During a visit at my field observation (Laurel School) it came to my attention that there was more drama than I had at my previous elementary school, reason being that it is an all girls school. The comic strip below discusses an issue/conflict that took place during a visit of mine. I usually show up around 12:30 which is right as they get back from lunch. It came to my attention that one of the girls was upset that another classmate kept stealing food from her without permission. This little girl chose to bring it to the teachers attention so that this issue won’t happen to other students as well. I chose to talk on this exact topic because it related to a past learning experience essay shared in class. Inclusivity, though it may sound like it does not fit into that category, this little girl wanted everyone to be treated equally and respectfully and chose to be inclusive by telling the teacher. Though many of these situations have most likely happened before, I only saw this conflict because it was brought to my attention. Usually if the girls start fighting the teacher tries to keep it small so no one else will pay attention, but the teacher brought it to my attention and proceeded to show me how she would resolve this. I thought it was kind of her to show me different ways or scenarios that could happen if the situation were to be handled differently.
My third and final current connection took place on May 5, 2022. Our learning circle presented the articles from pages 273 – 301 from The New Teacher Book. From those pages I chose to present my current connection from the first essay (pages 273-278). The essay was called From Outrage to Organizing by the author Ikechukwu Onyema. In this essay she talked on the topic of police brutality, and the differences white versus African Americans are treated. The main plot, and takeaway from her reading was that students in her classroom/school were being treated very poorly by police officers for doing nothing wrong. What started off as a simple “organized mission in response to a confrontation between police and student youth, turned into students seeing and receiving violence and disrespect from police. Because of this event, it caused Onyema and the school district to develop what is called “Freedom Schools”. Teachers and students came together to create this activist group to hopefully put an end to this madness, and educate others while doing so. They would meet after school to discuss, and come up with ideas of how they could peacefully protest this issue, or make others aware of it. A major topic that came up at one meeting was “The Talk” not just any talk, but the different talk parents need to have with their children, white versus African American. The difference was white familiar have the “birds and bees” talk with their child, while African American children have the talk about what happens, and what they should do if they are ever around police officers. This was what I personally took away from this essay because it is a shame the different worlds children grow up in, and how differently everyone is treated over something no one has control over. It has been an issue for way too long, but it is still not being solved. Protests still happen everyday, but clearly that is not enough, everyone is just trying to figure out what that one thing is to make police brutality, as well as racism go away for good. The article I chose to relate this essay to was White Coats for Black Lives: Medical Students Responding to Racism and Police Brutality. This article discussed that African American Medical students took charge in a non violent protest on their own, because of what was happening in the world (police brutality and racism causing damage). African Americans are losing their lives from people who should be helping save them. I thought that these two essays/articles were relatable because of the similarities of how they were being treated. Both articles were experiencing unfairness, and not being treated equally as everyone else, which could and already has cost someone their life. One quote that stood out to me from this article was: “while patients cannot legally be denied care because of their race, patients of color are frequently turned away from hospitals because they do not have private health insurance. We therefore support the creation of a single payer health insurance system to ensure that all patients have access to the care they need. To address the underrepresentation of Black, Latino, and Native American people in medicine, we have pushed our schools to create recruitment, retention, and promotion policies that would ensure that people of color are represented among physicians at least at the same rate as they are among the general population”. Though this quote is sad and unfortunate to read, it is true. Many African Americans are denied healthcare because of lack of insurance, but sometimes it is not always their fault. This is a major issue and a main reason why I chose my current connection on this section was because I want to be a part of making this change. Ending my current connection presentation I chose to include discussion questions for the class to answer. I wrote: “1. Though these articles are different, what part relates to one another? 2. This has been an issue for awhile now, what do you think the main reason is that it has not come to an end? 3. If you were to give an idea/input to help bring awareness to this topic how would you? And why?” I received well thought out responses, and the class got really involved and seemed interested. This is such a huge and important topic and I am not only glad I got to present and share my opinion, but also hear from everyone elses to learn and grow from their answers.
