Table of Content <ul><li>Rational </li></ul><ul><li>My Initial A ttempt at Critical Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Reading of my Everyday Activities- My Experience as an Ethnographer. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Reading of a Commercial </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Analysis of a Children’s Book </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Analysis of Advertisements </li></ul><ul><li>My Literacy World- a Short Video </li></ul><ul><li>My own “I am from…” Digital Poem </li></ul><ul><li>My Response to Readings and Group Presentations . </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for my Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Final Reflection </li></ul>
<ul><li>Over the course of this semester and this year I have spent at Teachers College, I have truly grown and learned so much as a reader and as a literate person. I used to believe that being literate meant that I could read and write fluently, but now my eyes have opened to the many ways that we are literate in our lives. I have learned that I not only read words, in my life I have learned how to read different elements in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>This portfolio shows my growth as a reader of words and the world, demonstrating some of my work along my journey as a literate citizen of this big world. </li></ul>
My World of Literacy <ul><li>My idea of literacy has grown and taken on a new shape over the course of this semester. This video represents my growth as a literacy student of this class and the world! </li></ul>Click on the picture to view the video!
My own“ I am from…” Digital Poem <ul><li>This semester we were asked to read the book “Girls, Class and Social Culture” by… I found this to be a very interesting book that spoke to the great effects that culture and social class played in girls lives, but really in all children’s lives… One of the elements mentioned in the book was a poem called “I am from..” in which the students where able to write about where they thought they were from. I thought this was an amazing idea and a great way to better get to know my students at the beginning of the year. This theme has run thick through our class this semester of trying to get to know our students better and really connect with them on a deeper level. I also had the chance to take a class this semester teaching me how to better integrate media into the classroom and it’s importance to students today. I suddenly thought that it would be a great idea to have students make their “I am from” poems into digital stories to enhance their work even more, and make it more personal to them. I decided to try it on my own first! Below is a link to the poem I created… </li></ul>Click here to view the digital poem!
My First Analysis of a Text <ul><li>These two pieces of work are my analysis of reading the book Trash by Dorothy Allison. I initially only read one story and reacted to that story, then I was able to read more of her work and really reflect and make some connections to my own life. </li></ul><ul><li>It is interesting to look at my work now at the end of our class and realize how much I have changed in my analysis of such texts. At the time I could only try to connect to the text on a personal level; it never occurred to me that I should try to connect it to the world. I have now learned that critical analysis is so much more then simply connecting with a text on a personal level. I need to analyze what groups are marginalized in this text, for example rich people from stable environments might not connect with this text. I also need to think of who is privileged, in the book Trash those from southern states, rural communities or broken homes might all be able to relate to this text in a deeper manner. In hindsight I read my first responses to this text and realize how much I have grown as a critical reader of both the word and world. </li></ul><ul><li>Click here to see my short blog response to a story in Trash . </li></ul><ul><li>Click here to see my paper with my reflections and connections to the book Trash. </li></ul>
Response to Story in Trash <ul><li>Reading the story “River of Names” was at first shocking, appalling and saddening all at once. I felt deep sympathy for every story Allison told of her family especially with the first few stories she told I was jarred at the horror and reality of it. But as I read on I was amazed at how quickly my feelings and senses where numbed to the stories told, and by the end of the reading I almost expected the awful stories to continue and become even more horrific if possible. When I finished reading I quickly realized that the numbness I began to feel was what Allison probably felt of her life. When I, just within a few minutes, had to become unfeeling as a way to cope with these horrendous stories I thankfully could not imagine what kind of intense denial or perhaps complete acknowledgment a person like Allison must feel in her life after such experiences. I felt a great feeling of gratitude to my family for providing me with such a happy childhood, never having to feel or experience any of the things this character had felt. </li></ul><ul><li>In honesty I believe I read this story from two perspectives. The first perspective of course being through my own childhood experiences, in which I could only feel pity and horror to these stories. The other lens I read this story through was that of a close childhood friend of mine. She was from a similar background to that of Allison’s, having been raped repeatedly and molested by family members as a child, I had heard similar stories from my friend and seen its effects on her. From a very young age I was aware that such horrific childhoods existed in our world, and I believe that changed my view of life and especially changed how I read this piece. It is interesting how we each come at a story from a different perspective and as I read this story images of my own childhood friend crept into my mind continuously, giving me a very different experience while reading then perhaps the person next to me. I am so thankful to have never experienced these things first hand, but sadly I have been an eyewitness to their deep effects on a life and how detrimental they can be. </li></ul>
