Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cooperative learning

this is a paper that i had to write for my science methods class about cooperative learning

Brenna Wade
Science Methods
Question #4

Discuss what you believe to be the pros and cons of cooperative grouping based on your own experiences and those from the articles.

Before I read the article I wrote a list of the pros and cons of cooperative grouping in my opinion and from my own experiences. I think that everybody will have different feelings about the subject since everybody has their own learning preferences. In my case I found that I had just about the same number of pros and cons which I didn’t think would be the case since I rather enjoy working in groups.
I found three main points as to why I like working in groups. I think that it gives you a chance to meet people that you might not have known otherwise, especially when you are randomly assigned the group from the teacher. Group work also usually entails doing some kind of creative project which is always an exciting change from the book work that we are used to. When you are in a group you also get to show what your talents are, for example, one person might want to be the writer, one the drawer, one maybe the person who interviews and so on.
I also found that I had three main points as to why I dislike working in groups. I have found that when you work in groups it is hard to depend on all of the other members to be on time or to do their part and so on. I am the kind of person that usually does my part ahead of time because I hate the thought of putting it off until the last minute and then stressing out about it and for this reason I find it easier to work on my own. I also don’t like getting one grade for the whole group because sometimes I think that some people in the group do more than others. Lastly, it is hard to mediate between the group sometimes because everybody wants to do it their way and there is no “higher authority” like the teacher to tell the group what to do since the main point of it is to work together.
In reading the articles I found them extremely interesting because I didn’t really realize that teachers were so aware of the problems that can be encountered in group work. I think that my experiences in group work go back to the latter years in school and I don’t really remember what it was like in elementary school. The articles did pose good solutions to problems that would be seen with younger kids. I especially liked the placement strategy, I thought that it was also randomly assigned but now I don’t think it is. I agree with the articles that cooperative learning is “a tool that enhances the very idea of relevancy and real life learning” and that it works more towards constructivism as we learned about last class. A balance between cooperative and individual learning is the best bet, in my opinion, and allows you to develop both social skills and deductive reasoning on your own.

Monday, February 27, 2006

style summar lesson two

Lesson Two in Style is about correctness. It was basically about the use of different words in different situations and whether they were correct or not. It gave grammatical rules like not starting a sentence with the word and, but the rules were also rather debatable. It was giving a premis for writers to follow but stray from if they felt compelled to do so. It gives the writer the choice to do as they please but asks them to use their best judgement. It tells how grammar changes throughout history and it talked about three kinds of grammer rules in depth; “real rules”, “rules of standard english”, and “folklore”. Joseph Williams developed the concept of “real rules” and said that they should be followed but that the writer should also put a twist on it to make it their own. “Rules of standard english” make sure that standard English dialect is used while writing and “folklore” is one of two invented rules. These two invented rules are “folklore” which are the rules that aren’t really noticed when they are ignored, and then “elegant options” which are formal rules to the paper. Random “hobgoblins” are also talked about which are irregularities in correctness.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


1. Aslam, Abid. “New Bankruptcy Law Could Sink Katrina Survivors-Lawmakers, Rights Groups.” Common Dreams News Center 15 Sept. 2005. 23 Feb. 2006 http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0915-02.htm

All about how New Orleans residents should be able to file bankruptcy because they have sustained losses that would allow them to have a bankruptcy and lose some of the debt that they are having. However, there is a new law that Bush passed in April saying that the rules for bankruptcy are different and a bill was recently passed to allow the victims of Katrina to have another year without this new law so that they could perhaps get their lives back on track a little faster and Bush is considering allowing it.

2. Azulay, Jessica. “Some Neighborhoods Rebuild, But Part of Lower Ninth Remains Off Limits.” The New Standard 17 Oct. 2005. 23 Feb. 2006 <http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/2491>

This gives the residents perspectives and how they are frustrated to come back and be blocked out from their neighborhoods. They feel like they are constantly being pushed out of their city. It gives different accounts of residents who live in New Orleans and feel as though they are being pushed away from their homes. It told how many residents thought the levees were intentionally destroyed in order to divert flood waters from the richer areas as they did in the twenties with Hurricane Camille. They also commented on the media’s false portrayal of the city immediately afterwards.

3. Boehm, Scott. “Bulldozing the Dead in New Orleans.” Common Dreams News Center 6 Jan. 2006. 23 Feb. 2006 http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0106-21.htm

This article tells a sad account of someone who saw her son die in the rising waters and talks about the historic black roots that the Lower Ninth Ward has. It tells that many black families bought their first homes in the area and the fact that everyone is displaced around the country is a big problem when the issue of destroying homes comes to play because many do not know the story and what is going on. The big question is how the city can be so slow in responding to the residents and getting them help but so fast to want to start bulldozing the place. It also gives speculation as to why this is so. It gives community sentiment of “there can be no justice in the rebuilding process unless the residents and homeowners can fully participate.” All about how in order or the city to rebuild the local people must lead the way in doing so.

4. Chen, Michelle. “New Orleans Homeowners Fight to Save Homes from Bulldozers.” The New Standard 6 Jan. 2006. 23 Feb. 2006 http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/2731

This is about the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and advocates supporting them and how they are persisting in opposing city halls plans to demolish and clear out thousands of devastated houses in the neighborhood. To the residents the government is trying to create a whiter New Orelans by shutting out all of the blacks which are predominately the lower income minority communities. The city says that the area is unsalvageable and it must be demolished for safetly reason but the Constitution clearly states that property cannot be taken away without due process of the law and their homes clearly fit into this category. It also brings in ACORN which is an activist group for the community and gives accounts of personal stories of people who do not want to leave their neighorbood despite all of the trouble that is coming along with it.

5. Cotton, Deborah. “From the Ground Up: Attorneys Advise Residents Regarding ‘Bulldozing Campaign’ in the Lower Ninth Ward.” Katrina Help Center Feb.2006. 23 Feb. 2006. http://www.thebeehive.org/Templates/HurricaneKatrina/Level3NoFrills.aspx?PageId=1.5369.6532.6887

This articles talks about the meeting held on February 4th about the “bulldozing campaign” to destroy the heavily damaged properties in the city. The homeowners won the case about having to be told beforehand when the city wanted to bulldoze. It tells about the problem in the Lower Ninth Ward being that many owners aren’t back yet to have seen the damage to their properties or to know about the campaign that is going on. It gives numbers on how many houses are in the right of way, on the sidewalks, and unstable. It is an article that puts the homeowners first and talks about the Lower Ninth Ward Homeownership Association and upcoming meetings that are going to be held.

6. Cotton, Deborah. “Faces: Sydna Peterson: The Storm Made My Life Better.” Katrina Help Center Feb. 2006. 23 Feb. 2006. http://www.thebeehive.org/Templates/HurricaneKatrina/Level3NoFrills.aspx?PageId=1.5369.6532.6886

Gives an account of a woman whose home was devastated but how it changed her life in a positive way. It is an example of how those who live in New Orleans have such positive outlooks on life and Sydna, for example, turned the home that she is now living in, which was one of her friends houses that used to be rent out to tourists, into a place for her church to meet and set up ways to rebuild and restore New Orleans.

