Week 15: Group Project Reflection

April 26, 2014

I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed all of the videos and everyone have good plans for their schools. I think that we all included unique components to our schools. I like the idea of a student centered school that has an open feel to it. I think that the school offers a nice relaxing environment to encourage students to feel good about their school and have an open dialect with their teachers and the administration.

I also liked the green school, I think they had some amazing ideas and it kind of reminded me of a large home school group environment. I’m not sure if I like K-12 together, but hopefully somewhere it would work. I love the idea of students being more hands on, more creative, and involved in their education.  I think that is similar to the model we created for our vocational type school. I think students really need to have a school where they can enter the job force once they are out of high school. I know that in some areas this school model would be difficult to pull off, but in the larger more suburban areas (like we live in) where they have several large high schools you could certainly pull from the student population of several schools and have students in a more centrally located school where they are prepared for their future. I think we also have to understand that every student is not going to college, at least right away.

I think everyone did a great job on this project and brought unique perspectives that are desperately needed in education today.


Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Week 13: Curriculum and Instruction

April 13, 2014

Building curriculum can sometimes be a challenge. I have found while working with my ESL students it is better for me to build curriculum around things they do not have prior knowledge of. I build curriculum around things that are not taught in their native countries that are academic requirements in our school system and by the state. I have built my curriculum around World History, US History, Earth Science, and writing strategies. My students seem to able to grasp Biology, Geography, Math, and with some help Reading, but struggle in the areas I focus on. My students have no prior knowledge of US History or World History, they just have never learned the history of the world.Earth Science is not focused on in other countries and for ESL students writing is the last skill that develops for them. I have tried to meet their needs and often help them with grammar questions and problems. I have tried to model good use of grammar and help students with sentence structure problems and use of punctuation and capitalization (which they never use).

I use backward design lesson plans to help me develop well planned and thought out lesson. I generally include 4 or 5 activities to help students remember the lesson and apply what they have learned. I frequently repeat information for them and often use some of my activities as warm ups to help my students keep the information fresh in their minds. I also obtain information from their other teachers to help keep my lessons on track with what is going on in other classrooms. I think this extra collaboration helps my students work through some of the difficulties they have been facing.

I think for each of us curriculum is something different and has different elements that are unique to all of us. We all have our strengths and we should be able to build off of those to develop a strong curriculum that works for us and our students so they can excel!

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Changing World of Education

April 6, 2014


Education as I knew it no longer exists. We live in a world that is changing and evolving at the speed of light. There are so many new elements to the classroom, problems, strategies, and devices it is difficult to know what is better and what is appropriate to use in the classroom. I think that pedagogy is changing and developing in every classroom.


Even though things are changing there are some important aspects that must remain intact for the classroom to work. Teachers must maintain a level of integrity, maintain control, and guide students to help them discover and obtain information. These elements must stay intact! With that said, the classroom needs to evolve and remain relevant for students and the changing world. Students need to be ready for what lies ahead of them, whether it is college, career tracks, or a combination of these. We fail students when we don’t properly prepare them. Unfortunately I believe we are not keeping up with this task of preparing them. Educators hold on to old ideals and methods, even after we have determined that they don’t work.


If we know that students need to be able to process information and utilize to copious amounts of resources and information out there, why aren’t we teaching them how to use information more effectively and utilize resources to their maximum potential? I feel like other countries are ahead of the United States (US) on this aspect of education. The US tends to bogged down in politics and peoples opinions  and fail to make necessary changes and progress towards much needed outcomes.

Dr. Michio Kaku: The Problem with the learning system in school. (2010, March 31). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9yUXVzs0Qw

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Week 11: EEO

March 30, 2014

What doe equal education look like? I think in a dream world that every parent would be equally dedicated to their children’s future and provide them with the necessary building blocks prior to entering schools. But, this does not happen!! So many of us have these interesting jobs of working in collaborative classrooms and trying to help students catch up with their peers.


