Archive for the month “December, 2012”

blogging over break, what?!?

Like most people in this country, I have spent the past few days thinking an awful lot about the Newtown school shooting- it’s impossible not to, given how it is constantly on the news and on the internet. First and foremost, I think about how I cannot even begin to understand how awful and horrendous and life-changing this is for the families of the victims. I think about how I have a brother who is also 6 years old and in first grade. And I also think about what happened through the lens of education, which is the purpose for my post.

In GST 201, (and a little bit this semester in our education thesis group) we talked a lot about the flaws of the current education system. We criticized the idea of education being locked up- the underlying belief that learning occurs in a specific building, at a specific time of the day, and only certain people are allowed to be there. But after an atrocious massacre of six and seven year olds happens in an elementary school, how can we possibly criticize this? How can we blame them for literally locking schools up and keeping people out? School security all across the country already has and will continue to be strengthened, increasing the disconnection between the school and the larger society. Through my “education” lens, I see this as something that will push us further away from the kind of education we have been discussing- based in experience, equality, integration, and creativity- but something that now seems so necessary after what happened at Sandy Hook.

I think this also shows how no one or nothing- schools in particular- can be separated or disconnected from society as a whole. As hard as we try to shelter students, to “lock them up” during the hours of the school day, to keep other people out, they, and therefore education, are still clearly part of the bigger picture. This happened in a “safe” suburban town, in an ELEMENTARY school, a place where children are required by law to go, that had safety measures in place, and yet innocent, vulnerable children came face to face with the evil that exists in our world. This obviously doesn’t happen in most elementary schools, but it DID happen, and now so many children know that it CAN happen. How successful can education be (regardless of how much we may disagree with their definition of education), if there is an aspect of fear involved? How can we ever hope to change the way we think about and practice “education” when we live in a world that is capable of such horror?


A break…what does that even mean?

Thanks to Brenna for stopping to acknowledge the victims and families in Connecticut.  I feel sick every time I read an article about it.  The thought that haunts me is that there are really two tragedies: one, the innocent deaths and every life they touch (everyone’s, truly) and two, that I can’t escape the feeling that this could have been prevented.

While I remember those lives cut short, my own and ours continue.  I wanted to post my “to read/do” list for this break on here because there is some correlation between written goals and achieving them.  Most of them directly correlate to our project, too.  So, in no particular order…

  • Read Pedagogy of the Oppressed (I have seen this title mentioned too many times not to read it)
  • Read Walk Out Walk On (thanks Magali!)
  • Read to prepare for spring break Witness for Peace delegation to Nicaragua (some of these are very in line with the ethical considerations we’ve been looking at in class)
  • Begin putting together monster paper for independent study with Lynnzie and Dr. G
  • Read Doing Visual Research
  • Practice digital storytelling–poem written abroad and autobiography

A few weeks ago, I went to a lunch with Eric, Nick, tom, Sarah, and co. (being other GST, PSP, Feinsteiners) about digital storytelling.  Eric showed us some AWESOME sites that I hope to use for the last bullet point.  Here they are so that anyone can check them out over break.  We don’t ever really “break” do we?

Story Center — has a bunch of examples of digital storytelling and other interesting resources

The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling — a GOLD MINE for us.  It has everything you need to teach yourself and then show others how to put together a digital storytelling project.  It’s pretty important because if we try to work with other people to do a visual storytelling project, we should probably know something about it ourselves first!


Little Angels

Just a quick post for everyone to send our their prayers to the families involved today with the elementary school in Newton, CT. How can an individual go into place of education and knowledge and make it so dangerous? Lets all take time out of our day today to pray for those lives cut all too short in a place they thought they were the safest. RIP to all the little angels, heaven became a little more colorful today.

oh this old thing?!

so yeah we’ve been a little MIA. but HAI HAI ITS FINALS WEEK. give us some slack. I know my group has been off doing their own thangs in regards to getting ready for the other finals they have. but although you all have probably had some finals I wanted to give a shout out to those who still have some and are studying their buns off. You will all do great. And if I have learned anything from my research/observation about education then if you approach your work with a positive mindset and a learning method that benefits you then anything is possible. See you all for classy tomorrow.

this is probably wicked inappropriate but it could be fun for a little finals break

Obligatory “done with my lit review” post

So this is how I felt at 12:00am on Friday

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas holds up the World Cup trophy.

It feels really good to have the lit review done.  It was a complete purging of emotions.  I’m pretty sure I was beaming in Club Phil when I went to hit submit on Sakai.  It’s the first lit review I’ve ever written so we’ll see how it goes.  I expect to see a sea of red, however, that’s okay.  Writing the lit review has been a learning process for me.  I regret not having my act together earlier and then I could’ve submitted a rough draft, but I must accept those consequences.  It’s not that the lit review wasn’t enjoyable to write or to research for, it’s just that it feels so good to have handed it in and be done with something that consumed so much time and energy.  Now to get through finals week!  Good luck to all!

that awkward moment when…

I haven’t updated since before handing in my lit review.

So I submitted my lit review last Thursday (the first day they were due), and before I could write a celebratory blog post, I heard a rumor that all lit reviews that had been handed in so far were done wrong. So I didn’t feel like celebrating anymore and my glorious feeling was gone.

But even though my incorrectly written lit review is behind me (at least for now), I would like to let the blogging world know that I am not at all done with my topic. Last Friday, I had a casual interview/meeting at Sojourner House, where I will be interning next semester. Sojourner House, located on Smith Street, is an organization that works to both support domestic violence victims and to prevent violence. The woman who interviewed me was really impressed that I have done research on this topic for capstone and had firsthand experience with it in Ecuador. I am really excited to get to intern there and see for myself how my topic is playing out in the real world.