7. Dixon, Emma. “New Orleans’ Racial Divide: An Unnatural Disaster.” Common Dreams News Center 16 Nov. 2005. 23 Feb. 2006 www.commondreams.org/views05/1116-34.htm

This article tells the demographics of the areas heavily flooded. It gives a history of the racial divide in the area and how this entire situation has been with racist pretenses and gives specific examples of different racist accounts like hotels not offering rooms to black people and black people being turned away at the Gretna Bridge. It states that Katrina has shown “a racial wealth divide in New Orleans” and that even if we rebuild the city, we need to rebuild society to rid it of this divide in the future.

8. Klein, Naomi. “Purging the Poor.” Common Dreams News Center 23 Sept. 2005. 23 Feb. 2006 http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0923-24.htm

Talks about demographic shift being so intense that many see it as “ethnic cleansing”. This is not because of any kind of conspiracy through the government, however, but due to the whole geography of the region and that many of the more wealthy oftentimes white people living in higher areas. An important quote is that “the neighborhoods were dysfunctional to begin with and that rather than rebuilding ghettos, New Orleans should be resettled with mixed income housing, with rich and poor, black and white, living side by side.” It tells who could move back to the area under this plan and what it would entail.

9. “Rebuilding New Orleans: The Struggle Continues.” Democracy Now 13 Jan. 2006. 23 Feb. 2006 http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/13/152250

This article discusses the rage of residents that were told they have four months to a year to prove that their neighborhoods shouldn’t be bulldozed. Each neighborhood must submit a recovery plan and if they cannot do that or do not attract enough development they will be gone. There is also a transcript about those living in hotels being evacuated because tourists have booked the rooms for Mardi Gras at the end of the month. There are 15,000 displaced staying in New Orleans. The plans that are underway are restricting the homeowners futures and it also talks about the issues that are happening with the FEMA trailers. Another big issue stated is how the mayor is pleading for everyone to return home yet when they do return, there is no place for them to stay, which is really not fair to the people who have come back because they did not know what to expect in coming and trusted the mayor.

10. United States. The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned: GPO, 2006.

The official document made by the Bush administration and the government concerning the events that took place with hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It tells of what was expected of the storm in the days before it hit as well as what exactly went wrong, what went right, and plans for the future in case this situation ever arises again.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Today I woke up pretty late, around threeish and I went upstairs to wake up Missy so that we could have our usual morning gossip session. After all the stories were heard we got to talking about the dreams we had last night. It seems that every night I go to bed I have extremely vivid dreams the next morning that always seem so true. I want to start a dream notebook or something so that I can keep track of them or something but am of course too lazy to do such a thing. But anyways, this is what I wanted to blog about today. When we go to sleep are our minds really at rest? It doesn’t seem that way at all; not when you can go to bed after being up for hours on end and then have a dream that totally recaps your day and night. This dream, however, includes different people and different endings that can either be exciting or really terrible and can you into trouble when the gossip session comes the next day since you really don’t know what was a dream and what wasn’t. If our minds are that busy at night then what is even the point of sleeping? When I woke up today at three, I felt as if I had been up all night and I got a good 9 hours of sleep. How do we know that when we are sleeping and dreaming we aren’t actually living and that when we are living it isn’t really a dream? I know that this probably doesn’t make a bit of sense but it is something that I have been thinking about quite often recently since I have been having such long and realistic dreams.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I was thinking about communities today after looking at my posts of the different communities I thought that I wanted to write about. Igot to thinking about the Randolph-Macon community and what it consists of and then I started to see how very predictable our community is. I mean if you think about it the daily life of a Randolph-Maconer is to go to class from Monday - Friday, study Monday - Wednesday, go to Break Time on Thursday and then go to his or her chosen favorite fraternity house on Friday and Saturday or a few other randomly placed houses. I never really realized that communities were quite as defined as they are. Everyone knows you are from Randolph-Macon if you go to sheetz late nate to get a shmizcuit and VA BBQ is quite fond of the few of us who go in their for studying or for hushppuppies. El Azteca visits are also interesting and it is always funny to see that if you are eating with a guy they will let you sit off to the side but if you are with a group of girls you get a table right in the middle of the rerstaurant and many stares and conversations with the people who work there from things about drugs to boyfriends and even pictures come to play. This brings me to Champ, in my opinion he should be Randolph-Macon's mascot. Never have I met someone who loves his job as much as Champ does and he is always there to give you that bag of chips and hear stoies about what you going to do that weekend, or if its Sunday, what embarrassing things that you have unfortubnately done. You can count on Estes to dissapoint you every time you open those heavy doors and for Macon Coffee to bust out into a dance paty because the music is never ever at a reasonable level, or station for that matter. But I guess it is these little things that are what make a community and nobody really notices them unless they are a part of it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Community change

You are trying to develop a thorough understanding of YOUR CHOSEN COMMUNITY.Use your research to help you answer the following questions.

1. Community – the New Orleans community

2. My role – Having spent j-term gutting houses my role was helping families get their lives a little bit back in order.

3. Geography – New Orleans, Louisiana. I will be focusing on the neighborhoods in low lying areas like New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward

4. Age – The families involved are of all ages.

5. Interests – The New Orleans community is interested in figuring out ways to rebuild their city.

6. Ethnicity – The people that live in these neighborhoods are of all races but primarily are african american which is a big issue in the news of whether in not rebuilding the neighborhoods the government is trying to get rid of some of the culture that is there and some even call it “ethnic cleansing”

7. How did it come into being? – A breif overview is that immigrants came and settled in the area because it was very cheap land that they could cultivate. A system of levees and canals were built around the area totally seperating it which led to why there is such heavy culture in the area, it never spread out or faded away. It is home to many jazz artists and to Mardi Gras. The people that live in this community are very close and many live there because it is so cheap for them. There are others, however, that choose to live there because they couldn’t imagine anywhere else being home.

8. How did you gain membership to this community? Can anyone join? – I gained membership through volunteering to help with Katrina relief during J-term. After actually meeting and talking with the homeowners and hearing their stories really made me feel as though I was part of the community after a few days. We hope to stay in touch with the people that we met and I plan to help the community for many years to come.

9. What characteristics of patterns of sameness characterize community members? – Most of them are african american, I would say lower to middle classes. The majority has very high spirits considering what they have gone through and consider themselves blessed because they were alive.

10. What tensions/controversies/ areas of disagreement exist within the community? How are these represented to the public or outsiders? – There are many controversies in the New Olreans community at the present moment but I will be focusing on whether or not the lower lying areas of New Orleans should be rebuilt. There is one side saying that it is a waste of money to rebuild because if they did, it would not support a hurricane stronger than a category 3 and therefore we would just be asking for another tragedy like this to occur again. The other side is that of those who want to rebuild. This side wants to move back into their neighborhoods despite any possible problems in the future. New Orleans is their home and they don’t want to live anywhere else.

