Blog 6: Weekly Reflection

Identity Construction Weekly Reflection

I really don’t think there is anything wrong with youth obtaining parts of their identities while online. I think fan fiction communities really keep writing alive in youth today when schools lessen the amount of creative writing assignments. There’s only the matter of youth safety and privacy online but other than that I think this is fine.

On the other hand, this quote made me think: “In a world of constant movement and flow, media images of advertising and commerce seep into our lives and strongly identity development.”  This makes youth extra vulnerable to what is promoted to them and it’s up to educators and parents to help the youth stay in the right path and guide their identities in the right direction.


Writing a Narrative and Writing Well

I started off this week’s readings with “Writing A Narrative” from the textbook Everyone’s An Author  by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters. Immediately I could tell that I would like this passage, as it was an easy read that confirmed a lot of what I already knew about narrative writing, and inadvertently gave me vocabulary to use when teaching my students.
The text meshed academic descriptions of narrative writing with an actual narrative writing which I enjoyed thoroughly. The text also lists the steps to take when writing a narrative including: A clearly identified event, a clearly described setting, vivid descriptive details, a consistent point of view, and a clear point. The text also gave suggestions for what to think about when writing a narrative including: Think about your stance, think about your purpose, consider the larger context, and consider your medium. I thought the part about the medium was very interesting. I never gave much thought to how much font, or images, factor into making a narrative more effective. Sure with graphic novels I have, but I haven’t thought about adding images or design to the ideas I already have rolling about narratives I want to write. Annd yet, now that prospect excites me just as much!
The second text, by William Zinsser, was from his seminal book entitled On Writing Well and the section was titled “Writing About People”. The text begins by discussing the importance of interviewing and how it is so much more than facts. One part I found particularly interesting was when the speaker was discussing how they were given transcripts from the original five judges for Book of the Month club. The writer was doing a write up for the 40th anniversary of the organization and this was in 1966! I find this so fascinating because I am a member of Book of the Month club and would LOVE to be a guest judge at some point!
This text dealt with interviewing and the art of collecting non fiction narratives. It goes in detail discussing different variations of interview procedures and the benefits of them. For example, the benefits of a tape recorder and hearing dialect along with being able to replay the tape, versus handwritten notes where the speaker talks faster than you write and seeming to mess up speech. The author also discussed the importance of correct punctuation, especially where quotation marks are involved. I found this rather funny, as I teach my students the importance of grammatical errors!  

Whatever your way, the author reminds you to ask yourself the following question: What about your obligation to the person you interviewed? This made me think about the previous article and I reminded myself that when writing narrative writing, I must keep in mind the following question: What about your obligation to your audience? What is my purpose for writing and am I doing that justice?

Writing a Narrative and Writing Well

I started off this week’s readings with “Writing A Narrative” from the textbook Everyone’s An Author  by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters. Immediately I could tell that I would like this passage, as it was an easy read that confirmed a lot of what I already knew about narrative writing, and inadvertently gave me vocabulary to use when teaching my students.
The text meshed academic descriptions of narrative writing with an actual narrative writing which I enjoyed thoroughly. The text also lists the steps to take when writing a narrative including: A clearly identified event, a clearly described setting, vivid descriptive details, a consistent point of view, and a clear point. The text also gave suggestions for what to think about when writing a narrative including: Think about your stance, think about your purpose, consider the larger context, and consider your medium. I thought the part about the medium was very interesting. I never gave much thought to how much font, or images, factor into making a narrative more effective. Sure with graphic novels I have, but I haven’t thought about adding images or design to the ideas I already have rolling about narratives I want to write. Annd yet, now that prospect excites me just as much!
The second text, by William Zinsser, was from his seminal book entitled On Writing Well and the section was titled “Writing About People”. The text begins by discussing the importance of interviewing and how it is so much more than facts. One part I found particularly interesting was when the speaker was discussing how they were given transcripts from the original five judges for Book of the Month club. The writer was doing a write up for the 40th anniversary of the organization and this was in 1966! I find this so fascinating because I am a member of Book of the Month club and would LOVE to be a guest judge at some point!
This text dealt with interviewing and the art of collecting non fiction narratives. It goes in detail discussing different variations of interview procedures and the benefits of them. For example, the benefits of a tape recorder and hearing dialect along with being able to replay the tape, versus handwritten notes where the speaker talks faster than you write and seeming to mess up speech. The author also discussed the importance of correct punctuation, especially where quotation marks are involved. I found this rather funny, as I teach my students the importance of grammatical errors!  