What I think of whenever we say “edugirls”/another fun post

My sister is 11 years old, so I’ve never completely left the days of PBS educational shows (I’m sure Lynnzie can relate).  They’ve changed a little bit and now Word Girl is on.  The theme song pops into my head every time we write about the “edugirls,” “educhicas,” or whatever we call ourselves.  Enjoy!

tonight’s meeting

EduGirls met tonight in Slavin. Our meeting was centered around community partners and our CART research project presentation on Thursday. First, Anne, Taylor, and I updated Grace and Brenna on our community partner adventure and meeting today. Basically, everything that we told them can be found in Taylor’s post below. We’re all really excited about working with EFA and so far they seem to be a great fit with our education lens and capstone experience. I just want to emphasize how much this organization functions like our capstone class functions. They have eliminated the idea of hierarchy from their decision making process and come to a consensus on changes and proposals, like we did with our grading system. (except for the part where they have only NINE people).

After we were all on the same page with our community partner, we banged out our research plan. We made a powerpoint, which I don’t think I can upload on here. (?) I’m not sure how much detail I should go into in this post, but we talked about all of the questions and did our best to answer them. For example, two of our biggest concerns with this project are the big time commitment (6:30-8:30 Monday-Thursday) and transportation. It was also hard for us to answer some of the questions, such as the project timeline and what happens in the future, since we had literally just met our community partner five hours ago. If any of my group members or tKL think that I should elaborate more in this post about our research plan, I will gladly add more information, but I don’t want to give everything away that we’re going to talk about on Thursday in our presentation, and Taylor just explained our potential project in the previous post.

After the powerpoint was done, we went our separate ways to continue chugging along- to use Taylor’s choo choo train reference- with all of the work and nonsense that must be completed before the end of the semester.

Lit(erally) Done

Okay so this blog post is a little late..but I did finish my lit review on Friday! Although it feels strange to say “finished” just because what we are doing is a whole year-long process so to put a DONE on my Literature Review almost seems inappropriate. Regardless I had a great experience cumulation of my information for the whole thing, and it was crazy to see it play out in all different organizations that I am a apart of and of course classes as well. I left my review off with a research question that delves into the issue of these great collaborative means and methods trying to be integrated into classrooms without being deemed “Alternative” since that holds such an array of prejudices.

But after we went over our presentation today for Thursday and what our community partner has in store for us I’m excited to use the research I have gained from my Literature Review and put that into the lesson plans that we create for the classes through EFA. The possibilities are endless my friends….OvEr&OuT



this has nothing to do with anything I just soley for your entertainment to get you through this hellish school week…god how annoying was this girl…

The Obstacle Course (and yes, we finally have a CP!)

This afternoon Lynnzie, Anne and I embarked on quite the adventure.  We had our meeting today with EFA to see about a community partner collaboration.  Grace and Brenna could not make it due to class and other commitments, but Grace was generous enough to lend us her car so that we could get there.  As we were strolling down Eaton nearing Grace’s house, we saw a silver jeep parked at the end of the driveway.  Grace had previously arranged that her roommates moved their cars so we would be able to get out easily.  We hoped and prayed that it was someone else’s driveway and not Grace’s.  We were wrong.  Fail.  We tried knocking on doors, but no one was home and so we could not get Grace’s car out of the drive way.  After trying to get in touch with other people, Lynnzie realized that she had her boyfriend’s car keys back at her place and could take his car.  After sprinting from Grace’s to our dorm and down to the parking lot, we made our way down to EFA.

Then obstacle number two struck: detours and one ways.  Oh, city living.  Why must Providence have so many one way streets?  And why must our destination always be in the opposite direction of one ways?  After a couple of detours and a few loops around the block, we finally reached the mills/the plaza where EFA is located.  We, of course, couldn’t find it at first and hence had obstacle #3.  Lynnzie found a couple of guys in the parking lot and asked them where it was and we were able to find it.

We were so happy to be able to see that EFA sign.  Finally, no more obstacles!  We met Kim and she talked to us for about an hour about EFA.  She gave us another small packet about how EFA works and explained a little bit about the learner leadership project.  Basically, what this project entails is a restructuring of student roles.  At EFA, they’ve noticed that the enrollment starts off pretty high at the beginning of the semester, but by the end is very low.  It is not always immediately obvious how the students are learning new skills and so when they are not doing what they came there for, for example developing good writing skills or speaking, they tend to drop the class after a couple of sessions.  In order to resolve this problem, they want to create a learner leadership program where the students will help with the EFA newsletter.  They, specifically the high-intermediate learners group, will be able to choose what goes into it, how they will go about it, to take a bigger part in the organization and see some of the behind the scenes work, and most importantly, to choose what their role will be in it.  In this way, they will be able to work on the skills that they specifically want to develop.  We will hopefully get to work on this project, but it is still in the proposal stage so hopefully the rest of the members at EFA approve (sounds very GST to me!).  Both ourselves and Kim think that we could work well together.  The newsletter is definitely going to need photos so maybe our visual research can come in there.  We shall see!  Even if the learner leadership program doesn’t get approved, we can still collaborate in other ways.  I should also mention that we got to meet some other members of EFA, among them a really nice woman named Rosario who spoke to us in Spanish about her role at EFA (us three Spanish majors were obviously elated).  So, to sum up, after a challenging afternoon, we finally made it to EFA and are officially partnered!  We will talk to Brenna and Grace tonight at our group meeting about our meeting with Kim.  This is so exciting!  Sorry for the length!

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