11. How might definitions of this community differ if they were told by insiders and outsiders respectively? – I think that the definition of the community would vary greatly if told by both insiders and outsiders. New Olreans to those that live there is a place of much culture and strong ties. It is a place where everyone helps one another. Gumbo and king cake are served at Thanksgiving and jazz played on Christmas. They say “where ya at” when walking down the street and when its someones 12th birthday for example they are “making 12”. The area is completed seperated from the rest of the state and the people are as well, and they wouldn’t want it any other way. To an outsider, the community could be seen as totally different. I had a totally different image of what it was going to be like and what the people were going to be like. Many people think that the people that live there are just poor and even lazy which is why they didn’t have the means to leave or why they live in these neighborhoods that aren’t the best looking, but they fail to realize that these people want to live there and they love it. Many of them are teachers, police officers, and other blue collar workers. Outsiders to the community I think see New Orleans only for Mardi Gras and miss out on the great culture it holds.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My communities paper so far

Here are the answers to those questions that you posted about our community controversies. I have already found about 15 sources on my subject but have only done the annotated bibliography for about 6, and even on those the summaries are not complete and I put the page numbers up for my benefit when I have to look back at the information, it is more just notes to help me but I wanted to send it to you, I am also going to post it on my blog.

You are trying to develop a thorough understanding of YOUR CHOSEN COMMUNITY.Use your research to help you answer the following questions.

1. Community – Education community

2. My role – other than being a student for 15 years, I play a role because I want to become a teacher when I graduate from college and currently observe at the local elementary school.

3. Geography – I will be focusing on the bilingual education of Latino Americans in the United States

4. Age – I’m not sure but I would assume that the children covered would be from 5-21 because that is who is covered under IDEA for special education services.

5. Interests – Bilingual education aims to use the student’s dominant language along with English so that they will eventually be fluent in both. However, oftentimes once a child prospers in English they will mainstream them which leave the students with a lack in their native languages.

6. Ethnicity – I will be focusing on Latino Americans but bilingual education effects many different races and has since immigration began in the 1600’s

7. How did it come into being? – The history of Hispanic Americans and other immigrants having difficulties learning in school and being rejected their native language and taught only in English has been occurring since the beginning of the education system itself. Bilingual education existed in the United States since the 1600’s when German speaking Americans opened schools providing instruction in German and English. The constitution itself believed that democracy should leave language choices to the individual. There was a rebirth of bilingual education in the early 1960’s as the first Cuban immigrants arrived in Miami, and Miami schools provided bilingual education. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 decided that placing language-minority students in “sink or swim” classrooms violated the students’ equal rights. Other laws have come in effect but the battle still continues.

8. How did you gain membership to this community? Can anyone join? – I gained membership through being a student as I said and through the fact that I am in schooling to become a teacher. Anyone can be a part of the group including students, teachers, parents, and even involved members of the community.

9. What characteristics of patterns of sameness characterize community members? – I think everyone in the community has a love for children and wants to see every one of them succeed. Of course there are going to be different view points on many aspects of the education system which is why there are so many controversies present.

10. What tensions/controversies/ areas of disagreement exist within the community? How are these represented to the public or outsiders? – There are many controversies that exist in the education community including issues with funding and the NCLB Act, issues of inclusion and what is the best way to carry out the special education program, as well as with bilingualism which I will be focusing on. Many students, especially those who are Hispanic Americans, are being lost between learning English and learning Spanish. Parents of these children are taking the issue as a violation of their children’s equal rights, a similar debate as the African Americans had in the civil rights movement when they wanted the schools to become desegregated. On the other hand, there is a group of people who feel that bilingual education is taking away from the common language of America, English, and think these children should be mainstreamed so that they can become a part of their new culture. This is represented to the public and outsiders quite frequently but only if they are actually looking for the information. It is a subject that many books and articles have written about and is discussed frequently among parents and anyone who feels as though it is an important subject in the education system.

11. How might definitions of this community differ if they were told by insiders and outsiders respectively? – I think that the definition of the education community when told by an insider would be much more in depth, and raise more issues than if told by an outsider. An outsider might say that it is everything to do with schools or that it is how we become education, but an insider would be more focused on the making the students reach their highest potential and that everyone has an equal chance at doing so. The bilingual debate to an insider is probably a very controversial subject and would come with heated debate whereas to an outsider would be something probably passed over or their decision would be based on a quick feeling without any real basis for it. ‘

Annotated Bibliography
(Not yet completed)

1. Bierlein, Louann A. Controversial Issues in Education Policy. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications,1993. (Pgs 127-134)

This book tells when bilingual education was a debate in Congress. It gives a definition as well as a brief overview on submersion and how it violates the law. It tells how bilingual education is sometimes viewed as a handicapped and students are misplaced into special classes that they do not need. It explains how the educators themselves are becoming frustrated. It gives a history of bilingual education including it’s rebirth. It incorporates acts like the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Opportunities Act. Lastly, it discusses the English only movement that is wanted by those who are against the parents who want to keep their children fluent in both languages.

2. Ferdman, Bernardo M. Literacy Across Languages and Cultures. Albany, NY: University of New York Press, 1994. (Pgs 7, 18, 123, 174, 318, 326)

Talks about how bilingual education is controversial, especially in those cases where programs incorporate maintenance of the native language while teaching English. It says that it is “mistakenly thought to be ineffective” therefore showing that it is for the debate on bilingual education. It talks about how research on the gap has addressed the question of bilingual education and different programs that it has put into effect to help change it. It also tells of accounts such as Moll & Diez who found strong reading skills in Spanish could be drawn on to improve reading in English by fourth grade. They say that the later the child starts the second language the better they should adjust and the faster they catch up because they “have more knowledge to serve as context and more skills to transfer”. There are accounts of actual bilingual classrooms and a section on the opposition of bilingual education as shown in the media as well as businesses and educational communities.

3. Friend, Marilyn. Special Education: Contemporary Perspectives for School Professionals. Boston: Pearson Education Inc., 2006. (Pg 106)

This is a textbook that gives a definition of bilingual education as well as different approaches on how it is incorporated into the classroom. It discusses English as a second language and sheltered English as well as English language learners with disabilities.

4. Hasci, Timothy A. Children as Pawns. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2002. (Pgs 62-70, 72-73, 77, 80)

This book talks about whether or not bilingual education is a good idea and whether it actually works. It gives the basic outline of what bilingual education is and tells that most students are taught most of their subjects at least partly in Spanish and they take ESL classes. It speaks of the bilingual debate reffered to as the Tower of Babel which is an interesting relation. People on both sides feel so strongly about a certain side that they do not even listen to what others have to say, which is one of the main reasons as to why the issue has yet to be resolved. It tells how it is the central issue for Latino rights and tells how it is fully as important to them as integration was for African Americans and why they feel that way. It talks about submersion programs and how they are the most common form of bilingual education but they are not good at all. It also shows how this situation relates back to the Native Americans. An interesting fact is that it tells how states made it a criminal act for teachers to speak spanish to their students many years back and gives the roots of bilingual education as well. It gives a specific case in New Mexico of submersion and how it became against the law. There are recollections of adults giving past accounts of their school days in bilingual education. Eligibility and statistics are also given.

