not willing to help the child, relying upon community and school resources alone will not help much - ESPECIALLY if the school itself is not funded well and is overcrowded, like most schools in this part of the south. I notice though that many people born and raised here do not have the mentality to know that community resources are available. Up North, where busy-ness is the norm, time is one thing people do not have in great quantity, therefore they must outsource their many things to do, to other people and organizations made to help.

Posted by Mari at 1:20 PM EDT
Wednesday, 20 July 2005
Rest and nutrition needed for school success
My sister proved one of my educational theories today. Eating well and sleeping well both contribute to ease and concentration in taking an exam as well as allows easier ideas and brain flow.

Here’s what she writes: Two nights ago, I experienced little sleep and woke up early, causing me to be extremely drowsy during my class, not allowing me to take in the information because my brain was screaming “I need sleep” and until I got it, my brain wouldn’t function at full capacity. A basic need (sleep) was not met, so a higher need (intellectualism, learning) could not be grasped. But today, I got plentiful sleep, evidence for which was my cheery, refreshed, headache-free state this morning. Plus, I ate a balanced breakfast which consisted of a boiled egg (protein) and whole wheat waffles with honey (complex and simple carbohydrates). My sufficient sleep and full stomach allowed me to move beyond my basic needs and grasp learning. And thus, I breezed through the exam, confident of most of my answers and did fairly well. Food and rest fueled my brain, allowing me to focus, and recall information stored in my memory because no other needs were overpowering my brain, battling for control.


Posted by Mari at 5:00 PM EDT
Monday, 18 July 2005
My teaching experiences
Monday, July 18, 2005

At the age of 20, I have had about 5 separate and short teaching experiences in my life. At the time I began my first one, blogs were not popular so I never found it an interesting prospect to write about my teaching experiences. Now, though, that I'm deviating from the teaching path and studying something new, I decided it might be best for me to reflect upon my experiences. I know that at a certain time I will again want to teach, so now is my time to write about my early teaching experiences. All my experiences so far have been in middle schools teaching either 6th, 7th, or 8th grade students, but these experiences were from settings of affluent schools to low-socioeconomic schools.

Fro my last three-week summer experience at the well-run school, HMS, include a student I'll call JP, who inspired me and reminded me a little of myself. I hated the fact in about November, in my part-time student teaching experience that I remembered only some kids and not all of them. I wanted always to remember the significance, talents, and special nature of ALL the students. I'd always hated to leave anyone out because if my teachers had forgotten about me and concentrated on the trouble=makers I would have terrible. I looked up to them for guidance and role modeling, how could they possible forget the child who silently revered them? Unfortunately, I went to my high school in May and found that they had forgotten me. Sad, but true. That is one reason I realize simply cannot teach right now. I want too badly too care for each individual and meet his/her needs, but clearly, it is impossible in classroom of 30 and 6 class periods a day.

Anyway, JP was one of the cutest 6th graders in the small class of 12 students. with.. not that looks are important enough to give significance to the4 child), but for description purposes he had vanilla-cream colored skin, large brown eyes, pretty eyelashes, and sophisticated spectacles. This cute kid inspired me because he wrote stories, much like I did when I was his age. He was troublesome only because he didn't wan to learn what he didn't know, because, as my supervising teacher said, he was used to always knowing the material and never having to actually learn. We were studying Nzingha, a young adult fiction novel based on the true story of an African worrier Princess, and because he had to read about a totally alien environment, Africa, in the 1500s and he could not relate - not to the character, nor to the new African language spoken by the characters. His writing is what I'd like to concentrate on, though. I was a writer at the age of 8, writing stories that mimic-ed the concept of the television shows I watched. I wrote them, but was too self-conscience, possibly a perfectionist, to show them to anyone. JP, though, approached the teacher, give her his story and then asked her to read it to the class, which I had the privilege to do. This kid reminded me of myself and my younger brother, who is a year younger than JP and has similar interests: video games and writing stories. Anyway, his story was about a boy, much like him, who sees strange spiritual happenings around him, finally dies, and enters God's world - the spiritual world. The plot was exciting and fast-paced filled wit complications and problems and surprisingly only 2.3 pages long.