Connections I Made to Trash <ul><li>Reading has always been a passion of mine from a very young age, I love losing myself in a story and imagining where I would take the story had I lived it. In her book Jones mentions: “ These sustained and concentrated interactions with worlds that differ from our own become our teachers of sensitivity, perspective, power and empathy”(2004, 11), and in my life I have always used books as a kind of looking glass into the unknown; a safe way of experiencing and exploring a life different then my own. Through all of my reading I quickly began to learn that as different as the worlds I was reading about seemed to be, I could always relate to them in some way, this held true for me when reading stories from the book Trash . </li></ul><ul><li>This book arose a variety of personal feelings in me from pity for what the author had experienced, to pride in her perseverance in overcoming her hardships. I had great difficulty relating to some of the stories in this book and this is probably due to my very different background then that of the authors. I was raised in a loving and supportive environment, with a mother and father guiding me every step of my life and one older brother offering me all he could as we grew up together. I also have not had to experience any great loss or horror in my life that can even vaguely compare to what Allison described in her book. I was raised in Saudi Arabia, which is world’s away from the Southern American upbringing that is discussed in this book. Though my mother was raised in Memphis, Tennessee I have grown up on southern food and southern hospitality, which allowed me to imagine the author’s setting in which she lived. </li></ul><ul><li>I was able to relate to some of Allison’s experiences on a very personal level to me. Throughout the book the author discusses people’s stereotypes of the South, whether they were positive or negative, they were a reality that Allison had to live with and almost overcome at times. I myself have had to deal with my own demons and realities proving to people that their preconceived notions of Saudi’s, Muslim’s, American’s …etc did not all live in me. That I was not a terrorist because I wore a head scarf, that I did not support Bush’s administration because I was an American citizen, I am only myself and I am proud of both sides of my rich heritage for it has made me who I am today. As Jones said: “ ‘Where are you from?’ is a loaded question many of us encounter as we meet new people… For those of us who are considered to be from the wrong side of the tracks, this question is always one of uncertainty” (2004,2). It took me a few years to finally find my identity and wear it proudly. </li></ul><ul><li>Reading the stories from the book Trash has helped to further open my eyes to the many commonalities between all of us as humans, though our experiences differ greatly from one another we can always find a way to relate. This book has helped me understand that what I see in this book can be very different from what another may see, because my experiences color my perception of the world in many different ways. </li></ul>
My Experience as an Ethnographer <ul><li>The following paper is one I wrote for this class, we were asked to analyze two everyday activities that we personally experienced. Essentially we were trying to be ethnographers of our own lives! I found this activity enlightening and really eye-opening. It really was the first activity we did that showed me that I not only read the word, but I had to read the world in doing something as simple as shopping at the grocery store. </li></ul><ul><li>Click here to view my paper. </li></ul>
My Experience as an Ethnographer <ul><li>The idea of literacy has troubled me in many ways since I first began teaching; I have thought deeply about how to better teach it in my classroom, how to incorporate it into my instruction in the most meaningful way possible and how important it is to students futures. Although I have struggled with so many aspects of literacy, I am the first to admit that the identification of what literacy really is never occurred to me as an area of debate. Over the past couple of months I have had the opportunity to delve more deeply into the many ideas of “what is literacy?” and I feel that it has stretched my way of thinking and observing people in a new way. From Gee’s definition of literacy as “ control of secondary uses of language” (Gee, 1989, p. 23) to Scribner’s varying view of literacy in three different metaphors. I feel that my idea of literacy that was once based around the simple idea of learning to read and write has now widened to encompass so much more of how the world interacts and responds to one another. </li></ul><ul><li>In my efforts to better understand literacy I have taken some time to analyze two literacy events in my own life. The first literacy event I inspected was a simple trip to the grocery store. I had prepared for the trip as I usually do by writing a list of things I needed to purchase, as to keep me on track to not overspend. As I enter the grocery store I pick up a basket to gather my items in without giving it a second thought. I enter the store and shimmy my way through the crowd, stepping to the side to allow other customers to pass me on their way out. I navigate the store with ease going down the isles and picking up the items I need as a stroll along, I have frequented this store many times and have memorized the location of most items. As always I take my time reading the labels on many of the items to make sure I am choosing the healthiest and most affordable option, I am also doing some calculation in my mind as I shop. As I am shopping I come across a unusual item on my list that I must search for, so I look at the signs hanging from the ceiling indicating what is located in each isle, then I continue to research by reading the different labels carefully scanning for the item I am need. When getting ready to check out I search for the shortest line and then patiently wait my turn, I greet the cashier and then pay for my food. As I leave I quickly gather my items and make my way out the door. </li></ul><ul><li>There was nothing unusual about this trip to the grocery store; in describing the event I was able to identify all of the visible elements from the participants to the activities I took part in. Upon deeper analysis of the event I was able to identify many of the non-visible elements that I would usually not notice. There are many non-visible participants such as the storeowner, food manufacturers; all store employees to those people shipping the food from around the world to the store. The non-visible setting was my participation in commerce, my role as a wife providing for my family and my role as a Muslim by making sure to not buy any alcoholic products or products that have pork in them. When analyzing the non-visible artifacts I realized that I brought such things as my need to stay within a budget and my very basic need to eat in order to survive, the store owner and employees also have the basic need to survive by working and providing for themselves and their families. The non-visible activities performed were such things as employees stocking the store, my writing of the shopping list, the opening of the store, my understanding of appropriate behaviors during shopping such as standing in line to check out and allowing others to pass. </li></ul>
