Friendship, Education, and Justice Teaching: The Professional Development of Two Teacher-Friends – Debbie Sonu

In this reading it describes a way  two teachers interact with other teachers as friends. It describes how this is critical to the a teachers practice and helps teachers survive in this career. It discusses the fact that teachers ten to feel isolated and alone when they teach.

I finished reading the article and as I read it I developed more questions. In the beginning I was relating to the article and was agreeing with the writer, then by the end I was not. I agree that teaching can feel isolated in some ways, but I really think this is brought on by the individual not the profession or the administration. I am really finding it hard to see it as an us and them way of looking at my career. I think the tools are there and the individual teacher needs to find the ones that work for them. Friends do help but because of technology I think it opens up our classroom more and the opportunity to be more accessible to all teachers is better now then it use to be, even 3 years ago.

The other issue I had with this article is that we are in Canada and the article is based in the US. I find this to be a big difference, and we are often comparing what is happening there with what we are doing here in Canada, which it think is very different. Most of the article are about Charter schools which I believe last year were found to be unconstitutional, and work very differently then the public system we have in Canada, and in Surrey. I also think we have already addressed some of these issues in surrey schools, and I know I have in my classroom, and if there are still some to work on I will find someone in the district to help me.

I really think teachers have the can do mindset and will find a way. I just want to look at things more in a positive framework then a negative undertone that I found in this article.

Identifying and responding to needs in education – Nel Noddings

Do educators know what children need? Most of the school curriculum is supported by the assumption that educators and policymakers do indeed know what children need, and the curriculum is designed to satisfy these inferred needs.

I liked how Noddings explains and almost suggests that we as teachers really need to look at the students wants and needs are. Sometime they are not the same and what we as teachers think it is.

I had an connection to this about 2 weeks ago during a ‘Friday Problem’. A student was  very into his building solution to the problem and he started to have challenges with what he was building. He was part of a group and he was getting bossy, and mad. He started blaming others in his group for the problems he was having and it was escalating. This student loves the ‘Friday Problem’ and I was about to remove him from it. He got very mad! I sent him out of the room, and as I was he was trying to tell me what he needed, but he was too angry and needed to leave. I sent him to the office and a few minutes later he came back on his own (with the principal following). The student and I sat in the hallway and chatted about his behavior. He explained to me that he needed to work alone that he is having difficulty working in a group. Hmm, I was interested in what he was saying. The lesson was for students to work in a group, but he was not able to do that yet. So I adapted to his needs and request and he was more than successful in his built solution of the problem.

I learned a lot about me and the student and this process was made clearer to me because of this reading.


The evidence Base for Improving School Outcomes by Addressing the whole Child and by addressing skills and attitudes, not just content – Adele Diamond

In this reading I began nodding my head in agreement within the first few sentences. I feel that it runs parallel to what I am thinking and how I teach.

“If the goal of education includes clear reasoning, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving, we must give children, day in and day out, opportunities to solve problems on their own, question assumptions, and reason their own way to solutions.”

This quote Is the understanding behind my  ‘Friday Problems’, and made me change the way I did last problem last week (Dec.4,2015). I wanted to find a way for students to find answers to their own questions.  I was also thinking of my field study question, and some of the anxiety issues I was having with students while they were working on the problems each week.

Many of my student this year are mildly to severely stressed, and I am trying to find ways to deal with it in different ways. This article explained it being similar to car engine being flooded with gas, and it is not able to function properly, until it get to the proper levels again. This is interesting because it is similar to the ideas behind ‘zones of regulations’ and students need to be able to recognize these signals and take appropriate actions and strategies to clam themselves down. This is also echoed in the in the article we read about Self Regulation, and the talk I went to by Dr. Stuart Shanker. All of these findings are similar and will assist me in my field study.