5. Miramontes, Ofelia B. Restructuring Schools for Linguistic Diversity. New York: Teacher’s College Press, 1997. (Pgs. 8, 11, 14-35, 58-59, 78-79, 104-105, 124-125, 139-141, 241-246 )

It gives the advocacy of and assumptions about bilingual education. It also tells of the Concept Development Stategy on how to make the system more effective. It tells of how English is overemphasized and gives a specific case study as well as different model programs. Lastly, it tells about those bilingual students who also have special needs.

6. Porter, Rosalie P. Forked Tongue. New York: Basic Book Inc, 1990. (The entire book)

This includes an intro to the bilingual controversy, first hand experiences in education language minorities and a history or bilingual education. It also provides was to make decisions in the future.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

From, “Using Universal Design to Unlock the Potential for Academic Acheivement of At-risk Learners” by Acrey, Johnstone, and Milligan

Brenna Wade
February 21, 2006
Educ 233

From, “Using Universal Design to Unlock the Potential for Academic Acheivement of At-risk Learners” by Acrey, Johnstone, and Milligan

In reading the article on Universal Design I found it to be very interesting and learned a few things that I had never even knew about the subject. The teacher’s perspective on her class, full of primarily at-risk students, was very uplifting with the way that she said they were “growing up in a centuries-old culture” that many kids are not a part of. The fact that they were considered at-risk was due to circumstances that many of them did not have any control over.
The teacher knew that her students had the capacity to learn and with the incorporation of Universal Design they could achieve it. She said that the students did better on standardized tests when universal design was incorporated, including those students who had exceptionalities because the law states that they have to be given greater access to material that will help them. The way that this particular school in New Mexico tries to incorporate the design is by the use of study guides and classroom assessments by making it simpler, more flexible, and user friendly. They also collaborated with a professor on graphic design to make their handouts read in a way that the students could understand better.
Implementing the use of Universal Design had a very positive effect for all involved. The article states that “all 51 of the schools teachers participated an incorporated at least some type of changes in their study guides” and although the program was only in affect for a few months, there was definite positive correlations. These positive changes were not only in the child’s grades, but in their behaviors as well. The school plans on continuing their practices of Universal Design “to ensure increased access and success for all students.”
Universal Design is something that I hope to incorporate into my curriculum when I am a future teacher. I think that the whole idea has proven to be effective. Although it takes a lot more work on the teacher’s part, the positive results of the students’ progress far outweigh the efforts. The aim of all teachers is to see their students reach their highest potential and if something as easy as incorporating Universal Design can make that happen, I don’t see why every teacher isn’t already doing it. I am glad that we were given this article and these tips as well as success stories of its use.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Summary and reflection of Feb. 2006 Science and Children

My blog today is a summary and reflection of the February 2006 issue of Science and Children that I had to write for my science methods class.

Brenna Wade
February 20, 2006
Journal Review

I chose to read the February, 2006 edition of Science and Children. The magazine this month was all about mixing and matter. It contained a range of activities for children. There was an article, “Fun with Phase Changes”, that showed the basics of phase changing through role play, diagrams, and an investigation rubric. There were two articles on acids and bases; one showed how to incorporate safety into the lesson and the other was how to make homemade acid-base indicators from household items. Using modeling clay to help students understand properties was a very interesting article as well. Since most play dough is a suspension, it can become each stage of matter. Kids like to present their clay recipe to the class for homework because it is more fun than the typical textbook assignment. There was another engaging article called “Science S.O.S.” about a district in Ohio that changed their curriculum to that of a higher quality one, something that more districts need to do. The magazine also gave teacher resources which included a few trade books that should be introduced to the classroom, including I Took a Walk by Henry Cole and Secret Place by Ted Rand. There is a recipe for how to make slime as a way to encourage young chemists in the classroom, as well as an experiment with dissolving salt to find different solubility rates. It also gives a list of “NSTA recommends” with a pretty extensive list of reviews of different readers for the classroom and the grades that they would best work for, as well as a list of helpful websites that have been found. Lastly, there is a section for the Editor’s note, advertiser’s index, and a science calendar for the month of February.

Brenna Wade
February 20, 2006
Journal Review

After reading the February 2006 edition of Science and Children I found that I really enjoyed it. I didn’t realize that there were magazines like this that helped teachers find new and exciting ways to teach science to the class and I hope that there are more magazines like this for all subjects. I liked how the magazine not only offered activities for the students, but also references for teachers like the lists of books and helpful websites.
I think that the articles were pretty easy to understand, other than the use of a few acronyms. Because the magazine flowed as nicely as it did I think that it was highly successful at more teachers incorporating the ideas into their own lessons. It chose things that all teachers have around them like cabbage for an acid-base indicator, and different kinds of salt for a solubility test. All of the articles were extremely useful and I am glad to know that there are magazines like this that will help me when I need to incorporate safety into the minds of the students at a young age (as it did with the article on including safety procedures in the third grade with the acid-base lesson).
I think that I would use this magazine quite frequently in my teaching in the future. I believe it gave a range of articles on many subjects in the science field, which allows you the convenience of not having to jump through many magazines to find the ideas it presents. From what I have seen in Science and Children so far, I would definitely subscribe to the magazine. I looked through a few others as well and I believe that the magazine focuses on topics useful to all science teachers and does so creatively.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Controversy with bilingual education

J/ Choose the "controversy" you will be working with all semester. Write a one page, in-depth, detailed description of your controversy AND describe the characteristics of the community that you are examining your controversy as part of. This should be a community to which you belong.

One community that I belong to is the teaching community. In order to be a part of this community one must go through at least four years of schooling and often times continue beyond this to recieve their masters or PhD in the area that they would like to specialize in. Besides schooling, one must also have a lot of patience, organization, and they must genuinely love their jobs and all of the children that they are helping. In many cases a child's teacher is their only role model and this is something that every teacher should have in the back of their minds. I think the house, when placed on "me street" would be a little red school house but when you entered it, it would be immaculate and children from all over would be allowed to come for free and be taught by all the teachers that are a part of the house and community.
In the teaching community there are many controversies. A few of them are the inadequate funding of the No Child Left Behing Act, leaving the schools unable to meet the standards needed, the struggle with special education programs and inclusion, and the controversy that I will be discussing, concerning bilingual education. The controversy with bilingual education is whether it is helping or hurting the children involved. The biggest problem is that the rules for who is allowed and isn't allowed in the program are not clear. Also, parents choices are not being respected when it comes to their children being put in the programs. The children are often left confused between two languages and many do not master either of them.
On the other hand, there are people who say that bilingual education is a life saver. They say that it takes a child away from an environment where they feel frustrated at trying to learn an entirely new langauge and lets them learn slowly. The people who defend bilingual education, however, are often people who have gotten very lucky with the system and were given experienced teachers and finely run programs. Bilingual education can help many students, it just has to be executed properly. In order for these programs to be effective, then, the teachers must be well trained and qualified and this is often hard to find which leads to more controversy within the area. Teachers may soon have to learn another language, primarily Spanish, in order to keep up with the standards that are being set.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Summary of "First Year"

The following is a summary of the movie First Year that we had to watch in class. I think it is a good movie for anyone who wants to be a teacher when they leave college.