<ul><li>When analyzing this literacy event my thoughts kept coming back to Scribner’s three metaphors. Overall this event was one of adaption (functional literacy) in that shopping for food is a necessary and required activity in order to survive. I was able to use my ability to read and communicate by writing the shopping list, reading the labels and signs and calculating and paying for the food. Some of the shopping could also be seen as a State of Grace since I was able to shop in a nice store, and I was able to choose some items that are more expensive and not necessary for survival just because I wanted them. I also analyzed this event from Gee’s perspective in the sense that I was literate in this situation because I had acquired this secondary discourse of shopping, because I was able to navigate through the store while following the proper etiquette and manners used in this situation. I mastered this literacy because it was never taught to me but I acquired it through my previous experiences and observations, as Gee states “ Literacy is mastered through acquisition, not learning” (Gee, 1989, p. 23). </li></ul><ul><li>The second literacy event I analyzed was another shopping trip but one that I was less familiar with: shopping for maternity clothes. As I have never been pregnant before I was unfamiliar with the type of clothes available especially pants, as there are various rises and types to choose from, I really struggled to understand this new and unfamiliar area. When shopping a maternity store in Queens an employee quickly approaches and offers her help, which I quickly accept. Her and I easily navigate through the store and I head towards the pants explaining to the store employee that those are what I need today. I stare at the pants and she quickly begins to explain the different types I can choose from, her previous knowledge of her work let her know that I am overwhelmed and confused. My previous knowledge of shopping overall lend themselves well to me in this situation as I am able to use my shopping skills to at least find the size of pant I need and then make my way to the dressing room to try my choices out. I am very thankful to the employee as I check out with the pants that I have chosen and I happily pay for the items before leaving the store. </li></ul><ul><li>Upon analysis of the situation I am reminded of the idea of multiple literacy’s that Bloome and Enciso introduced. Though I was very familiar with shopping for clothes, I was unfamiliar with how to shop for maternity clothes but I was able to adapt to the new situation by using my old literacy of shopping in general and apply it to this new situation. As Bloome and Enciso state: “ students must understand both how to adopt extant literacy practices and how to adapt them to new situations and needs”. (Bloome & Enciso, 2007, p. 298). I also realized some similarities between this shopping experience and the last in that this shopping could be viewed as one of adaption, since my need to be clothed in appropriate attire was what sent me to this store. Also my ability to read the labels and tags on the clothes that explained each garment was essential in my understanding of what to shop for, and my ability to read the price was also key for me to be able to decide what was within my budget, all of these elements lend themselves to the idea of functional literacy. But this shopping could also be viewed as a State of Grace because the mere ability to shop for an entirely new wardrobe would be seen as a privilege to many. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Literacy is a many-meaninged thing” (Scribner, 1984, p. 9). When first reading this statement I did not understand it, but after I had the chance to analyze these two literacy events I feel I am able to comprehend that quote on many levels. My analysis of these two literacy events has really broadened my view to social interactions and to literacy as a whole, I could have never imagined in the past how far one can delve into literacy and how truly blurry the lines are when trying to encompass the idea of literacy. After this work I will admit that I am in deep agreement with Scribner’s statement: “Although literacy is a problem of pressing national concern, we have yet to discover or set its boundaries.” (1984, p. 6) </li></ul>
Critically Analyzing a Commercial <ul><li>The next step to my eye-opening journey of literacy was when we were asked to analyze a commercial we saw on television. I really was forced to think about elements such as who was targeted in this commercial and where the power was… </li></ul><ul><li>Here is the link to view the commercial I analyzed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A2Ap3DyvLg </li></ul><ul><li>Click here to read my critical analysis of the commercial. </li></ul>
