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In Conclusion

Because of this blog, I have found a lot more things to be passionate about.  One of those things is censorship and how it affects English teachers and students.  I learned that there are so many things that are censored, but there are so many ways that’s censorship can help teachers and students understand that what they are learning and reading is amazing.  If students are reading something that is being challenged, then it has to be a good work, and people have to read it for it to be challenged in the first place.

I found that this was an interesting topic to read about because I didn’t know that there was so much controversy surrounding censorship.  I think this topic will help me become a better teacher because I know what to look for when I think someone is going to challenge a book that I am teaching.  I hope this has prepared me a little bit for the road ahead.  I think it has and I think if I have my own students creating blogs about censorship, they will understand that there are good things about all works, even if they are being challenged.  Arrivederci

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Taking away Alternative Ed…

I have to admit, I tried to find a good article for my last post for the blog, but had a very hard time.  My topic is normally Censorship in Literature, but there were no amazing articles that I wanted to post on.  I found one that is close to home, and has to do with education, but doesn’t have anything to do with censorship.

In Grand Rapids Public Schools, there has been debate recently on getting rid of an alternative education program.  There were 92 students in this Native American alternative education program, but the school system felt that the students were not learning what they should have to keep the program going.  Unfortunately people didn’t respond well to GRPS dropping the program.  The Native American community in GR asked an American Indian leader to come and make a presentation to the school board.  But the Superintendent had grave statistics on how the students in the program were doing in school.

Taylor said students in the school — aimed at children who struggle in traditional educational settings — have poor grades and attendance. Nearly 80 percent of Bimaadiziwin students have missed more than 10 days of school. More than 90 percent of freshman failed one or more classes, and the figure climbs to 96 percent for juniors.

The school system had to decide what to do with students, and they felt that the best thing was to get rid of the alternative education program and put them into schools that were educationally sound. The school’s hope is that the students will do better in other schools, and that the Native American community will understand why the GRPS did what they did.

“I have to be prepared to be called heartless if we close the school for pregnant girls and this school or that school,” Taylor said. “We need to reinvent the way these students are taught, and sometimes doing what is right doesn’t make you popular.”

When I read this article, I was sad.  Although I know that some students need other ways of learning, but for me it didn’t seem like the parents cared about how their students were doing, it only mattered that their kids had an alternative education program geared toward their heritage.  I am sorry that this had to happen, but I think that in the best interest of the students, it was good what Taylor did.

Taylor apologizes, but won’t revive program

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

By Dave Murray

The Grand Rapids Press

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In Conclusion

I found that blogging was a very interesting way to get students in touch with technology and also with news happening around the world.  I thought this was a great idea, I think I may steal it and use it my own classroom.

As for my wonderful topic, standardized testing, I think that I am more upset now than I was when I started on this conquest.  My findings have lead to utter disregard of the U.S. Government when it comes to NCLB and all that crap.  I found that most schools don’t seem to care about the students that aren’t doing well on tests like the MEAP because they are too busy trying to avoid NCLB laws.  I also found that Bush….ol George W is being “pressured” into getting exit exams to all the universities in the country.  So now, we don’t only have to work really hard at creating a career for ourselves, we have o prove ourselves on a multiple choice test that can’t test anything.

Ok, I think my rant is over.  I really enjoyed using this here blog and I may continue to over the summer, but we shall see.  I hope that there are new and different things coming to schools, and I hope that standardized testing is banned from public schools all over the country.  Adios!

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How would you like to take a college exit exam?

There may be something new and different on the horizon for colleges across the country, that would be exit exams to see if the universities are doing their job.

The University of Wisconsin Herald wrote about the idea of having exit exams at the Universities.  The reason the Bush Administration is considering such a travesty is because “soaring tuition rates coupled with the decrease in international reputations of U.S. schools have led the government to rethink its policies toward higher education.”  This is something that I don’t think any college student would want to see.  I for one, would decide not to graduate because of an exit exam, I don’t do tests and I would be very upset if Grand Valley had to do something like that.

Aaron Brower, UW’s Provost says ““The U.S. Department of Education thinks universities should be clear about goals and be accountable — there should be criteria and standardization.”

Although it may seem that Universities around the country may have to start giving exit exams, UW does not think that standardized tests for college students will help with enrollment or the cost of tuition.

 “As a university, there is no interest or movement to go to some kind of standardized testing,” Brower said. “It’s not even on the radar screen.”

I know that standardized testing for universities may not be happening in the next 5 years, but I think that if something like that were to happen, enrollment would drop and then tuition would have to go up because there would be less students to fill the void of those not attending.

The Badger Herald   Governement looks to standardization

by Jessi Polsky
Monday, April 16, 2007

Full Article

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New and Bright Ideas

After driving all the way to the beautiful Michigan State University for this conference, I feel I have a little more confidence when making and planning out lessons.  I found that most of the things that were taught at this conference were interesting, but they were helpful to the future teachers of America!

As for Jacqueline Woodson, I thought she was really interesting and very funny.  I loved how she had her work memorized because she has written so much.  I feel bad saying this, but I was a little confused at what her being the keynote had to do with the conference itself.  I think that she was interesting, but she doesn’t have a writing process, she just has natural talent.  I didn’t think that helped me very much because not all of my students are going to have raw talent like her.  But I did think she was fun and interesting, I just didn’t understand what she had to do with this Conference.  Sorry.

I also went to Introducing a Twenty-First Century Curriculum.  I loved this one, because the presenters were just a little older than I am and they are doing what I will be doing next year.  They are in the classroom and dealing with students right now.  They basically told us what to expect when teaching certain plans and how to use the Internet in a good way.  They talked about Wikipedia and Graphic Design in the classroom and how some of the simplest things, such as a good layout can be related to the structure of a paper.  Sarah-Beth O’Connor is teaching a journalism class and brought in felt boards and had us create magazine layouts.  She explained how the title was the thesis, the pictures are the body and the ending is the conclusion.  (She made it sound much more interesting)

I think my favorite breakout session was the macBeth one.  The two presenters went over a couple ways to use a mac and integrate them into the classroom.  There are two applications that can be used, one is iMovie and the other is garageband.  These help students make movies on the computer and also they can add music or create a podcast using garageband.  They also talked about using MySpace in the classroom to create a character list for books or plays, such as Macbeth.  Although they could not get MySpace approved for their students to use, they created a makeshift page by using PowerPoint.  They hyperlinked all the pictures with other pages, and it ended up being over 80 PowerPoint pages.  It was a new and interesting way of getting technology into the classroom.  I really liked it.  I also love Bethany and David’s presentation!  Good job you guys!!!

Overall, the conference was worth the money and the drive (except for getting lost on the way home).  I will be going again next year because I think it is helpful for future teachers and how they can integrate new and different things into their classrooms. 

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Speak

I just wanted to let everyone know that the movie version of SPEAK is going to be on Lifetime Wednesday night at 9pm. 

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