Teaching issues at stance here are: How does one teach a student who is not willing to learn? This is a question I have not yet learned to answer satisfactorily.

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 16 May 2004
Teach myself project
Mission Statement : To fully teach and fully learn the subjects of your current courses plus two other subjects that greatly interest you for the entire semester. This teaching and learning must result in a full understanding of the main concepts and ideas of your course books so that you need very little (45 min test; 1-2hrs final) study before any exam and know the information in depth. You are also to master the art and learn the science of teaching in during this practice.

Perks
[] Once you have all reading studying done over the weekend the week will be exceptional, all you’ll have to do is little stuff like current event, you’ll already have studied for tests, no extra preparation needed, not even much paying attention in class except due dates. HW can be done during study hall but mostly during the week – when your ahead, always, you’ll have nothing to do, you’ll know the information just keep up with the HW and assignments no extra studying needed, you will KNOW this stuff!
[] Even if the info is not on the test, you’ll get knowledge and teaching practice which you so definitely need

Lesson Preparations
1. Read the entire lesson (chapter) including captions, and passages away from text while taking notes in outline form (easy to navigate through a lesson) taking notes on side for teaching ideas, activities, better clarification of subject. [2-4 hrs] The point is not to rush through this, the point is to fully understand everything in the chapter and be able to teach it just from your notes. Allow this to happen during the week over short periods of time so you don’t get bored yet are able to complete the reading and note taking.
2. Figure a strategy of how to teach the information, grasp key term concepts.
3. Practice or make a rough guideline of time limits.
4. Teach the information in a classroom manner, or in-depth college manner.


Schedule:

Period 1 – Diverse Pop. [8:00-9:00]
5-min break
Period 2 – Psychology [9:05-10:05]
5-min break
Period 3 – Statistics [10:10-11:10]
5-min break
Period 4 – Government [11:15-12:15]
5-min break
Period 5 – Philosophy [12:20-1:20]
20-min break
Period 7 – Greek Mythology [1:45-2:45]

Things to Remember:

• Think up activities
• Go about normal workday, ask questions, time limits, handouts
• Organized room
• Interact with colleagues
• Prepare for it, get reference books for research projects and whatever interests you have
• Design a school
• Teach yourself Greek and Roman mythology by getting books from library
• Stay committed the whole day, even if you don’t want to – there will be days like this in reality
• Teach different types of English’s, and even writing courses get books on how to from library
• In you school binders, keep all your notes, even teach from your class notes
• Use books from library as texts
• Make it fun, make jokes, figure organization system for papers and books, notes
• Question constantly, it’ll make you think and MAKE you learn
• Practice writing on board and paper
• You can teach yourself this stuff, no prior knowledge needed, these books are INCLUSIVE!!

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Teach myself project
Mission Statement : To fully teach and fully learn the subjects of your current courses plus two other subjects that greatly interest you for the entire semester. This teaching and learning must result in a full understanding of the main concepts and ideas of your course books so that you need very little (45 min test; 1-2hrs final) study before any exam and know the information in depth. You are also to master the art and learn the science of teaching in during this practice.

Perks
[] Once you have all reading studying done over the weekend the week will be exceptional, all you’ll have to do is little stuff like current event, you’ll already have studied for tests, no extra preparation needed, not even much paying attention in class except due dates. HW can be done during study hall but mostly during the week – when your ahead, always, you’ll have nothing to do, you’ll know the information just keep up with the HW and assignments no extra studying needed, you will KNOW this stuff!
[] Even if the info is not on the test, you’ll get knowledge and teaching practice which you so definitely need

Lesson Preparations
1. Read the entire lesson (chapter) including captions, and passages away from text while taking notes in outline form (easy to navigate through a lesson) taking notes on side for teaching ideas, activities, better clarification of subject. [2-4 hrs] The point is not to rush through this, the point is to fully understand everything in the chapter and be able to teach it just from your notes. Allow this to happen during the week over short periods of time so you don’t get bored yet are able to complete the reading and note taking.
2. Figure a strategy of how to teach the information, grasp key term concepts.
3. Practice or make a rough guideline of time limits.
4. Teach the information in a classroom manner, or in-depth college manner.