Watching the movie First Year allowed me to see how children in different socioeconomic classes behave at school and just how difficult and passionate teachers are about their jobs. Since the teachers in the movie taught at public schools in California, an extremely diverse place, it showed how and why children grow as they do.
The movie focused on about six different teachers all of which teach in different grades or schools. It was apparent that teaching was something these teachers loved to do and they were very determined. They each had one student that they had trouble with more than the others and the movie focused on how the teacher reached out and made that student strive.
One kindergarten child, for example, had a speech problem. The teacher thought this would be something easy to address but the school as well as his mother did not seem to be concerned, showing that his problem was not going to get any better due to his environment. If he would have been of a higher socioeconomic status, his problem would probably have been addressed much sooner. A child in a few grades above this boy had an extreme behavior problem that the teacher wanted to get to the root of. In doing so, however, he found that the child lived with ten other children, his dad had no job, and his mother had been killed, and his two brothers were in gangs. The teacher did what he could to try and befriend the boy and become someone he could trust, but due to measures beyond the boys concern, his life was going to stay the way it was.
A high school teacher had problems with a boy who said offensive things about gay people. She solved this problem by not only making him write a paper about why what he said was wrong, but by making the entire class watch a documentary about gay high schoolers going to prom. She asked the class why the movie would make them uncomfortable and a few students gave the answer of how it is uncomfortable simply because it is still uncommon. She showed the students how everyone is different, and although that boy may have been raised in a home that discouraged same sex relationships, that the entire world was not with him in his views.
The last teacher that stood out to me was the bilingual teacher. She had just been told that the school might cut out the classes designed to teach English extensively to those who did not know it as a first language. She explained to her students what was going on and they showed much distress about it. She showed the children that they had a say in it and encouraged them to write letters to the school board telling them how much the class was helping them and how they would not prosper without it.
In looking at a classroom in the perspective of the teacher, it is easy to see how different the children in the class really are. Socioeconomic status plays a key role in how children behave and group themselves together. The fact that some students behave the way they do cannot be changed with a note home or a warning because the base of their problems lies at home. Until something can be done to even the playing field economically, there will always be those few students who give first year teachers a hard time but in end a good lesson.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Constructivism and transforming curriculum

I am posting a response to a question we were asked in my Science Methods Class.

Constructivism is "a theory of knowledge used to explain how we know what we know," as the article states. This, to me, seems to be a way of changing the current way of teaching of memorization and repetition and leading toward a more hands on and creative approach. In reading the article on constructivism, I related more to the teacher Bob who taught science in a more traditional, non-creative way. When I am a teacher I do not want to be like that I am just saying that my past science classes seemed to be that way. Although Bob's way of teaching is still considered constructive, to take the next step and allow students the chance to actually participate in the "whys" behind the answers gives a fuller understanding of the lesson. I was reminded of my senior year DC Biology class when reading the article on transforming education. My teacher, Mrs. Wilson, did very well at transforming the curriculum that we were given by spending long periods of time on certain topics. She also had us do many hands on activities like making a cell diagram out of only food (I chose to do a cake) and by showing us that taste is hereditary through the use of little chemical strips. She began the day by reading out of the textbook but after that we only really used it as a reference, as I hope to do in the future as a teacher.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Valentine's Day

I have been reading other people's blogs and have found a few on the idea of Valentines Day and about love and whatnot. I wanted to blog today to show my opinion on the matter since it is very different to what I have seen.
I think that Valentine's Day is a very special holiday; I think that it is really the only day, birthday and such instances as anniversarys aside, that the guy really needs to go all out for their girlfriend. I agree that Valentine's Day is very commercialized and whatnot, but I feel that the main purpose of it is to show how much you care about someone and is a thank you for everything you do for them all year. I think that girls do a lot of sacrificing over the year. We drink beer when we would rather be drinking cosmos, we watch way more football, baseketball, and golf then we would prefer, and we don't throw up when made to look at the pictures of dead bucks that our boyfriends are so proud of. It is the one day that it devoted to hanging out with the one that you love without any of your friends giving you hell about it. I think that it is the one day for people to show how much they care for you and I am not talking about by buying chocolate and flowers, but just by the whole day in itself. If you show that you actually have a romantic side in you and that you appreciate one another, than you can slack off for the rest of the year and we can deal with hours of espn and tiger woods video games.
I think that having Valentine's Day every day would be, not only impossible, but annoying as well, especially at this point in our lives. College is a time when we should be having fun and exploring ourselves at people. All too often I feel that people become part of something that is too serious and with too high of expectations. Relationships should be fun and although cute surprises such as flowers on a random Monday are sweet and the idea is definitely welcomed, I feel that it's okay if they don't. Anyways, I just wanted to share how I think that Valentine's Day shouldn't be about buying those cheesy heart shaped candy boxes and be more about sharing the day in itself, because it's not needed every day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Me Street

J2/ Growing up, you belonged to several communities, but the most obvious one was probably the community that you lived in...your neighborhood. As a young adult, you are moving away from that community and entering others. Help your classmates and me visualize the communities that you belong to as the neighborhood where “You” currently reside. In other words, if “You” were neighborhood, comprised of different houses with residents inside of them which represent the different communities that you consider yourself part of, what would it look like? From the list of communities that you wrote down for Journal 1, choose 4-6 communities and describe them as houses on “You” street. In order to help us truly understand the nature of these communities—their members, their shared beliefs, and the tensions/controversies within them—you may want to begin by freewriting about the following questions (adapted from Thomas Deans):

The first house in my neighborhood would be the house I currently live in at home. This house would be light greyish blue with four brick pillers and a screened in porch and would be located in the Kingsboro neighborhood in Suffolk, VA. The house that I live in is almost a hundred years old and therefore holds a lot of history. The community is not the safest in the world as we live in the downtown section of the city, but I love it just the same. It reminds me of Christmas when I was little and it has the two people that I hold closest to my community, my dad and brother. Although I don't think I want to live in the same area that I grew up in, I always find it refreshing to visit and that feeling of home never goes away.

