Fun Facts 1/3 of Americans drop out of high school ½ of African American and Hispanic students drop out (Vail, 2004) Between 1988 – 1998, the attrition rate for high school students in Texas has ranged between 31% to 42% (Honawar, 2004) A study in Philadelphia showed that indicators as early as 6th grade could predict dropout rates. The indicators were low attendance, poor behavior, and failing grades in reading and math. (Manzo, 2005)
Low levels of literacy are powerful predictors of welfare dependency and incarceration ~ and the high costs associated with these interventions. More than ½ of the adult prison population has a literacy level below that required by the labor market. More than 40% of adjudicated juvenile delinquents have treatable learning disabilities that were overlooked and undiagnosed in school. M Barr, R. D. & Parrett, W. H. (2001). Hope Fulfilled for At-Risk Youth & Violent Youth, Boston, MA:Allyn & Bacon. More Fun Facts
Reaching intergalactic proportions!
FF L YNDropouts * M
FF L YNIlliterates * • 1923 – Carl Brigham’s Study of American Intelligence: • Analyzed the Alpha/Beta tests and determined that Nordic • groups are intellectually superior to other groups • Dean of Princeton • Later developed the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) M
FF L YNESLs * M Deirdre Hamill / The Arizona Republic *fume,fuss, full, fuel, furl, or my personal favorite…fund
The Accidental Teacher Yes, you will. Yes, you will. Yes, you will. Yes, you will. Yes, you will. I will never, ever, ever, be a teacher! Sure. Yeah. Whatever. Uh-huh. Yes, you will. Yes, you will. Yes, you will. Yes, you will. Yes, you will. Never say never.
Very Impressionable A teacher is a politician!
The First Day of School—Tom McKinney Empowerment “Literacy development is the key by which the oppressed are equipped with the necessary tools to reappropriate their history, culture and language practices.” Friere and Macedo
Theoretical approaches • Dr. Bertha Perez (1995) RDG 3743 Language, Literacy, & Culture • Dewey (1902) ~ Child-centered curriculum • Bruner (1960) ~ scaffold learning on students’ personal interest • Moll, Amanto, Neff & Gonzalez (1992) ~ Funds of Knowledge • “I’m finally represented!” Michelle Castillo-West • Allen (1995) ~It’s Never Too Late: Leading ADOLESCENTS to Lifelong Literacy • O’Brien, Stewart & Moje (1995) ~dismantle the artificial barrier between school and “the real world” • Wilhelm & Smith (2002) ~ “schoolish” reading v. “the real world” • Krashen (2005) ~ The “Decline” of Reading in America, Poverty and Access to Books, and the Use of Comics in Encouraging Reading
LEA (McCormick ~ 1988) Thelanguage experience approachis an approach to reading instruction based on activities and stories developed from personal experiences of the learner. The stories about personal experiences are written down by a teacher and read together until the learner associates the written form of the word with the spoken. • Benefits:It brings together writing, reading, art, and language. • It extends the learners' creativity in storytelling through writing. • It helps learners understand that what they think and say can be written. • It is learner-centered and demonstrates that the learners' thoughts and language are valued. • It provides reading material that is predictable and readable because it uses the learners' natural language.
