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Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire!

When I realized we could get five blogs for doing a post about going to see Rafe Esquith, a highly acclaimed teacher, speak about his methods and experiences I immediately wanted to go because I need more posts. However, I did not realize that I was actually going to take something from what he was saying. Our group (Cornell, Traci, and Auriele), along with my roommate Erika, decided to go together. Even though we ended up not being able to find Traci, our little group had a good time together and I am glad we got stuck together for this semester.

When we walked into Braden Auditorium, I could not believe how many people showed up to this teacher. I did not know that he was so famous until the lady introduced him and listed off his several awards he had won, including, Oprah’s Use Your Life Award. Most of the audience was full of mostly teachers: old teachers, new teachers, aspiring teachers, and some kids just trying to get extra credit for a class.

Once Rafe Esquith entered onto stage, I was curious to see why this man had won so many incredible awards and what really makes him unique as a teacher. Then he started his speech. Esquith teaches at Hobart Elementary School in downtown Los Angeles, California where a shocking 92% of students live below the poverty level and only 32% of children finish high school. Rafe’s ultimate goal is not to “save” these kids; it is to teach his kids and try to teach other teachers that the important thing is to teach material to the children that they can use 5, 10, and 30 years from now in their everyday life. So many teachers get caught up in teaching the kids what the state says they need to or what’s on the tests at the end of the year. Rafe made it a point to say that he did not agree with having tests at the end of the year.

To keep this blog from turning into a novel, I am going to just highlight a few things he mentioned and suggested to all present and future teachers. He said that you have to be prepared to fail everyday. But that you should try at least one thing new a year at least, even if it is a complete failure. Great things can come from trying new things. He also made it a vital point to mention that you should incorporate the arts in your classroom. He said “when you have a wide menu of things for your students to choose from, they’re more likey to find something they want to eat.” Bringing out the arts in the classroom allows the students to find things they are interested in.

Rafe stressed the importance of taking the fear out of the classroom. These students come from high-risk homes and neighborhoods and the last thing they need is to feel like they’re in danger at school. Esquith says that at the beginning of each year, on the first day, he removes fear from the classroom and starts developing trust. You get much better results when the kids aren’t afraid to speak their minds and they know they won’t get laughed at. “One thing you cannot fix is a broken trust”.

Rafe introduced three main points that he follows in his classroom. 1) you have to be the person you want your srudents to be. Even though you may not think so, they are watching you. If you want them to be polite, you must always be polite. If you want them to be hard workers, you must be the hardest working person they know. 2) remove fear from the classroom, as discussed earlier. TRUST YOUR STUDENTS. and 3) Rafe introduces the Hobart 6 levels of world development on the first day of class. this was an interesting concept to me and a large part of his speech.

Most kids are trained to be level 1 thinkers. Level 2 thinkers: kids who do things for a reward. Level 3: kids who do things to please other people. level 4: they do things because it’s the RULE. level 5: they do thing sbecause they are considerate of other people. and the best level, which he tries to get all of his students to is level 6: I don’t do certain things because i have a personal code of behavior. I don’t need a reward for doing the things i feel are right.

He explained how his students can pinpoint different people and their levels of thinking just by observing them.

It was very touching when Rafe shared a video clip with us of a former student of his who started a foundation to help Rafe help children who need it. This student grew up in a terrible neighborhood and because of Rafe, he now attends Yale Law School. He said, “Rafe saved me.” This was not an uncommon thing for Rafe to hear. He shared with us several stories of students who he had a deep impact on. But at the end of the day, he claims to be just an ordinary teacher who just really enjoys what he does.

“One of the biggest pieces of advice I will give you is to create safe havens where children can flourish. Because every student can if given the right tools, motivation, and inspiration.” – Rafe Esquith


Milner quotes!

for our project, my group decided to interview people that were in Milner Library at the time we were working. We asked about 11 people what their thoughts on standardized testing were. If they said they did not like it. We asked them if they could think of any better way to compare students for state funding and to get into college. Some responses were actually very interesting. take a look!

