Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rethinking Thanksgiving

Some food for thought as you spend time in your SL placement this week... and perhaps helpful if you want to spark controversial dialogue at your family Thanksgiving table!!

This is a great article abut how to teach about Thanksgiving with social justice in mind. Rethinking Thanksgiving from Rethinking Schools.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Promising Practice Write Up

So great to see so many of you this morning! Hope you enjoyed the conference day!!

In the syllabus it explains that you have to attend some kind of social justice event this semester and write it up as an assignment on your blog (10% of your course grade). I know most of you attended the PP conference this morning. You need to create a blog post (due Th, Nov. 17 by midnight) that meets the following three criteria:

1) Describe the event(s) in detail. Teach the rest of us about what you learned at the session you attended, the Promising Partnership Expo, the Teen Empowerment plenary and the Youth Panel. Your post should be no fewer than 750 word but may be much longer if needed.

2) Make connections to three course readings and themes to help you analyze the events. What does this event have to do with everything we have been talking about in FNED 346?

3) Include pictures and links to at least three external web resources to help explain the meaning of this event.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Other SL Project Content Ideas

Some of you have interesting stories about rewards programs that you want to analyze in your projects. You could use Alfie Kohn to help you with that analysis. Check out this article or this one to use as a resource.

If you are interested in analyzing gender in your classroom, you can draw on our conversation the week of Nov. 1, including any of the articles you found online for your blogs. Also, check out any of the resources at AAUW.org (research).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brown V. Board Images

Videos about Kenneth Clark's Doll Study

Obama's Speech on Race: A More Perfect Union

On Being an Ally

Stephen Colbert (Racism 2.0)

Dave Chappell on the Importance of Talking about Race

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Technology Resources for your SL Projects

As you start planning for your final SL project, you will need to think about what kind of digital project you want to create. I would like to encourage you to stretch beyond the powerpoint to pick a different tool to use as you present your findings to the class. Be creative -- use smart phones, video, presentation software, wikis, wordpress, facebook, flickr, twitter or anything else you want to play with...

This LIVEBINDER (created by my colleague, Dr. Josh Stenger at Wheaton College) is filled with technology tools that can help you in your presentation. (The PRESENTATIONS tab could be particularly helpful.) Over the next few weeks, play around with this resource to see if any of the tools would help you tell the story of theory and practice.

I also have flipcameras that you can check out if you want to make a video of some kind. Or feel free to use your cell phone if you prefer.

Have fun with this!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Response to your letters....

Hi folks,

I just finished reading all of your letters. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with me. These letters helps me get a better idea of what is working and what is not working on our classroom. Here are some things that I learned from you.

First, most of you are reporting a generally positive experience in this course. Some of you are having a FABULOUS experience here and report that this class is unlike any you have ever taken given how we sit, talk, blog and connect to one another. I am so glad that you feel like you are valued here, but also sad that you have not had other classroom experiences — in K-12 or college — where you got to share your voices in this way.

One of the major issues that came up across your letters was COMFORT. Many of you used that word. The circle is seems to work for you. As one person said, I feel connected because of the circle, and because of the blog which forces me to now everyone’s voice better. A few of you commented on nametags: at first I thought it was childish but now I like being able to call everyone by name here. It also helps to know who is who when reading the blogs!

Here are some other issues that seemed consistent across your letters:


While many of you said you don’t know how anyone would get by without reading in this class (“I would be LOST in class if I didn’t read!”), others of you said that you don’t really read. “I don’t read, I just skim.” Someone else said, “Honestly, the articles are all pretty boring except one or two…” But one person reported, “A few times I haven’t read the reading all the way and I was so lost in the discussion…” One person said that they could get by with a skim but then would not feel comfortable speaking the next day… still someone else said the same thing followed by “…but I know I do not have to take notes because there are no exam, test, or quizzes.” This does make me wonder if there is not enough reading accountability built into the syllabus. While many, many of you talked about the benefits of not having a midterm or final, I do worry that without them you will not feel accountable. I know that those of you who do read feel challenge (“readings are hard!”) but also that you are learning to be a better thinker if you engage deeply in the texts.

Texts you Remember:


Beauty and the Beast


GLSEN website

Card game

Alfie Kohn chart


Detailed syllabus is intimidating at first, but it really helps. One of you said you read it three times every week. A few more remarked that you appreciate that we actually stick to the dates and deadlines.