The Declaration of Independence, 1776 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
F O R G O T T E N F O U N D E R SBenjamin Franklin, the Iroquois and the Rationale for the American Revolution The Iroquoian system, expressed through its constitution, "The Great Law of Peace," rested on assumptions foreign to the monarchies of Europe: it regarded leaders as servants of the people, rather than their masters, and made provisions for the leaders' impeachment for errant behavior. The Iroquois' law and custom upheld freedom of expression in political and religious matters, and it forbade the unauthorized entry of homes. It provided for political participation by women and the relatively equitable distribution of wealth. These distinctly democratic tendencies sound familiar in light of subsequent American political history -- yet few people today (other than American Indians and students of their heritage) know that a republic existed on our soil before anyone here had ever heard of John Locke, or Cato, the Magna Charta, Rousseau, Franklin, or Jefferson. Our task is to relearn history as they experienced it, in all its richness and complexity, and thereby to arrive at a more complete understanding of what we were, what we are, and what we may become. Bruce E. Johansen 1 9 8 2
Seeking Justice,Equality—Rafael Figueroa Statue of Liberty "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.." Emma Lazarus
Just the Basics: What we are calling for is nothing moreor nothing less than an unbiased spirit of fairness and impartiality in all educational policies and processes. Adapted from Green and Griffore, 1978
Why is the curriculum so critical? Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own. Julius Lester, 1997 To Be a Slave
My object in writing the book was to enable the reader to experience slaves as human beings. Of course, my underlying and hidden purpose was simply this: if a child could experience slaves as human beings, then it might be possible for that same child to look at the descendants of slaves and also see another human being, no more, no less. Julius Lester, 1997 To Be a Slave
CONFRONTATION and WAR is what you teachers start instilling in kids from kindergarten on! ‘We need to study history so we don’t repeat it’ is a BUNCH OF BULL! Don’t you get it? We keep repeating history because that’s what you teach – meanness, greed, and every man and woman out for themselves,without mercy! Victor Villasenor, 2004 Burro Genius
Mexican American Education (The Left Behind Series) Sylvia Mendez collection--MALDEF
Makes me wanna holler Explanations of very REAL obstacles are often written off as “excuses” not to meet higher expectations by those who are fortunate enough not to face them. Some of these include: • Racism • Poverty • Fear of Crime • Low Teacher Salaries • Inadequate Facilities and • Language Barriers And speaking of these “higher expectations”… Higher expectations to do what?? “Pursue engaging projects that promote sophisticated thinking… or bubble in more ovals correctly on a bad test?” (Kohn, 2000)
Jimmy Santiago Baca Interview with Bill Moyers Baca told the story of why he learned to read. It wasn’t easy, for experienced trouble in his youth far beyond those of most of our students as he was in jail at twenty-one. He couldn’t read much then, just some simple words, man, lake, and round. He tells of stealing a copy of an anthology of the Romantic poets from the jail clerk, a college girl with whom he was flirting. And he tells of reading it, using his words to conjure an image of a man walking around a lake the way his grandfather did. He was filled with a tremendous urge to write about his grandfather. And he was filled with a tremendous need to read more, to find out why “95 percent of the people in prison were Chicano, and 95 percent can’t read and write, and 95 percent are killin’ for smokes and coffee… I wanted to know the answer.” (This information came from the book, “Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys”, by Michael W. Smith and Jeffrey D. Wilhelm)
So he decided to teach himself how to read and write. But his decision was met with the jeers of fellow prisoners: “’You’re a coward,” they said. ‘You’re nothin.’ Because books get you nowhere. Books are stupid. Sissies read books. You couldn’t do nothin’ with a book. You couldn’t fix a ’57 Chevy with a book. You couldn’t take money from some hustler with a book. You couldn't convince or persuade anybody with a book.’” And not only that, books were “the great enemy,” for they contained the lies that “my grandparents had been lazy Mexicans and that I was no good.” But he prevailed. And words, he says, “caught me up in the most fierce typhoon I’ve ever been in and have never exited from --- ever.”
Ain’t She a Student Too! What are the academic needs of this student? Are they different from her social and cultural needs? How? Can her academic needs even be separated from her social and cultural ones? How have you been prepared to teach her? What is the appropriate/effective curriculum?
Cummins Interactive Empowerment Theory “Students will succeed or fail to the extent their language and culture are used in school, their parents and community are included as integral parts of their education, students are provided activities such as reading and writing; assessment of student ability, and educators who serve as their advocates.”
Assimilation v. culturally relevant programs and strategies: Three broad categories from Hollins The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Those designed to resocialize African American students to mainstream behaviors, values, and attitudes at the same time that they teach basic skills; Those designed to remediate or accelerate without attending to the students’ social or cultural needs; Those designed to facilitate student learning by capitalizing on the students’ own social and cultural background. THE DREAMKEEPRS SuccessfulTeachers of African American Children GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS
Multiculturalism instills a sense of pride and accomplishment for different cultures. • Multiculturalism helps people learn about the accomplishments of others that they might not have previously aware of. • Multiculturalism sparks healthy discussions and debates about important issues that are relevant to the past and the future.