Quotes:

“I think standardized tests are meaningless. They contain basic knowledge for college but are overall worthless. But I’m not sure how else to compare students to each other.”

“ACT’s aren’t good representations of how good a student someone is. I think admission into college should be based on GPA and nothing else.”

Former high school teacher and grad student- “I recently took the GRE and did bad on it. And now I’m getting a 4.0 in graduate school. I think we really need to reform the grading system instead of putting so much emphasis on these tests.  The funding for these schools is based on the performance of these standardized tests and if we have a special education program and another school does not, obviously they will end up having higher overall test scores and therefore get more funding. It’s a fixed system.”

“I think they are good. They show everything you learn in high school.”

“It is good for some people and bad for others. It actually helped me get into college because I did bad in school but good on the ACT.”

“I do not like it. The test is so broad it is hard to study for. I think admission into college should be based on transcripts only.”

“I think standardized tests really set people apart and they are a good way to evaluate people.”

“Well just look at the name…standardized. As in, standard, not the best but it is a way to test a huge group of people. Some gain from it and some lose. Like, creative people think a different way and they cannot explain what they think through the bubbles. It is a cognitive ability.”

“I think it is necessary to get you ready for the college setting.”

Older librarian- “It is a good way to compare students. I do not think it should be the soul way, but the concept is good. If it were up to me, I would not put as much weight on the tests for college admission but I would have some kind of testing component.”

It is interesting how the view points vary with personal experiences and age.


plan for presentation on 10/27/09

– we will present the information to the class via a powerpoint presentation

– each of us will take turns reading a couple of the points at a time

– next, we will ask if anyone has any questions. answer whatever questions people may have.

– then we will introduce the game and explain the rules. the class will be divided into 2 groups and one person from each group will go up at a time. one of us will read one of the scenerios off the sheet and the person who slaps their hand down on the desk first will tell us whether the scenerio described a problem-posing or banking education method.

– the team with the most points at the end gets suckers.

– if we have time after the game, we will hold a discussion on which method the class thinks is more effective and why.

 

***i feel like our group has worked extremely well together to come up with ideas and notes for this presentation. it should go pretty smoothly if we follow the plan. I am a little bit worried we did not go into enough depth about the two very different types of teaching methods. However, i feel like that would be nearly impossible to do considering the length and level of difficulty of the book. i think everyone will get the main ideas and points of each type of teaching method. ***


points for presentation on 10/27/09

BANKING EDUCATION

ž  The students are ignorant and the teachers are all-knowledgeable

ž  The education the students receive is considered a “gift” from the teacher.

ž  Students do not really understand what they are learning. They just memorize the material.

ž  Teacher is the narrator and the students are listening objects.

ž  The more completely the teacher fills the student’s brains, the “better” a teacher he/she is.

ž  The more the students accept their passive role imposed on them, the more they tend to just accept the role as it is without questioning it.

ž  It attempts to control thinking and action and inhibits their creative power.

PROBLEM-POSING EDUCATION

ž  Question situations and problems in the world

ž  The teacher is learning from the students while also teaching them. Students question and think critically about what the teacher is saying.

ž  Teacher engages with students in all aspects of her class.

ž  Teacher presents the material to the students for their consideration and re-considers her earlier considerations as the students express their own.

ž  The role of the problem-posing educator is to create together with the students.

 

 


team awesome

-games (divide the class into two groups) have scenerios and read them to the class and whoever gets the answer first gets a point. and the team with the most points at the end, wins candy or some other prize.

-we are going to have a maybe 1 or 2 slide powerpoint presentation at the begininning just so the students understand the basic concepts of the two teaching methods.

-aureile is starting the powerpoint now so we should have it done by tuesday for sure

-we are going to meet monday night and think and type up the scenrios. we are going to try to make them harder as the game continues

-we should have 1 person from each group get together in kind of a “face-off” at the front of the classroom and read the scenerio and whoever slaps the desk first and gets the answer correct, gets a point for thier team. and the team with the most points at the end of the 10 minutes, gets candy!! wootwoot.

