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Questions for Panel

  1. Is your class an inclusive classroom? If so, how many children do you have with IEP’s?
  2. What grade levels do you teach?
  3. What made you decide you wanted to be a teacher?
  4. Do you teach an anti-bias curriculum?
  5. What social justice issues have you had to address in your classroom? How did you go about addressing them?
  6. Are the parents of your students involved?
  7. Have you had any pushback from parents? How did you handle that pushback?
  8. Do you have a supportive faculty and administration?
  9. How are you involving the community in your classroom? Do you take field-trips, bring in guest speakers, etc.?
  10. What is the biggest unexpected challenge you have faced as a teacher?
  11. What advice would you give to pre-service teachers?

Good Grief

All families experience death.  For some of our PLC members, their first experience was in high school; for others, a classmate lost their life in middle school.  We recognize that we were all very blessed to have not experienced the tragedy of death when were in preschool.  A PLC member spoke about a student she works with losing her father at the age of three.  There was no curriculum in place to help the girl deal with her complicated and deep feelings and it was not even spoken of in the classroom.

In, Rethinking Early Childhood Education, a story of the loss of classmates (a brother and sister who tragically died in a fire at their babysitters house), the principal asked that the teacher not dwell on the loss of life, but get back to school as usual as quickly as possible.

Upon seeing her students’ confusion and grief due to the loss of their friend, she created curriculum and activities to respond to her students’ questions and sadness.  They decorated Jessica’s desk with cards and letters to vocalize how much they missed their playmate.  The teacher erected a bulletin board memorial to commemorate Jessica’s life and her presence in the classroom.

The teacher began to see the similarities in the different types of loss students experience.  She began to develop the same kind of activities for students whose parents are in jail or whose parents are divorced and they only get to see one of their parents frequently.

Grief is an important part of life.  We will all experience loss at some point and it is important that each person have the tools to handle that grief.  We believe that it is our job as early childhood educators to help children begin to develop these tools that they will carry with them for life.

Language In The Classroom

For this week we decided to talk about the different languages in the classroom and how it is important for teachers to corporate their languages into the class room. In order to discuss this we decided to talk about three of the different videos we watched in class last week.

Appalachian English: it shows the prejudice against people who talk not in full english. When we hear them talk you automatically begin to think that they are uneducated, but it is not always the case. It is also interesting that they were able to create a completely different language from combining the different words other cultures use. It is also important because this video highlights accent differences and the importance of code switching depending on who you are talking to. It was also interesting that many people thought they prefer to talk with people who use their own language because it reminds them at home.

Legitimizing Student language: It acknowledges AAVE( african american vernacular English). The teacher would have the students translate the sentence for AAVE to standard english. By saying translate, he gave the AAVE a more legitimate language and validates it as an actual language.

TRI-Tounged oration: Was a video in which a women talked about how she is tri-tounged cause she can talk to all sorts of people. Even though they aren’t three different languages she was able to use three different dialects which makes her basically tri-lingual. She is able to code switch, which allows her to talk to all sorts of people.

As teacher it is important for us to appreciate all our students languages and help them feel comfortable and proud of the language they speak. We should work hard to teach students in the most comfortable languages, so we should be accepting of her home language.

Next week we will all pick our own favorite stories from the book and discussed why we picked it and what they were about

Talking the Talk & Heather’s Moms Got Married

Talking the Talk goes well with this week’s discussion and readings. The passage discusses the implication of a Head Start classroom’s ability to bring in different languages. We talked about how indigenous speakers are some of the best teachers because they are able to help maintain a culturally sensitive environment. The passage goes on to say that the teachers relied on the migrant parents to recommend other speakers and teachers in order to produce the culturally sensitive language.

Delpit’s article about teaching other people’s children and the importance of finding instruction that has a connection to the child’s cultural life and their personal interests. It is not enough just to place a child in the classroom and expect them to learn the same as their peers. Each child will have their own learning style and will react differently to every lesson. It is the role of the teacher to make sure to incorporate a child’s culture and interests so that every child is heard. Often times a culture can be overlooked but if teachers take the time to incorporate the differences in their classrooms the differences can be beneficial.

Heather’s Moms Got Married is a little off topic for the week but has equally important lessons. A discussion among second graders can highlight the most important issues of society today. The groups discusses Brown vs. Board of Education and realizes that things would be very different had that case not happened. The class soon realizes that things are fairer in some ways (in the sense that multiracial families are no longer illegal) but that in other ways things are no fairer than before this case. A family with two moms or two dads are still suffering injustices.