Whatever your way, the author reminds you to ask yourself the following question: What about your obligation to the person you interviewed? This made me think about the previous article and I reminded myself that when writing narrative writing, I must keep in mind the following question: What about your obligation to your audience? What is my purpose for writing and am I doing that justice?

Thinking about Writing Fiction

Thank you to Stephanie for walking us through her two selected texts which focused on social action and activist-oriented learning: “Service and Self Renewal:  Service Learning as a Means to Invigorate and Renew Teachers” in The Activist Learner by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry and “Principles for Practice:  What is Social Action?” by Jennie Fleming and Ian Boulton in Writing for Change: Boosting Literacy and Leaning through Social Action. It was a smaller group last week, but we still had a good discussion about how important this kind of learning is, and the particular challenges that are faced in different school contexts.  We considered how a specific locale and the resulting community often determines the extent (and nature) of socially committed forms of learning in a school district.  We also thought together about what is at stake when we teach children to be stakeholders in their own communities, and empower them to know what it means (early on) to make a difference in the world they live in.

I am glad that we were able to cover a thorough “walkthrough” of the procedures and expectations regarding a Literature Review for your formal Research Proposal.  You should all be working on your Lit Review at this stage.  Remember, we only have a few more weeks, and vetting materials that will influence your research is a time consuming (but also stimulating and pleasurable) part of the overall research process.

Next week, we will turn our collective attention to the writing process from a creative perspective.  Hope wanted to include some readings that helped us think through creative writing approaches a bit.  In selecting these texts to consider together, I hope we can broaden the discussion to include your own creative processes and share our individual creative approaches/methods.  Hope will lead us through the two articles (which are both broad and accessible):

The first text is by William Zinsser from his seminal book entitled On Writing Well.  We will read “Writing About People“.  (Harper Collins, 1998).

The second text is an excerpt from the well known writing textbook entitled Everyone’s An Author  by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters.  We will read the section entitled “Writing A Narrative“. (WW Norton & Co: 2017).

Your blog for this week should consider these readings while also reflecting on how you generate your own creative work.  In addition, you should also include an update on your Literature Review progress.

Also, another reminder that our last meeting for class will be on May 8th, which is also the night of our Spring Symposium.  That is also the deadline for your research proposal.  In addition, you will also write a final “self-assessment”reflection, which will be due by Friday May 12th.

Enjoy the weekend.

See you Monday,

Dr. Zamora

writing and the world around us

There are different ways to shape the world we live in. In particular, the push for social justice and the act of writing share significant ties in how a society morphs and progresses. Both social justice, or Social Action, and writing are most important when it comes to their relationship with youth culture. At an early age, both things become a significant part of an adolescent's life. Young people are just then learning about themselves and exploring who they are, and as I've talked about before here, are working to construct their identity. Writing becomes significant because it is a medium that helps them express themselves and channel their thoughts and opinions. Similarly, Social Action is important because it adds to the understanding of the self and what they believe in, as well as to help them see the change that they want to bring to the world around them.