Critical Analysis of a Commercial <ul><li>Over the past few months I have had the time to really learn about the various forms of literacy and about critical reading, due to this I have found myself applying this knowledge to my every day activities and happenings around me. “ It is a habit of practice to go beyond and beneath text, investigating issues and whose interests are served by texts, whose interests are not being served and why.” (Jones, 2006, p. 67). As I settled onto my couch one evening, I began to flip through the channels on the television, I settled on the New York One (NY1) station to watch the local news. As I was watching a commercial came on that seemed very interesting to me and caught my eye, it was a Public Service Announcement commercial. </li></ul><ul><li>The commercial began in an old lady’s apartment that was filled with nick knacks; she was sitting on a coach working on some needlework. Her attention is suddenly diverted from her needlepoint due to the singing she hears from outside. As she peers out of her window with a shocked look the camera turns to show the man that is singing outside in the front of the apartment building. The man is facing away from the building and wearing a track suite, he is singing a cheer: “ Oh those boys are much too much, those boys are much to much. We’ve got the spirit, we’re hot, we can’t be stopped”. While he sings this cheer he is dancing along. The camera then pulls out and shows that the man is not alone, he has a little girl, around the age of seven, dressed in a cheerleading outfit dancing and singing with him. As they continue to sing their cheer and practice their dance, the narrator begins to say: “The smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child’s life”. As the narrator says this, the camera zooms in on the little girls smiling face. The narrator continues: “ Take time to be a dad”, as the commercial comes to an end a website and phone number are simply displayed at the bottom of the page: fatherhood.gov and 877-4DAD411. That is the end of the commercial. It is important to mention that the commercial seemed to take place in the inner city, in front of an apartment that looked to be in a mid to lowed class community. Also all those involved in the commercial were of African American descent. </li></ul><ul><li>So many things came to my mind and I began to critically read this commercial in my own mind. As I began to analyze the commercial I kept in mind that: “Analyzing perspective and engaging multiple perspectives is an important part of critical literacy for both text creators (writers) and text consumers (readers).” (Jones, 2006, p. 80). When analyzing this text for perspective my thoughts immediately thought of who would have made this advertisement, and that is whomever was in charge of the website or organization funding the commercial. These people are obviously concerned about the well being of children and understand the importance of a father’s relationship with his children. I then began to think about who was this commercial made for, who was this commercial intended to affect? I think it is important to note the time this commercial aired and the station that is aired on to be able to determine the intended audience. The commercial aired on a public station that anyone can access that has a television, so those with a lower socio economic status where being kept in mind. Also it was aired in the early evening when men would most likely be getting home from work and taking time to watch television, so the intended audience could be people with full time jobs. It was easy decide that the obvious intended audience are inactive fathers that are not involved in their children’s lives for various reasons but the less obvious audience is anyone that is African American or from a minority group, also anyone living in the inner city that is from a lower socioeconomic status. The creators of this commercial seem to have the opinion that often African American, inner city men with lower incomes tend to be less involved in their children’s lives. They also seem to believe that when they do become involved it can be an extremely positive experience with a great outcome for both parent and child. </li></ul>
<ul><li>After analyzing the perspective of the commercial, I began to think more deeply about the positioning. It was very clear in my opinion that certain people and practices were valued throughout this commercial. The relationship between a father and his child is very important element throughout the commercial, the child is also thought of, deeply considering the lasting effects a parents involvement can play on a child’s future. </li></ul><ul><li>There must be “ insiders” that identify with this advertisement and “outsiders” that do not. The “insiders” are any parent especially those that live the city, also more specifically active fathers might feel a tight positive bond with this commercial in knowing that they are doing a great job with their children. On the other hand, fathers that have tended to neglect their children would also feel a connection with this commercial but in more of a negative manner, reminding them of their shortcomings. As for the “outsiders” in this commercial that would most likely be people that do not have children and are not greatly concerned with them, and also those that do not live in the city and also people that are not African American might not identify with this commercial. </li></ul><ul><li>On a more personal note, this commercial really positions me as an “insider” on a couple of levels. First of all as a teacher I value children, and I can deeply understand the great importance and vital role that both mothers and fathers play in their children’s lives. As an expectant mother I am also able to identify with the idea that parents have a great responsibility towards their children, and most honor that and commit to those responsibilities. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Power is always at play in human relations” (Jones, 2006, p.83); this is true in this commercial as well. In viewing this commercial I tried to think about how the author used power when making this advertisement. The power really lies in the website and phone number that are listed at the end of the commercial, and with those that are already attentive fathers. But for those seeking information on this topic, it is implied that all they need to do is call or look up the information to make them a better parent. When thinking about the different stereotypes that the creators of this commercial used, it is clear that they used their power to illustrate many stereotypes. The first of which is that men from minority groups, and specifically African Americans, that live in the inner city and come from a lowed economic status can tend to be less involved parents, perhaps assuming they do not care as much about their children, or that they do not know how important their role is. In a way it makes the assumption that all one has to simply do is choose to spend time with their children, not really acknowledging that many men from lower socioeconomic backgrounds might be working hard to help their children and simply not have enough time to spend with them. Another stereotype that is eluded to is that girls enjoy cheerleading, and that the only way for a father to relate and bond with his daughter is for him to do girl related activities, this also assumes that a girl would not find it fun to