This teacher is now faced with a tough decision of how to guide the class through this discussion. Family diversity is most definitely a spontaneous curriculum that this teacher often takes advantage of. Since she teaches in a diverse community and school she is able to explore this topic easier than most, but she still faces difficulties with student interactions. Cowhey shares some of the stories she had heard among her students and how in most cases she didn’t have to interfere. The students asked their questions and shared their comments freely and most times were responded to by their own peers. These children recognized the injustice that diverse families face and give hope to the future of interpersonal relations.

Using 3C products as a entertainment– Wether it’s good for children’s developmental pursuits or not?

Ever since the 1950s when television sets began to appear in the average home, kids have one more ways of entertainment at home. Nowadays, television has become the most popular media, which is also the indispensable device in our daily life. Teenagers like to talk about those popular TV programs or TV plays with their friends. However, some families in China advocate people limit the watching TV time for their kids, especially for those early age kids. In western countries, people describe those lazy people who do nothing but sit on the couch and watch television as “couch potato”. In the reading materials in this week, the teacher designed a wonderful curriculum to let students use math to analyze what TV is teaching them. With these two chapters, our group members discussed a lot about whether using 3C products (Computer, Chdiexyhwoann, and Consumer Electronics) in their spare time are good for students in their early childhood or not.

As the typical 90s generations, there was no 3C products in our childhood. Without iPads, computers, and smart phones, we played games with our friends and learned how to communicate with different people through different social activities. Our experience in our childhood proves that without those 3C products, kids still can have a happy childhood. One of our group members shared her tutoring experience with us. She mentioned that the kids’ parents were too busy to look after their kids and invited her to take care of the kids. The parents told her, “Our kids like to watch TV. After eating breakfast, you can just let them watch TV until we come back home at night.” Television takes place of face-to-face communication. Ironically, the parents even spend money to the tutor to accompany their kids to watch TV instead of letting the tutor communicate with them. Watching TV or playing iPad becomes a lazy way for parents to supervise their kids. When kids are watching TV, they don’t need to think. Some of them would even be attracted by the TV. When the parents talk with them, they don’t have any response. Furthermore, in the aspect of health, spending hours watching TV is harmful for eyesight.

According to the reading material, some TV plays are full of violence and inappropriate contents. During our small group discussion, we also spoke highly of the teachers’ method about letting students use math to analyze the contents in TV. Students not only can learn how to collect data, but also have their own conclusions based on their own data. However, there is no direct proof that the increase in television violence highlighted on the site had led to more real-life killing. Although some of the conclusions from those kids need to be considered in different perspectives, it is still essential to let them realize that the importance of thinking for themselves and questioning the sources of their information.

Note Taker: Amy (Rongchenzi) Wang

Miles of Aisles of Sexism – Toys and Clothes

We’ve talked about the use of gendered toys and now we have found a similar use in gendered clothes. This video discusses the powerful messages that clothes and clothing companies are giving children. For example, girls can wear things that boys can wear, but boys can’t wear the things that girls can wear.

The point that we have found reinforced is that women are inferior and what men do is considered normal. At a young age girls and boys are taught what is acceptable of their gender. This continues throughout their lives and even today we find ourselves caught in the midst of it. Society wants to call out women for being “basic” when in reality both genders are portraying a “basic” lifestyle. For example, when girls want to get their Starbucks and wear yoga pants they are considered basic, but when all men are wearing the same clothes and watching the same sports their behavior is not perceived  as abnormal.

How do we talk about the dominant culture that we all participate in without shaming them for participating in the acts?

Next week we will read…Why We Banned Legos.

Understanding the Melting Pot.

The title of this article imagines a world in which the world was one race, but that is the furtherest from the truth. In modern society kids will always face racial differences and it is important that we teach the most up to date information. This article discussed the importance of an anti-bias curriculum. It touches down on the fact that when creating an anti-bias curriculum we can not just focus on the issues, we must also look at their development as well. As teachers we must focus and confront stereotypes, prejudice, and discriminatory practices and come up with the most acceptable way to teach our children. Children are always bluntly honest so it is our job to not punish them but to teach them what is appropriate and try to alter their racial beliefs. Likewise it is important to keep in mind teaching an anti-bias curriculum that correctly teaches kids about the LGBT community. If we correctly teach the younger generations, the kids are more likely to be socially accepting.

Our other article touched down on a very similar topic. As our cultures blend we must keep in mind the importance of also focusing on other cultures tradition and experiences. The author spoke about his personal experience in which he was discriminated against because he tried to switch the christmas tree for a Menorah. He felt as if his religion was knocked down to uphold another. America is truly a melting pot so we must make all individuals feel welcomed and respected.

Reading for next week:

“What About Play”