Book Availability • Low SES students are having trouble with reading because they can’t find books they are interested in because they are not available to them. • Lack of access to books will lead to lower motivation and eventually lower test scores (Krashen, 1993).
Current Trends • Books are beginning to reflect multicultural and multiethnic realities- Monster by Walter Dean Myers or When Dad Killed Mom by Julius Lester • Students must enjoy what they read and be able to connect with the actions and issues in the book personally to develop a sense or morality, awareness, or experience (Bushman, 2001). • Teachers are moving away from just teaching the classics because they do not represent current America and its diversity (H.M.Foster, 2002)
Dubois (2003) Positive Peer Pressure Trusting Mutual Trust: developing web of connections using social capital Exposure : alternatives, professionals, college life Validation as Academically Elite Foreign Language Magnet Program Critical Preparation for College (empowerment programs) Prep Outreach The Three Doctors (2002) Positive Peer Pressure Breaking down stereotypes Mentors ~taught them to look ahead (goal setting) ~ counseling Exposure Mentoring giving back to the community creating a feeling of accomplishment Critical Preparation for College (empowerment programs) University High School Seton Hall summer preparation program Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Plus Program
I therefore I am The living carry us inside them like pearls. We survive only so long as they remember us.*
Tip of the day: Post culturally relevant heroes in your room to keep you honest.
You Wanna Hear My Voice?Students will review and discuss a list of well-known historical quotes from traditional heroes that fit into the category of cultural literacy. For example, “Give me liberty or give me death,” “I have a dream,” “Ask not ...,” and “We the people…” Challenge them to research their own heroes, people every American should know, and make a list of quotes that should be added to the list that everyone should know. Who am I?
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce ??? “If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian...we can live in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike.... give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who is born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. Let me be a free man...free to travel... free to stop...free to work...free to choose my own teachers...free to follow the religion of my Fathers...free to think and talk and act for myself." ???
Who said it? The Care and Labour of providing for Artificial and Fashionable Wants, the sight of so many rich wallowing in Superfluous plenty, whereby so many are kept poor and distressed for Want, the Insolence of Office . . . and restraints of Custom, all contrive to disgust them [Indians] with what we call civil Society. Benjamin Franklin, marginalia in Matthew Wheelock, Reflections, Moral and Political on Great Britain and Her Colonies, 1770
by Don’t Forget Your Pen If You Want to be Immortalized Writing to Remember
Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete SpillmanPete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete SpillmanPete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete SpillmanPete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spillman Pete Spill Man of Letters George Dawson
Save Our Cuentos September 8, 2005 Dear _____________________, Ms. Fleming and Ms. Ritch’s classes are starting to gather material for our unit on Mexican heritage. This week, I hope to find out who in our family will be a great natural source of information about Mexico and our heritage. If I do a good job of finding a real expert, I might even save myself a trip to the public library. The ‘historian’ can be anyone from the family or the neighborhood. You know how ___________________________ is always going on about how it was growing up? They’re always telling those terrific old cuentos (folk stories) of Three Rivers and San Antonio that their grandmother told them. Now I can get ‘paid’ to listen to them for the 110th time. I will be able to preserve those wonderful stories for the family too! Orale! When I return to school on _________________________, I need to come back with a cuento related to our heritage. It must be written down (or typed) and be about two pages. Ms. Fleming told me that last year someone told a beautiful story on the origin of the sunflower that dates back to Aztec times. Another student told the story of how the Aztecs found Tenochtitlan. “Los Ninos Heroes” was another fantastic story. Did abuelo ride with Emiliano Zapata or march with Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez? Perhaps my madrina staged a huelga with Emma Tenayuca of ‘sat in’ with Jovita Idar to demand equal rights and more Chicano studies classes? Remember how Tia scared the heck out of us when she told us about seeing La Llorona on the Riverwalk? Maybe El Cucuy babysat for your parents and helped them keep you in line when you were growing up? Those would be great stories for this project. Please help me find those great oral histories so we can preserve them for all time. In addition, I also need to gather information for a family tree. This includes names of relatives, birth dates and places of birth. ________________________, please do what you can to help me succeed on these projects. I will really appreciate it. So will Ms. Fleming and Ms. Ritch, the community, my children, and their children and their children and… Well, you get the picture. You’re the best. • Thank you,
