Thursday, February 23, 2006

Blog & Education

The educational potential of Web logs in the classroom can be used to access information, opinions and the point of view of millions of other people, a University of Illinois philosophy of education professor told a full house in the engineering auditorium Thursday morning.

"I am not a tech person and did not even know what a blog was before I came here," said Thao Nguyen, a student working on her teaching credential. "I think blogging in the classroom would be a good idea."
Web blogs its potential in education SJSU Spartan Daily

I had to skip a day of student teaching in order to catch a presentation on the educational purposes of blogging - A few interesting ideas involved, including the idea of teachers posting blogs as a form of accountability - Communication between the parents where teachers would be able to describe what they are doing in the classroom and to get input from parents within a community. It all sounds theoretically doable, albeit not practical today, but maybe tomorrow? He spent a ton of time explaining and rationalizing the constructiveness of blogs in general, unfortunately. A question I had hoped to ask during Q&A that did not get answered was his opinion on the anonymity of comments (a point he illustrated was important for the potential of blogs in that it provides a communication between author/audience that is not possible anywhere else, especially in the publishing world) and whether or not there needs to be some form of identity, otherwise it could cause slander or name-calling behavior within the feedback.

Anyway, it got me to want to fix up my blog a little. Which is the cause of the change (for the blogger site, that is)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Currently Listening
No Word From Tom
By Hem
see related
SO drained.

Another first - I subbed for the first time today! Granted, it was for my cooperating teacher and the same kids I see everyday, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I've been getting a lot of great advice - Such as knowing that the kids will test me to my limits, whether they do it knowingly or consciously or not. If I just as much show any sign that I notice they're doing something out of place that they shouldn't be and don't act upon it or give them any disapproving sign, then I'm SOL. It's so easy to say, so hard to practice. It went well today, though - I had full reign of the class and only needed to bench one kid for recess - All was well until just after lunch, they bring me two new students that will be part of the class - In late February, and the two are cousins and both don't speak English! Wow - reality check, it's an impossible situation but something I couldn't have not expected. We'll see how it turns out - They've got two people in the class who can translate, but all of a sudden all my lesson plans will have to be differentiated now.
Check out Glen Phillips' new website - New album out in May and he's now a blogspot user!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Some of these memories found their way into ``The Kite Runner,'' Hosseini's 2003 novel about childhood friends Amir and Hassan, bound by a love of kite fighting, torn by the antipathy of the Pashtun (Sunni Muslims) ruling class for the Hazaras (Shiite) underclass. Forbidden under Taliban rule, kites returned to the skies over Kabul in 2001, when the fundamentalist regime fell to the Northern Alliance. Hence, their importance in Afghan culture: They've come to symbolize deliverance from cruel oppression, spiritual rebirth. San Jose Mercury News 2.19.06

My favorite book in this short 2006, The Kite Runner, is, as I've just learned and am proud to say, written by a local who went to my high school! The main character in his story also went to San Jose State, as well! It is an amazing book about the realities of lives we may not, as a society, widely know, and simply a story about being human. Check it out.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Too often the mainstream mistakes "rap music" (what photographer Ernie Paniccioli calls hip-hop's "bastard child") for the broader social movement that is hip-hop -- a social movement that is inclusive of what Michael Eric Dyson often refers to as a street-level theodicy.

A piece of the article on Kanye West from Popmatters - Check it out -
R.I.P Love Monkey -- Another good show just got cancelled - And did you know Fox just pressed the final four Arrested Development episodes in one night last Friday?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Currently Listening
Stars of Cctv
By Hard-Fi
see related
More firsts:

-First inservice day I ever attended; Yes, it was fun when we were kids and got the day off-Not much so as a teacher! They threw all the teachers in the district into a huge room/space to watch how we could better teach, but who was listening?

-First Valentine's day with cards since I was a little kid. It's crazy! Kids go wild. Parents bring in sugar in the form of donuts, cakes, etc. Definitely a teacher's worst nightmare. But getting a ton of cards was fun (and giving out) We watched a Charlie Brown Valentine, and, sadly, it's amazing how themes from it sure can hit home even as an adult.

What'll happen tomorrow?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I finally made it into the local newspaper (ok, it's the college paper...)

I'm now a registered substitute! Who knew what pains it would take to get the paperwork taken care of - It's like they DONT want substitutes to take over classes when the teacher is sick and would rather have the kids by themselves........

Someone get me off this punkish-new-wave-rock a la the Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, Bravery, etc. etc. Last week it was We Are Scientists - This week, I was introduced and can't stop playing the band, Hard-Fi. Check them out.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Well, to sound cliche, the next chapter's opened up and it's been a crazy week but its left me feeling more like a part of something bigger.

I started my full time student teaching (as in forty hour weeks until the end of May) position at Los Arboles Elementary with a great group of third graders - It is an obviously different world stepping into that grade level coming from first grade like I did just a month or so ago. It's so hard to tell myself that they don't need constant two minute reminders to sit still or to not ask questions or to be quiet or to do their work or to, well, you get the picture. They finish their work and, to my astonishment, actually open up their desks and look for other work they have not finished. AND ACTUALLY DO IT.

It has so far been a week mostly consisting of observing, but I've got a lot down so far. Know kids names by heart, know their little cliques and who hangs with who, have gone to lunch and observed (not yet played) them during recess. They're just great kids. The next step is to create a mailbox (a friend's idea) and have them send me letters, with me replying. Great way to get to know them and for them to practice writing.

I have yet to teach any lessons but it shouldn't be a problem, at least on their part. More like if it doesn't go well, it's because I did a horrible job I shouldn't comment too much on staff/faculty/my cooperating teacher, but I'll just say it's an interesting bunch. I've listened in on some interesting conversations during lunch and break - Yes, they actually DO talk about students during their own time.

BUT -- I'm enjoying it so far - The best parts come during neat "teachable moments". I love the ridiculously sometimes just completely odd phrases or remarks that a kid will make. Especially the ones where I'm the only one laughing. I don't know, it's just so funny. And another great thing? I may actually be able to substitute for my teacher a few times already - It's ridiculously ridiculous how one is expected to drop all sources of income to work full time as a student teacher for free for five months - I'm just glad I have an understanding teacher who'll let me get solo practice and some extra money.

And this is week one. Let's hope week two is just as good. I start read-alouds tomorrow :)

Still kicking it with music, here's another new list of goodies I recommend:

Duncan Sheik - White Limosine
HEM - No Word From Tom (out 2/7!! My favorite band no one knows but me) (listen to their new album HERE!)
We Are Scientists - With Love & Squalor (Playing NoisePop 2006)

A friend told me about NoisePop, a great (14th year) indie festival that I cannot for the life of me believe that I didn't know about!!! It is held this end of March/early April at all the best (literally!) venues in San Francisco such as Bimbo's 365, Bottom of the Hill, Great American Music Hall, Cafe Du Nord, Slim's, Independent, etc. Two great bands out of a long list I want to see so far include Feist and We Are Scientists (see above). Bay Area reader? Check it out!

Speaking of festivals, three biggies are announced and all look amazing - Bonnaroo includes Radiohead and Nickel Creek amongst many many others - Coachella is headlined by Depeche Mode and Sigur Ros - SXSW has just about EVERYBODY. Bonnaroo sounds possible if the stars are aligned