Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SL Final Project Link

Here's our Final Service Learning Project!

Danielle Granata & Kate McCaughey

Social Justice Event Post!

For my event this semester I went to the Open Books-Open Minds Student Conference. This conference was held on Friday, April 11th and I attended 12-3pm in the Student Union Ballroom. I originally had to go to this conference for my FYS class, but after sitting through this event and listening to all of the speakers I actually found it really easy to find ways to relate what they were saying to this class. Each year OBOM picks a new book to discuss. The book that was discussed this year was PYM by Mat Johnson, which I didn't read but I ended up looking up more information on it after the event. PYM was based off of Edgar Allen Poe's novel that had to do with racial identities in America and Antarctica and the power of whiteness. The main character in Johnson's book was Chris Jaynes, an African American professor who decided to venture off with a group of other African Americans to find the island in Poe's book. The rest of the story is about what he and his crew find and what they face when they arrive at Antarctica. So anyways, back to the conference. There was a panel of 5 or 6 people in front of us discussing issues and themes they found in this story. The two topics that I thought I could relate to this class were issues including LGBTQ and racism in the book PYM. 

So one of the speakers was talking about racism as a topic. He explained how racism is shown a lot throughout the book PYM. It is displayed in the main characters life, as he is the only African American professor at the college he works at and he was treated differently than other professors with the same degree. Also the island in Antarctica that he wants to explore has a population of only African Americans but it is described as a place of horror. He discussed how the term "whiteness" was shown a lot through this book. This speaker automatically made me think of two of our class readings. Both Privilege, Power, and Difference by Allan Johnson and White Privilege by Peggy McIntosh could relate to this speakers view. Both authors discuss the issues dealing with white privilege and the power that white people hold over others, even when it is unnoticed. This speaker described ways that white privilege is still shown today, and how evident that is even in a book that was only written a few years ago.

Another speaker talked about LGBTQ as a topic. She explained how in the book, there was a gay couple on the ship. They were two males who were part of the all African American crew that the protagonist picked. In the book, the gay couple was documenting their adventure for a blog. The speaker discussed how they were treated differently than the other crew members. They were not treated as equally as others throughout the entire adventure. This speaker's view reminded me of the same views as Gerri August in Safe Spaces. Both the speaker and Gerri August would agree that in order for the couple to have felt welcome on the ship, they would need the support from the rest of the crew and to feel as they are treated with the same respect as the others. Which they should have been! 

This conference actually ended up being a lot more interesting than I thought it would have been! I'm glad I had the opportunity to go and hear some of the student's opinions and relate them back to this class! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Education is Politics- Extended Comments

This reading, Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change by Ira Shor, definitely tied together pretty much all of the readings from this semester. I think that this reading helped to make all of these topics a little bit clearer for me. For this week I decided to do an Extended Comments post off of Jamie's Blog post because she explained this reading exactly as I would have and she made really good connections! 

Jamie first describes the eleven values that Shor lists, that will help to create a more empowering education:

  • Participation
  • Affective
  • Problem - posing
  • Situated
  • Multicultural 
  • Dialogic
  • Desocializing
  • Democratic
  • Researching
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Activist
She then explains how all of these topics connect so well to all of our other authors and readings that we have had this semester. This reading connects to Alfie Kohn and what good and bad things to look for in classrooms. It also connects to Kahne and Westheimer, the effects of service learning in classrooms, how to incorporate SL into the curriculum, and the difference between charity and change SL. There are connections to Collier and Rodriguez and the positives and negatives in multicultural classrooms. Shor can relate to Delpit and the rules and codes of power. Also August, and making a classroom a Safe Space for students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, etc. and involving those topics in student learning. Last but not least, Christensen and the "secret education" that children are exposed to in schools.

It is clear that Shor's reading is a definite recap of everything we have learned this semester and I think that the very first line of this reading is exactly what we have been questioning after this whole semester and all of these readings. 

"What kind of educational system do we have? What kind do we need?
How do we get from one to the other?" (11)

In Jamie's post she also brings up how Shor encourages students to question the "status quo" and of course this fits so well with this lovely clip from High School Musical! People are allowed to be whoever they want to be! 