do something less gender biased. </li></ul><ul><li>It is also important to mention what kind of literacy is needed when watching this commercial. The obvious first literacy in use is that of being able to read the web address listed at the bottom of the page, which was not mentioned verbally but only visually. The same is true of the phone number. This also shows that the person needing this assistance needs to be literate in either the use of the Internet or the phone, if someone did not know how to use the Internet they would have no idea what to do with the web address. </li></ul><ul><li>My critical reading of this commercial was able to help me to better understand the advertisement on so many different levels that never would have occurred to me had I not deepened my thinking in this manner. My critical reading brings to my mind a powerful statement from Jones’ book in which she states: “Opening up such conversations is one way of breaking a culture of silence that can overwhelm people who are consistently positioned as outsiders of a mainstream society.” (2006, p. 60). I hope to continue stretching my thinking in this way, as I believe that it has great importance in helping us better understand ourselves and the world we live in. </li></ul>
Critical Analysis of a Children’s Book <ul><li>Last semester was the first time I had thought of critically analyzing a text of any kind. In a class I took last semester we were asked to critically analyze a picture book. As a teacher I was a bit confused as to what I should even look for, but I quickly realized that each book is almost geared towards a certain kind of child. Writing this paper helped me to realize that I have to be conscious of the kinds of books I choose for my students, making sure to have some books for all the children to relate to and learn from. </li></ul><ul><li>Click here to view my analysis of a picture book. </li></ul>
Critical Analysis of a Picture Book <ul><li>The book Daddy’s Girl written by Garrison Keillor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser is about a father’s description of his beloved daughter. It takes the reader through the little girls’ everyday activities with her father. From changing her diaper to eating her favorite foods, walking through the city and finally attending a wedding together, father and daughter enjoy every minute they spend together. The writer does a wonderful job showing how much the father loves and admires his little girl. The book is also very descriptive, thoroughly explaining the characters surroundings through out the book. The pictures are a vital part of this book; they support the text and add to the depth of the story, really taking the reader on an adventure. </li></ul><ul><li>This book is very entertaining but there are certain perspectives that are privileged in the text. The book is written from the perspective of an upper middle class family. This is mostly shown through the illustrations but at instances can be inferred through the text. One part of the book describes what the daughter enjoys eating, “ You could serve her cheese soufflés. Walleye pie or goose pates. Sushi, Scampi or souvlaki, beef or chicken teriyaki” (Keillor, 2005, pp.9). This quote demonstrated that this family can afford more expensive and unusual foods for their daughter to try, a family of a lower socio economic status would probably not be able to afford these types of foods. The illustrations also show examples of this family’s higher income; there are pictures that show a neat and tidy home with a high chair and changing table just for the little girl, and beautiful views from their living room window. There are also pictures of the father and daughter eating out in various restaurants and attending a nice wedding. These types of activities are not always possible for families of lesser means. </li></ul><ul><li>There is also the perspective of a single-parent family that is privileged in the text. Through out the book there is no evidence in the text or illustration that the little girls mother is in her life. All of the pictures show the father and the daughter together alone. It may also show that the father is a stay-at-home father. In both cases this is an interesting perspective that many children can relate to that is not usually shown in picture books. </li></ul><ul><li>Another perspective that is evident in this book is that of a spoiled child. The father follows the little girl through out the city, quoting over and over “The baby says HA!” (Keillor, 2005, pp.13). This action could be seen as a rude comment from a little girl. The father also offers the child any kind of food she may want, and he centers all of his activities around what makes his daughter happy. Many children have never received this kind of attention from a parent, and may view it as though the character is spoiled and ungrateful. Though this insight is easily perceived when first looking at the book students in class can explore if this is only their assumption based on the way they live and if in fact the little girl is really spoiled. After taking a closer look at the book the little girl seems helpful and kind: helping pick up dropped groceries on page twenty seven and smiling very kindly at all the people as she roams through the city. As Jones pointed out: “Beginning with assumptions and stereotypes, the girls were able to work through when and why some were simply wrong” (Jones, 2006, pp.126). Jones is able to show how her students were able to work through their preconceived notions and correct them. </li></ul>