There was mixed feeling about the blogging we do. Some of you hate the technology of it because Blogger is confusing and difficult to manipulate. A few of you said that you don’t like the blog at all and wish you could just turn in papers. Several fo you talked about having to comment on others blogs: “Too many comments!!” They feel pointless to you. But I think that I need to find some way to teach you how to use the blogs better. You are right that the comments aren’t being used well. But I want o find a way to help you use them better so that you are learning more from each other each week. In spite of these frustrations, a few of you agreed that blogs are a great tool to use with future students someday. “Blogging really helps me feel prepared for class, boosts my confidence to speak.” Good or bad, almost 75% of you said that you hate the Sunday night deadline. I will talk more about this in class.

Service Learning:

Only a small handful of you even mentioned the SL project, but those who did seemed to be having a positive experience connecting the VIPS tutoring to our class themes.

Overall, many of you said that this class is helping you think about what kind of teacher you want to be. And further that you like our little community. “I will be sad when this class is over” One person noted, “I feel more comfortable addressing issues that before I once was afraid to talk about…” and another said, “I am learning acceptance…”

Specific Suggestions:

Have us move seats around every so often

Put the syllabus up on the blog

Change up the way we make groups for variation

“Seriously, this Sunday by midnight garbage needs to be eliminated or at least justified…”

We should be able to make our own groups sometimes…

Talk about religion as a cultural category

We can talk more about all of this in class!

LB :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Readings" for this week...

The readings for this week are not exactly readings, but things to check out online. This week marks a shift in the syllabus. Up until this point, we have been reading about broad theories about diversity and difference including the Culture of Power and issues of White Privilege. Now we are going to start to look at historical moments where these topics came into view in our schools.

Our topic this week is about Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), the historical supreme court decision that made the segregation of public schools unconstitutional.

You have FOUR tasks for this week:

1) I want you to explore this website to give you some background on Brown v. Board of Education.

2) Then I want you to watch these two videos that highlight the work of Tim Wise, author of "Between Barack and a Hard Place." Take notes while you watch so that you can refer to specific quote in your blog post and in class.

4) Read this very short article from March 2011 New York Times.
How do the issues that Bob Herbert raises shape how you think about Brown v. Board of Education?

3) Now blog about it.
What is the relationship between the historical issues you see in the website on Brown v. Board of Education and the contemporary issues of race that Bob Herbert and Tim Wise raise here?

Leave comments if you have any questions...

LB :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Promising Practices Conference

On Saturday, November 5, you will be attending the Promising Practices conference at Rhode Island College. Please go online here and register so that you will have the best shot at getting your first choice in workshop sessions.

(If you want to bring registration checks to class, I am happy to deliver them for you!)

Enjoy your long weekend.... see you next Thursday!

LB :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cultural Competency Paper

Hey folks,

Please don't forget that you have a short paper due in class on Thursday. I forgot to remind you since I didn't see you in class last Thursday, but the instructions are on the syllabus:

As you begin your SL Project, I want you to get to know the space you are working in and think about what it would mean to be a culturally competent teacher in this space. In this 4-6 page paper, describe the school and surrounding community. What is the neighborhood like? What do you see when you walk in the school building? Describe the cultures, languages, and other sociocultural characteristics of the students in the classroom in which you are tutoring. Investigate the statistical data about the school provided by the RI Department of Education or other databases. You can find this here on the web [www.infoworks.ride.uri.edu/2009/default.asp] (After you have selected your SCHOOL REPORT, select “Using Information” under Learning and Achievement). Does this classroom reflect awareness of these characteristics in the space (posters, books, decorations), teaching style, curriculum, etc? Describe what you see in specific detail. How do the demographic (race, ethnicity, class, language) influence the relationships between students, teachers, parents and community? How do the demographics influence your experience, if at all?

I will hand out the rubric on Tuesday so that you can check yourself but all of the details are in the paragraph above.

Let me know if you have any questions!!

See you on Tuesday.

LB :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cake and Class Warfare

I was really impressed with the work you did around the chocolate cake today. Your discussion was as strong as any I have had with graduate students around these issues. Really stimulating issues!! Thanks for your hard work.

We were a little rushed today in class after our cake activity so I wanted to post some resources for you to check out...

1) Kozol would call the circumstances of the community in Mott Haven a form of "class warfare." We talked about how Kozol supports this with evidence abut how the system designs weapons that keep poor people in their place: the incinerator, the lack of newspaper delivery, the SSI bureaucracy, the conditions in the hospital, the lack of heat in the government subsidized housing... Kozol suggest that poverty is a cycle designed explicitly to keep poor people in their place; it offers few avenues for mobility and thus people get trapped by a system that claims to help them.