Schedule:

Period 1 – Diverse Pop. [8:00-9:00]
5-min break
Period 2 – Psychology [9:05-10:05]
5-min break
Period 3 – Statistics [10:10-11:10]
5-min break
Period 4 – Government [11:15-12:15]
5-min break
Period 5 – Philosophy [12:20-1:20]
20-min break
Period 7 – Greek Mythology [1:45-2:45]

Things to Remember:

• Think up activities
• Go about normal workday, ask questions, time limits, handouts
• Organized room
• Interact with colleagues
• Prepare for it, get reference books for research projects and whatever interests you have
• Design a school
• Teach yourself Greek and Roman mythology by getting books from library
• Stay committed the whole day, even if you don’t want to – there will be days like this in reality
• Teach different types of English’s, and even writing courses get books on how to from library
• In you school binders, keep all your notes, even teach from your class notes
• Use books from library as texts
• Make it fun, make jokes, figure organization system for papers and books, notes
• Question constantly, it’ll make you think and MAKE you learn
• Practice writing on board and paper
• You can teach yourself this stuff, no prior knowledge needed, these books are INCLUSIVE!!

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 26 April 2004
Arguments for and against SAT essay add-on
SAT adding the essay…Exit exam for Univ Grads
Arguments

4/26/04

I think it is positively excellent to raise the standards for both high school and college students. This will motivate them to be better students and motivate them to make it their responsibility to become educated individuals.

The SAT (college admissions test) is adding on a essay portion to the test. The SAT is known for measuring intelligence and knowledge. Its scores are used to determine many things such as how much money a school gets, how intelligent its students are, how well the teachers are teaching. Though it cannot be used to test some of these things, it often is and that is fine. America knows their students are behind other nations in the math and sciences, and possibly even other subjects so they decided to add on an essay to the SAT. That’s great, it really is. IT measures a students ability to organize and communicate their ideas and showcase their writing ability. But if a student is unable to show that he or she can communicate their ideas, or even furthermore he is unable to pass a series of Algebra two problems, or analogies – does this mean that the student is at fault for not knowing certain analogies, or not being able to effectively organize an essay? Is it his fault he did not learn how to solve those algebra two problems? It is possible that he DID in fact learn how to do those, aced the Algebra two test and simply forgot a step or two involved on the SAT to solve the problem. It’s very possible. But who’s to blame here? The student or the teacher?

How can one’s scores on the SAT accurately determine intelligent a student is or what knowledge he has? I’m sure this has been a debate for decacdes now, but my concern is what if it is the teacher’s fault the student did not do well on the SATs. In my experience I have learned that simply because my teachers did not reinforce certain skills I had not fully automated from middle school, that I had an extremely difficult time writing essays. To this day, only 1 or 2 years after my pre-calculus class I do not correctly remember how to solve trigonometry problems. I have forgotten much of trigonometry. The sole reason for that is practice. My teacher taught very well but because it was a half-year block-scheduled course we never practiced the problems enough in math so that they may be retained to this day. On the other hand, in my middle school classes I had full year courses, but very little homework on a daily basis. Skills like essay-writing, literary concepts, organization of thoughts, outlining, brainstorming, revising, and may have been taught but through my entire high school career I had a very difficult time organizing my writing because of the fact that I did very few essays in my middle school career. I cannot even remember if I learned those writing skills. How can we expect students, within a time limit, to write an essay that will determine their intelligence and their acceptance to college if their writing skills are not non-existent, but not fully developed?

My algebra skills were relatively concrete because of the year-long course I had in 8th grade and an exellent teacher.

Sure, raising the standards of education is excellent. I believe that. But our youth can learn much more than we give them credit for, but we do not expect much of them. Homework that practices our basic skills are what give us an education. Education requires time that is the bottom line. I do believe that practice coupled with time and effort can fail. For some students it will take longer to automate or solidify skills, for others less. But there’s no doubt about it the answer to non-education is the solidifying of skills within the student. The reason this may be fault of the teachers is not giving enough homework, practice material, critical thinking problems, accurate assessment/comments/support.