The second house in my neighborhood would be a beach house because ever since I was born the beach has played a pretty large role in my life. Suffolk is about thirty minutes from the beach and I cannot even count the days that we would drive there after school or work. The beachhouse would consist of my friends and would be a little cottage that you could find in Nags Head. It would be blue and tranquil and the cost of membership would be free to all those who I remember spending days in the water with. None of us really argue about anything, if we get annoyed we simply grab a board and go in the water and let our emotions out. If we feel like fishing, we do it; we love to fish. Most of the days, however, we find ourselves just laying out and enjoying the sun because it is probably the most defined part of the community and all of us that are part of it love the sun and treat it with the most respect.

The third house would be a church and although I am not a girl that goes to church every sunday, I find it comforting to be able to go whenever I feel as though I need to. I think that everyone should be able to come to the church that is on me street. It would be a large brick Christian church as I remember visiting quite frequently when I was young with my friend and her family, as my parents didn't really go to church. I think that having a church is vital among a community, even if people decided not to attend all the time, there should be a place thats open at all hours for all reasons.

The last house on me street would be a Randolph-Macon house. This house would be one that alumni and current students of RMC could attend. The walls would be full of pictures and other mementos from the years that I attended the college and there would be a library and other such resource rooms to help those that would currently be attending the college. Randolph Macon has a very close community being as it is so small, and although that can sometimes be a very annoying one of it's qualities, it also helps in some ways too. The people that I have met and even some of the professors, have been people that I am not likely to forget.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


J1/ In “Community, Commitment, and Individuality,” Bellah et al argue that community involvement leads to and fosters civic individualism/civic engagement. Think about the example of Angelo Donatello, who found that embracing his individual heritage as an Italian-American compelled him to join not only a local chapter of the Sons of Italy but also inspired him to become a civic leader in Boston. Think also about Cecilia Dougherty, whose sense of civic engagement—her desire to help the “have nots have power that reflects their numbers” (pg. 84)—extends from her awareness of her private life, i.e. the values instilled in her by her parents as well as her struggles as a widowed housewife with four children. Make a comprehensive list of the many communities—large/small, formal/informal, serious/silly—that you consider yourself a part of. For each community, reflect on what has led you to participate in these communities. Did you join a particular community because it reflected the values you were raised with (such as a religious youth group or)? The values/interests you are beginning to embrace on your own (such as a “simple living” club or a “literary society”)? The values/interests of your peers (such as a ‘greek’ organization or a “Maroon 5” fan club)? To what degree is your membership in these communities an extension of private and/or social aspects of your personality? Please explain.

The biggest community that I am a part of is that I am an American. Although I am an American by birth, and didn't get to choose it, there is not place else that I would rather live in. I think that I am pretty active in being an American. I vote and I keep up with the news but I think it takes more than that to be an American. I think of America as a place of independence and freedom, I am using that because I am going to college so that I can be whoever I want to be when i grow up. I think that too many people take our liberties for granted. America is a place that comes together when something bad happens in any area of it as seen with hurricane Katrina and The World Trade Center. I also show my American quality in that I love to spend money and I like that you can have whatever you want really here because the country itself was built on the whole idea. Although being an American shaped aspects of my personal life like my beleid ststem, political preferences, and overall values, it also affects my social life in that I grew up with baseball games, barbecues, girl scout cookies, and high school proms.

The next biggest community that I belong to is my hometown community of Suffolk. When I think about the community that is the closest to my heart this is the community that comes to mind. It is broad and includes my neighborhood, the Kingsboro Community, my high school, the Nansemond River High School community, and various other communities that I can recall spending most of my childhood days. I moved to Suffolk when I was two so I didn't really have a choice in the matter. My dad was stationed in Norfolk in the navy so Suffolk was just far enough away and was really not developed at all. They loved it and instilled their this in me as well by going to annual Peanut fests and getting involved in things like 4h, softball, and other groups. I think I am pretty active in the community or was moreso before I came to college. I think it has shaped personal aspects of my life as it was not the most cultured of places. It is a very large city and holds a variety of people. This is the community that has allowed me to develop the most socially because it holds all of my closest friends as well as all the groups and teams I have been a part of growing up.

The community that I am currently the most active in is the Randolph-Macon community, the class of 2008. I chose to enter this community because I wanted to go to a small college that was not too far away from home. I saw that it had a good teaching program and since I want to be a teacher that also led to my decision. I chose this because of values that I had on my own, I only knew one other girl that was coming and neither one of my parents had even went to college. I think I am pretty active in the Randolph-Macon community; I think I am a part of a few sub communities including being an english major, living in Conrad, and being an Education minor. Socially I am pretty active in that I have a good number of friends and love to go out.

A community that I am trying to become a part of is the Teaching Community. Currently I am going to college to become a teacher, either kindergarden or that for special education in the gifted and talented department. Being a teacher is a decision that I made on my own and have wanted to do since I was a young girl despite the many people telling me that I should do something that would make more money. Although I am a big fan of shopping and love money, I think that what teachers do is amazing and I cannot wait to be a part of shaping children's lives. For some kids the only role model they have is their teacher and I think that this community is one that shapes my personal life more than my social life. Currently I am pretty active in that I am taking two classes to prepare for being a teacher and am about to start observing two classroom settings.

Another community that I consider myself part of is that of the Republican Party. I chose to be part of this community on my own; my parents wouldn't tell me what side they were on until I was old enough to choose it for myself. I consider myself more of a moderate rebublican but agree with more traditional, conservative aspects. I think I am pretty active in this community; I try to stay up to date politically and feel that it is a community that affects both my private and social life.

The last community that I am going to talk about is facebook. I think this is a community that although you are not forced into, you pretty much just have to jump the bandwagon since it seems it is something that seriously everybody has. I guess that I joined mostely because of my peers, it's a way to keep up to date with all of your friends at once. I am pretty active in it, at first it was a little addicting. It is definitely the community that reflects my social aspects the most.

Monday, February 13, 2006

from Gulliver's Travels

I am reading and analyzing Gulliver’s Travels in my other English class and am going to blog the rough draft to a paragraph that I found interesting.

The following is the paragraph that I will discuss:

“My master gave public notice that he would show me again the next market day, and in the meantime he prepared a more convenient vehicle for me, which he had reason enough to do; for I was so tired with my first journey, and with entertaining company for eight hours together, that I could hardly stand upon my legs or speak a word. It was at least three days before I recovered my strength; and that I might have no rest at home, all the neighboring gentlemen from an hundred miles round, hearing of my fame, came to see me at my master’s own house. There could not be fewer than thirty persons with their wives and children (for the country is very populous); and my master demanded the rate of a full room whenever he showed me at home, although it were only to a single family. So that for some time I had but little ease every day of the week (except Wednesday, which is their Sabbath) although I were not carried to the town. My master finding how profitable I was like to be, resolved to carry me to the most considerable cities of the kingdom.”

