Monday, May 3, 2010

Revised poem: Going Home

Going Home

Dismantled from the Highlands,
Loveless and failing the trials of men,
I left to go home.
At Six AM, to the Train Station,
Lurking through lowlands of
Plastic mops and glass and glaring

After kicking me out,
My old flame nestled high in a wooden frame—
With a pumpkin moon.
I tumbled
My companions:           A sprained ankle
A sausage, egg & cheese with a medium coffee,
And a skyline crescendo of blue patchwork and fluorescent pigeons.

But by Three AM, the trains stopped
The conductors all went home
To those Brownstones in Brooklyn—Can’t blame them,
There’s a mattress involved.

I laid down
On the station’s knotted bench,
Nestled in a fold of stubble and flannel.
My stringencies pulsed
And lips fermented to raisins—
Hearing voices juggle
Tides and teasing,
A drone from the doorway.

Once a French girl told me,
“Any person I love, I’m gonna call home.”

Apollo must be perched above her now,
While I am here
Curled on a bench,
Eaten from the inside by African dreams.

Friday, December 12, 2008

School Board oks compromise for "kite-runner"

A few months ago the novel "the kite-runner" was taken off the sophomore summer reading list for the students in Champaign Illionois. Some of the scenes in the book are controversial, including a scene were a boy is sexually assaulted by a group of bullies.
This brought up the usual argument of "artistic censorship" vs. "protecting my child." Eventually the two sides reached a compromise: the book can stay in the curriculum if there is an alternative available to read for those who are uncomfortable with the book.
I think this is an amazingly simple compromise that fits both sides of the argument perfectly. My point in all of this is that why can't agreements like this be struck in other places as well? Any number of censored books could be taught if the students could read alternatives as well.
Is this a good thing? A bad thing?

Applicants flock to teacher corps for needy areas

This article was about how the non-profit organization "Teach for America" has had a record number of applicants to teach in needy areas. The article states that people are looking for jobs in low-paying areas the way that people used to look for jobs in Wallstreet. What is causing this humanitarian approach? The article posits that it's the new generation of teachers, inspired in part by Barack Obama's message of change.
Whatever the reason, some people say that it's not such a good thing. "Placing the least-experienced teachers with the highest-risk children is a potentially harmful combination."
That was my main concern with this formula. It seems to me that putting in Green Teachers into the worst school systems into the nation is a bad idea. People who are new at a job make mistakes. In a school system that is already fragile, it is in the student's best interests to have veteran teachers providing some sort of stability for them.
Not only that, some of these teachers may not be ready for the reality of these school systems. Having a sense of social duty is a great and all, that might quickly run out the longer the teacher stays there.
Another issue that the article raises is the lack of high paying entry positions that Wallstreet used to offer to college graduates. Because of the stock market collapse a few months ago, there simply isn't the growth to allow every business major that graduates to get a six-figure entry position.
Further criticism of the organization is that many applicants go the two-year route, teaching for 2 years on their way to grad-school. Is this high-turnover rate bad for the kids in the long run?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Writing Skills are Life Skills

In this article, the author mentions that if children write often to acquire positive feedback, that they will become better and better writers. I disagree. I think that with frequent writing and both positive and constructive feedback, children will become more fluent writers. Gaining only positive feedback, how can students progress in their writing skills?

The article also highlights ways to help students become better writers. The first is to have them read more. I agree with this method completely, as I have found that I am a better writer when I have been reading consistently. The next pointer is to have students to have students experiment writing for different audiences. It suggests "short stories, notes to the Tooth Fairy, letters to the editor, vacation journals, thank-you notes, a business letter to a company about a broken product or letters to grandparents." These practices sound like a good idea, and a great way to get children writing about whatever they want. I remember engaging in some of these writing activities as a child - writing to the tooth fairy and to Santa Claus, exchanging letters with my grandparents on a regular basis, writing thank you notes to relatives for birthday and Christmas presents, and keeping journals - especially when I went on a vacation. I would like to think that these practices aided my writing and I know that it sparked my passion for writing.

Among these methods are seemingly effective ways to get kids writing at an early age. I agree that proficient writing skills are essential to success in school as well as in any career. I'm glad that this is a recognized skill, and hopefully less students will shy away from the love of writing.

21st Century Curriculum and Assessment

In this article, the author explores the NCTE's new literacy framework. The increasing technology spreading across our country in education is a new aspect that needs to be dealt with. Identifying the literacy goals as:
• Developing proficiency with the tools of technology
• Building relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and
• Designing and sharing information for global communities to meet a variety of
• Managing, analyzing, and synthesizing multiple streams of simultaneous
• Creating, critiquing, analyzing, and evaluating multimedia texts
• Attending to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
These will be incorporating into the NCTE's standards. I think the development is necessary. Technology is a big part of society today and it's incorporation in schools is essential. Rules and regulations must be set to aid the practices of using technology in the schools. Following drawn out rules to make sure each student is being productive in their usage and being able to find reliable and relevant sources.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Colorado Dropouts Establish Patterns Early On"

This article was focused on middle schoolers. There was a study done in five district schools in colorado about dropouts. If a student fails one math or reading course they are more prone to dropout of high school. School officials look at behavior records, grades and attendance as far back as Middle School. You could be held back as young as eleven years old.

"Writing Skills Are Life Skills"

The article on "Writing Skills Are Life Skills" in the NCTE Inbox is about how writing and reading are closely related to each other. They both are an important requirement throughout life. When you write and read more these skills improve along the way. It is important to do well in your English courses because other courses benefit from the skills of reading and writing.