2) That term — "class warfare" — is getting lots of airtime in the news and public discourse right now. As we debate the current state of our economy, the unemployment rates, the deficit, the tax code, we hear each side of the political argument staking their claims.
  • President Obama, in a speech on Monday 9/19/11, explained, "It is not class warfare... it is math." Obama's Speech defined his agenda for creating policy that reflects his committment to equity and tax reform.
  • Warren Buffet suggest that we are in a state of "class warfare" but in a statement last spring he noted, "“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.
  • Elizabeth Warren tries to redefine "class warfare" as well. "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody..." See her full statement below.

3) So how does public policy create and reproduce the state of our lives? See the charts we looked at in class that reflect how our national "cake" gets divided among our society. Play with the graph and try to understand what it means for our economy and our lives.

Would love to hear your comments on any or all of this... remember that my job is to help you understand the arguments. Your job is to then form an opinion and a position about where YOU stand on this issues and how they will inform the kind of teacher you want to be!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Welcome to FNED 346

Welcome to this FNED 346 blogging adventure!

Sometime before September 18, you will set up your own blog to use this semester for all of your Talking Points assignments, and to keep track of your thoughts about any of the issues we cover.

A blog is your very own, personal online journal. It is public, in that I and your classmates can read it and comment on it, but it is your space and you can control most everything about it. (If you want to make it private so that *only* members of this class can read it, I can show you how to do so).

In the context of this course, your blog has two purposes:

1) Your blog will provide a space for you to keep all of your Talking Points assignments over the course of our semester together. You will not hand in written assignments to me each week; rather you will post them on your blog. In this sense, your blog is merely your assignment notebook that you will use as you read and prepare for class each week. You will also be posting any additional thoughts you have: responses to class discussion, after thoughts, things you forgot to say in class, relevant experiences you have, etc.

But importantly, your blog is a public space and as you post (and comment on others'), you will gain a much richer understanding of everything we read and discuss in class. I want you to think of it as interactive and intertextual in that way.

2) Creating your own blog will also introduce you to the blogisphere if you don't know this place already. I hope that you will discover creative educational uses for this online medium. You will see how easy it is to use blogger.com, and perhaps it will inspire you to bring blogs into your own classroom someday.

To start your own blog, you will go to:


The big orange box at the top right of the page will direct you to creating your own blog on a site called blogspot.com. Follow the instructions to open up a free account. Don't forget your Username and Password!! You will need them to login everytime.

As you fill in the info, you will be asked to name your blog. This title will appear at the top of your blog. (Mine is called "fned346 Fall 2011")

Then, you need to choose an address:


This will be the web address associated with your site. you can call it anything you like. Be clever or simple (or both) -- it is up to you.

You will also need to choose a design template for your blog. Look through the options listed and see what appeals to you. You can change this later and can even find fun, creative templates at sites like PYZAM.

Once you have the account set up, you can start posting. A “posting” is an entry on your blog. (For clarification, you have one blog, but many postings). Give the post a title and then compose as you would any journal entry. When you are finished, hit the button at the bottom that says Publish Post. It will not appear on your blog until you publish it. You can always go back and edit old posts and create new ones.

Your First Post:
Your first post should be a short introduction to you: who are you, how your semester is going so far, what do you do when you are not in class, etc. (Just a short paragraph — no big deal). You will post the rest of the entries as they are due (see course syllabus for dates), or whenever you have something to say!

When you are done creating your site and posting your first entry, please come back to this blog and post a comment at the end of my first posting (scroll down) that includes your blog address so that I can post it in the link list to the right.

Some Tips and Helpful Hints:
  • Once you are in your blog, look at the top right corner of the screen. If you click on the word DESIGN, you will be able to make design changes, create new posts, edit old posts, etc. (You can only do this if you are logged in to your blog.)
  • Once you are in the DESIGN screen, you can do all kinds of things to make your blog a bit more interesting. Change your fonts and colors, edit a post, change your settings. See the tabs at the top of the screen for all kinds of options.
  • Poke around online and make a list of websites related to education, diversity, social justice or anything else relevant and post them on your blog. You can add all kinds of things by ADDING A GADGET from your Design Screen.
  • Just do the best you can with this. If you get stuck, don't fret... I am happy to help you anytime as you work on getting this started. Send me an email, come see me in office hours, or grab me after class. And remember: you can't break it. It is just a blog. Everything can be changed if need be!
Good luck!!

LB :)