It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This past week I started the Divergent series! I have always wanted to read these books as I have heard good reviews about it since they came out in 2011. This series starts with the book “Divergent” as it begins with introducing the main character Beatrice. Beatrice lives in a world that has a divided society which everyone is supposed to fit into called factions. There are five different factions in this society are Dauntless, who are the protectors of the community and the more free-spirited individuals,  Amity, who are more harmonious people, Erudite, who are the thinkers of all the factions, Abnegation, who are the more self-sacrificial people, and Candor who are honest. Beatrice was born into the Abnegation faction and she has always felt something didn’t fit right with her there even though she knew she would have to leave her family if she chooses a different faction. Everyone in this society goes through a test that can tell them which faction to choose if they are not certain with which decision to make. Spoilers ahead! Beatrice ends up fitting into three different factions and this makes her a divergent within her community which is prayed upon by the “government” as they were different and would ruin the system that had set in place.

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This book gives a look into our social systems and how we are supposed to fit into perfect societal personas just like everyone around us. This also portrays how we as a society view outsiders and how they may be different but they can also be just as beneficial to our community as people who aren’t defined as “different.” We also see a theme of societal peace and how this could be achieved. This theme is interesting as I don’t see this a lot in different books, especially young adult books. Forcing people to simulate is definitely not the answer to this question and I think that portrays our society and government well. We try to make people assimilate to societal norms when we are all individuals and deserve to be honest to our own truths and not feel the pressure to fit into normalities that are unreachable for the generalized population. In all, really enjoyable read and I can’t wait to finish the second book of the series which is “Insurgent.”  

Source:

PlayBuzz. (2017, March 29). Hunger Games or Divergent? Retrieved from http://www.playbuzz.com/jpandaquiz10/hunger-games-or-divergent

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Young Adult Literature Response

This week we read about a couple of different topics that concern young adult literature. The reading that I was most compelled by this week was, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” by Professor Rudine Sims Bishop. This passage really went into detail about different reasons why we read and different habits that we tend to keep as readers. At the beginning of this passage, it discusses that a lot of children from dominant social backgrounds tend to read books for a mirror experience. This meaning that they want to see themselves reflected in what they are reading so they can feel more connected and self-affirming in their literature. I can agree with this notion as I have seen it in myself and a lot of my peer’s experiences with reading. This passage also talked about how people who read for mirror experiences need insights into multicultural experiences and cultures and I think that can really help a child perceive different occurrences from diverse patterns of life.

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Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

I went onto read “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature” by Christopher Myers. This article talked about the concept of a certain apartheid of literature in which, “characters of color are limited to the townships of occasional historical books that concern themselves with the legacies of civil rights and slavery but are never given a pass card to traverse the lands of adventure, curiosity, imagination or personal growth.” This apartheid has two effects, one being the admirations of viewing ourselves in the books that we read, like mirrors, and the other is seeing things like windows or using books as “maps.” These articles were similar but both talked about really important topics in how we view literature.

The article “Where are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” by By Walter Dean Myers explores the concept of finding ourselves in our literature and how that can be a struggle for adolescents of color. Being a white female, I have never had to deal with the struggle of relating to something I read as it came naturally but reading this article really opened my eyes to the problems that are within children’s literature. It can be hard for people of color to relate to someone they read when there is simply not a lot of material for them to choose from. Expanding the character roles and topics in literature can help children identify more in what they read and can help reassure them that we do live in a culturally diverse atmosphere and we must protect everyone equally in literature subject matters; especially children’s literature.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The last reading we discussed this week was, “Something like an open letter to the children’s publishing industry” by Zetta Elliott. This blog talked about how there is a lack of diversity in the children’s literacy market and how the representation of over a third of the world’s population isn’t being properly shown for. This is a problem we see in more areas in our society other than literature and it is a growing problem that stems from a lot of different aspects of everyday life. The biggest takeaway from this blog post was that we must lower the achievement gap between blacks and whites by acknowledging black attributions more than we do now; slowly lowering the percentage of the gap and one day hopefully making them equal.