We are cheating our youth as they are going through the public school system. They need to be solidifying certain skills and processes in at each grade level because once their get to the next grade they will have problems doing what they should have already learned to do. It is NOT necessarily because they never learned the skill, it’s because it is underdeveloped. They need practice and put time and effort into their schoolwork. Not quickly completing their easy homework right after school and then playing video games. They should be using their skills while playing football, eating (counting calories), listening to the radio, reading the newspaper with their breakfast.

The first step is high standards, but without excellent teachers and teaching habits our youth will not learn – learning is skill-based. We build skills upon skills, and students need time to make their skills concrete. That is what I have learned over my 6 years as a student of the public school system of Orange and Osceola county (and of course my university time).

University Graduates needing to pass an exit exam…

Same thing holds true for this issue. How can we expect them to pass an exit exam if time is not allowed for skill practicing especially if they never learned in their grade school time that they need to practice their skills and processes to fully learn and use them. College courses are short, time is needed. It is possible for this exit exam to exsist and be successful, but we are obligated to teach them the necessary skills required for this exam and to teach them that they must spend time practicing certain skills instead of partying if their professors cannot/will not make them do it. How can they help it? They have been taught for 13 years that all they need to do to learn is one homework assignment a night? They think they are stupid for not knowing certain things – but it’s because they haven’t been taught proficiently.

But of course, everything I’ve discussed above is not going to effectively represent the case if we do not have high standards already for our students. And I, only 18, and not yet an educator, do not know the extent to which a normally-developing human can handle intellectually at all the grade levels. We must not overburden the students, but we must challenge them.

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 24 April 2004
North vs South: The Battle Continues
After seeing the work Nils and Mava bring home from their school and what knowledge they have now that they are in 2nd and 4th grade, and I am beginning to understand and remember what it was like switching from Northern to southern schools. The biggest mistake is that they do not give enough homework

Nils and Mava come home with almost a duplicate math assignment from the one they completed at home, and although that may be accurate enough to practice their newly acquired skills it is not ENOUGH practice for those basics elementary skills to be come automatic such as borrowing in math and division. That is why kid struggle in middle school and high school – because although they learned the material, it never become automated or practice enough to be instilled in their mind. They never truly learned it. Simple more practice work can fix this problem. They need these basic skills to become so simple that they do not even have to think about them further on in their academic careers.

Critical thinking skills are not practiced because they have only one piece of paper of assignment to complete. They are barely practicing the basic skills that they’ve learned… if they’re getting one worksheet for math. Where’s the reading or social studies? Spelling and vocab words? How is that enough – again, it is also rote memorization going on here. If they asked the students to write a paragraph explaining each word (which are they capable of doing, even at the elementary level) it will become easily LEARNED, not just memorized. Critical thinking skills are not being learned because teachers are not giving them on a daily basis critical thinking to work with. From what I’ve seen worksheets are all they get for homework – maybe the writing of a story of two at times.

Motivation… never do they get too much work and coming to high school when they have to bind basic skills with higher-level skills they think the work is too hard. When they begin to get more assignments they resent it because in elementary school they only received one homework per day – they think they’re been asked to do more than they can handle, which is not at all true. And so they turn to the TV for easy living.

Too little work is the problem with Florida education. From elementary school they are not learning and making automated those basic skills they need to succeed in middle and high school. And they are being given few assignments and when they get to higher level grades they feel they are being cheated and given more work than they can handle.

TO FIX THIS PROBLEM we must give them more work: to practice their basic skills (individually at the elementary level –as in, practice each individual skills) so that they become automated and continuously ask them to hand in critical thinking work so that they learn the most essential skill needed for succeeding in life.


------

List of possible problems in Florida Education vs North:

1. Politics
a. Strandarized test ? FCAT ? teaching to the test
b. Poorly educated teachers ? from k-BA
c. Not enough money in education
d. Minorites/ESL students
e. Few people care/can make a change
f. Contiuously lower expectations
g.

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006 2:06 PM EDT
Wednesday, 14 April 2004
Relooking the Hip-hop class
4.14.04

Re-looking the after-school hip-hop class

As a public school teacher I will have a tremendous amount of power in shaping the lives of my students. My middle school and high school teachers may have been very distant from their students and have taught them what they had to know as dictated by a rote curriculum, but I can be a better teacher. A year ago when I initiated this idea of having an after-school hip-hop class I knew I wanted to be an excellent teacher, I simply did not know how I would do that. How could I be any different than my own detached middle school and high school teacher? Could I really be any better? Why were they not as good as I may be?