<ul><li>It is also important to note that the illustrations through out the book do a wonderful job of showing people from all walks of life, especially the pictures of when the little girl goes walking through the city with her father. On page seventeen the illustration shows a Caucasian mother with her assumed adopted Asian baby. The illustrations also show different people young and old, black and white and all other colors in between roaming through the streets. Another interesting point is that there is no attachment of race to certain occupations, for example on page sixteen there is a picture of a black man in an expensive suit talking on his phone, obviously a well off business man. While in the same picture some Caucasian men are unloading a truck, not a very high paid job. These illustrations are non-biased and attempt to show children a realistic view of the world. “In order to engage with such a book, an individual needs to be both a reader and a viewer- that is to be a reader of pictures as well as a reader of words” (Anstey & Bull, 2006, pp.83). This quote explains how important it is in this kind of book to pay special attention to the pictures and not only the words. </li></ul><ul><li>Many children could relate to this book on different levels. Children from single-parent homes or ones that have a stay-at-home dad would be quick to connect to this book. Also children that might enjoy ethnic food or are from the ethnic background of some of the foods discussed, might be excited to see these foods mentioned. Such foods like sushi, falafels and sauerbraten are rarely mentioned in picture books. Children that live in a busy city will be able to identify with the busy illustrations of the little girl roaming through the busy city streets with her father. Most importantly any little girl that has a good relationship with her father will be able to connect with this book on a deep level. </li></ul><ul><li>Children from low socio economic statuses might not be able to relate to this characters experiences, they would not be able to connect any of their experiences with her trips to exotic restaurant and fancy weddings. Such students might never be able to afford to go to such expensive restaurants and spend all day just playing with an adult. Students that do not have a relationship with their fathers or that have negative relationships with their fathers will have great difficulty relating to this book on any level since the core idea of this book is about a fathers deep love for his daughter. Children might feel sad or threatened by such open discussion of this subject. Also boys could have trouble connecting to this character and shy away from a book that is all about a girl. </li></ul><ul><li>As a teacher I tried to analyze this book on many levels, keeping in mind the various readers that might come across such a book in my classroom. As Jones states “It is a habit of practice to think beyond and beneath text, investigating issues of power and whose interests are being served, and why” (Jones, 2006, pp.67). I found that this book could be of great value to many students; it could also offend and bore other children if not presented to them in the right method. When I think of myself as a child from a middle class working nuclear family, I could really identify with this book for many personal reasons. For one I am very close to my father and have always had a strong relationship with him. I am also from mixed cultures and have always experienced various tastes and met different people from around the world. This book offers many different looks at foods and people from all walks of life, I would have also greatly identified with this aspect of the book. As a teacher that had had the opportunity to teach students from varied backgrounds, I can appreciate how this book has an interesting perspective with a single father highlighted in the story and great illustrations of all types of people throughout the book. I can see the value of sharing this book with my classroom. </li></ul>
My Critical Analysis of Advertisments <ul><li>Throughout this semester I have had the door of critical literacy opened to me, and I feel as though I am seeing so much of the world with new eyes! Especially when it comes to commercials and adds for various products. </li></ul><ul><li>Here are a few advertisments that I have seen and thought about more deeply and critically: </li></ul>
Advertisment # 1 <ul><li>How to win a girl’s heart (Jewlery Store Add) </li></ul><ul><li>When first looking at this commercial it was clear to me that the audience that this is geared towards is women, and men looking to impress a woman. This commercial sells the idea that a man will look even more handsome in the eyes of any woman as long as they buy her a beautiful diamond ring. Basically sending the message that in order for a woman to except you, all you have to is buy her an extravegant gift. This commercial assumes that women are all very superficial and care greatly for material things, it also assumes that all women are searching for marriage and an engagement ring. On the other hand, the add assumes that all man are only trying to look more handsome in women’s eyes. The man really carries the power in this add because he can choose to spend money on the woman, and of course the store holds the power by suggesting that a ring from their store will change their looks in the woman’s eyes. </li></ul>
My Analysis of Advertisement #2 <ul><li>The commercial says: “ Obesity finds it hardest to catch up with those who are running”. </li></ul><ul><li>This commercial is clearly speaking and geared towards people that are overweight and have silhouette even similar to the man in the advertisement. I also believe that it is meant to speak to people that are conscious of their bodies and their weight by scaring them with the words simply written in the middle of the advertisement: “Obesity finds it hardest to catch up with those who are running”. This is meant to convince people that unless you are running/going to the gym regularly the fat is going to “catch up with you”. The power in the add is placed with the gym as being the savior and simple solution to obesity, if someone simply goes to the gym then they will never look like the man in the add. One could argue that thin and people of good health that work out regularly are marginalized in this advertisement, but on the other hand it could be argued that this is a reminder to them of what could happen if they stop working out. The simplicity of the picture displayed immediately catches the viewers attention and almost anyone would wonder what is the point and the small hand writing within and the small gyms logo in the corner almost pull the viewer in to closely look at the advertisement and study it longer. </li></ul>