Sources:

Rudine Sims Bishop. (2015, January 3). Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors. Retrieved from https://online.csc.edu/access/meleteDocs/content/private/meleteDocs/2de3798a-27de-4a09-9215-f15639c1faa1/uploads/Mirrors%2C%20Windows%2C%20and%20Sliding%20Glass%20Doors.pdf

Myers, C. (2014, March 15). Opinion | The Apartheid of Children’s Literature. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/the-apartheid-of-childrens-literature.html

Myers, W. D. (2014, March 15). Opinion | Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/where-are-the-people-of-color-in-childrens-books.html?_r=0

Elliott’s, Z. (2012, September 25). Something like an open letter to the children’s publishing industry [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://zettaelliott.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/something-like-an-open-letter-to-the-children%E2%80%99s-publishing-industry/?s-publishing-industry/

Independant Learning Project

This week for my learning plan I decided to research different hairstyles for different ages. I knew going into this project that I wanted to be able to use the skills that I learned to help cut my family’s hair so that I could cut down the cost for my family to go to the hair salon. My mother always cut my family’s hair and now that she is getting older, her hands don’t work like they used to. This week I choose to use my studying time to research haircuts for both boys and girls for the ages 3, 13, and 18. I remember my brothers usually always going with a buzz cut when they were younger, and straight across bangs for me when I was younger. Researching this topic within cosmetology will allow me to focus on certain age groups and hairstyles that coincide. Very beneficial!

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Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

The first hairstyle I decided to look at was for younger boys. This hairstyle is a shorter mohawk that consists of longer bangs. Having the hair longer on the top and shaved on the sides can also let you style the hair in various ways which can be like a comb-over look which is so cute for younger boys! This hairstyle can also work for older boys as it is a pretty timeless look whether it is combed and gelled to the side or spiked up, there is a lot of variation! When I was looking at girl’s haircuts I was drawn to bang hairstyles because that can also help younger children’s hair stay out of their eyes if it is cut short enough. The style I choose to look more at was the classic straight across bangs look that can be easily trimmed for when they start getting too long that it becomes distracting for them. This link can help walk you through the process of cutting this hairstyle! Using a comb for straight angles was one thing that I thought would really help during this process! Both of these styles being timeless and really helpful to know about as I continue my research on different cosmetology processes!  

Sources:

PocketPig Diary. (2015, March 23). Hair Cutting for toddler. Retrieved from http://pocketpigdiary.com/hair-cutting-for-toddler/

The Right Hairstyles. (2018, February 19). 20 Cute Baby Boy Haircuts. Retrieved from https://therighthairstyles.com/baby-boy-haircuts/

Ds106

This week I researched ds106, or in other words, digital storytelling. These terms are simpler than it sounds as the umbrella of information that is involved within ds106 is ever expanding. The definition that I came up with for ds106 is the use of digital resources and tools to portray their own truths and experiences that are emotionally moving and driven; this definition mainly concerning the storytelling part of ds106. This term first emerged as a class that was taught by Jennifer Pollock. This class asked students to frame their own personal narratives and identities and to display them on their own personal domains, in their own individualized ways. Expanding ourselves digitally in ways that make the most sense to us and our experiences. This is intriguing to me as I have grown up with usually only being told what to learn and how to learn it. The public school system becomes almost routine when it comes to core classes and we usually all were taught the same things, in the same ways. Elective classes were always more customized which I appreciated and it made me want to work harder as I was choosing what I wanted to work on.

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Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

Using ds106 can be very influential in the classroom because it can help relate to students more and can expand their use of technology as it is something they will use for the rest of their lives. Incorporating technological tools in the classroom can be a way for teachers to connect with students in a way that they are familiar with or more interested in. One example of a teacher using ds106 skills in her classroom was when she made a parody of a song in order to help her students remember the mathematical material that were going over in class. This example not only uses technology to film it but to coordinate it in a visually pleasing manner that also used voice-overs. Using a song the students will most likely know helps as well so they can remember the lyrics more successfully. One of my teachers did this while I was in middle school and it has really stuck with me since then! I will always remember how to find the slope to a line. In all, this was a really fun topic to learn about this week!

Source:

DS106. (n.d.). About ds106. Retrieved from http://ds106.us/about/

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This week I finished reading the book, “We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour. Such a well written, relevant book that I was very surprised with. This book interested me just from the title because it seems to be a common phrase that we see in our culture. We have to put up a face and front that were are okay but for a lot of the times, we aren’t okay. Much like the character in this story, Marin has been through a lot in her life but she is certain to make sure she is okay not only for herself but for her best friend Mabel.