With that being said, when social justice and writing come together, it becomes even more significant - and not just in that individual's life, either. When young people write, and write about social injustices and oppression around them, it adds to the powerful voice of change erupting from all parts of the world, especially in today's society, and reinforces the movement toward progress and equality as a people. When reading the articles for today's class, it was interesting to see how it stresses on the importance of education for adolescents. It adds to the idea of how real the future is in the hands of each upcoming generation. Thus, exposing them to real issues and having them have a personal investment in the things happening around them adds to that crucial relationship of student and expression.

I like that teachers are letting students express themselves more and more in the classroom. It's impossible to escape from the hell that is the reality around us, and it's great that classrooms are letting students critically think, discuss, and write about things are important and relevant to their everyday life. With that, writing becomes more of that authentic expression as opposed to a chore, and is good for both the student, teacher, and society as a whole- the student's voice becomes real and present, and once it is expressed in writing, it becomes a fact in the world around us. 

writing and the world around us

There are different ways to shape the world we live in. In particular, the push for social justice and the act of writing share significant ties in how a society morphs and progresses. Both social justice, or Social Action, and writing are most important when it comes to their relationship with youth culture. At an early age, both things become a significant part of an adolescent's life. Young people are just then learning about themselves and exploring who they are, and as I've talked about before here, are working to construct their identity. Writing becomes significant because it is a medium that helps them express themselves and channel their thoughts and opinions. Similarly, Social Action is important because it adds to the understanding of the self and what they believe in, as well as to help them see the change that they want to bring to the world around them.

With that being said, when social justice and writing come together, it becomes even more significant - and not just in that individual's life, either. When young people write, and write about social injustices and oppression around them, it adds to the powerful voice of change erupting from all parts of the world, especially in today's society, and reinforces the movement toward progress and equality as a people. When reading the articles for today's class, it was interesting to see how it stresses on the importance of education for adolescents. It adds to the idea of how real the future is in the hands of each upcoming generation. Thus, exposing them to real issues and having them have a personal investment in the things happening around them adds to that crucial relationship of student and expression.

I like that teachers are letting students express themselves more and more in the classroom. It's impossible to escape from the hell that is the reality around us, and it's great that classrooms are letting students critically think, discuss, and write about things are important and relevant to their everyday life. With that, writing becomes more of that authentic expression as opposed to a chore, and is good for both the student, teacher, and society as a whole- the student's voice becomes real and present, and once it is expressed in writing, it becomes a fact in the world around us. 

Creating a New Environment 2017-04-17 18:23:00

Hope Wilson

The Activist Learner

Inquiry, Literacy, and Service to Make Learning Matter

By Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry

Foreword by Mary Beth Tinker

Afterword by Bruce Novak










      Teaching to the test was never my favorite approach to engage students in classroom assignments.

Students will talk more if they knew their voices matters “From responding with interest when

students are enthusiastic about something like the opportunity to raise a shark, to being incense about

human rights violations, to being an attentive listener to student conversation, teachers can identify

potential topics. Remember that the underlying goal of inquiry is to connect students personally to the

materials of the curriculum and then connect what is learn back to the world in a way that it can be

used,” also increasing their personal growth. When teachers and students are communicating on a

person level it makes a great learning relationship. Service learning projects also improves teachers

relationships “ In addition to having the capacity to help improve service learning projects, work as

thinking partners provides rewarding collegial connections. When challenges arise and seen

overwhelming, thinking partners serve as mentors who see possibilities and remind one another of the

greater purpose of teaching with service learning. Positive collegial connections and support help

teachers remain and thrive in the profession” which may encourage other educator to engage in the

service learning projects. The parents expectations are familiar as they are consider “another site of

resource and support, as they can reinforce and extend at home what students are learning and doing

at school,” as they enhance their relationship with their child, increase their quality time, and

encourage better work ethics.
        
        The Activist Learner concept prepares students for future endeavors and personal relationships.

Service learning will increase students concept on the laws of life as their articulation skills increases.

It will also intensify their community life as it does takes a village to raise a child. 