Jamie's blog post really summed up the article and connected this reading to pretty much every author! Everyone check out her post! :)

For my own little conclusion, I think that the Shor reading was perfect as our last reading of the semester! (It went by so fast!!) This reading wraps up all of the main topics we've covered from the presence of privilege in classrooms, multilingual classrooms, codes of power, the secret education, and creating a safe space for the students. All of the readings we have read this semester will affect the way I will be as a teacher and will help me to become the best teacher I can! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Citizenship in School: Quotes

This weeks reading: Citizenship in School: Conceptualizing Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer was awesome. Although it was long, I thought that it was really interesting and I loved reading all of the different stories. I think that the most important part of this piece was the idea of community and that all children should be educated equally. There were so many quotes in this reading that really stood out to me. There were three from the very beginning that really helped me form an idea of what this reading was about. 

The first quote was said by Judith Snow, "Community requires a willingness to see people as they are--different perhaps in their minds and in their bodies, but not different in their spirits or in their willingness and ability to contribute to the mosaic of society." (73) 
In this quote, I think Snow was showing how important it is for a community to be accepting towards one and other in order to be successful. 

The second quote that stood out to me was: "Success in life requires an ability to form relationships with others who make up the web of community." (73)
Kliewer was also making a point very similar to Snow's; a successful community requires successful relationships with everyone who is in it. Everyone should be accepted and treated equally. 

The third quote I loved was: "It's not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label. We're all here- kids, teachers, parents, whoever- it's about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that's what learning is." (75)
This quote by teacher Shayne Robbin's about her students is saying that all students are able to learn the same materials whether they have disabilities or not. But there is no need to put a label on a student regarding a disability. They will all learn, just maybe at a different pace. Everyone needs to work together as a community in order for learning to happen.

This reading was very focused on making a classroom environment that is suitable to everyone. There should be no segregation regarding disabilities in classrooms, because all children have the ability to learn. This reading actually reminded me a lot of the Oakes article we read last week on tracking. Tracking students with disabilities and separating them from others who learn differently will only do more harm then good. It will make the students think that they are different in a bad way, which is not the case. This article also kind of reminded me about the Safe Spaces article. Creating a welcoming environment that is non-judging with a community of people who are supportive. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Literacy With An Attitude- Connections

I probably should have looked over this 35 page reading before I decided to read it at 10 o'clock at night... Literacy with an Attitude: Educating Working-Class Children in Their Own Self-Interest by Finn wasn't really easy for me to get into and fully understand. What I was able to grab out of this reading was that Finn was explaining how education in schools is affected by the social class of the students who attend. It is also affected by the type of neighborhood the school is in. Working class people need to learn powerful literacy just as higher class people do. This automatically made me think of the reading by Bob Herbert: "Separate and Unequal" The reading by Lisa Delpit: "Other People's Children" also cam across my mind in this reading.

For last weeks blog post we read about Brown v. Board of Education and one of the readings was Bob Herbert's article. Bob Herbert argues that if a school is in a neighborhood with high concentrations of poverty than the students at one of those schools are not getting as good of an  education as a student in a more affluent area. He gives the example that teachers with the best education tend to avoid schools in areas of poverty because "it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty."  I think that Finn would agree completely. In the Preface of this reading Finn states: "The status quo is the status quo because people who have the power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are. It takes energy to make changes, and the energy must come from the people who will benefit from the change. But the working class does not get powerful literacy, and powerful literacy is necessary for the struggle. How can the cycle be broken?"  I think that Herbert would also wonder how that cycle could be broken. In these readings both authors discuss the issues within schools of a lower social class and the type of education they are currently getting compared to the type of education they should be getting. I think Herbert and Finn are saying that society believes that the higher the social class, the better the education has to be because the higher the social class the more professional a person will be. 

The ideas of Lisa Delpit also ran through my head as I read this article. Lisa Delpit argues in her reading that  a teacher must state the rules and codes of power of a classroom explicitly in order for every child to understand and become a successful student. In the article Literacy with an Attitude Finn discusses the methods of power he used as a teacher. On page 4 Finn states, "I didn't say to an errant student, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Stop that and get to work.' No discussions. No openings for an argument." He clearly stated the rules and codes of power of his own classroom so that the student would know exactly what it means. I think that Lisa Delpit would applaud him for this, because this is how she believes every teacher should be towards their students. 

Also found this website! Information on the book, the author, and some of his other books! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Separate Is Not Equal

Brown v. Board of Education- Free Response

The website on Brown v. Board of Education, the article by Bob Herbert, and the two videos about the book Between Barack and a Hard Place by Tim Wise all have one very strong topic in common. The issues of segregation and racism. On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race and made equal opportunities in education for people of all races. Since then, racial integration in schools is present and segregation has subsided, but Bob Herbert and Tim Wise say differently. They believe that because of public opinions on people of a race other than white, racism has not completely gone away, and is still a problem in America today.