This excerpt occurs after Gulliver has left the port of Lilliput and washed upon the shore of Brobdingnag. He gets taken to a farmer’s house where the role is reversed and rather than being surrounded by a town full of people who are six inches in height, he is surrounded by giants which is a total change for him. The passage above takes place after he learns to communicate with the farmer and his family and after the farmer realizes that he can make money off of Gulliver.
From the very beginning of the passage it is apparent that Gulliver has been stripped his human characteristics and is described more like a slave. He calls the farmer his master and spends his days doing exactly as he says. When the Farmer first saw Gulliver, he referred to him as a field creature. Because of this, it does not surprise me that he would treat him as though he was a mere animal as he does in this passage. The farmer made Gulliver work hours on end until he literally could not stand. I don’t know if Swift was trying to hint at anything in this but it made me think of how people take other people for granted, how child labor exists in the world, and how much we do not realize that sometimes the things we find interesting to watch are really hurting the people who are being forced to do so. Obviously the farmer is not a rich man and he uses Gulliver’s size to make money. This is something that I think relates to many people as much as they do not like to admit it. All too often people are exploited for money because they are different. Gulliver is treated in Brobdingnag as many people are when they are out of place and join the circus or are enslaved because they find themselves in a land where they know no one and really cannot leave.
Gulliver is treated this way the entire time he is in Brobdingnag. When he is sold to the Majesty he is treated a lot better, and given much nicer things, but still is kept in a box on the windowsill that, if hanging, would be nothing more than a bird cage. The passage above is simply the first instance that I really saw him being treated as if he was on the same level as an animal and this is why I decided to write about it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Style Summary: Lesson One

Style Summary: Lesson One

The first thing I am going to say is how Lesson 1: Understandting Style made me realize a few things about writing that I did not know about. I was unaware that as many people have trouble with reading and comprehending as they do.
It takes me a very long time to read and actually understand when I read in textbooks and I don't understand why they don't just write what they mean in half of the words since that is obviously something that can be done. It says in the chapter that many students fact this problem and I would like to learn how to read it in a way that is easier since the writers of textbooks are obviously going to continue with their dense writing style. Another thing that I could relate to was how many people freeze up when they have to write something in a certain amount of time or on a subject that I know little about. I get very nervous in these situations and am excited to see how this book will help me write in the future.
The rest of the first chapter talked about the basics in the aims of writing and how the past has influenced writing today. The goals of the book, as I understood it will be to teach writers how to read their own papers the same way that others will read it. To learn to write in a manner that flows and that keeps a reader captivated.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Argument from the heart

2) Write two shorter essays (3-4 paragraphs each) using only one type of appeal (argument from any one of the following: heart, values, character, reason) for each essay. So, if you write one essay that is "all heart", your second essay might be all reason. Again, you may use logical fallacies if you think that they will help you convince your reader. Identify which appeal you are using in each essay ahead of time (i.e. Essay 1: Argument from the heart) Be sure to identify your audience before you write your essay. (i.e. Audience: Dr. Malesh OR Audience: The Chronicle of Higher Education OR Audience: My Mother to whom I am explaining why I got a "C" in my writing class).

The audience is to our local senator. I am persuading him against the idea of building a Wal-Mart in our town from the heart.

It has been brought to my attention that the city plans on cutting down the trees to build a Wal-Mart for the town. I realize that this build would increase revenue for the city as a whole but at the same time it would pull away from the small town atmosphere we have going here.
I don’t know about you, but every morning on my walk to work at the elementary school down the street I rather enjoy the waves and “hellos” from the business owners setting up on the sidewalk. Our parents and grandparents enjoyed the city just as it is today. Everyone talks to each other as if they are family and all the children are all friends as well. If we bring such a big business into the town we are just asking for our entire city as we know it to change. We would no longer be able to go to Bob’s Bakery to pick up breakfast on our way to work, or to Ching’s Coffee Shop when we need our caffeine fix, or even to the beauty supply store to hear this weeks gossip from Rita, the store owner. The building of the Wal-Mart will just be the first change, pretty soon there will be an influx of fast food chains and cheap motels. We don’t want our town to be like that and I am sure you don’t either.
Included in this letter is a petitition. Almost everyone in the city has signed it, and I think that you should too. Preserve the atmosphere we have been as lucky to have for all these years and let our future generations enjoy it too. Keep Wal-Mart and other big business out. The town is speaking for itself and we want to keep things the way we are.

The following is a letter from a seventeen year old girl to her parents about raising her curfew due to her good character.

I am writing this letter to try and make you see that you should raise my curfew. I have prepared a few arguments that I think will persuade you in changing my curfew from 11:00 pm to 12:00 am. I think that writing them to you will better allow me to get my point across without any interruptions and will give you time to think about the decision.
As you both know I just turned seventeen and have never objected to my curew set a year ago. You also know that I am an "A" student, president of the Key Club, and the best soccer goalie there is in our town. I never come home late without calling to ask you first and have never recieved a speeding ticket or even detention for that matter. I didn't want to argue the point that everyone else's curfews are later than mine but just to let you know, they are. The worst part about the whole thing is that we live at least 20 minutes from all of my friends and I am always the one who has to leave early from things like movies and dances and such. The last thing I wanted to bring up is the fact that when Joe turned 17 his curfew was raised to 1:00 am and I am not even asking for mine to be that late.
I hope I am not asking to much of you, I just feel that I have proven I can be a responsible young adult. If you have any questions then tell me and I hope we can come up with something that makes both of us happier.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Banana Pancakes

Can't you see that it's just rainin'
There ain't no need to go outside

But baby-- you hardly even notice
When I try to show you
this song, It's meant to keep you
From doin' what you're supposed to

Like wakin' up too early
Maybe we could sleep in
I'll make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it's the weekend now

And we could pretend it all the time
Can't you see that it's just rainin'
There ain't no need to go outside

But just maybe, hala ka ukulele
Mama made a baby
I really don't mind the practice
Because you're my little lady

Lady, lady love me
Because I love to lay here lazy

We could close the curtains
Pretend like there's no world outside
And we could pretend that all the time

Can't you see that it's just raining
There ain't no need to go outside
Ain't no need, ain't no need
Rain all day and I don't mind

The telephone singing, ringing, it's too early
Don't pick it up
We don't need to
We got everything we need right here
And everything we need is enough

It's just so easy
When the whole world fits inside of your arms
Do we really need to pay attention to the alarm

Wake up slow, wake up slow


As you may have recognized, these are the lyrics to the song Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson. I woke up this morning and I could tell it was going to be one of those days. One of those days when you wake up and you forgot to take your contacts and your jacket off before you went to bed, go to work and make copies for two hours, you just cant take the sight or smell of Macon Coffee/ Estes so you go to El Az only to get harassed by the entire staff, and to top it off you try to do something good like study at the library and end up missing a meeting with your one teacher that deducts points for missing meetings. Well anyways, after realizing that this day absolutely sucks I get in the car with my roomate Graham take pictures of a few cute places that we had passed and this song came on. I had never really listened to the lyrics before today and I liked them so much that I had to listen to the song twice because it put me in such a better mood. The song makes you realize that everyone has bad days and that rather complaining about them you should just be in your bad mood for a while because you have your friends or whoever to get you out of those moods. I think that all too often we get caught up in things and overcommit ourselves to plans and people and don't give ourselves time to chill out. I think its good just to wake up late on a morning after you've been stressed out. Everyone needs a little time just let the phone ring, eat breakfast for dinner, and just pretend like there is no one in the world but you and the people that make you happy in life.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A journal entry from New Orleans

I decided to revise a section of one of my journal entries over J-term break in New Orleans.