After taking Classroom Learning Principles with Dr. Condly, I have finally learned to have some kind of formula and idea of exactly how I be that better teacher. I even have the tools to do so. I always knew I was going to be a better teacher than my own, now I know how.

About a year ago I wanted to hold a hip-hop class after school to keep the students off of the street, keep them out of boredom, drugs, and alcohol. It sounded like an excellent idea at the time, and it still may be a great idea to keep students’ minds one with the school and diminish any fleeting thoughts of spending their time elsewhere before they even occur. The closer to the school they are, the more out of trouble they are. Now that I am older and wiser I realize that this may not be a reality for. I can and will volunteer to sponsor extracurricular activities to keep students in school but I knew that I probably can affect more students and more troubled students better with the enticing hip-hip after school idea.

I may not be able to hold an after school hip-hop class, but I can encourage them to join after-school activities and help them to figure out ways in which they can attend if transportation is a problem.

To be the better teacher I can number one: show them I care about their learning, their health (I can, in the beginning of the school year, ask the parents to send in boxes of cereal so if the students come in without breakfast they can take some time to eat it before class), make tasks manageable instead of scary or un-doable so they do not hate it or do not want to do it. I also want to prove to them with education is the only way they have the best chance to succeed in their life. Even if they want to be actors or actresses they must have an education to have an adequate education. They need to know they are lucky enough to be born and live in a country in which almost anything in possible. In which they can be anything they want to be, but not without an education so they should stick to their education program and make goals for themselves.

Teach them that goals are do-able only if they plan in small chunks and meet each step before moving on to the next. Teach them that no matter how bad their future teachers are, whether they seem not to care about them, make class uninteresting, or give them too much work, they can make they own time manageable. They can accomplish larger tasks by taking them one step at a time. Teach them that even if they do have not-so-great teachers in the future that they can be who they choose to be, they should muddle through and learn all they can because without an education they are left defenseless in this fast changing world. People will control them, they will not have much control over their life if they let free public education and/or college pass them by.

Teach them that there are good books out there, whether they be nonfiction, self-help, or fiction. Teach them good books in class that they can relate to. Have book talks.



What I need to be a better teacher:
- Be up on current affairs, read the newspaper. Why do you think the education building now has free copies of the New York Times available to the education majors? Their parents may not read the newspaper, nor watch the news. You may be your students’ only source of the outside world, the global concerns.



Other ideas:
- Provide a newsletter on how the parents can get involved in their own child’s education and make sure that they keep education a priority
- Make school fun to come to, otherwise, why should they? Have Friday educational parties monthly if they do their work well? Why not?
- What can I do to make them turn to books instead of mind-rotting TV? Have them read a play overnight, the ones who know the lines best and know what is going on in the play will get a chance to be characters in the play during a small mock class-play. Make small props to make each character distinct such as s staff if someone is a king. Have them read an ACT or half an ACT one night instead to too much.


Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 10 April 2004
Newspaper and communication
4.10.04 | 11:09 am

There should be time in a day to read the daily newspaper – especially in the morning. Before there was television the main source of mass communication and information was the newspaper. Those were the days. Actors were live on stage. They put in hard, meaningful work to put on those plays. Acting was not simply glamorous. There wasn’t much fame for little work. Writers were even recognized properly. Their work was needed and appreciated. Now instead of reading, people watch TV for news or stories. Writing was generally paid for well, and was requested. It is an intellectual job and it mattered back then. Now acting matters. A brainless job matters. Sure there are doctors in thiis world looking for cures and furthering medicine so that humans can live a longer, more healthy life but those who are looked up to and recognized by the youth are the actors and music stars – those who are in the limelight. Our youth is getting the wrong idea of what makes a successful and happy adult. Success, I believe, is making a noticeable contribution to the human race, or a culture, a small society – dioing something good for hiumans. Sure, that it coves many occupations, even acting, but my point is that our world would be a better place if we all read more and watched less TV. For a story we should turn half the time, at the least, to a novel instead of a soap opera or drama or a movie. Reading a novel will build anyone’s communication skills by building vocabuly. Having good communication skills is the beginning of spreading ideas and making a positive difference in thiis world. Watching tv for entertainment, on the other hand, is so passive that we may possible learn a new word or two but listening to the characters’ banter only shows their surface self. The watcher is not opened up to the charcter’s internal feelings if, though, we were able to understand the character’s internal feelings we would begin to understand human emotion which is something that helps us to understand others – making us aware of them and in turn helping us to use good judgement in commuinicating our ideas to them. If we see that someone is upset we can use our knowledge of human emotion to wait and give bad news, is just one example.