Reading the Book: “ The brothers and sisters learn to write: Popular literacies in childhood” <ul><li>I read this book in preparation for my group presentation and I was happily surprised with all that I walked away with from this book. The book studied a group of students in the first grade that were part of tight-knit group, the author specifically examined their journey in learning to write and if their pop-culture played a role in their learning process. All of the students tended to greatly integrate the pop-culture they were interested into their writing. Two girls were very interested in singing and discussed and sang while they were writing, while another little boy was very involved in sports and sport shows doing the same as the little girls had with his writing. </li></ul><ul><li>The real lesson I walked away with from this book was that allowing the students freedom of expression and discussion during their writing time really played a vital role in their excitement about their writing. It was also clear that their discussion about pop-culture elements seemed to inspire their writing and help them generate new ideas to integrate into their writing. </li></ul><ul><li>In my own classroom I hope to learn from this book by honoring my students interests in class, realizing that what they live in their lives outside of school can play such a vital role in what they learn in school, if I can bridge the gap between the two worlds perhaps the student’s time in school will be even more rewarding. I realize that I have the traditional tendency to think that writing time should be quite time, but this book helped me to see that when students are learning to write they need to be inspired and allowed freedom to express themselves in order to truly achieve in the classroom. </li></ul>
Response to Articles by Vivian Vasquez <ul><li>I was extremely intrigued by our reading for this week in which Vivian Vasquez discusses what we can learn as educators from popular culture and digital literacy in our students lives. Vasquez does an in-depth study of children’s near obsession with the Pokémon cartoon, this does not involve the children simply watching the cartoon (though most children’s interest in this topic begins with the cartoon) but buying trading cards and ultimately engaging in an new literacy in which most adults have trouble understanding. Vasquez states her intent through out the study, which is: “ My intent is to show the engagement with popular culture texts can teach us about learning and literacy and to discuss the powerful and creative learning students can bring to the aspects of popular culture with which they choose to identify”. (Vasquez, 2003, p. 118). I found it very interesting to go on the journey with Vasquez of discovering which of Gee’s principals of learning the children where using when “playing” with the Pokémon cards. They really experienced all of them! In order for the students to truly engage in this Pokémon culture they had to read and be actively engaged in several types of texts, they created their own cards, and where ultimately fully immersed in this new culture and became literate in it as well (to the point that they were able to explain it to any adult!). </li></ul><ul><li>Vasquez made a great point of showing us that these children where so thoroughly entranced and engaged in this pedagogy that they did not realize how much they were learning! The students had to become fluent in using several types of texts, not only the written text but images also. This really supports the idea that: “ participating in children’s culture is based on an acknowledgment of a broad range of literacies. ”(Vasquez, 2005, p. 215). I think that this idea of teaching students to become literate in many types of text is so important in our current world. The 21 st century does not only focus on written text anymore, we communicate through so much more then just words. I think we are doing a disservice to our students by only focusing on teaching them one type of literacy learning, because when they enter the real world they will need to be informed in so much more in order to succeed in their lives. </li></ul><ul><li>What was so amazing about studying the children’s love of Pokémon was how much fun they had with it! They loved every minute of what they were doing, whether it was deciphering the trading card language, creating their own cards, or simply discussing the characters. As educators I feel that we are standing on a gold mine and don’t even know it! Here we are still trying to teach students to read (unsuccessfully in many cases) using basal readers and drilling them with facts, and in their own private time they are actively engaged in this culture. If teachers could figure out how to bring these areas of interest into the classroom our students would thrive in ways we could only imagine. As I contemplate this, my mind keeps drifting back to the movie clip we saw in class last week from the movie “The Wire”. In the movie the teacher had incredible difficulty getting students engaged in their learning until the teacher started to teach to their interests, then he had the type of classroom we all dream about: a class in which students are actively engaged and excited to be learning, they did not even seem to realize that they were learning! “In this open pedagogy, where learning is not pre-determined but generated … children thrive as literate beings, continuously seeking out more knowledge and willingly taking up the challenge of participating in a game that grows in complexity and difficulty over time”. (Vasquez, 2005, p.215). </li></ul><ul><li>This type of teaching definitely needs a brave teacher to head the classroom because this is unconventional and not what is typically seen in classrooms. But I think that it is so vital for us to be brave for our students, to fight for their learning, and we can do that by fighting to teach them what will actually get them involved and interested, perhaps this is the key that we have all been searching for. </li></ul>
Observing Group Presentations <ul><li>I found all of the group presentations on various books addressing literacy to be very interesting and helpful to my thinking as an educator. After having seen all of the presentations I feel as though the main theme that runs through all of the discussions was about addressing the needs and interests of our students. I was able to see that the best way to teach students is to realize that all elements of their lives outside of school play a vital role in who they are in school, the two worlds cannot be separate. </li></ul><ul><li>I finally realized that if I am to be the best teacher for these students I have to know more then their score on the running records and what books interest them, I need to know about such elements as their interests in pop-culture, their power struggle in the classroom and their backgrounds at home. In order to do this I have to make more of an effort to get to know their families and the communities they live in, these are all clues into who they are as individuals. </li></ul><ul><li>The group presentations were also a repeated lesson to me on how important it is for teachers to share information with one another and help each other in areas of professional development. Continuing to educate ourselves as professionals is one of the main ways that we can better help our students. The presentations really inspired me to search into this topic more and introduced to professional texts that I would not have had time to read on my own. I think what we tried in the classroom would be a great way to integrate professional development into any school in order to help broaden al the teachers knowledge base and inspire them to learn more. </li></ul>
