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Field Notes #4 - 5th Visit

Share time - S's sister has a stuffed animal eagle. When teacher does not call on R., R smacks her head and rocks back and forth. 
- all the other children just seem to ignore it -- seems like something they're used to

At least 4 children are lacking energy today, seem lethargic. With all 4 the main teacher has two methods to solve:

1.) if not ready then take a "vacation" in principal's office

2.) put marbles in jar if work

During reading center, counted how many times one boy lied - 9 times

P. gives M a kiss and while teacher was telling him that kisses "aren't given at school", F. gives Sa. a kiss

G almost lost marbles for entire reading center

This day seemed to be full of children lying about experiences, especially at the reading center. For the center 2/3 groups were reading books about Chipmunks, and the teacher asked the students what they knew about chipmunks. It was clear that they didn't know anything, and when no one would answer, the students started making things up - ie., they're giants, they can swim, I saw one in the forest of Africa, etc etc. The teacher stressed that "teacher choice time" is not the time for telling stories, but rather for being honest. "If you don't know anything about chipmunks, that's fine. We can talk about what we don't know, but no telling tales or stories". A version of this had to be said at least once at each group.  

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Field Notes #2

February 19, 2013

Private Kindergarten

Goals for the day:
1.) How does R affect dynamics of classroom

2.) Potential teacher discord
3.) What is A’s place as the only girl other than R?

4.) Gender dynamics

 

R:
Somewhat tangled brown bob with bangs
Tall and lanky
Wearing black leggings with a red flannel nightgown-type dress that often gets stuck in the leggings

 

Missed interaction. R had small fit with kicking feet (and incidentally me) over having to clean after kid’s choice…then a few mins later she gets to put marble into jar (positive reinforcement – when marble height reaches line, class gets a party treat)

 

AT (assistant teacher) needs to intervene for R. during share time multiple times

 

R. seems to be caring (as MT said) – this week’s sharing “I am glad to see that G. is back”, whereas last week’s share time was “I am glad to be back. I missed everyone”
-- is she longing for connection and friendship?

 

AT feels overbearing??? (SEE BELOW FOR STORY COLLECTION)

 

F. again criticized R. during sharetime – R says “pactory” and F says rather rudely “it’s not pactory. It’s factory”. R looks like she is about to cry

 

Before sending students off to centers, MT says she is going to pick who sits on what carpet squares for one center to help “our friends learn the best they can”

 

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Field Notes #1

February 15, 2013

Private kindergarten classroom,
11 students (9 boys, 2 girls – 1 boy missing)

Daily schedule:
Kids Choice
Morning Meeting
Centers – Reading
Recess
Snack/story
Project
Kids Choice
Calendar/math
Recess
Lunch
Quiet Time

Looking over the boxes that the children made for Valentine’s day – Seem to be very gendered. Teacher tells me that R. (girl) really wanted the last pink paper, so she asked A. if she would be ok with the purple paper…assumption of color pink? Boys seemed to use blue and red.

Same day schedule as the language enrichment classroom but appears to be more advanced.

During morning meeting, F (boy) to R engage in concerning interaction. During sharing, F. explains that his babysitter needed to watch him an extra time this week because his father had to go to the doctor. R asks why the father had to go to the doctor. F tells her (in indignant, offended? tone) that she “shouldn’t ask that” and that her question was mean (not using the word mean, though). R gasps and appears to begin to get upset. Head teacher interferes, calms situation down, explain to F. that R’s question was okay because F said that his father was going to the doctor and allows F to change his story. – How does this type of interaction affect school climate? The rest of the children? Does this particularly affect the safety of the school?

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Freire Reading Pt. 1

As many others in the course, I have previously read and studied Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I find that this book tends to be an ultimate foundation for our education department (clearly evident by the name of the Praxis Program). As I have talked so much about this book as a whole, I chose for this (more than likely) final reading of Freire to focus on intimate details of the reading. 

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Special Ed Kindergarten Class

Observations

Assumptions/Questions/Connections

New student visiting! Potential student for next year

 

Tours with mother than leaves even though plan was for him to stay the morning through snacktime

 

Teacher said that he is 5 chronologically but “much younger mentally”

 

Left because he was nervous? Uncomfortable? All of the above?