If we had the time or were even encouraged to read the daily newspaper with incententives such as an opening debate at the workplace on current events we would read the newspaper and be aware of the problems, even the smallest ones, that are occurring in our world and society therefore we can make effort to doing something about it. And if all the workers know about the problem of the homeless being stranded on the street without a shelter, they can pool their money to set up a shelter,l even the smallest one, so that the homeless have a place to go. What a wonderful thught. It does not take much of their time, they contribute, and make this world a better place.

If our community had the iincentive to read a play an d act it on in the community theater instead of watching it on TV, I bellve theer are several people who would take part of their weekend to gather and create this play. There are peoplea re there who do not want to be actors, do not like reading, are bored with TV reruns, but would enjoy aciting in a community play that they would read and spend some of their weekend time to get together with people and put on a small, if abridged version, of a play. What a great weekend spent away from the tv, spending time with new people, and having a ball putting on their own little play instead of watching the tube. It would keep many kids off of the street (off of drugs and gangs and what-not), even if theiy did not want to act, they can help with the stage directions and/or equipment. What a wonderful thought. When they didn’t have TV, I am sure some communities did this for entertainment – and why not? I cannot explain what graditiude I get from this idea – instead of being passive doing this would be a wonderful thrill. If only people didn’t have to work as much this would work out even better.

So I suppose thiis is not just about writing or reading or school or our youth. It’s about a better life.

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 31 March 2004
What I need to do to succeed as a teacher
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
6:38am
From the beginning It was not so much about the actual teaching, but it was about the individual student for me. I have always wanted to reach out to each individual student, find out his or her goals, and help him or her reach those goals. I did not just want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a mentor to each of my students. That’s how it was from the start. The actual getting in front of the classroom and teaching was not my main concern, and today I realized that once again. Because of my deprived education and from what I have observed coupled with my own teaching experience I have found teaching is not enough for me. I can want to prepare them for Harvard, but each student is different they have different goals and aspirations – Harvard is not for everyone. For the longest time I believed there was little I could do to be the best teacher I could be. I knew I wanted to be the best teacher, that was the ultimate goal – but I did not know how I would do that. Would I implement a challenging curriculum so that they are avid and widely-read readers? Would I be involved in many extra-curricular activities? What about the students who have no interest or the intellectual capability to go to Harvard or be in a school-related extra curricular? That was my problem.

After some thought I realized to help my students reach their goals I need to first, know them, and individualize their learning in my classroom so that they are headed for their goals whether it be wanting to be a singer, a writer, a doctor…whatever! But also

The teaching part also seemed so simple to me: teach them the rules of grammar, read stories with them, have them do interesting book reports, but teaching is so easy. Where’s the challenge? That’s what I always thought, and with some experience I believe it more so now.

I’m thinking personal conferences. This is the best thing to help them identify their goals, make personal education plans, and show them you care. They NEED at least that one person that really cares about them, their future, and their health. Just letting them know you care is the best way to get them into education.

They need someone to help them grow up and change for the better. You’ve been there, you know what it’s like to be 12, 13, 16… find out what their needs are at that age and help them meet those needs and wants. They do not know what they need to learn in this life, help them decide.

What I need to do:
- Get extra certifications, but as an English teacher you can do the most with helping them with their careers and goals
- Extra certifications will help to further your own education
- Put your all into your students and your teaching
- Those who need breakfast in the morning and do not have time in the morning, advise parents to drop off small boxes of cereal so that they may have a little breakfast before class to get their brain cells working.

tags: process, achievement, self discovery, learning style

Posted by Mari at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006 1:43 PM EDT

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