Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Promising Practices Post

I really enjoyed the promising practices event we went to on November 5th. Almost everything about it was educational but some parts were not.
The session I was in was session H called Art and Diverse Expressions.
The first workshop was called Honoring Diverse Expression through Artistic Processes and it was conducted by Virginia Freyermuth. She discussed how art is more than just self expression. She said that art can lead to personal change/ social change. I completely agreed with this statement because I am a music major. Although it is a different form of art I still feel that any form of art can lead to personal change and social change. We worked on a project called prayer sticks originally of Native American tradition. Instead she called them hope sticks. Everything on the stick was relevant meaning anything from the colors of the beads or number of beads, to the number of times one wraps string around the stick. There is also symbolic meaning for the type of tree a stick came from. If the hope/prayer stick was given as a gift it was a very meaningful present. This project when done with the kids is to help them understand that there will always be hope. Another favorite thing that she had said was that there is an inner artist in everyone.
The second workshop was called Celebrating Diversity- Using Art Merged with Literacy conducted by Kristen Vito-Silva. She discussed about how when the students walk into the classroom it is a blank canvas and they will be creating their own space with all of their own art work. "Art can be anywhere and everywhere, even woven into everyday teaching practices." In order to work with them, you need to know your students, their background, and what makes them tick. She gave us a packet that included some of their work. My favorite one was this one:

High places
Can't go to the edge
Heart starts beeping
Like never before
Try to get
To the edge
Feel like
Somebody is pulling me
Scitter scatter
Right out of the room
On a boat I feel like
I am going to fall over
Tall building
My blood
Really fast
I feel like
It's trying to
Pull me away
From the edge
Fears started
When I cracked my head

Just the fact that this came from a young child is amazing to me.
The workshops were my most favorite part of the whole conference. I did not enjoy the teen empowerment was not useful because they were doing ice breakers which would have been more useful in small groups. I found the panel informative but I did not take many notes on it so I sadly do not have a ton to say about that.

In conclusion, I am very surprised that I enjoyed the conference but I am glad I went and maybe I will go next year...

Talking Points #5 Kahne and Westheimer extended comments

In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning

I used this post as extended comments from Elyssa's reflection on this article.
I agree that the students would get more out of the experience in Ms. Adams' class project than Mr. Johnson's. All the students in Mr. Johnson's class tried to be a part of the solution but they did not try to hard to find the exact root of the problem. Ms. Adams' class examined all aspects of homelessness such as political, social, and economic causes.
I also kind of agree with her point about service learning having a negative effect. In my high school it was a requirement to do a certain number of community service hours. When senior week came along we all were separated and divided among different community service opportunities. I was required to go to the Greater Boston Food Bank. All we did was divide foods that were brought in as donations. I honestly did not feel like i knew where it would go, how it would be distributed, or anything like that. I only felt as though I was doing this just so I could graduate. We never had any interactions with the people we would be helping which would probably have been a better way of showing us what we are doing to help.
Elyssa makes a good point about how in order to help the less fortunate to the best of our ability, we must have a hands on first hand look at the problem.