My four panel comic strip discussed, and described a short part of what the girl’s day at school consisted of. Every once in a while their fourth grade “buddies” come to their classroom and read a book that one of the girls had previously picked out. This is in place of their reading section at school. The girl’s teacher told me that this doesn’t happen often but it is a good and fun way for the girls to read aloud as well as hangout with their older friends. I chose to make my comic strip based off of this field observation because I thought it was a neat and fun way for the two classes to read aloud to one another. The teachers were laid back and let them sit wherever throughout the classroom, so that they felt most comfortable. The seating choices made me think, and relate to the first learning experience in our classroom when we discussed seating and classroom layout. Allowing the students to choose where they want to sit, and what kind of seat gives them freedom to feel comfortable in the classroom, and choose how they believe they will learn best. I wanted to reflect specifically on this day because it gave me a flashback to when I was in their shoes. Having an older reading buddy is something that most schools do, and it is something that most students will never forget. It is a great learning experience, and opportunity for both students. I was happy to see that schools still participate in this activity, and it overall just brought me back to my elementary years.
My group (LC3) presented to the class on Thursday April 21st discussing pages 229-248 from The New Teacher Book. Throughout those pages there were three chapters total. The three chapters were: “My Dirty Little Secrets, Taking Teacher Quality Seriously, and Beyond Test Scores”. All three chapters had a very strong purpose and meaning, and were an overall great read, while still being able to learn something from them. The first reading of My Dirty Little Secrets talked a lot about the topic of grades, and why teachers should not grade essays, as well the benefits students gain from that. What the author wanted the readers and audience to take away from their essay is that if you want your students to write good essays, and create great work, then do not grade them. When students do poorly on an assignment it is discouraging, and could make the student not care or try if they are just going to receive bad grades. This teacher put a twist on her teaching. Since report cards are still required, she decided that when the students turn in their essays she will give them feedback, as well as suggestions. As long as the students revise their paper based off of the corrections given, then they will receive full credit for that assignment, or paper. I personally believe that this is a great way for students to learn, as well as feel comfortable in a classroom. The second essay that was read was Taking Teacher Quality Seriously. This essay focused more on the teacher side, rather than the students like the last essay discussed. In the essay they discussed the importance of having good teacher quality, because without it the students will suffer. This system was formed using teacher bargaining and has a clear vision of success, base scores on more than just student tests, includes a strong peer assistance and review (PAR), and uses a wide range of factors to help teachers grow. The teachers would receive help and guidance to help grow, and those who didn’t gain from this would be removed. The third and final story that was in our assigned reading pages was Beyond Test Scores. A summary of the story was that the MCEIA (Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment) would dig deeper into finding bigger and better ways to assess students, rather than exams, and standardized tests. They adopted two different approaches, the classroom level approach, and the school quality measures approach. The classroom approach focused more on what curriculum embedded performance assessment offers teachers more authentic ways to assess student learning that in the long run can replace standardized testing. While the second approach aimed to describe the full measure of what makes a good school. All three readings discussed in our learning experience stated useful skills, and knowledge that can be used for your future classroom. Our LC chose to focus most on Beyond Test Scores, just because that is such a big topic in today’s world, but not much is being done to fix the issue. This reading gave us a better understanding, and behind the scenes of what needs to be done if everyone chooses to eliminate standardized testing. Our LC designed the learning experience through google slides, since it is an easy and efficient way for everyone to work and contribute while not having to be together. My personal contribution to the assignment were slides two through seven. I focused mainly on the first essay in the assigned pages, as well as Sarah. We worked together in creating our slider and discussion questions for the class to interact with. The essay we focused on didn’t have any activity that really stood out to me that would work well with our slides, which is why we decided to go the Q&A route. I also created the slide design and then shared it throughout the group for them to add their work to. The only references that I used in my contribution to the learning experience was from The New Teacher Book.
My four panel comic strip discusses/talks about the girls show and tell day at school. Once a month the students get to put together a short 2-3 minute video of them showing something they may own, or something they may have done. The day of their show and tell happened to take place on a field observation day, as well as the girls first day back from spring break. I chose to make my comic strip based off of this activity because of some topics we have been discussing in class. I thought it was a neat idea for the students to be allowed to share something they did, saw, or even have. This gives their teacher a great idea of what their personalities are like, and therefore can make it an inclusive classroom. In the comic strip one of the students was very excited to present to me about her trip to Florida over break. I thought it was cute how excited to share with me all the neat activities she did. Although I was only there in the classroom for two observations before this day, it really made me feel welcomed that all the girls were excited to share with me. I wanted to reflect on this specific moment because I feel as if all students, and classrooms should be this way. Everyone was excited to be there to learn, share, and really give it their all!