Principles for Practice
What is Social Action?
Jennie Fleming, Ian Boulton


     I can identify and appreciate this valuable selection. It cleared up my concept on Social Action. I had concerns with the generic term social action,” Social Action is a community development theory base on the simple premise that change is possible. The Social Action approach enables groups of all ages and circumstances to take action and to achieve their collective goals. It offers an easy-to understand, open-ended process that enables people to identify and act on issues that are important to them while a set of principles. For us at the Centre for Social Action, Social Action is a distinctive methodology and should not be confused with the generic term social action, which describes activity aimed at brings about change in society.” engaging people in the necessities of change. Encouraging people to acknowledge their situation and persevered as they interact with their environment and the community.  Life appreciation is also encouraged” Injustice and oppression are complex issues rotted in social policy, the environment, and the economy. Social Action workers understand that people may experience problems as individuals but that these difficulties can be translated into common concerns. We recognize that there are many different problems in individuals’ lives. They may feel overwhelmed and daunted by mean: they may even be responsible for them. Social Action gives people the opportunity to break free from a negative view” which is the greatest approach when encouraging someone.
      Analyzing social change is familiar. Encouraging people to share themselves and work with

others are amazing. Getting people to not focus on being judged of their bad decision instead to focus

on The Social Action Process is awesome. The process is structured and work with everyone that

allows the process to work for them. It must be rewarding for all involved “to be allowed to reach

their conclusion in their own time” which takes away all constraints. When someone life is

unbalanced and then it becomes balanced you get to appreciate the person's soul.






Creating a New Environment 2017-04-17 18:23:00

Hope Wilson

The Activist Learner

Inquiry, Literacy, and Service to Make Learning Matter

By Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry

Foreword by Mary Beth Tinker

Afterword by Bruce Novak










      Teaching to the test was never my favorite approach to engage students in classroom assignments.

Students will talk more if they knew their voices matters “From responding with interest when

students are enthusiastic about something like the opportunity to raise a shark, to being incense about

human rights violations, to being an attentive listener to student conversation, teachers can identify

potential topics. Remember that the underlying goal of inquiry is to connect students personally to the

materials of the curriculum and then connect what is learn back to the world in a way that it can be

used,” also increasing their personal growth. When teachers and students are communicating on a

person level it makes a great learning relationship. Service learning projects also improves teachers

relationships “ In addition to having the capacity to help improve service learning projects, work as

thinking partners provides rewarding collegial connections. When challenges arise and seen

overwhelming, thinking partners serve as mentors who see possibilities and remind one another of the

greater purpose of teaching with service learning. Positive collegial connections and support help

teachers remain and thrive in the profession” which may encourage other educator to engage in the

service learning projects. The parents expectations are familiar as they are consider “another site of

resource and support, as they can reinforce and extend at home what students are learning and doing

at school,” as they enhance their relationship with their child, increase their quality time, and

encourage better work ethics.
        
        The Activist Learner concept prepares students for future endeavors and personal relationships.

Service learning will increase students concept on the laws of life as their articulation skills increases.

It will also intensify their community life as it does takes a village to raise a child. 





Principles for Practice
What is Social Action?
Jennie Fleming, Ian Boulton


     I can identify and appreciate this valuable selection. It cleared up my concept on Social Action. I had concerns with the generic term social action,” Social Action is a community development theory base on the simple premise that change is possible. The Social Action approach enables groups of all ages and circumstances to take action and to achieve their collective goals. It offers an easy-to understand, open-ended process that enables people to identify and act on issues that are important to them while a set of principles. For us at the Centre for Social Action, Social Action is a distinctive methodology and should not be confused with the generic term social action, which describes activity aimed at brings about change in society.” engaging people in the necessities of change. Encouraging people to acknowledge their situation and persevered as they interact with their environment and the community.  Life appreciation is also encouraged” Injustice and oppression are complex issues rotted in social policy, the environment, and the economy. Social Action workers understand that people may experience problems as individuals but that these difficulties can be translated into common concerns. We recognize that there are many different problems in individuals’ lives. They may feel overwhelmed and daunted by mean: they may even be responsible for them. Social Action gives people the opportunity to break free from a negative view” which is the greatest approach when encouraging someone.
      Analyzing social change is familiar. Encouraging people to share themselves and work with