“I hear, and I forget.
I see, and I remember.
I do, and I understand.”

a Chinese proverb

I also agree with the reading that self confidence is a big game changer for students. They have experience successes and know that what they are doing is in their control and give them to the tools to help them.


First Flight into Performative Inquiry – Lyn Fels, George Belliveau

In this reading it describes a way  two teachers in grade 3 teach the concept of ‘Air Pressure’  through a drama performance.  The author then goes into detail discussing multiple intelligence and goes further to add in additional intelligence like emotional, and naturalist. A new intelligence that the author would like to add is performative-imaginative intelligence. Creative and critical play, and have students explore their environments. This is all done through drama strategies.

I like how the author brings in the butterfly effect into his discussion and how it is an analogy for the chaos theory but can also used as an understanding of complexity and the components of a system. He then goes on to try and imply that this is theory can be used to understand how learning happens in a classroom. Which I do agree in some ways, but not in others. As the classroom is controlled by the teacher then it is a series of butterfly effects that are controlled for multiple outcomes where if the classroom was controlled by the students more then it would move more towards the chaos theory.


Zones or regulation  – rambling

I went to workshop last week on Friday morning and overall it was good. I learned about the different zones and how it works in the classroom and how well it has worked for other people. The presenter knew the topic well and it was received well by all the other people in the room. However, there was just something about it that mad me feel like something was missing.

My mind kept wandering and thinking about my field study project and how it related to this, and I had a problem with what I was hearing.I kept having questions and as I thought of more and more questions I began to get more interested on how this might not be the sought after state.

I do think that knowing what zone a student is in and if they can recognize it themselves they can regulate as they need to with the tools they have created for themselves. However, I do not think the green zone is the ideal area we want students to be for all activities, and think that we could have students know what state the best learn in for subjects and topics.

I know that I am looking at this through my own lens and trying to relate it to my own practice, but i think it would benefit my field study.

I like how this has gotten me thinking about what state of mind I would like my students in when tinkering. Also, how the different emotions a student could have when working through learning.

Behaviour was an area I wanted to explore with tinkering. I too believe the Red zone is too much. However, the “Yellow Zone” where frustration is I know for some students it can be a motivator, and push them in new directions and challenge them to find new ways of doing things. If this can be  a motivator for some students then maybe i should look at this more for my field study.


The Body’s role in learning – Somatic Understanding

ACTIVENESS (Excerpt from Judson Thesis)

I do believe in this as it works for me when I am learning new things. If I do it it becomes part of me and then I am more likely to practice doing it. An example of this for me is learning how to play guitar and drawing. Where I differ from this excerpt is I think it works with technology and more things than the ecological education. I think if we can think outside traditional methods of learning for all subject this is true.

Emotion and Imagination in Teaching – Chodakowski, A. and Egan, K. 2008

I can see where they are going with their thinking in this paper, but it seems like a bit of a stretch to in some parts. The connection between them all seems a bit of a reach. I do however like the idea of pre-language idea about gestures and how they are left over movements that were used before we could speak. I think there is more evidence of this when people are learning a new language or travel to a place that you do not speak the language. You rely on hand gestures to communicate.


Teacher Inquiry – Defined July 15, 2015 /sample test in September 2015

I worked on my question in July and presented it. I am not entirely happy with what I have come up with but I was sure at the time it was in the general area of what I wanted to explore. It is now October and some time has passed and I have my class now. I have revisited my field study question and it has changed again. the sub questions are helping and confusing the question at the same time. I am excited to get started, so of course in my true fashion I jump in, and test the water. In September I picked a student and i worked with him over 3 days during silent reading which is a 20 min block to create something that he was curious about. I had brought in a flip box that had 24 panels and demonstrated cell animation. It really is a fascinating thing to watch.

Reflection Questions
Reflection Questions

Why is critical reflection important to you as an educator?

