My name is Jackasha-Janaee Wiley. I have a Masters of Education with a social studies certification from Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. I have a Bachelors of Art in History and Women and Gender Studies. I am currectly teaching two Social Science classes for the Rutgers Upward Bound program. I am looking forward to becoming a social studies teacher in an urban school district that is very warm and friendly with goals of educating their students to become successful professionals through student and educator mentorship to ensure further growth and development.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Social Science, Upward Bound & Student Blogging

This summer I will be working with Rutgers Upward Bound summer program. I had the opportunity to create the Social Science curriculum for grade 9-12. The coolest part is teaching the course to the Seniors. In that class, I am trying to help students understand themselves and their place and understanding of and in soceity (if that does not sound too crazy). It is class two in the course, I had th students' create blogs to write and express their opinions on the class themes, readings, and discussions.

This my first time using blogging as a form of expression and grading, I am both excited and curious about it's success (and failures). For the most part it is also something new for students but they are trying.

I also hear that they like my class also!!! That is always great :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog 4-Due April 13.

It is extremely important for there to be positive teacher mentor ships and relationships available. I think it is extremely important for teachers not to fall short inside or outside of the classroom. Teachers must be provided with the necessary resources: professional development as well as enough class books, spaces and other educational resources needed to ensure that all students are learning and are actively engaged in school.
Keith Barton and Linda Levstik (2004) made the claim that teachers graduate programs that promote and engage multiple viewpoints and active student learning, however, “even when they clearly understand and accept [those] principles, their instruction bears little relationship to such knowledge” (37). It is believed that this occurs for authority purposes: to control students’ behaviors and covering content. While in some aspects, it is definitely tasks that most teachers constantly think of, I do not believe that it is the primary reason teachers abandon the content and pedagogical knowledge learned in school while they are teaching. Teachers are dealing with the teaching dilemmas and a new form of professional practice, constrained professionalism. The major issue is combining “progressive” education (learned in today’s graduate schools) and the education climate that occurs in school. Most schools still practice the repetition, rote-learning process and differentiated instruction and performance-based units and assessments aren’t as focused as they should be. In most cases, “novice teachers and their veteran peers feel pressured to undercut their pedagogical goals in reaction to state test process … it is hard to ignore the conclusion that state-level tests produce a crazy quilt of responses... that influence teachers’ content, instructional, and assessment decisions differently” (Grant 44).
Teachers must make reasoned judgments in determining how to make content and ideas more accessible to students by drawing on their specialized expertise in making independent decisions about their work (Williams & Sandholtz, pg. 3). Historical empathy and perspective provide the opportunity to expand one’s capacity of difference (Brooks, 2008; Barton & Levstik, 2004); Foster & Yeager, 1998; Ashby, 2001). Empathy allows the process of understanding people in the past by contextualizing their actions” (Books, 2008 pg, 130) Barton & Levstik, 2004). With this process Brooks (2004) reemphasizes Foster (1999) declaration that historical empathy must be carefully distinguished from identification, imagination and sympathy” (130). While our students should have the opportunity to participate in various educational exercises, including simulations, that gives them access to different viewpoints so they can recognize the value of understanding multiple perspectives. Through historical empathy and perspectives, our students must understand and acknowledge that the past (and others) are different in unimaginable ways. This enables our students’ understanding that everyone experience things differently, especially thoughts and feelings (Seixas & Peck, 2004). My primary goal is to work with students’ images and thoughts about history so they can have a better basis understanding of their national past so they can have a better sense of their own lives (Colby, 2008; Seixas & Peck, 2004). This allows us to reconstruct what happened and why and what it all means, especially when things change over time. It is important for our students to have the ability to see that the “past shapes everything we are, everything we do” (110).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What is technology's position in the classroom?

My personal reflections on the Education Debate
Yes, I believe technology should be incorporated into the classroom to promote academic engagement and success. I think it is very important to reach out to all students by any means necessary.  During my student teaching and substitute positions, I incorporate technology, especially multimedia, as often as possible. At the same time, I find technology in the classroom to be a major concern of many educators with regard to excluding those who may not have access to it, or may not be able to use it (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory: Technology in Education Articles). Regardless of what research may indicate concerning positive effects of technology on student learning, technology will be of limited use in achieving the goals of NCLB if is not available to all students. Most technology present in students are only accessible to particular students like those in Honors or other advanced classes. That doesn’t allow all student access.  Midway through my student teaching, my cooperating received a new multimedia process system that was connected to his whiteboard. We were all excited about possibly being able to use it. Unfortunately, we were told that they cannot be used until the next academic school year.  That doesn’t allow student access. My school is filled with students who come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds that receive limited access to various forms of media and technology (at home) shouldn’t they receive what is lacked at school? (eSchool News, 2005a). What about achieving the goals of NCLB?