others are amazing. Getting people to not focus on being judged of their bad decision instead to focus

on The Social Action Process is awesome. The process is structured and work with everyone that

allows the process to work for them. It must be rewarding for all involved “to be allowed to reach

their conclusion in their own time” which takes away all constraints. When someone life is

unbalanced and then it becomes balanced you get to appreciate the person's soul.






Social Action & Service Learning

This week, my class and I had the pleasure of getting to read two article that Stephanie chose for her presentation. I will say that both articles were interesting and engaging, but ultimately didn’t give as much as I oped that they would. It is inevitable that change is upon us and its necessary considering the current economic and political climate the world has found itself in. The discussions that need to be ongoing seem to be starting and stopping to say the least. I am glad that Stephanie chose this kind of overarching topic as it is both stimulating and timely.

The first article, “Principles for Practice: What is Social Action?” by Jennie Fleming and Ian Boulton began simply defining social action within the context that the authors were going to discuss is (more as a methodology for in-class teaching vs. society’s traditional view of the term). I chalked this article up to be about the ways in which educators can get students motivated and interested in the work that they are doing as learners and activists (whether they openly identify as activist or not… but they are!). The second article that I will mention later has the same message, to me, but talks more about service learning. I liked the idea in this first article about the inclusive nature of the practice of social action in the classroom, and how everything begins WITH the student. The authors point out that the process starts with the student’s understanding and replies on their endeavors.

I do agree with the authors in that anyone (if they are so inclined and willing) have the opportunity to create social change. I was even more ecstatic that Paolo Freire was brought into discussion. I usually always allude, at some point, to his work The Banking Concept of Education to get some point across. The banking concept mainly got across the theory that students are like receptacles that take in all of the information that educators *cough* oppressors already know and are going to relay unto them. basically, students aren’t collaborators with their teachers/professors; they are looked at as the individuals they do not possess the knowledge so they must have it bestowed upon them.

WRONG!

Any who, I appreciate the diagram of how social action is carried out: What, Why, How, Action, and Reflection. This is a straightforward way to get students thinking in a new way about the things that are going on around them. An attentiveness to awareness is crucial with the progression of life itself. I keep thinking back to the amazing Letters to the President project that Stephanie mentioned she did with her class and her joyous reactions and responses to how they were doing with that project. I felt she had understood that that project made an impact. Her students WANTED to do it, and more importantly they felt like they could… like they had a voice… like they mattered! They do! I feel that is a perfect example right there of the ways in which educators can start to incorporate these concepts into the classroom and get students motivated to learn again, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Speaking of motivation, I would like to move (briefly) into the last article I read for this week which was “Service and Self-Renewal: Service Learning as a Means to Invigorate and Renew Teachers” by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry. An excerpt from Ralph Peterson showed up in this chapter from the authors, and he expressed some thoughts about the way humans learn and what it has to do with. Peterson stated that “the way we learn… has to mean something” (p. 111). I couldn’t agree more, and I wrote in my journal that I took notes in: “!!Motivation!!” because that is what it is all about. Now, this article didn’t really explain what service learning was, and I was disappointed by this. It gave all the reasons as to why service learning can be beneficial, but I wanted a set definition for what it is and what it means. Furthermore, the article gave examples of how this was taking place in schools and with families, which was great, but I found myself wanting more from this article too.