It allows me to constantly look at my teaching and see where I can make it better. I really enjoy when I have a lesson that works and I go back and find out why and try to do it again the next day or the following week. Or a lesson that is an epic failure and I decode the reasons why it did not work and change it and it works perfectly. This allows me to fine tune my lessons and who I am as a teacher. I allows me to find out the best way that my students learn. I like that even if it is a negative or a positive experience I can learn from it, and get better. I also makes my teaching interesting to me . and changes it up so if I have students over 2 years it says fresh and different from year to year.

 Reading reflection

July 12, 2015

Chapter 1

As I read the pages I can see that the words are starting to explain in circles. things are getting unclear and the what I have taken away from the first chapter is there are 3 different types of assumptions- Prescriptive, Casual, Paradigmatic.

Paradigmatic is the hardest of the 3 as it is used to divide the world into fundamental categories. Prescriptive are assumptions on things we think ought to happen. Lastly, is Casual is the easiest as we use it to create safe environments and learn from them.

Other facts I found interesting were: reflection becomes critical when it has 2 distinctive purposes, and Hegemonic assumptions are what we think are in our best interest. I agreed with some of the findings in this article. However, I do feel it was assuming a lot. Haha!

Chapter 2

It is hard to understand reflections like autobiographies because the experience can never be the same to different people. we can be honest about what we are saying, but you are always taking a risk to have your private thoughts made public and face judgment. This is a scary thought as we are taking a risk trying to learn but what if our ideas are not thought of as right. which of course is not the reason for doing them but this overlaps with the ideas from the previous chapter on assumptions.


Saturday Morning July 11, 2015

Watching  “Pretty Little Liars” with my daughter with more understanding.

Mmmm, the smell of coffee woke me from my sleep this morning. I love how you can be fast asleep and the aroma of coffee sneaks into your dreams and temps you to wake up. I got up and poured myself a coffee. I grabbed it and wen to the couch and said good morning to my daughter. she smiled and got back to her tv show. I sat down and started to watch.

As I watched questions and observations started to flood my thoughts. I was not sure but I wondering if they are aware that the cognitive tools are at work when the write this “Story” or show. The layering of the understandings are to help a variety of cognitive tools to be used. I started to explain this to my daughter what I was seeing, but she just looked at me and smiled as if to say, “Whatever, Dad“.

Examples of this are rampant through out the whole show. The Romantic understanding which is targeted a bit lower than the intended audience is there. And so Is the Philosophical, which is my daughters age. I even saw Ironic. The part I was watching was a part where one character found a vial of blood in a tree. She was found out by a male friend and ran away. The male character followed and confronted her. He explained who’s blood it was and this elaborate story of how the girl that was believed to be dead was collecting her blood to stage her own death and frame another girl, so she would go to jail, and this was all because of a character named “A” convinced her this was the right thing to do.

WOW!  Now this might be a coincidence. What I was most interested in is how it has done to me. It has taken what I am studying in school and what I am interested in right now and made it part of how i critically view a teen tv show. I can not look at things the same way, without questioning what is happening and does it fall in to a category of understanding and what cognitive  tools are being used. I am also questioning what is happening and what are people learning from everything they are exposed to. It is making me believe that we (students) learn from our environment, and it influences what and how we learn. The external influences are working also against and to reinforce the ideas that are happening or being taught in the classroom, and we need to use those influences to help us tell our stories and attach more emotional elements that our students can align with and be reminded of or trigger a connection outside the classroom too.

… Getting called by my daughter that the next episode is on. I just needed to get this down before I forgot about what I was thinking.

Ted Talk – BB July 8, 2015

What touched my heart?

I was touched when she talked about shame, I was interesting how she explained it as her research and how it affected her. It was as if she lived her findings and she needed that to discover what was upsetting her in her life. Her understanding and how she was to get out of this. I liked how she went to her peer group and asked for guidance.

What opened my eyes?

Her humor, and how she struggled with what she was finding in her research.

What made me think more deeply?

How she compared what she was finding about children and about government and religion.