Establishing a community Dear Parents and families, Please join us for a night of storytelling and family history this Monday, October 30th, at Truman Middle School’s annual Reading and Social Studies night. Did your abuelo ride with Emiliano Zapata or march with Dr. King? Perhaps your comadre staged a huelga with Emma Tenayuca or “sat in” with Henry B.? Can your sister tell a wonderful story about the time she saw La Llorona by the riverside? Maybe El Cucuy babysat for your parents and helped them keep you in line growing up? Our children need to know about these things. Storytelling and the oral tradition are such rich parts of our community’s culture; please come share your stories with us, and help us preserve our history and heritage for your children and their’s. In addition to the storytelling, we will be providing family trees so that you can help your children keep that valuable record in tact, as well. We look forward to seeing you there, Thank you, TMS
Make the scary 6th graders go away! Jennifer demonstrates an avid interest in recreational reading. (Unfortunately, she "recreates" while all the other students are reading. ) Refinnej Esor Gnimelf Jennifer appears to be showing an increased desire to consider demonstrating acceptable classroom behavior. (She now appears to know the classroom rules. Some day she may even obey one.)
Building community August 8, 2006 Dear Parents, I want to welcome you to Truman Middle School for the 2006/2007 school year. My name is Therese Fleming, and this is my 10th year teaching at Truman. TMS is the only school I’ve taught at. I cannot begin to tell you how fortunate I feel to have been adopted and raised by the Edgewood community. Ours is a community rich with heritage and solidarity, and that makes this a wonderful place to raise our children together. I have had such fine experiences in the classroom and with parents over the years; I’m looking forward to continuing the process. I want to share some of my background with you because I really think it will help you understand ‘where I’m coming from’ and how I would like to work with you to help your child achieve their dreams and fulfill your hopes for them.
To be honest, I’d have to describe my union with teaching as a shotgun wedding. My mother, Patricia, was a teacher in South San. She didn’t always complain about her work once she came home, but when she did it made an impression me. I felt like this was a profession were women were taken for granted, underpaid and unappreciated. I was not willing to accept any part of that equation. I swore, up and down, twice on Sundays, I WOULD NEVER BE A TEACHER. But when I think of all the people in life who have impressed and cared most for me, its teacher’s names I recall the most. It’s a shame I steered so determinedly away from such a noble endeavor. I can thank the ‘Professor’ and the ‘Advocate’ for getting me onto the right track. (More about them later.)
When the saints did finally come marching in, Therese realized she wouldn’t be caught dead in that number. When I think back to my own childhood aspirations, I wouldn’t have been able to verbalize what I wanted to be, but I know now that it was a saint. All those books about the lives of the saints made quite an impression on me. I dutifully showed up for catechism every Sunday for two things, the chocolate milk and donuts and to get my hands on that book. I still remember the picture of St. Sebastian, pierced by arrows way before body piercing became the huge trend it is today. I was so impressed with his martyrdom, I wanted to be like him ~ giving my life for la causa. (Although, the body piercing never appealed to me ~ way too permanent for my tastes.) Then there was St. Francis, a rich boy who had forsaken his pampered ways to work on behalf of lepers and animals. Could anybody have been more gracious, kind, and loving? Again, I wanted to follow in his footsteps. But those pictures of the lepers were pretty repulsive. Then other things happened in my life that derailed my ambitions of sainthood even further. In fact, for a while, I think I really lost touch with my humanity. I actually forsook it for a time while I became completely immersed in hedonistic, self-absorbed pursuits. (Perhaps I was following St. Francis’s footsteps more than I thought?).