 

 

M. says “he seems nice. I hope he stays” while playing at art table

 

 

 

Morning question: “How are you feeling today?” check marks under excited, tired, or happy

 

 

 

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Class Glossary

I was looking through this serendip blog (all the way back...) and thinking "this is a literacy class"...if we were to make a class glossary and define these terms, what terms would we choose? How would we define them/choose these definitions? Would there be multiple definitions?

I thought of this when I was still trying to figure out in my head how to define "literacy" - finding a definition for literacy was also part of my goals for my midsemester evaluation. I also thought of this when I was looking through the Gee reading,  remembering that I really didn't understand any of the terms - primary discourse vs dominant discourse, secondary discourse, literacy - because I felt he was using these terms to define his terms.

Class thoughts on this?

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Conversation with Dad

I just wanted to share a conversation that I had with my dad (actually through texting in the beginning of class).

Me: VA sad about your pictures "Papa Bacchus is baller yo"

Dad: I have no idea what "baller yo" means. Hope it is good :)

Me: "baller, yo" - baller is a really cool envied (kind of best of best) guy and "yo" provides emphasis

Dad: :)

Me: Baller is kind a synonym for pimp. It's a man who has reached success and wealth, or a thug who has made it to the top (comliments of urbandictionary.com)

Dad: I am so pleased you know this stuff.

Me: Important knowledge . Today's literacy! (As I sit in my literacies and education class)

Dad: I prefer Keats.

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Education System in Ghana

I wasn't entirely sure how to write this follow up post from our presentation last Thursday on the education system in Ghana. When I emailed Alice she sent the following to me: "perspective/analysis: what was important to you about what you learned and tried to convey?  What did it shed light on (new insights, questions)?  What did you learn from selecting what to share?  How did that connect with what you are interested in already?"

I want to first start with discussing choosing the topic and how the topic grew. I chose the topic mostly because I'm a straightforward and I wanted a straightforward topic. Also, I found it interesting that in class we were discussing Ghana and its education system in terms of literacy, without really knowing anything about its education system. I felt that this topic was a necessary groundwork. I mentioned in class that when researching for this topic, many of the articles/resources were from an American perspective (one even went as far to mention outright that that certain article was for American students looking to study in Ghana or Ghanaian students looking to pursue their tertiary degree in America). The other information I was able to find were from governmental resources or international education resources. I had expected to find more sources almost from the "people" of Ghana about their education system, although I realize now that that might not be considered "official" information. 

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History/Structure of Ghanaian Education System Sources

“History of Education in Ghana”
http://politicalpola.wetpaint.com/page/HISTORY+OF+EDUCATION+IN+GHANA

“The Educational System of Ghana”
http://ghana.usembassy.gov/education-of-ghana.html

“Higher Education in Ghana”
http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=160902

“A Brief History of the Ghanaian Educational System”
http://www.tobeworldwide.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=4

“Ghana Education System”
 http://yfughana.webs.com/ghanaeducationsystem.htm

“Evolution of the Educational System in Ghana Since Independence in 1957”
http://www.uew.edu.gh/index.php/our-offices/office-of-the-vice-chancellor/137-past-vice-chancellors/prof-jophus-anamuah-mensah/prof-jophus-anamuah-mensahs-speeches/83-evolution-of-the-educational-system-in-ghana-since-independence-in-1957

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Technology: Beneficial or Detrimental?

I really didn't want to feel unoriginal or predictable and write this blogpost on the presence, not use, of technology in our lives, but for some reason ever since getting the iPad, I've been particularly sensitive to this topic. I was trying to write on something else, but that just wasn't happening I suppose.

It first started in class on Thursday, when I realized no one was paying attention to the iPad introduction, save for a few people. Most were preoccupied by the iPad, and even during subsequent discussion, the preoccupation with the iPad maintained.

About five or so hours after class I was in a training for my placement. The trainers asked us to take down a web address. I immediately texted the link to my friend for both of us, and the girl behind me took a picture of the slide with her camera. Two of the trainers commented, one remarking that she had expected us to take out pen and paper, and the other about our almost unorthodox use of technology for something so simple.

I had been struggling on not writing about technology up until I was watching the superbowl a few hours ago. Two of the first few commercials (I don't recall what they were for, but I know one was for a car), including Twitter hashtags at the end of their commercial.

All these things got me thinking, not about our use of technology, but rather it's presence in our lives, and whether it's taking over. I thought about the baby who expected the book to work like an iPad, and the cat who was playing a mouse chase game on the iPad.

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