 In the article "Separate and Unequal" by Bob Herbert, he discusses the issues of education in lower class communities. Education is lower class communities or communities with high counts of poverty are considered to be less educated communities. Herbert believes this is due to the fact that teachers who are highly educated do not want to teach in low class areas. He states, "Educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools." He also states than it has been shown that poor children will do better academically if they are in a classroom learning with children of a higher social class or even in a more affluent school. Many students living in poverty or in these lower class areas are black or Hispanic. Because of this there would be racial and ethnic integration in the more affluent schools. "Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality." -Herbert. Brown v. Board of Education fought for schools to be integrated and for all students of all races to be equal. Although schools stay true to that law, due to issues with race and social class, segregation is still present in a different way which I don't think was presented back in 1954.

Tim Wise has a similar argument. In his book Between Barack and a Hard Place, he explains how issues of racism are still present even at a time when America has an African American president. He believes that there are still biased opinions towards the black communities and that America is in denial. He categorized racism into to groups. Racism 1.0 which is as he states "old school biased" or the kind of racism that was allowed when segregation was not unconstitutional. But he says that we should watch out for Racism 2.0 which he thinks is being brought around now. Racism 2.0, or as he calls it "enlightened exceptional-ism" is thought of as people who support President Obama because he is different than the "black norm." The fact that there are thoughts of a black norm is racist in the first place. Wise stated that 6 out of 10 Americans trusted at least one of the following stereotypes about African Americans.
1. Less intelligent than white people
2. More aggressive
3. Less hardworking
4. Less patriotic
5. Live on Welfare so they do not have to work

If Americans still have opinions such as those then it is clear that racism is still present.

This article reminded me a lot of the article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh. I think that the ideas of Herbert, Wise, and McIntosh are all very closely related. Peggy McIntosh believed that the idea of White Privilege is everywhere and that it is learned at a young age that it is okay. Although we may not see it ourselves and believe that it is not there, it is still present in our everyday lives in ways we don't realize. I think that is what Herbert and Wise are trying to say also. With issues in education due to race and social class, the African American and Hispanic communities are segregated in a way that is unnoticeable to society in a major way. White Privilege is then present. The ideas that many Americans have about the "black norm" in a community shows that white people are considered more successful than people of another race which is not true. Tim Wise stated that "If you want to know if a problem is still a problem, it probably makes sense to talk to the ones who are the target of it, not the ones who don't have to know, because we're not."

The historical issues that are presented on the website on Brown v. Board of Education have not completely gone away. The contemporary issues of race raised by Tim Wise and Bob Herbert have always been around, but they have never been taken care of because they are not always noticed by society. The education of African Americans, Hispanics, or anyone of another race is in jeopardy. I believe that it is because the idea of “white privilege" is so present in America. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In the Service of What? Reflection

For this weeks reading "In the Service of What? Politics of Service Learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer I decided to do a reflections piece. This reading was all about the benefits and affect the Serving Learning projects have on a society. Service Learning can also be viewed in two different ways: Charity and Change. The difference between Charity and Change is the different moral, political, and intellectual goals that come along with it. This reading made me think what my own service learning experience is all about. 

Doing a service learning project in an elementary school is definitely a lot of fun. To me, I think I would consider this experience to be more charity than change, although it sounds a little strange to consider it that way. I would hope that just in the short amount of time, I can make a change but I think this experience is more about helping students to be successful. "...service learning activities seek to promote students' self-esteem, to develop higher-order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities, and to provide authentic learning experiences..." (Page 2) Being able to help students understand and comprehend their work and have fun while doing it is a great feeling. In my own service learning experiences, I help three students with reading comprehension and fluency. Its a great feeling to know that you've helped them and they appreciate you! This definitely serves as an "additive experience" (displayed in the chart on page 5). Working with these students is very rewarding. Not only do I help to teach them, but they help to teach me how to become a better teacher/person. I think that's what the point of service learning is all about. It is made to benefit everyone in many different ways. 