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Photo by Greg Raines on Unsplash

This book is told in alternating chapters that rotate between the past and the present. I like reading this form of writing because once you realize what the pattern is, you are kind of reading two forms of the story told at two different time periods. Comparing the two time periods with one another and seeing which parts connect with which is another layer of implications to the story and that is always a good addition to a book, especially for the readers. This book explores sexuality and also cultural insides from an outsiders point of view. All done very effectively in this book!

One thing I struggled with in this book is there seems to be a lack of character description and development. I saw this within the different variations of the time being used and it took awhile for me to fully grasp that Mabel was Marin’s once-girlfriend and that Mabel is the source to a lot of Marin’s problems. It comes to be quite clear after the first couple of chapters but it is a little vague as you read. There is a lot of relevant themes in this book like heartache, the struggle of human companionship, new beginnings, and overall suffering. A lot of depth in one book played into a simple time frame that spans only about three days. A lot of looks inside the human condition and how it can manipulate someone into being the person they are and how they respond to life’s challenges and complex relationships.

Lookback on YA Literature Readings

This week I read some blog posts from Sarah Andersen who is an English Teacher who fell in love with young adult literature when she took a class on it at Central Michigan University. The first blog I read from her this week is, “Creating and Managing a Classroom Library.” This blog made me really think and contemplate the addition of a student library in my classroom which is something that I haven’t spent much time thinking about. I have a lot of books that I have bought over my reading career and I am glad that I can finally expel my book choices onto my students. I think that having a classroom library can benefit students because it can show them that we are passionate about learning and that we do care about them reading. There are more likely than not going to be a library in the school that you are teaching at but having the resources in the room can show the students that resources like books are available and they don’t have to go out of their way to get them. I have added a lot of books to my personal collection over the years by going to thrift shops and going through their book selections. This can be a beneficial way to add to classroom libraries because books are sometimes as low as 10 for .99. I do like how Andersen gives us tips to help us create a library and makes it realistic because it definitely is!

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Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

The second blog I read from Sarah Andersen was “Is Getting Along Fine Good Enough?” This blog talked about the concept of having a classroom library and gave us some insight about students who actually are in a classroom with a student library in it. We see how the number of students who benefit from the classroom library heavily outweigh the students who don’t think it benefits them. Some of the explanations that Andersen puts in her blog is that the students don’t have to go down to the library to get the books. Having a classroom library will promote the percentages of students just simply picking up a book. Most of the students that Andersen surveyed did, in fact, say that they don’t go to their school library barely at all and when they do it is because students assign them to or do it during class times as a whole. Promoting student reading promotes them to be lifelong readers and that will always be something that connects them back to education and learning; knowing that their learning processes are never finished.

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Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

I went onto read chapters 3 and 4 in “Book Love” by Penny Kittle. Chapter 3 talked about how we should encourage our students to read at their own pace and choose books that they are comfortable with. It is always useful to remember that students read at their own pace and accommodating to that pace will make them more successful readers. It is important to challenge all of our students in what they read and set reading goals in the classroom is a really useful tool to achieve this. One tip that Kittle gives us is to share reading lists from prior students and that can help diverge the students from being confused with what they could start with as reading books. Also giving them different reading levels of books and clearly identifying which books are more challenging than others can give them perspectives of what kind of readers they actually are. Having interviews with students and realizing just how much they do read can help us as teachers better accommodate to them and challenge them accordingly.

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Photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash

Chapter 4 of “Book Love” by Penny Kittle talks about “Opening Doors into Reading” and this chapter really urges the teachers to help the students explore genres that they wouldn’t usually read. Even myself as a reader I tend to stay in the same kind of stories, which seem to be always more realistic than fantasy, and growing as a reader can be difficult. I see the benefits of reading outside your comfort zone now as a college student more than I ever did so I am intrigued to be in my classroom and use all the different book suggestions that Love gives us in this chapter like graphic novels and fantasy. Love then goes to talk about the concept of letting student interests drive their readings rather than what we are interested more. Motivation will be heightened if they are appreciating what they are reading, but also implementing things you don’t think they will like in order for them to really find their readers balance. Very insightful!