-everyone needs to think of a few scenerios before we get together on monday. this es muy importante!


project 4 ideas

topic: curriculum, standardized testing, No Child Left Behind

monday: 4-5:30

wednesday: 4-5:30

**meet at library**

read chapter 2–relate to lesson?

everyone make their own outline of what we are going to do by this Friday.

then we will come together to compare ideas and go from there about what our plan of action will be.

we are thinking powerpoint? or maybe something a little more creative.

that’s all we have for today!! 🙂

**read chapter 2 by Monday so we can discuss how to teach it to the class and possibly relate it to the 2nd part of this project.**

ideas: standardized testing (talk to admissions people about how much ACT scores are really considered for getting into college, etc.) Possible Interview?

-cow activity idea from cornell.

focus on standardized testing research

>powerpoint/”game”/mini test/poll at beginning of class


final for now draft of project 3

                           

 http://www.adcouncil.org/files/adc_uncf_butterfly_120x600.gif

“UNFC helps thousands of students. But we have to turn away thousands more.” This slogan immediately captures the audience’s attention. At this point in looking at the banner, you are wondering what exactly the ad is for. Then the words change to “So please give to the United Negro College Fund. Your donation will make a difference.” After you see these words, you are clear on what the ad is for and you begin to think about it in more depth. The last time the words change, they say “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This part of the ad is to get you to feel something for the minority kids who cannot afford to get properly educated and are often overlooked. This is the marketing part of the ad trying to get you to do what the ad is saying. The contrast of the white words to a dark green background implies that the words are what is most important and what the audience is supposed to notice first.  After you get done reading the ad and know what it is for, you might notice the child with the fingers around his eyes next. I think the significance of this little boy is to give it kind of a more personal touch. He could be representing the minority children the United Negro College Fund is trying to help.

The placement of the words and texts in the ad are a very important part of the message it is trying to relay. The most important message is at the top of the ad and in the biggest font. The next text you read as you go down on the banner is “visit uncf.org”. This is the next thing you read because it comes directly after you figure out what the ad is trying to say and seeing the website gets the audience to want to find out more information on how to help the minority children in education.  The last few parts of the ad that you read are kind of like a closer to the ad. It is the United Negro College Fund logo with their message written underneath that is barely readable.  This text is a lot smaller than the rest of the ad because while it is important, it is not the “selling point” of the banner and the point of an ad in the first place is to get the audience to think or act a certain way.

As your eyes continue down the banner, you see a beautiful green butterfly that looks like it is coming out of the little boy’s head. I think this is representing the thoughts and ideas that come out of children’s minds that would not be able to continue to develop without the help of the people who support minority education. By using a warm color, green, the audience is more at ease with this message, but still feels the importance of it. The fact that only green and black are used is very significant because it shows that the ad is just trying to get the point across and does not want to mess around with lots of pictures and distractions. The audience is focused on the words and the small picture that is below them.

I think that the fact that the web banner is designed to change words three times is a stratigical move on the creator’s part. Because the words continue to change, it forces you to look at the whole banner for longer than a split second and really understand the message it is trying to convey. If it had just been one long message across that little banner, no one would stop to read it and therefore, it would be very ineffective.

The audience for this banner is probably adults because children appeal to adults, especially ones with children themselves. Also, because a child would not be able to donate much to the United Negro College Fund, which is what the ad wants you to do. I noticed that ads that try to appeal to adults often involve children. I think that is because they are so innocent and that is a major selling point to people. This tactic is often used because it makes you feel sorry for the children that are pictured, which makes you want to help them. That is called marketing. Even though this banner is made because the UNCF truly cares about the minority children, it is also a sales ad and is trying to persuade the audience to think and act a certain way.

(i think my ending is kind of awkward…any suggestions from people would be GREATLY APPRECIATED! thanks!)