Implications for My Teaching <ul><li>There are so many bits of knowledge I have learned and will take away with me this semester that I can implement into my teaching: </li></ul><ul><li>Getting to know my students and their families better by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Making house calls and more phone calls to the families (for positive reasons as well as negative when needed) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asking the parents to write a letter to me about their children at the beginning of the year. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowing students to share and talk during writing time in class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrating popular pop-culture into the classroom to help students identify more deeply with what is being taught. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teaching my students to critically analyze and have critical conversations about their learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching the students to read the word, but also that they can read the world. I would do this by teaching them about new cultures and teaching them that the world has many different kinds of places and people. I would try to integrate this into my teaching through culturally diverse books, films and experiences… etc. </li></ul>
Integrating Media into the Classroom <ul><li>I had the chance to take a class this semester titled Teach, Think and Play which taught us about ways to integrate pop-culture and media into the classroom. Before I took this class I was very nervous about trying to integrate media and technology into my classroom, this is due to my inexperience with technology and to the fact that is not traditionally used in schools. After taking our class and the other class I am convinced that bringing media and pop-culture into the classroom are an amazing way to get our students more involved in their learning, and a way to prepare them for the world in general. It is our duty as educators to try and provide our students with the best possible education, no matter how hard it might seem to us, and using pop-culture and media are a great way to teach our students. </li></ul><ul><li>A great method I learned to do this in my class is through media circles. Media circles are a way to get students to think critically about movies, and can lead students into wonderful conversation about the “big picture” being taught in a film. </li></ul>
Media Circles <ul><li>In my excitement to use media circles I created my own and tried it out with a group of second graders. The media circle I created was with a short Pixar movie titled: “For the Birds”. After the students watched the movie they each received a job to complete about the movie. I created graphic organizers and jobs to help them focus their energy on one aspect of the movie. Each student in a group had a different job. After the students completed their jobs and watched the movie again they ha the chance to share what they found with their groups. These discussions lead to wonderful and in-depth conversations about a simple film. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to use this in my own classroom in the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Below I have attached a link to the Pixar movie and some of the graphic organizers I created for the media circles. </li></ul>
Media Circles cont. <ul><li>Click here to view the short movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-LhH9japQ0 </li></ul><ul><li>Click here to view the graphic organizers I created for the film. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
<ul><li>Name: ____________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Looking through the Eyes of the Big Bird: Your job is to imagine what the big bird might be feeling and thinking during the movie. If you were the big bird how would you feel? What would you be thinking if you were in his place? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you feel? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>What might you be thinking? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
<ul><li>Connector : Your job is to make a connection between the movies characters and other characters you might have read about previously. Do the little birds or the big bird remind you of a character you read about before? What book was that character in? What reasons do you have for making a connection between these characters? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Character you are </li></ul><ul><li>reminded of: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Book: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Your reason for </li></ul><ul><li>making a </li></ul><ul><li>connection: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
<ul><li>Questioner: Your job is to ask questions you have about the movie before you see the movie, during the movie, and after the movie. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions you had before the movie: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Questions you had during the movie: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Questions you had after the movie: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
Final Reflection <ul><li>I have learned so much from this class this semester both as a reader of the word and I discovered that I am a reader of the world. Without our ability to read the world we would never be able to adapt to our new surroundings in this ever-changing world of ours, and we never be able to blend in and learn from those people that are different from ourselves. </li></ul><ul><li>I hope to integrate this new outlook I have on literacy in my work as a teacher. Critical think and reading are an important part of education and I hope to teach it to my students. </li></ul>
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.