Thursday, July 9, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth

Here is my write up for my "Using Media to Teach Science Students about Global Warming" lesson unit. I don't know if I did all the technology stuff correct but I hope so. Thanks for everything Lesley. It was truely a great class. I will recommend it to others.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Administrative Support in my school

I believe I have a lot of support from my administration on changing my curriculum as long as I stick to the science standards which I have to cover. I have a lot more freedom in my science electives then with required courses. The biggest problem in my school is that we don't have the technology to carry out a lot of the activities we talked about in class. There is 1 projector for the entire science department, the computer lab has to be booked weeks in advanced because there is only one for the entire school and many sites are blocked. I know there are ways to unblock sites but the administration usually tells us to deal with the 1 computer technician in our school who is very busy. A colleague of mine spent an entire period trying to access You tube so she could show clips that she downloaded for her lesson. She finally was able to connect with 5 minutes left in the period. I am one to spend my own money but who can afford laptops for all their students. I really want to take some time this summer to start researching grants that would help me get this technology for my classroom. It is sad that the technology that is available to my students, their cell phones, are strongly not allowed in class. Many students not only have cameras and video recorders but also internet in their pockets and we can't use it. Don't these policies need to be changed if schools aren't going to provide us with the tools we need to educate our students.

Larry Gonick cartoon books

Hey guys, some of us were talking in class about how great cartoons are in class. Larry Gonick has published a lot in history and science and has them listed on his website if you want to check them out.

Larry Gonick Cartoon Books

The frequent use of the word "retard"

This is something I found interesting a few months ago when the movie "Tropic Thunder" first came out. Check out the clip first.

There was a lot of controversy over this film. Many people wanted to shut the movie down because of the frequent use of the word retard. I remember watching what I believe was the Today show which discussed how this movie portrayed "retard" different then other films like "Something About Mary" or the one with Johnny Knoxville, the title does not want to come into my head right now. If anyone has any comments on this I would love to hear them. I often here a number of students, teachers use this term and it shocks me just as they use "fag" or "queer" so readily. Let me know what you think about the clip or if you have anything else to add.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Disney's Up

I wanted to get some different views of the movie so I tried some different sites and different searches. First is just a typical review from an online source which is Then I went to you tube to find a video review which I found from NY I was looking for a bad review of the movie but had a hard time searching and finding one. Perhaps I just don't know how I would have to search for that information, perhaps Disney is using its wiley ways to hide that information from us. On the other hand I wanted to find a kid's review or the movie. I found a kids site for movie reviews but I am sure it is run by adults. Still I was able to see some clips and I am looking forward to seeing the movie but I am reading to watch it with a critical mind.

Up Review from movie review

Kidsworld movie review of Disney's Up

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beat Down on Spongebob

Okay, what do you see when you look at this picture? Is it a little girl beating down the man... well I guess sponge in this case or is it a mom who buys into disneyification? You guessed it I buy into it. I am a Disney fan.

When I was reading the article I believe I was an oppositional reader. Every sentence I read I found I was shaking my head. How can we go about blaming large corporations for the way our children are spoiled? Let me give you this scenario:

A farmer brings a basket of tomatoes to the market to sell. In less then 2 hours he sells out. As he is packing up other shoppers approach him and are upset that they missed out on his red ripe tomatoes. He feels bad and leaves. The following week he brings two baskets of tomatoes. Before he even sets up his stand there is a line of people waiting to buy them. Some people even begin pushing. Still he sells out. Now what should the farmer do to provide for his family and make the shoppers happy? Should he continue to bring more and more tomatoes or should he just bring the same amount every week. You can blame the corporations all you want for the vast products they put out and marketing to certain age groups, but that is marketing. It reminds me of the whole Cabbage Patch debacle, when there isn't enough of a product people get pissed and go a little crazy. I don't know if anyone understands what I am trying to say but we can't keep blaming everyone else for how the world is we have helped to make it like this.

One parent commented that there is no way to keep your child away from the products and advetising unless they are homeschooled. But it is the parents like me who throw their daughter not just a spongebob party but Elmo was involved too.

There were some things that were amazing in the article such as Disney hiring an anthropologist to go through kids closets and find out what they really want. But the fact is there is a parent acceting the 75 dollars for the kid to get interviewed. We all made fun of the lady who put her kid on ebay in a t-shirt saying put your advertisement here. How horrible of that woman. Then you see all the children walking around with Gap across there chest or Abercrombie on their ass. Is there really a difference?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 1 Down

Well the first day is over and I have to say it went by relatively quickly. We hit upon some very interesting topics. Today, the main thing I came home with is "Question Everything," "Always ask why" A main staple of critical pedagogy. This is something I try to instill in my students every year. Think for yourselves. You are responsible for your own destiny so it is up to you to make the most of your education and your lives. So often they rely on their teacher to shovel it all in for them as I have been told by students before, "It is your job to tell me." It reminds me of how I finished up the school year.
It was my last exam of the year. My fellow teacher and I had collaborated on making a lab practical exam for our students. This was not information they had to memorize but concepts that they had to apply to each lab station that we had covered through out the semester. Before entering the classroom I explained to the class how the exam would be carried out. One student responded, "Is this like Miss C's exam because she is a horrible teacher. I told her that and if this exam is the same then you are to." I chuckled a little and replied, "I guess I am." One thing that I have found is using these learning applications you meet a lot of resistance. Not just from administration, colleagues, or parents but often from the students. Many find it harder because they actually have to think not just memorize or recall facts. But this resistance is nothing compared to the other students that you reach and the minds that you can open to find their own knowledge.
On other topics we discussed today, Beauty and the Beast will always be my favorite Disney movie. No matter what we point out about it. But I understand that it is recognizing that those things are there and I can still take pleasure in watching the movie? My question is at what age should I begin pointing these things out to my own daughter? She is only 2 now but at what age do they begin to understand these things and at what level do you discuss it. Discussing these things with teenagers is totally different. Does anyone have any suggestions on that? One of my favorites from the movie, "Tale as Old as Time," for your enjoyment.

Again, there were so many interesting topics we touched on today. Still not sure about that Madonna video. Think I need some sleep for that one to sink in. Until tomorrow I have all my technological devices powering up so we will be ready for class tomorrow. Until then....