Statistics show that schools serving students living in poverty tend to use technology for more traditional memory-based and remedial activities, while schools serving wealthier communities are more likely to focus on communication and expression.  In the urban school, technology is being used as an "reinforcement of skills" and "remediation of skills," while in suburban schools, technology is used to "analyze information" and "present information to an audience" (Becker, 2000b). In our urban schools, we must redirect our primary focus for incorporating technology in our curriculums in similar ways as our counter parts in order to close the achievement gap.
Overall, I believe that today’s classrooms, media and technology are replacing the original instructional basis of many teachers’ curriculum. As a history teacher, my primary goal in the classroom is to encourage historical thinking by examining the World and American histories. Unfortunately, this is often seen as a difficult task when my students have negative encounters with history (which is often perceived as boring) because of the different interpretations displayed in the media and the standard textbooks. I feel that we must “look beyond [to find various] learning strategies that address the needs of the learners in [our] classrooms” (Stewart & Brendefur 2005, pg. 1). We must instruct our students in “way[s] that facilitate performance of the tasks necessary for [historical] success” (pg. 1). As educators, it is very important for us to change our students’ perspectives and perceptions of history being irrelevant and uninteresting. History classes should not fall short but provide students with the ability to approach historical accounts critically so they can accurately understand the past and the affects that it still has on present day. As we create lesson plans, we cannot “fail to capture [our students] understandings or modes of engagements” (Rubin 2005).  It is very important for students to develop the skills of historical empathy and perspectives so that they are able to see that there is a world and life outside of their respective town. Students must be given the opportunity to discover the difference and embrace it by expressing themselves through writing. We must successfully give our students a “direct window into what the past looked like, felt like, and what it meant” so they can better understand what was going on (Seixas & Peck, 2004 pg. 109).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Post Bday Thoughts-Sry for the Delay

I remember taking a Measurement and Assessments class we had to create a unit that incorporated technology, information, and other tools into the curriculum by using critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.

I created an American  History unit that I evaluated the impact of the constitution and Bill of Rights on current day issues. As well as analyze the effectiveness of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendment to the United States from multiple perspectives. This unit also provided students with the opportunity to incorporate active citizenship activities for the 21st Century. The students (hopefully) acquired the necessary skills to become active and informed citizens  value diversity and promote cultural understanding by working collaboratively that to address challenges that are inherent in living an interconnected world.All students will acquire the skills needed to be active, informed citizens who value diversity and promote cultural understanding by working collaboratively to address challenges that are inherent in living an interconnected world.

Performance Assessment- Collect various assignments that have been completed throughout the marking period. The assignments will demonstrate “activeness” and promotional skills of diversity around the world.
Performance Assessment- Identify a problem and conduct research and present the information. Ex. Student Action Project
Part 6

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My 1st Thoughts

Over the last month, I had the opportunity to learn more about incorporating technology into the classroom. In some ways this was definitely something new for me. In some ways it is also very challenging. I didn't realize the importance of incorporating and implementing various forms of technology into my daily teaching curriculum until reading Lynne Schrum and Barbara B. Levin’s book Leading 21st Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement. As I reflect back to previous lessons and unit plans that I created and taught, technology was definitely implemented throughout the entire process but was seen in a different. I strictly incorporated technology into the class to provide the students with different forms of instruction to ensure class participation and engagement. And it definitely worked.
During my student teaching experience, I had the opportunity to implement a three-week unit performance based unit on the American Identity. I originally created unit for 11th and 12th grade United States History II courses; however, I modified it so that it could be used for my 7th and 8th grade Gifted and Talented students. The entire unit was primarily based on group work, projects, class discussion and 80% participation. The unit started with a very simple but broad question “Who is an American?” Many students thought this was an easy question until I “shot” their answers down, as I played devil’s advocate I wanted them to think. This unit was created on the basis of high-order thinking through group and class discussion.  The students did get upset and frustrated because I didn’t take “simple” answers, this only forced them to think harder and explain and articulate themselves thoroughly.
            Some of my favorite activity during this unit was song analysis. Independently, in groups, and class instruction, we analyzed three American songs: America, the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates, God Bless America by Lee Greenwood and The Star-Spangled banner by Francis Scot Key, along with Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing (also known as the African-American National Anthem) by James Weldon Johnson and Dreaming by Selena. While analyzing these songs the students were forced to “read between lines” to find the underlying message in the song. For example, “Dreaming” by Selena is considered a love song (even though it never mentions love in the lyrics), I had the students think about this song in terms of success and the “dream” of succeeding.  After we analyzed the songs, to ensure deeper understanding, I then relied on technology and youtube so we could listen to the songs to better understand everything that we talked about.
Overall, the entire unit was a success because I found a way for students to develop skills of historical empathy and perspectives (using their ability to see things from the perspectives of others) by expressing themselves through writing in their reflection journals every night during the twelve-day unit. Also while the students were taking their Language Arts benchmarks they used the vocabulary that I taught them in class (like acculturation and assimilation) to describe people’s ability to adapt or combine cultures.
I think if I had more knowledge and definitely knew a lot of things that I am learning now about online blogging and class participation, instead of keeping journals, providing students to online blogging would give the students the opportunity to talk to other students and myself at home rather than wait until the next class day to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the class assignments.

            While I think online class blogging is a wonderful idea and a great way to encourage learning all time, I have students who do not have access to computers, let alone the internet; however, I still believe it is a great asset in assuring and promoting education.


Hello everyone!

Welcome to my Personal Education reflections!

During this blogging experience, I will formally and informally address any issues and concerns with various forms of feedback (both positive and negative). This blog will strictly discuss my thoughts and feelings on suggested school and curriculum reforms.

Weekly, and some times daily, I will provide my perspective and position on various topics surrounding education, especially in the urban school.

Again, welcome to my personal reflection page! This is the place where I will talk freely and would like for you to too!

Now, let the blogging begin!

Miss Wiley