Often students come to school ill prepared for what awaits them. If there were equality in education all students would come to school well supplied and well prepared. It breaks my heart that so many students come to school and do not even have basic skills, like writing their name, identifying their name, know their ABC’s or counting to twenty. Many school systems have put Response to Intervention (RTI) in place to help students in the classroom prior to being evaluated or having a child study done to identify student with a learning disability. RTI means “leaving a child in the regular school program while providing him or her with suitable intervention; only if that approach does not work is the child refereed for special education or disability services”  (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, & Vocke, 2012, p. 393).

This tool helps students who may not be learning disabled, but have trouble picking up new information or need another method of instruction to help them learn or develop a skill.


I bring all of this information to light because special education frequently has skewed numbers of students where diversity is concerned. Often African American males are identified in larger numbers that other groups or cultures. Why is this? I’m not sure but I feel fairly confident saying that there are not as man African American males identified as gifted students. How do we change this numbers? What are we doing wrong and if we are doing something wrong how do we fix it? I think that RTI is a tool that helps bring the numbers down and helps to keep fewer students from being identified as learning disabled.


There are a ton of valid resources for differential instruction out there; you need to find what works better for your students and the classroom as a whole. By developing a solid foundation of differentiation for your students you help them develop and learn to have better skills and use resources at a higher level that they would have without differentiation and RTI.


Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2012).Foundations of education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


Response to Intervention (RTI): The three tiers of RTI instruction. (2013, April 04). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2zySJwuizE

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Week 10: Social Class, Race, and School Achievement

March 23, 2014

Unfortunately, we all are products of our environments. Many of us have seen students come to school that are unprepared for what lays ahead of them. Many students come from underprivileged families and from poor environments. And in recent years family incomes have been decreasing and bills and expenses have been increasing making it more difficult for parents to provide their children with the basics for school. If students don’t have the basic things they need for school, do we actually believe that these children are coming to school well fed with proper nourishment that has prepared them for their day ahead? I hope that all of us realize that these children are coming to school hungry and ill prepared for the information they will be receiving. According to our textbook, “children’s home environments cultivate three key sets of characteristics important to their school achievement” (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, & Vocke, 2012, p. 345). These three elements according to Ornstein et. al. (2012) are:

  1. Knowledge and understanding – this would be exposure to cultural activities and enrichment from the parents of the world around the students
  2. Cognitive and verbal skills – This is the verbal development that has taken place in the family and would be different for lower class or economically repressed families.
  3. Values and attitude – reflects on how well the family has prepared the child for school, their attitude towards learning and how much value has been placed upon education.


As teachers we need to influence these students and show them that there is a better way of life, a chance for everyone to succeed in life, and that not everyone is going to college or needs to there are other opportunities for some students. We also need to let these students know that it is okay to come from a poor or under privileged household and that it is not the end of the world and they can succeed.  I know because I was the youngest of six children, our mother raised us on her own with little to no support from my father. I am the first person in my family to become a college graduate. All of us are successful and productive members of society. My point is if you set your mind on doing something you can be successful. I think we as teachers need to provide students with an encouraging and supportive environment for learning and help nurture them to become successful in the classroom.





Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2012).Foundations of education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


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Week 9: Blog Reflection: Cuture, Socialization, and Education

March 16, 2014

I have had the pleasure of teaching an ESL class since November, 2013 and I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised by my students and have enjoyed teaching this class. With that being said, I can also say that it has been an interesting excursion for me and I have encountered many elements along the way. Some good, some bad and some quite unexpected!


Culturally I think I have learned quite a bit from my students, I have students from eight different countries and they all have differences. I have some male students who find it difficult to take instruction from a female teacher. I have experienced them telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about because their male teachers didn’t tell them that (they later apologized and said they asked their teacher and I was right). I’m glad they were able to move past this incident and now we are able to discuss most topics without having problems of this nature.

I have students from gang-infested countries that find it difficult to be in school and are struggling with basic content. Several have had limited experience with school due to the violence of their countries and have a great deal of difficulty catching up and learning a new language and how to read.