Pixton Comic Strip:
My group (LC3) had our current connection presentations on 3/31/2022, based off of the learning experience that was presented to the class on 3/29/2022. This week’s reading from the textbook consisted of three essays, Measuring What Matters, I Believe You, and Inclusivity Is Not A Guessing Game. All three essays were interesting, and had a valuable story to go along with it, but the reading that stood out most to me, and what I chose to give my current connection presentation on was “Inclusivity Is Not A Guessing Game”. This reading had a strong message to the readers on why inclusivity is so important, and showed how and why we need to take that into consideration. A summary of the essay was about a little kindergartner girl, Noor who was not able to celebrate with her classmates birthday’s because all of the birthday treats were food or treats she could not have. Noor knew she couldn’t have the treats everyone else was having, but this made her feel very excluded from all the class celebrations. At the time her teacher only said “I’m sorry” implying that there was nothing for her to do and it was out of her control. Soon after this incident the teacher decided to buy food/birthday treats that Noor could have so that she was able to celebrate with the class and feel included. This made Noor really happy and finally felt like she was a part of their class again. This reading really grabbed my attention because inclusivity can go a lot further than just different birthday treats. It really got me thinking on other ways inclusivity could be brought upon not only students, but an entire community. Which is why I based my connecting article off of a “coming out story”. The article was about a teacher who had received a text from a former student’s mother, thanking him for everything he has done for her child. The mother mentioned that the student had recently come out as gay, and had said that his former teacher made an impact on him, and made him feel equal and not judged for who he was, or could be. They mentioned in the article how this teacher would always go out of his way to make sure everyone in the class was being treated not only fairly, but equally. Belonging does not always mean fitting in”. That played a huge role in his former student coming out to his parents, and the world. I chose to relate the essay to this article because it gave such a broad example of what inclusivity could be. Having extra birthday treats versus coming out and being comfortable are two different sides of being inclusive, with multiple other examples falling between these two examples. Though I know that it is important to be inclusive no matter what your role is, teacher, student, peer, and so on. I never quite looked at this topic in this perspective, as well as finding other ways that you could be inclusive, especially in a classroom. After reading both the essay, and article, it broadened my perspective questioning other ways you could be more inclusive to better yourself and others around you. A few ways that I thought would work would be getting to know your students (or peers) on a personal level. This allows for you to connect to your students and let them get to know you, which could make them more comfortable around you allowing them to build a strong relationship. One other way that was discussed throughout my presentation was delivering instructions in a variety of different ways. While it may sound like a pain to have to teach or explain a lesson 2-3 different ways, this allows for the students to learn to the best of their ability, and it also shows that you as a teacher care about your students and want the best for them. These readings were great eye openers as future educators, and could use these former examples to benefit students in our future classrooms.
This week’s learning experience was discussed by my group (LC3). It was based off of pages 141-164, including four chapters throughout those pages. The chapters were Mexican Education, What I wish I had said, How Could You Let This happen?, and Howling at the Ocean. Every reading had a few similarities such as inclusivity and learning how to respect others. Yet they all had their own story and something different to learn from. The Mexican Education story talked a lot on how it feels to be treated differently, how it affects someone and how it truly makes someone feel. Going into the second reading of What I Wish I had Said, basically means exactly what it says. The story talked about how an immigrant student was still learning the language of English and responded by shaking his head. A teacher of his would call him “bobblehead” because that is how Akash would respond, by shaking his head. Akash’s main teacher noticed this and she took offense to it, and since Akash could not quite speak up for himself the teacher thought she should. It bothered her for days, but the only reason why she did not want to confront the teacher was because she did not want to start a conflict. Going off the title of the chapter, the teacher wished she had said “his name is Akash”. The third reading was titled “how could you let this happen?” and it was about a second grade student being sexually assaluted at recess. The main concern was that no one was clearly watching the students otherwise this would have not happened, as well as that the boys who sexually assaulted this little girl received no punishment. The teacher, the students parents, and principal were all involved and there was still no consequence for what had just happened. This is a topic that needs to be discussed more often than what it is unfortunately, and since nothing happened the teacher transferred schools because she did not feel comfortable, nor did she want to associate herself with a district that allows actions like that to happen. The last and final chapter we presented to the class was Howling At The Ocean. A summary of this chapter was about a teacher and her struggles and what she discovered from her classroom. She had a meeting with the principal discussing whether or not she was doing the right thing. They decided after countless emails and student talks that she was not going to change her curriculum, but just tweak the way she teaches it.