I was also able to find this great link! 
It has a lot of great service learning project ideas to check out! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Extended Comments: "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"

 First off I have to say that this was definitely one of my favorite readings so far! Even if it kind of ruined my childhood a little... "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us" by Linda Christensen gave me a completely different view on so many cartoons and Disney movies that I grew up to know and love. Unfortunately, after reading this article and actually thinking about it, Linda Christensen is totally correct in saying that there is a "secret education" delivered in these cartoons and movies that has given me a certain view on life. For this week’s blog I decided to do Extended Comments on Julie's Blog because it I could totally agree with everything she was saying and she did a great job! Linda Christensen stresses the secret education that lies within many Disney movies. She believes that teenagers are "being exposed to TV images of girls and their set roles given to them by TV and the media" (129) Christensen also states that "children's books and movies, instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these social blueprints. And often that world depicts the domination of one sex, one race, one class, or one country over a weaker counterpart." (126) I think that Julie did a great job at showing examples of these issues that Christensen points out.
Here's a link to Julie's Blog!

I really liked this first picture that Julie posted on her blog so I had to use it!

This picture completely relates to Christensen's opinions on what Disney movies are actually portraying in their stories!

In Julie's blog she brought up many great examples showing how Disney movies poorly represent different people and different cultures. Julie starts out by saying how most Disney characters are pretty, skinny, and feminine, which right off the bat provides a image that young girls will want to see themselves as. The older characters are often portrayed as the bad guys and they are usually not the best looking. Julie also mentions in her post how many of the relationships in Disney movies "fail to accurately represent human sexuality because these movies have only ever portrayed “true love” as an attraction between a handsome, muscular man and an unreasonably attractive, hyper-feminine girl." She then goes on to make the point that there are no same-sex couples portrayed in Disney movies, which is a great point. There has yet to be a Disney movie where two people of the same sex fall in love with a perfect fairy-tale ending!
Another interesting point that Julie brought up in her blog post was how people of different cultures are displayed negatively in Disney movies. She used the example of Aladdin and how it portrayed an Arab stereotype. The evil character, Jafar, is a man of the Arab culture who is shown as the bad guy in the movie.
She also brought up the issue of gender roles in Disney movies. As an example she used the movie Mulan, and how it was kind of comical to see Mulan act like a guy and dress like a guy, and how Mulan struggled hiding her femininity. While it was funny to us as children, what we did not realize was how it stereotypes men.

Julie did a really awesome job reflecting on Linda Christensen's article and connecting it to many issues that she has now been able to see within many Disney movies! It was definitely interesting to read so everyone should check her blog out!

Just as a little side piece: I found this picture and thought it was kind of cool. These are a few of the Disney princesses dressed as the evil characters in their own stories! (Notice how they don't even look evil...)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Safe Spaces: Hyperlinks

Reading the article "Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth" by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy really made me want to research some stories online about LGBT issues. I attended public schooling so the issue of religion and gay marriage was never spoken about in the curriculum. It was common to see LGBT couples walking in the hallways together and they were treated as everyone else. Though it wasn't as common to see as straight couples, people were accepting as far as I know. I had never heard any issues regarding LGBT couples in my high school. I decided to research some schools that did have issues with this topic, public and private schools. What I found were stories that really broke my heart. It really is awful to see how un-accepting some people can be. It was nice to see that some people were able to over-come their struggles with bullying and suicidal thoughts with help of friends, family, and support groups.

The first article I found was on a website named which brings up many rights issues including LGBT. I found a story about a young boy, only a freshman in an Ohio high school, who was bullied for being gay. He was beaten and treated poorly by other students during school. The worst part, the principal of the school and even the teachers were no help and did not support him.
Here is the article:

The next website I found was really interesting to me. It is called It is a website regarding the Give A Damn campaign and it's full of information supporting LGBT equality. It has information on the campaign itself, LGBT issues, personal stories, a blog, and a store! I got a chance to read a lot of personal stories about people who were discriminated at work, school, by friends and family, and the military. There were gay marriage stories and also stories on hate crimes. The blog was full of stories like that too. It really was interesting to read and learn a little more about. And i love the idea of the Give a Damn campaign!
Here's a link to that website:

The article Safe Spaces really relates to the websites i found because it definitely shows how important school has an effect on LGBT students. Teachers and administrators need to support their students no matter what. If they don't, they shouldn't be teachers! It is so important to make school a safe and welcoming place for all students to matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. No student should feel out of place or feel like they are in danger. A teacher should be aware of bullying and know how to stop it. They should also recognize when there is an issue regarding LGBT issues or race issues. I really enjoyed this week's reading Safe Spaces, it has really helpful information.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Aria" Argument

In the article "Aria" by Richard Rodriguez, the author tells his own story about having to learn English at a young age, and how it affected his childhood and his life today. As a young child, Rodriguez attended Catholic schooling that was very strict about teaching English as a child's public language. The author felt as if he had to make English his public language and that Spanish had become his private language. But even after a while, in the Rodriguez house, Spanish was not even the language they used at home to each other, it became just a part of their past. Rodriguez believes that because they chose to only speak English, his family has grown apart, because they are now able to go out with confidence and meet new people and take part in other activities. Rodriguez argues that although his family may not have such a strong connection anymore, becoming fluent in English has also benefited his family in greater ways. 