Lean On ME.

for english, my group had to watch the movie Lean On Me. I had already seen this movie a million times but i absolutely love it. i think there are so many different viewpoints and aspects of teaching present in the film. We had to relate it to the book we read, See You When We Get There. I think the main character, Mr. Clark,  relates most to Ms. Kirby, the first teacher we meet in the book. Ms.Kirby doesnt mess around when it comes to discipline and such with her students. That is a huge part of Mr.Clark’s tactics. He doesnt let anyone get away with anything. Such as when he specifically told no one to move during the singing of the school song in the cafeteria and yelled at the one teacher for picking up a piece of trash. I dont think it was anything personal. I think he was just trying to show that no one is an exception to his rules and hes not messing around.

Ms. Kirby doesnt let anyone slack off in her classroom and pushes everyone to succeed. She goes the extra mile for her students. For example, she has a talk with the one g irl in her class that is smoking weed and says she wants to meet with her like once a week or something just to see how everything is going because she truly cares and wants to help her. This is also true for Mr.Clark in Lean On Me. When he sees that one of his close students is slacking, he seeks her out and asks her whats wrong. He eventually goes and visits her mother at her home and tries to figure things out and help this student be all she can be. He knows she has potential and is smart and he wants to see it. Same with Ms. Kirby.

In different ways, Mr. Clark can relate to all the teachers in the book. All of them care greatly about their students and have different ways of showing it. But they all want them to succeed in life and be all they can be.


lower the drinking age?

in my LinC class today, we had a big discussion about lowering the drinking age to 18. we read an article about how some people say that we should go through a class and then we can get a drinking license at age 18. in my opinion, i dont think this will help anything. in fact, i think lowering the drinking age might make things even worse. Many people use the arguement that other countries have lower drinking ages and they are more relaxed with it and don’t get out of control. However, thats because they have had this lower drinking age their whole life.  If we changed the drinking age to 18 now, i thin people would get out of control and abuse it because it’s a whole new relm of freedom. Even though most college kids drink now, that doesn’t mean that we should make it “okay” to do. A shocking statisitic brought up in class was that 92% of ISU students drink according to a survey done. It was even more shocking to hear that the average national percent is 85. That means that we are significantly higher than the average.

Someone in class brought up the ever so popular point of “if we can fight in the war, we deserve to have a beer”. Well, i think you can only say that if you are or were in the war defending our country. otherwise, you are just using other people’s situations as an excuse for you to  drink. Because other young men and women are fighting in the war and defending our country, that means you get to get wasted and be stupid?

Another point brought up in this discussion was that if you lower the age to 18, that ususally means you are about a senior in high school, so that gives you about a year to “learn the correct and safe ways to drink from your parents’ examples”. this bothered me so much. even if the legal drinking age was 18, i would definitely not drink with my parents. I realize that this differs with everyone and some people might not care about their parents seeing them trashed but to me, that is just an uncomfortable experience waiting to happen. also, if the age lowered to 18, kids arent going to want to stay home and drink with mommy and daddy. they will want to run out and get crazy at the bars and parties. so, they arent going to get the “training” they need to practice “safe” drinking.

 kids are going to do it no matter what the legal age…but why encourage it?

it was such a good discussion and i could go on and on about this topic. but i’m going to just leave it with i do not think the drinking age should be lowered to 18. or any other age.


start to project 3 part 1

“UNFC helps thousands of students. But we have to turn away thousands more.” This slogan immediately captures the audience’s attention. At this point in looking at the banner, you are wondering what exactly the ad is for. Then the words change to “So please give to the United Negro College Fund. Your donation will make a difference.” After you see these words, you are clear on what the ad is for and it has your attention. The last time the words change, they say “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This part of the ad is to get you to feel something for the minority kids who cannot afford to get properly educated and are often overlooked. This is the marketing part of the ad trying to get you to do what the ad is saying. The contrast of the white words to a dark green background implies that the words are what is most important and what the audience is supposed to notice first.  After you get done reading the ad and know what it is for, you might notice the child with the fingers around his eyes next. I think the significance of this little boy is to give it kind of a more personal touch. This could be representing the minority children the United Negro College Fund is trying to help.