In the fifteen years prior to finding the road to salvation, I worked as an accountant for Holiday Inn. My days were pretty much the same: I counted money, balanced and audited books, shuffled papers, and punched a 10-key pad the whole day. It was a predictable and quiet existence, perhaps a little too much of both. My monotonous existence was broken up twice a month by the influx of employees picking up payroll checks. These were wonderful days that allowed me to get to know the people I worked with. It’s also how I got to know ‘El Professor’ and ‘The Advocate’. The Advocate was a woman named Carol. She liked to argue, and she was good at it. Something was forever wrong with her check. I’d tell her that she should go back to school and become a lawyer since she loved to argue so much. Lord knows, she had a lot of passion and a strong sense of justice. She would just laugh off my suggestion. I would press her and tell her, “Seriously, you need to go back to school and get a degree. Our country needs people like you with a strong sense of justice and the ability to argue your case. You can’t stay a housekeeper. It’s a waste of talent. It’s your patriotic duty to go back to school.” Maybe that sounds tactless and insensitive, but I’d already met many ‘Carols’ at the hotel; it got to be very disturbing after awhile.
A good mind is a terrible thing to waste and I was seeing far too much evidence of that. What had been a catchy public service announcement had become a heartbreaking reality for so many of our brightest. One after another, I’d meet these bright people, working dead-end, menial jobs, convinced that this was the best they could do. Before I knew it, I had a multicar pile-up on my own freeway of success. I knew I could never be ‘successful’ if I just left the scene and drove on my merry way. Teddy Roosevelt said, “This country will not be a good place for any of us, until it is a good place for all of us.” I took that to heart and got on the junction towards Education as soon as I could... I didn’t want to leave Carol choking on my dust. To me that’s immoral – I couldn’t live with myself if I failed to act on that knowledge. I decided to go back into the classroom myself.
El Professor was a man named Oscar. He came from Mexico and was working hard to get his whole family here. Like Carol, he also worked as a housekeeper. He had the personality skills best suited for a front desk manager. He was very engaging and good-natured, a man with a ready smile who always made me laugh. How he did that was a mystery, for neither of us spoke the same language. We tried our best to teach each other. He worked at the Inn sporadically because he had to make trips down to Mexico to take money back to his family. He was working hard to try to get his family all together in Texas. I know he had two sons who were going to high school here already. Oscar taught me this phrase, “Necesitamos aprender hablar los dos idiomas. ” I nodded my head and smiled, “Yes, we must learn both languages.” But to Oscar, this was more than something we should or shouldn’t do, it was a necessity. For his sons, it would mean the difference between following his footsteps on a path he had little choice but to take or laying down a new road, one paved in gold that might actually lead to some dream born in heaven, a dream his sons dreamed for themselves. Sometimes, I imagine I’m working with Oscar’s grandchildren. I pray I’m doing ‘right’ by them.
That’s my little story of how I became a teacher. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it sure has been a match made in heaven. You know, there are some days when working with lepers and getting a chock ful’o arrows starts to look pretty good, but really I wouldn’t trade the honor of working with your child for anything. I’d really love to hear back from you. I will gladly give you my email address if you would like to use that to contact me; it is the most effective way to communicate. You may also reach me at 444-8425. Either way, please leave a phone number where you may be reached, and I will get back to you. Research has shown that children whose parents maintain regular contact with their schools and teachers are more successful. I value your opinions and wishes and would love to hear about them.What are your expectations for me? What would you like for your child to achieve this year and in the future? What are the things you feel I should know about your child in order to teach them? What are his/her strengths and interests? You could also tell me a story; we’re going to be mining the community for the golden stories out there. Maybe you’ll end up telling them at our family literacy night later this year. Sincerely, Almost a St. Therese Fleming PS ~ Although my fingers could go on and on, I know your eyes must be getting bleary. I really want to thank you for taking the time to read this.