Our group decided to use google slides for our presentation to the class. It was the easiest and most efficient way to get the message across to the class. My contribution to the lesson plan was the first reading of Mexican Education. I fully read the story and put down the most important parts, or what I thought stood out to me the most. I then chose to do an activity of asking the class a few questions on if they were to experience a situation similar to Alejandro’s or see something happen would they say something to someone? The other question I asked was if they did see something happen already did they stick up for that person or report it? The references I used to support my presentation were all from the new teacher book.
For this week’s current connection my group and I (learning circle 3) focused on pages 94 through 118. This week’s reading focused a lot on equality, as well as the topic of learning from one another. Though there were multiple readings and chapters to choose from, I personally chose to give my presentation on “Speaking Freely-Students as Teachers”. My reading discussed the topic of students teaching other students, and how it is beneficial. The reading was about a little boy Mateo (2nd grader) was losing his ability to speak Spanish, which is what he speaks at home with his family. Since the school (located in Columbus, Ohio) speaks english throughout the entire school day, Mateo wasn’t practicing his native language as much as he should be and the teacher decided to make his language a priority. This is when the “students as teachers” comes into play allowing his classmates to help him relearn whatever he may have lost. The other students who were also fluent in his language would use diagrams, reading, and whatever else it would take for Mateo to gain his language skills back. I chose to focus on this reading because I personally agree with the fact that students learn best when it is being taught from their peers. Having the teacher teach the lessons then from there allowing the students to break into small groups to discuss what they had just learned. This allows for the children to reflect on what they just learned, and then the opportunity to exchange what they gained, and what they may not have retained. They are able to bounce ideas off of each other, and learn something they may not have understood, in which their classmates might have. At the end of my presentation I would ask the table if they as future teachers would allow for student teaching/student learning in their classroom? Almost everyone said yes, and they all explained that not only did it benefit them when their old teachers would do this, but it is good for the students to learn from others, and not just the teacher. The article I chose to relate this reading to was “Why Does Peer Instruction Benefit Student Learning?” This article discussed a lot of benefits that students receive from learning from their peers, as well as the “what to do and what not to do” when allowing your students to be the teacher. A few benefits that the article shared was that students feel more comfortable when learning with, or from their peers. I think many would agree that in a classroom setting, if you are sitting with or near your friends you feel more comfortable to participate in class, and ask more questions. Rather than sitting all alone, or not knowing anyone you are less likely to raise your hand even when you don’t understand the lesson. Another way students benefit from this is being able to bounce ideas off of one another. The person sitting next to you might understand part of the unit, while you might understand the other part. Students teaching students therefore allows for them to work together and help one another understand the material that might be confusing to one, but not the other. The assigned reading and current connection article related to each other because as shared in the reading about Mateo student teaching was used. Learning from a peer who understands what he didn’t allow him to feel more comfortable and ask questions that he may not have asked if it were the actual teacher helping. The reading, and article overall was a great eye opener as becoming a future teacher and is something that needs to be considered more in the classrooms of America, and all over.
Tullis, Jonathan G., and Robert L. Goldstone. “Why Does Peer Instruction Benefit Student Learning? – Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.” SpringerOpen, Springer International Publishing, 9 Apr. 2020, https://cognitiveresearchjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41235-020-00218-5.