I find it very unfortunate that several of these students do not socialize with other students in the school. I have found that ESL students who were in the US from an early age have socially made a better adjustment than students who have been here for only a few years. I also think that Asian students are able to adjust better than some Hispanic students (maybe because they have fewer people from their background to associate with). I think some of my students hide out and avoid socializing with other students, because they just don’t feel comfortable with them.


My students love technology, I a few students who don’t speak very good English that I allow to express themselves visually through apps on the iPad and they love and seem to excel. They are able to communicate visual and have started to communicate better verbally. I also use a lot of SmartBoard games, which they love. I like having the students work together to solve problems, not only are the communicating, they are collaborating and working through problems and barriers together.

I’m sure that other people have had varied experiences in their journey of teaching, but I must say that it has been an enjoyable experience and one that I hope to continue and build a better classroom off of.

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Week 6: Financing Public Education

February 23, 2014

I remember in the State of Virginia when the Lottery became legal, it was supposed to help fund education and give more money to schools. What a fantastic idea, until local governing bodies got their hands on the extra money. What did they do with it? Well, they found that they could cut the same amount from education and allow the lottery allocations to replace the cut funding. So what exactly did education get from the lottery allocations, absolutely nothing!! Local districts were able to put the money they were spending on education to other uses such as developing industrial parks to promote growth in their regions. The thought process was that if they could bring more business to the region, then they would have more tax revenue to spend on education. This never happened, or if it did it was on a limited scale. What would we do without creative financing? Virginia is not the only state doing this:



Since “property tax is the main source of revenue for local school districts” (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek & Vocke, 2014, p. 243) my idea for adding addition funding for schools is to raise the tax on alcoholic beverages by 5%. All of the money that is raised in a county or city would be spent in that district. I would also have it stated in the law that no funding could be cut from education and that this 5% increase in tax would be mandated for education funding without any locations being allowed to cut any funding that they are currently giving to education, without documentation of a loss in tax revenue (City of Danville, VA is a prime example of lost revenue). The only other way to distribute the revenue equally is to take all revenue and divide it by the number of students in the state and distribute the funds per student to local school districts. We all know that the ABC store is a busy place.



Lottery funds play small role in education funding. (2012, August 15). YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knIzm9Nmcq4


Lottery Sales Up, Education Funding Down. (2012, February 09). YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqzW1dnclUc


Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2014). Foundations of education. (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.




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EDCI 506 Blog Week 5: Governing and Administering

February 15, 2014

One would think in this day and age that school systems would be able to provide a free and appropriate education for each and every student that enters their doors without federal, state, and local mandates. But, alas they do not. I find this saddening and appalling for so many reasons. I think that once something is left to the government to determine and set guidelines for that it opens up school systems for many unnecessary and useless practices. The concept of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is good, but the implementation of it is poor at best. I think it should be every school districts goal to provide every student with an excellent education. The guiding rule for that is the community, if you provide students with an excellent education your community will succeed, the workplace will prosper, and so will the workforce. I do think that NCLB brought about so good things like having highly qualified teachers. I just don’t think that the goal of “having every child making the grade on state-defined education standards by the end of the 2013-14 school year” (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek & Vocke, 2013, p. 19) is an obtainable goal on any level. Some students are not going to be able to function on that level, ever. What do we gain by having these students testing? I think compiling a portfolio of the students work and submitting them to the governing agency can obtain a true portrait of a student’s progress and abilities. I think one of the major problems NCLB is that we got so caught up in testing and the guidelines that teachers have to follow that we lose focus on teaching the students what they need to know to be successful.


As a teacher I look forward to having my special education class, which will probably be a collaborative class with the current trends in education. I hope to be able to have an effect on all of the students in the classroom. I think that by working with all of the students in this collaborative environment that the students who are identified as having special needs with not feel like they are being singled out and made to feel different than the other students. I think that for these students they need to feel like they are just as important and equal as other students. Also there are always some students who are not identified or their parents didn’t want them labeled who are in these classrooms that need and want extra help. The point is at the end of the day kids just want to feel like they are people and matter to someone. It is our job as teachers’ to create a learning environment in our classrooms and to remain professional at all times, no matter the amount of stress laws and mandates place upon us.

Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2014). Foundations of education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Portfolio Assessment. (2011, June 22). YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_F7N-_pSOk.

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How does idealism and realism fit into today’s education?

February 9, 2014

Where does idealism fit into education today? It provides every student with an education, even when they have different intellectual disabilities. According to our textbook “all should have the opportunity to cultivate their minds as far as possible” (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, Vocke, p. 184). We as teachers’ should have great expectations for our students intellectually and standardization should not overshadow an individual’s desire or willingness to learn (p. 184). Idealism fosters the idea that schools should be at the center of education with teachers as the leaders and directors of knowledge. Students should be allowed to experiment and discover things in the safety of the classroom, Plato felt that “truth must be experienced rather than told because language fails to convey belief” (Unknown).


Does realism also fit into education? It has to! In order for students to get the most out of education, “separate subjects provide the most accurate and efficient way for students to learn about reality” (p. 186). Which is happening in schools today. Realist also believe that “curriculum should be scientifically approached, standardized, and distinct-discipline based” (Cohen). Which we also use in the form of evidence based practices. Cohen also goes on the state that “character is developed through training in the rules of conduct”. Which is something that I have been reading about lately in education magazines, the thought is that teaching character is a key component in educational success today.


So how do we apply this to our classrooms? I think in a way we are using a more holistic approach to education today or at least I feel that I am. I don’t think that one approach works better than the other for all students, but rather some elements of each come together to help create a positive, creative, well-founded and well established practice for education. I think they all had wonderful ideas and I honestly cannot say that I like one better than the other, but I do like elements of all of them and think that they have provided us with a solid foundation to build our classroom and schools around.

Cohen, L. M. (n.d.). PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES IN EDUCATION.PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES IN EDUCATION. Retrieved from http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/ed416/PP2.html


Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2014). Foundations of education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


What is the Allegory of the Cave? (n.d.). WiseGEEK. Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-allegory-of-the-cave.htm

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Recent Issues in Education

February 2, 2014

After reading this weeks chapters a thought kept coming to mind, the more things change the more they stay the same. I don’t know who said it, it is just something I have heard my entire life. I believe that as education evolves it tends to play catch up to a world that is growing and evolving at a rapid pace. While the foundation of education is deeply rooted in history it is based off of several valid models.


One of those models was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori developed her program after researching Itard and Seguin. Montessori felt that children “posses an inner need to work at what interests them” (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek, & Vocke, 2014, p. 122). The activities were based upon three types “practical, sensory, and formal skills and studies” (p.122). Montessori was a pioneer in early education and through her work it has been determined that “early childhood education has a highly formative power over a person’s adult development” (p. 123).


Another foundation of education today is based upon Jean Piaget findings. Both Piaget and Montessori based their findings upon observations and believed they had discovered how children process and develop their ideas and findings. Piaget found that there were four stages of cognitive development and growth. The stages are sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete-operational period and formal-operational period. Piaget felt that “early-childhood and elementary education should be based on how children develop and act on their own thinking and learning processes” (p. 125)


I think that the way education has developed with No Child Left Behind, we have forgotten the way children learn and have gotten away for the some of the most basic needs that children need in order to learn. According to Dewey, “departure from the old solves no problems” (Dewey,J., p.25). I feel that we need to do more to help students learn in a nurturing environment that does not inhibit their learning and encourages growth through education.  I think that by knowing and understanding the basic principles and applying some proven and innovative techniques that bring in new ideas and technologies is a good solid foundation to build a classroom around.

Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and education. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Introduction to Montessori and the Montessori Foundation. (2009, April 12). YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7a3Br6kPbU

Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2014). Foundations of education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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Teaching Philosophy EDCI 506

January 26, 2014

My teaching philosophy is not unique and has been evolving over the past year. As I evolve and learn more and experience more in the classroom, my philosophy is developing and morphing into what I feel is a progressive attitude in education. One of my first thoughts is that your students should know what to expect from you and by this I mean that you have to be honest and reliable. Students need to know that they can count on you, they need to know the boundaries of the classroom environment, and they need to know that they can trust you and believe in you. I have secondary level students and at this point I expect them to be reliable and honest and it is only fair that I return that expectation. This is expected of them in the real world, according to Dewey (1938/1997) the objective is to prepare students for the real world and their responsibilities (p.18). Building on this expectation I try and bring them real world information to enhance that of the SOL standards and bring the information together so they are tied together and have a practical application. Since “teachers are the agents through which knowledge and skills are communicated” (p.18) it is our responsibility to develop and encourage a stronger and more developed learning environment for our students. I tend to treat my students as my children and I want the best for them and high expectations for them. I realize that they are not all on the same level and encourage them according to their abilities. I also encourage some of the higher functioning students to take the lower levels students under their wing and help them flourish.

While this is only a portion of my philosophy I want to focus on the reading from Experience and Education. You would think that after years and years of research, practice, and development; education is not any better off than it was fifty years ago. I think that we have developed some amazing practices, delivery methods that are interactive, great evidence based practices, and new methods and practices for dealing with behavioral issues. Why do we find it so difficult to pull all of the wonderful things that are developing in education and implement them in schools and turn around the declining trends? I think we should be able to put our personal interest aside and get together and build a strong solid foundation for implementing functional and effective educational practices and standards for our students and stop thinking that all students are meant to be scholars and provide students with the education that functions best for them and the many levels of students that are in our schools.

I will finish by saying that the main goal of my philosophy is to provide my students with a solid foundation of knowledge to help prepare them for their individual future and I feel that while not all students will attend college I think that we should provide them the opportunity to excel and prosper in their career choice.


Dewey, J. (1997). Experience & Education. New York, NY. Simon & Schuster. (Original work published 1938).

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Why Teaching?

January 19, 2014

I am in the process of getting my initial teaching license, and have done a lot of substitute teaching along the way. Can I just say it has been an interesting journey. I decided to go an alternative path and took classes that I felt would be beneficial to me and my students. It is important to first educate teachers if we want to offer students a better education. Education in the United States can be improved, but we must first start with the key element of education, teachers.

The Holmes Group published Tomorrow’s Teachers, which recommends these steps:

  1. To make the education of teachers intellectually more solid.
  2. To recognize differences is teachers’ knowledge, skill, and commitment, in their education, certification, and work.
  3. To create standards of entry to the profession examinations and educational requirements that are professionally relevant and intellectually defensible.
  4. To connect our own institutions to schools (members of this education panel).
  5. To make schools better places for teachers to work, and to learn.

While this list pre-dates NCLB, it still offers starting points or building blocks for a solid teaching foundation. I feel that this article puts a lot of emphases on teacher responsibility, while teachers are responsible for a tremendous amount these days I think responsibility should be equally distributed among all elements of education. Schools and administration also have a major responsibility to provide tools, proper learning environments, and offer support for teachers. I also feel that parents and students need to accept a certain amount of responsibility for their child’s education. That being said, I think that the Holmes Group were correct in saying that they had a responsibility in offering their students a better education, so students could become better educators.

I think that there are many areas of improvement in education, and you could spend countless hours debating the topic and making lists, suggestions, and brain storming. Until we come together and accept the challenge to actually improve education, things will continue to remain at a standstill. I know one thing to be true, one of the best things that happened to me in school were awesome teachers that made an impact on my life and influenced me to work harder and make something out of my life.

Soder, R. (1986). Tomorrow’s Teachers for Whom and for What? Missing Propositions in the Holmes Group Report. Journal of Teacher Education, 37(6), 2-5. doi: 10.1177/002248718603700601


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