As aforementioned, I felt like this article could be chalked up to being about the ways in which educators can get students motivated and interested in the work that they are doing. The article touched on students being collaborators and engaged learned and Dr. Zamora’s (my professor) lovely face appeared in my head because I know she is for this and I personally experience this kind of identification and growth within myself as a student just from knowing her for the time that I have. Moving along, other than the 3 possible approaches teachers can use to implement this kind of learning in the classroom, there were two other highlights that I thought were very important. The first highlight was that of the idea of introducing new forms of learning, and how teachers are automatically set up to fail in some way or another. This is so important to note, and unfortunately, so common.

There was a discussion in class about this, and I believe Stephanie and MaryKate were the ones to bring it up where they alluded to the system (a particular school, education system, and its curriculum) having influence on what is able to be done/get done in that location. Stephanie alluded to hang more leeway to try out things with her students where MaryKate does not have the same benefits. There is a lot that has to go into being able to introduce something new to students, and it far exceeds having a willing and exciting teacher to do it. There are constraints. The second highlight was the section of the chapter that talked about connecting with parents. I feel like this is such a cliche phrase, but “learning starts at home”. This is true. However, learning should start at home and be an on-going process. Stephanie mentioned in discussion once that some parents put sole responsibility onto the teacher and that’s a lot of pressure. Learning starts and stops at school for some students, but that is an epidemic that needs to be stopped in the areas where it is far too present.

Overall, reading about service learning was insightful and I feel like I DID learn, but I found myself asking “So, what now?” after reading these article. I am now excited to learn more and do more, but I don’t feel like I have enough information or know of necessary tools to begin after reading both sections, which is okay… I just have to do more research now. I feel lien the authors could have done more. The examples towards the end of


Exploring the Possibilities of Writing Through Social Learning

The social climate in our country is the equivalent to a pot of stew that is on the verge of boiling over. I would go as far as to argue that the climate is more like a bomb waiting to explode. Students on any grade level of the academic spectrum are over exposed this environment. You can’t turn on the TV without hearing about the happenings of our newest President and the cast of characters starring in his presidency. This coupled with a country that has never been more racially divided in recent years. It is hard to be oblivious to the talks of terrorists, building walls, dropping bombs, women’s rights, public education and other hot button issues. So my question to this as an educator is how do we use this information or the world around us to teach? You can’t ignore it. Teachers can’t close off their classrooms from the world around them. We can thank the internet for that. So since we can’t shut it out, how do we bring it in?
Those probing questions led me to the selection of my two readings for this week. The first selection is the chapter 8 from The Activist Learner by Jeffory D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglass, & Sara W. Fry. This reading really outlines and explains the meaning of terms like “service learning.” This is an idea that I was not formally introduced to until I got to college. I was in primary and secondary school during the late 80’s up until the late 90’s and this concept was never introduced to me as a student. Then when I went to college and started to study to become an educator the professors would mention it in passing but never in great detail. Partly because they knew change was on the horizon. Getting even a glimpse of the idea that this type of teaching and learning was possible piqued my interest and sparked my passion to be an educator.
The other article that were read is  Chapter 13 from Writing For Change: Boosting Literacy and Learning Through Social Action by Jennie Flemming and Ian Boultan. In this they discuss how “Social Action is a community of development theory based on the simple premise that change is possible” (87). As an educator you have believe this if you’re going to impact change. This belief can be translated to curriculums that you can create to teach your students. I wonder about the logistical details of how these lessons can be tailored to K-5. Being this innovative can be a huge undertaking for a teacher. “...all people have the skills, experience and understanding that they can draw on to tackle the problems they face. Social Action workers understand that people are experts in their own lives, and we use this as a starting point…”(88). When the people are children how do we as educators give them the tools that empower them to take the reigns and follow their drive and passion.
I believe in this type of learning. I think that educators should look for every opportunity to put the learning in the hands of the students. They have more to say than we give them credit for. We are all living in this society together each bringing different experiences and perspectives. Educators need to step back from the notion that they are the end all be all experts of what they’re teaching. I believe that this thinking is what is keeping more people from embracing service learning  and that is a shame.