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lesaluna12's blog

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Marsha's class activity

The previous week we had read an article by Marsha Pincus and this week we actually had Marsh come in and speak to our class, which was awesome! Marsha started off our class with a small activity that I first thought nothing much about it but as my peers and I got into it, I realized just how significant it could be. Marsha had placed a chair in the middle of the circle we had formed and wanted us to imagine of a teacher we once had that has made a significant impact in our lives whether positive or negative...

My eighth grade English teacher was Mrs. Barrish... she had asked to stay after class to talk to me. I remember wondering if I was in trouble but instead Mrs. Barrish had been wondering if I had ever considered applying to a private school for high school. I remember thinking she was nuts because I wasn’t smart and I didn’t think she was actually being serious... I decided to give it a try but only because I wanted to do it for her and make her proud. It wouldn’t be until later on that I realized that she didn’t want me to do this for her but for myself...

I didn’t end up going to a private school but I remember feeling like I disappointed a lot of people and then thinking that the only person stopping me from being the best I can be was myself and so I worked hard and with extra help everything paid off because I am now at one of the most respectable institutions in the world. Marsha’s activity reminded me of where my inspiration to get to where I am today started from. 

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Journal 7 Post

What I really liked from Marsha’s article that I see is an effective way to engage students in the material presented was by allowing them to participate in letting their voices be heard through their intellectual autobiographies as well as generate their own exam questions. I believe that by taking the approach in making it all about the students was effective in that it encouraged students to participate, boost their self-confidence in this particular area and challenged them as students in critical and analytical thinking.

           For instance, I remember my junior year in high school, my teacher made a similar approach in that she asked us something about ourselves, which I liked because it showed that she was putting in the effort in trying to get to know me. In addition, I felt like to her we weren’t just students but young adults. For instance, in class we would hold discussions on the text rather than just jotting down notes and being expected to know and understand the material. And when we did not understand something, she had no problem in breaking the passage down for us and going over it while asking for our opinions on what we thought. I enjoyed being in her class because I felt like I was a part of something and that it was my class, my teacher and I all learning the material together which, encouraged me to be more active in class and feel like I actually got something out of it.

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Journal 6 Post

I thought about how convenient it was for the student to have a teacher that understood both English and Spanish in terms of being understood. However, I soon thought about the teacher’s continuous attempts to have him speak English which, made me feel like maybe it’d be best to let him answer in whatever language he was comfortable with but as the class went on, I then realized just how important it was to have him to be able to speak English... because once the students enter Kindergarten its most likely that their teacher will not know Spanish and thus not be able to understand them and fairly evaluate their learning abilities.

I wondered if there was anything else the teacher could do to make her students even more comfortable using English? For instance, possibly try to explain to her students in some form of why English is important? If they are told why the material they are learning is important then they will be better prepared of what they will face when entering elementary school as opposed to being surprised and feeling like they are alone in facing this situation. Although these students are young, I believe that if worded in a way that they can understand the concept, these students especially the shy ones will be more willing and thus settle themselves into getting more comfortable in using the English language. 

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Journal 5 Post

My journal group and I had come up with the following that teachers should remember to use in their classrooms,

  • Initiate a common ground in learning abilities for students.
  • Encourage and support a student’s self-progress.
  • Encourage student teaching/peers helping one another with the material.
  • Acknowledge students for good behavior.

For the first bullet presented, my group and I had discussed the importance on making students feel comfortable. For instance, one of my peers had mentioned how there was a second grader at her praxis site who had refused to read a term that the rest of his peers couldn’t read either and instead had put his head face down on his desk. It was clear that the student had felt uncomfortable by refusing to read and its possible that he most likely felt frustrated because maybe some of the other students were able to read that term but he couldn’t. In order to prevent students from feeling uncomfortable and frustrated our group thought it would be great if teachers could create an atmosphere where the students know that everyone will be learning and going through the same thing, thus initiating a common ground for everyone.

I'm not saying that this is a definite list that teachers should keep in mind when educating their students, this is just what my journal group and I had come up with and believe that this could help give students a more positive educational experince.

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Journal 3 Post

This past week I read Noa’s Ark which, in my opinion was truly interesting. The author explains in his book how he and his wife decided to teach their daughter Hebrew, English and Spanish. What caught my attention was the fact that they wanted to teach their child three different languages. I thought to myself, can that be hard for a child to do as they grow up? For instance, based off of my experiences, I had a rough time learning English in elementary school as a second language and being able to flow between that and Spanish which, I spoke at home. But to learn three languages at a young age? I remember I decided to learn French in middle school and took it all throughout high school as well but that was because I wanted to do that. Meanwhile, Noa didn't decide to learn three languages she was just taught. Although throughout the text he mentions how well she has managed to make use of all three languages it makes me wonder what was Noa's "aha!" moment when she realize that she could speak three different languages?

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Another way to look at how to teach students how to read

At our last class, one of my peers commented on my post about being given a minor role in my first grade's Peter Pan play. My peer's comment was that if my first grade teacher had given me a bigger role in the play, that could have potentially motivated me to practice my reading skills and become a better reader. I had never thought about it that way but I believe she's right. I then read the Jaschke, Leigh article about teaching adults in West Africa how to read through mobile phones. I found the article interesting because by teaching adults how read through mobile phones, they are not only becoming literate but learning how to function an important useful piece of technology. What makes this significant is that the program that makes it possible for these adults to become literate allows them to use a "practical literacy component tied to obtaining market information via text message". This component has been very beneficial for agricultural producers that from what I understood from this article is that in order for them to enjoy the benefits this component offers, it could be safe to say that this can serve as a motivator for adults to learn how to read. This then makes me think back to my own experience, what can we do as educators to motivate our students to learn how to read?

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