An excerpt from a journal I kept last month in New Orleans…

…Last night I slept pretty well and woke up around 9 am to be surprised that we were in New Orleans already. We drove through Treme and New Orleans East and I felt like we were in a foreign country, like the poorer parts of the Bahamas. You could see the devastation that had occurred and imagine how much worse it probably was a few months ago. There were cars on the sides of the main roads that must just not work due to the storm which made me wonder who they belonged to and if they were in them at the time or if they got moved from their houses in the flood. Before I knew it, we came to the church where we unpacked our belongings and set up our beds. The majority of the class then went on a tour to see the east side but a few of us decided to do a little touring of our own. We went to the graveyard that is beside the church and it was crazy to see how different it was compared to the ones at home. Nobody is put under the ground here due to the flooding I believe.

The passage revised…

…After putting my contacts back in from a surprisingly sound sleep on the bus, I was surprised to look out the window and see that we were in New Orleans already. Everyone on the bus stared out the windows in awe as we were passing through Treme and New Orleans East. I felt like we had been asleep forever and woke up in some kind of third world country, like in the poorer parts of the Bahamas or Mexico. The amount of devastation that we were driving through looked as though it had hit four days ago, not four months ago. The highways were lined with rows of abandoned cars, which made me start to wonder whether there had been people in them trying to escape or if they had simply floated away from their homes. My mind continued to float away until we arrived at the church that we were going to be calling home for the next two weeks. We unpacked our things, set up our beds, and began to make ourselves comfortable. Then, the majority of class went back on the bus to go on a tour of the east side. A few others, including myself, did not want to get back on the bus just yet and decided to go on a little sight seeing of our own. We saw a Mausoleum that was right beside the church so we walked around it for a while and noted how all the tombs were above ground.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

An advertisement in Vogue Magazine

I was reading the February issue of Vogue magazine and came across an advertisement from A Diamond is Forever that stood out to me after reading it. It is a picture of a woman wearing a very bright diamond ring on her right hand and beside it was the following;

“Your left hand dreams of love.
Your right hand makes dreams come true.
Your left hand whispers sweet nothings.
Your right hand tells it like it is.
Your left hand lives happily ever after.
Your right hand lives happily here and now.
Women of the world, raise your right hand.”

Then there are a few pictures of these rings that you could buy to wear on your right hand. At the first glance I thought this was a kind of cute advertisement; I mean after all I am all for having a reason to get another piece of jewelry. After I read it a few times, however, it made me think that this ad was a very big argument, as we had been discussing in class. Although the ad gives little statements on the benefits of having a ring on both hands, the last sentence makes it seem as though marriage is something that is very unrealistic. I think it is inadvertently telling the readers that love and marriage is nothing but a dream. It is saying that the whole fairy tale idea of living happily ever after is just that, a fairy tale. It tells the women of the world to not believe in love, enjoy sweet nothings, or imagine themselves married and happy in the years to come, but to raise their right hands and be more realistic. The ad portrays a very feminist view and I personally do not agree with it. It is not right to tell women that what so many want is unattainable and I believe that ads like this are the reason that there is so much doubt encumbering the perception of love and relationships.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Journal 2

Describe your expectations for this class. What do you expect this class to be? What is influencing your perceptions of this class? What do you want to leave this class knowing? What are your goals for the class? What are you looking forward to in the class? What are you nervous about? What is the most important change you want to see in yourself of your writing that you think this course could foster?

I signed up for this class because I really needed to take more English classes and I was scared to take an advanced expository writing class when I had never taken a beginners one. When I got to class, however, I became more confident about the course. I liked the way that we all talked about how we use English in our lives and the problems that we all have with it.

I enjoy English and I always have, I just get worried that the way I write things is not necessarily the way others want percieve things. Sometimes I don’t agree with the red pen that so often colors the margins of my papers. The whole class helped me realize that everyone gets frustrated when writing but that it has rewards also. I would like to leave the class having learned confidence in what I write. I get nervous sharing what I write and blogging everyday is going to be a different experience.

The goals that I have set for this class are to not write as many run on sentences and to learn how to better introduce and conclude my papers. I am also looking forward to being more persuasive with my thoughts and on improving my overall writing skills. I am nervous about not being able to convey exactly what I am trying to say in a way that others will understand. I am also really bad when under pressure and the fact that there are going to be times when we are timed really scares me. The hardest part of writing for me is starting and knowing that I have a time constraint makes me think I will not be able to have time to prepare. I hope to change this the most and to become a concise and to the point writer. I think this class will foster my ability to do these things without even realizing it and help me in my future endeavors in writing.

Journal 1

Discuss your experience with writing. How do you understand yourself as a writer? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your writing techniques/process (i.e. Do you do any prewriting? Are you are compulsive drafter? Do you wait until the last minute? Do you use paper or a computer to compose? Do you follow any formulas for writing?)

I do not think I have a very strong experience with writing. I have taken English classes all throughout school and they have always been my favorite. I won the young authors contest when I was in the first grade for writing a story about going to Mars. In high school I was on the year book staff and wrote the captions and articles that were short and to the point but I have never had any experience really in expository writing. In my daily life I tend to write to-do lists and I enjoy the way a well structure paper really gets a point across. I find it easier to express feelings through writings more than through words and usually get better grades when allowed to write essays on tests.

When it comes to how I understand myself as a writer, I think that I tend to lead towards writing on a subject that I know one side of or am trying to express in a certain, structured manner. I think that this has a lot to do with my strengths and weaknesses in writing. I am usually passionate about what I write about and I express that well in my writings. I think that I make the words flow together and that it is easy to read. My weaknesses, however, seem to outweigh my strengths. My biggest problem is that it takes me forever to start the paper and to conclude it. I know what is going to be in the body but cannot seem to begin. I am also told very often that I have a problem with run on sentences. This is something that really irritates me since I have been in English classes for fifteen and years and yet still write run on sentences.

My writing technique is not very defined. When given a topic for a paper I usually brainstorm for a few minutes and then write down a basic outline of what I am going to say and any questions I want to answer as well. If I am not given the topic I usually think of about three different topics and choose which ever outline looks the best and use that for the paper. I do not write my papers out before I type them because it is easier for me just to type it as I am thinking it and then to edit it later.

I try not to procrastinate when it comes to writing a paper because. I like to go to the library to find all of the resources that I am going to use and then the next day do all of the actual writing. If I wait too long to start a paper it will affect my workload in my other classes and stress me out.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006