In this article I believe that Richard Rodriguez is arguing that although the idea of assimilation causes a person to lose their private individuality, they are able to gain a public individuality that will help them to be successful. The author explains that by choosing to learn English and use it as his only language, Rodriguez and his family lost the close private connections they had with each other when they stopped using Spanish. But at the same time, he is arguing that by becoming fluent in English he has achieved public success and a confidence in himself. Rodriguez's main point in this article was to explain that the loss of his private individuality helped him to gain a strong public individuality. 

"So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by 

becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the 
achievement of public individuality." (39)

This website helped me to make sense of this quote a little more:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Silenced Dialogue: Quotes


"Other People's Children"

This was definitely not an easy read but what I think Lisa Delpit's main argument in this reading was about the education of colored children, and how white people control the idea of it. Also kind of going along with the other readings from last week, how white people become sort of oblivious to the power of control they think they have. For me, reading this article connected back to last week’s reading by McIntosh about "white privilege" and gave more reasons on how it is ignored by society.

"I'm tired of arguing with those white people, because they won't listen. Well, I don't know if they really don't listen or if they just don't believe you" (1)

"When you're talking to white people they will want it to be their way. You can try to talk to them and give them examples, but they're so headstrong, they think they know what's best for everybody, for everybody's children. They won’t listen; while folks are going to do what they want to do anyway." (1)

"They wear blinders and earplugs" (2)

These are just three quotes Delpit provides that brings me back to the idea of "white privilege" that the McIntosh reading talks about. To me, these quotes are just questioning why white privilege exists. These quotes are concerning to me because it sort of makes me wonder why people can't open their eyes to what they are doing. Education in schools should not be any different depending on a person’s skin color. Also, what is taught to students is also questioned. Again relating back to the McIntosh article about how we are taught American history and how the country was made by white people. Education should be about all races. Delpit's article states how white teachers do not accept or are not open to the ideas of a colored teacher. What's the difference? I just don't understand the way some people think. Anyways, I'm not sure if anything I wrote really relates to this article, but it has been a long night, and that's what I got out of it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Reflection

"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems
conferring dominance on my group"
                                                                         -Peggy McIntosh

^ Exactly how I felt before reading this article. The reason I chose this article to write about was because it really began to make me think of the meaning of "white privilege" and what that term means to me. Most of the points that Peggy McIntosh made are relate-able for me but I have never realized that before. She made me think about how everyday situations in my life could possibly be very different if I was a different race. There were a few numbers on McIntosh's list that really caught my attention:

6.When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization", I am shown that people o fmy color made it what it is.
12. I can swear, or dress in second-hand clothes or not answer letters without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.

26. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color that more or less matches my skin.

These three points that were made in this article stood out to me the most. They really made me think about how different my situation is when seeing or dealing with these examples on an everyday basis. I can go to the store and buy cover-up or band-aids and know for sure that they will match my skin color. I can swear, wear what I want, and write what I want and get judged on my personality, but not on my race. And lastly, the fact that I have been taught that the people of my color have made civilization what it is today. This is what really makes me realize how unaware and oblivious people can be about the idea of "white privilege" because it is apart of their everyday life, not because the chose it to be that way, but because that is how society just is, which it shouldn't be.

Morgan Freeman on Black History Month:

Friday, January 31, 2014

Introducing me...

Hi Everyone! My name is Danielle, but all of my friends and family call me Dee. I'm 18 years old and this is my first year here at RIC! My major is Elementary Education. Last year I graduated from Warwick Vets High School. In high school I used to do gymnastics, but that ended my senior year with a torn ACL :( I'm really shy when you are first getting to know me but once you do, I never stop laughing and I can actually be pretty loud and obnoxious. But anyways, I'm really excited to be a part of this class and get a chance to work in an actual classroom tutoring children! This is also my first blogging experience along with another class this semester so I hope this goes well! :)