Sources:

Kittle, P. (2013). Book love: Developing depth, stamina, and passion in adolescent readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Andersen, S. (2016, January 17). Is “Getting Along Fine” Good Enough? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yaloveblog.com/2016/01/17/is-getting-along-fine-good-enough/

Andersen, S. (2012, May 29). Creating and Managing a Classroom Library [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://yaloveblog.com/2012/05/29/creating-and-managing-a-classroom-library/

Project-Based Learning

This week I am excited to share the information I found on PBL or in other words, project-based learning in the classroom. There is a lot more to this approach of learning than it sounds as it is usually just perceived as any kind of project incorporated into the classroom but it is much more than that. It is an approach to learning that involves learning different subjects simultaneously while guiding students to focus on real-life problems and find solutions to them by using relevant technology. The evidence is needed to be found from the students to support their reasonings and they must use problem-solving skills like critical thinking and analytical processes to fully be engaged in project-based learning.BIE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teachers use PBL effectively. The essential elements of project-based learning that the buck institute for education states is having four phases which begin with the “Launch Project: Entry Event & Driving Question,” Entry event grabs attention of students, form of a video, interactive discussion, classroom speakers, field trips, or something like acting out a play. Driving question is open-ended, intriguing, involves the challenge presented, and promotes further learning interests. The video I have linked below gives an example of this with students trying to create a “Rube Goldberg” machine by acting as an engineer to represent how they are special or unique. I thought this was a really creative project as it shows their self-expression but also incorporates the aspects of architecture and the problems that are associated with making an assembled structure.  This video goes into detail about a couple other elements of PBL and its application in the classroom.

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Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

I want to go to talk about another classroom that used project-based learning in Ross Cooper’s blog, “5 Ways I Screwed up (and Fixed) Project Based Learning in My Classroom.” This blog was very helpful as it explained things that happen that were unforeseen in the classroom but it also gave the approaches to fixing these obstacles. One of the first wrongdoing Cooper experienced was that he “Prioritized Cool Technology over Student Creativity.” This is something that can be overlooked in learning and has to do with the teacher’s preferences of technological resources that are prioritized over their personal creative abilities. Instead of instructing how to use the technology we should let our students have more flexibility with the technology used in order to manipulate it for their best-individualized purposes. An example that Cooper gives is when he implemented a weather data project that stretched over a three week duration. The directions included the students to use technology preferences that he the teacher chooses. The directions include, “Working as a team and calling upon all of your data and research, use Keynote and iMovie to create a weather presentation. Each member contributes a segment for his/her quantitative and/or qualitative data, and reasons why the weather acted the way that it did.” Even though this is an effective assignment, exploring critical thinking and data analysis, Cooper should have given them different options allowing them to use a program they were more familiar with or that they preferred. This can help promote student creativity and can help them express more of who they are as individuals through their projects.

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I researched three expert teachers on this subject on Twitter and the ones that I chose were, Mike Gwaltney, Tikvah Wiener, Roger Hadgraft. Mike Gwaltney is the head of an upper school at Rocky Hill school. He is an educator, working on innovation while incorporating project-based learning. I read through a lot of this tweets and he is so influential with how many times a day he tweets and all the resources he links! Gwaltney gives tips on how to combat stress with different exercises and things like that to ease student learning! The next teaching expert I found on this subject was Tikvah Wiener. She is apart of opening “The Idea School” which is a project-based learning, interdisciplinary Jewish high school in Bergen County. Reading her progress with her faculty and opening up the school with their focused teachings that are paired with project-based learning is very effective with how I can see this learning process used. The last teaching expert that I followed and studied was Roger Hadgraft and he is a professor of engineering education and has a passion for project-based learning. He is an advocate in Australia for this form of learning and it is interesting to see how his processors compare and contrast with ones I see in the United States! In all, I loved researching this topic and it really taught me a lot about how to use tools in project-based learning in the classroom. Seeing and reading about examples in this research really expanded my perception of how I can keep students motivated and interested.

What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning?

5 Ways I Screwed up (and Fixed) Project Based Learning in My Classroom

Sources:

Edutopia. (n.d.). What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning? | Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-project-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron

Lee, D. (2015, May 12). Introduction to Project Based Learning (PBL) Process. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08D0dBGIzYQ

Cooper, R. (2017, April 12). 5 Ways I Screwed up (and Fixed) Project Based Learning in My Classroom – Cooper on Curriculum. Retrieved from http://rosscoops31.com/2017/03/05/5-ways-screwed-fixed-project-based-learning-classroom/