This week’s assigned reading was about “Creating Classrooms for Equity and Social Justice” as well as “Black is Beautiful”. Both two topics are strong and meaningful, especially today’s day and age. The first reading was about what teachers and staff can do to transform their classrooms into safe, comfortable learning spaces. The reading discussed multiple different ways teachers can help benefit their students whether that is changing the teaching style, or changing the student’s learning style. Our group decided to focus on the topic of participatory and experiential. In the book it quoted that “traditional classrooms often leave little room for student involvement” though “in a rethought classroom concepts need to be experienced first hand. Whether that is through projects, roleplays, experiments, etc.” We really focused on that topic because we agreed that you want students to find out who and what they truly are. We then asked the classroom what their ideal classroom environment is? Most students shared that they personally enjoyed the experiential, or hands on type of classroom. They said that when they are able to do something hands-on, or participate in group work it helps them remember more and learn better. Personally I agreed with those who liked that learning style because also working in a group allows more than just one input. If there are multiple students working together you don’t just hear one opinion, you hear many, which can help students bounce ideas off of each other and learn something they might not have if it were lecture style. Not all of the students agreed, some shared with the class that they enjoyed lecture style classrooms. They liked the environment of just being taught to, while taking notes. Not everyone has the same preference and I think as future educators it is something that we all need to learn, and adjust to when we are in charge of twenty or more students. The second article discussed was “Black is Beautiful”. This reading was about embracing the color of black, and creating it to be beautiful. In the reading a story was shared about a teacher and how she taught her class to know that black was beautiful, not just a person’s skin color but also anything that is colored black. For our learning experience we decided to focus on a few main quotes/points made in the reading. The first quote we shared was “A teacher told us that, in our society, the color black symbolizes bad and evil, and white symbolizes good and pure.” This set the storyline for the teacher having to tell her students and allow them to understand that the color of your skin does not matter, because at the end of the day we are all human and that is what matters most. This quote went perfect with the point our group decided to focus on, taking down someone’s sense of life. Someone, especially kids should be taught that it is not okay to put down someone else just to bring yourself up. No matter what skin color, ethnicity, etc. you are, it is not okay. For the class activity based on this topic we chose to put it into the class’s hands in a way. We handed out note cards to everyone and had them write something that was black and beautiful. It could have been a person, object, or anything that is black and beautiful to them. If they were comfortable sharing they did so and we just discussed what they wrote down, and why they did so. With the last reading of “Seeing Ourselves With our Own Eyes” we did a similar activity as the one written above. Though this reading was a bit different than the one before, it talked more on how we view ourselves and others around us. Our group focused more on the “can do’s” rather than the “can’t do’s” which is opposite of what our education system focuses on. The activity we chose to do for this reading in order to get the class involved was to use the same note card handed out earlier, and use that to describe how they see themselves in a few words. We emphasized to try and NOT to write how they believe others see them, but how they truly see themselves. This activity was a success and it was really heartwarming to see the class not only have positive things to say about themselves, but as well as others around them. They turned the captivity to be a “compliment session” and went around the room sharing what they admire about their peers around them. It was a great, and heartwarming experience to watch and be a part of.
We designed our learning experience using google slides (ED-100 Presentation2/8) which was successful because everyone was able to work separately, but still see the final product and add touch ups to everything. I personally think I contributed a lot to not only the design of experience, but as well as getting the group together and pulling it off in the end.
My name is Sarah May (she/her). I am from Buffalo, New York and I plan to teach elementary students. I am a very outgoing person and I am not afraid to try new things. I have been involved in sports my entire life and was a competitive dancer for 12 years. This semester I plan to use all the skills I have gained from last semester as well as throughout my life and use them to not only succeed in this class, but all of my other courses as well. An inspiring book I read was called Taking Flight by Michalea DePrince. It was a non-fiction book about this young girl in an orphanage who loved dance so much it hurt. She was adopted by a lovely family and grew up to be an amazing ballerina and has inspired young girls all over the world. A reference that stood out to me was “I appreciate everything my mom has done for me, but I didn’t realize she spent hundreds of hours driving me to dance classes and trying to find the perfect pointe shoes for me even though I kept growing. She did a lot for me and my sisters, and that was every single day.” It made me realize how good I have it, and that I am blessed to have a loving family and be able to do activities that some little kids might not get the chance to. My learning style is what I like to call “hands on” in order for me to thrive in a classroom is helps to have examples and be able to practice something my self, rather than just being lectured to with nothing but words on a screen. A favorite memory as a student was back in elementary when my 1st grade teacher got up on a desk and started walking on it. Though I do not remember why she was doing that, the memory has stuck in my head since the day it happened. My old elementary school is where some of my best friends and memories were made. I still go back and visit because they are all apart of my family now and played a huge role in why I wanted to get into education from the start.