Thursday, December 8, 2016


Rachel D'Ambrosio

Journal #1

Randon #1

Today I started my service learning project at Cranston East high school in Cranston Rhode Island. I decided before entering the school that I really wanted to try different aspects of different classrooms that I was interested in pursuing as a career. I chose a sophomore social studies class I chose a phys ed and health class and I also chose a special ed classroom.on my first day there I started off in the social studies classroom, I was able to sit to the side of the teacher while the kids took a test on what I had previously learned in the past weeks it was cut short due to somebody in the School pulling the fire alarm. After everyone was out of the school and the building was cleared to go back in the period was basically over leaving me not much time left. The next classroom I was in was the Phys ed and health classroom. In this class it was a senior lifting class. At this point they were in the weightlifting room doing different circuits whether or not it was free weights jump ropes push-ups Burpee's.

Rachel D'Ambrosio

Journal #2

Random #2

My next time at Cranston East high school, I decided that I was going to choose specifically the special ed classroom to focus my time in, because I know for sure that that is what I want to get into his future career. In this class I was able to sit on the rug with the students, we we're going over basic notecards of words and pronunciations of words and they were writing the words down in their notebook. The teacher did introduce me as a Rhode Island College student, and that day I was faced with one of the most difficult questions that I really didn't know how to answer. While sitting with a group of students, I was asked the question quotation marks am I ever going to go to college to?. I honestly had no idea how to answer that question I just kind of smiled and try to change the subject as much as I could. One of the teachers that was in the classroom heard the question and noticed how I really didn't know how to answer so she also helped me guide the student away from the question that she had asked. After being with the students, it makes me more and more excited to work with special needs students. I knew after working in the family member that has autism that I was extremely interested in special-education, but now I know for sure that this is a future career for me. 

Rachel D'Ambrosio

Journal #3

Kozol Style

My service learning took place at Cranston high school east. This is located on Park Avenue in Cranston. Cranston East was not new to me, although I did not attend Cranston East, my dad is the vice principal. This high school was massive to me, it has multiple floors and buildings, it was baffling. The surrounding neighborhood wasn’t bad although the school was located on a very busy road. Also there wasn’t a large parking lot due to the fact that a lot of the students don’t drive to school. They don’t have fields close to their school or on the property, so they have to take busses to use the outside track and field. The classroom that I am located in is in the front side of the building. It’s about a 20 x 25 size room with around 15-20 desks in it. The classroom is facing the main road on the first floor. There is a black board to the front side of the room, as well as a few half round tables under that. There is also closets, these are located o the back wall. The room is bright and the walls are filled with learning utensils. When we finished our unit the collages that the students made were hung up on one of the walls. It was hard for me to see much of language and culture in my classroom because I was in a special ed classroom, but being in my dad’s office I saw how common the Spanish speaking language is and how Hispanics dominate the makeup of the school. I feel safe in this school, I think that also because it is so familiar to me. This school is nothing like my high school. My high school was all white snobby people and the building was all one floor. My graduating class wasn’t even half of East’s graduating class.

Rachel D'Ambrosio

Journal #4

Demographics and Diversity

The racial and ethnic background of the school consists of 42% white, 7% African American, 10 % Asian, 36% Hispanic, 4% multiracial, and 1% Native American. Also 60% of the school uses subsidized lunch. Since I was in a special ed. class, my room was decorated differently than another classroom would be decorated as. When you walk into the school, everything is beautifully represented, there are showcases lining the main hall, showing every sport team and clubs trophies and awards, also there are murals up and down every hallway. Each mural depicts every ethnicity and leave no one out. There is a beautiful one down near the music and band area as well. Demographics haven’t really influenced my experience at all. I feel as though my classroom is like its own little school, its isolated from what the rest of the school is learning. I was grateful to still be able to get experiences seeing parents interact with my dad and with their children. There are usually a lot of language barriers and sometimes the kids even interoperate for the parents.

Rachel D'Ambrosio

Journal #5

Article Connection

I have been able to see multiple authors in my classroom, although it has been a little difficult. My classroom consisted of students with autism spectrum disabilities and severe learning disabilities. Being a part of this classroom made me think back to the Kliewer article. It was about keeping students, similar to those I have had in both classrooms I had been in, from not having the chance to be integrated into non disability classrooms. The unit that we covered while I was there with body language. Maybe the students could have been better off getting a chance to see the body language they were learning about by being integrated into at least one classroom, this could allow them to see what they were learning in real life. Keeping these students totally isolated, might be beneficial for their disability, but not allowing them at least some interaction in a non-disability class is almost as bad as tracking, as highlighted in Oakes’s article. This unit was definitely a good example of Lisa Delpit’s rules and codes of power, they were learning how to read body language. I was also able to see Collier, but not in my classroom. When I do go to see my dad in his office he sometimes has students who can speak English but either prefer speaking Spanish because they might not remember some words in English or in other cases do not speak English at all. I have to say my dad never forces them to speak English if they’re not comfortable with it, which would make Collier proud, he usually uses the interpreter they have or if she’s not there he uses google translate.  

Rachel D'Ambrosio

Journal #6

What kind of teacher do you want to be?

After working in the classroom that I did, I definitely feel as though I want to be in that exact type of classroom. Just to be able to see the progress the kids make every time I went in, was truly rewarding. I want to be just like the lead teacher Mrs. Ruggeri. She is so patient and kind and is just such a role model of how I want to be with my students one day. Being in this classroom made me think back to the promising practices key note speaker when he said, “I may not want to go to work today, but today might be the day I say or do something to make a difference in someone’s life”. That applies to me in two ways, the first way is that, that could be me I could be the one to make a difference in someone’s life, but after being with these students I can’t help but think that they are the ones who will make a difference in my life daily. I know a lot of people say it is rewarding to be a teacher, but I want to be the kind of teacher that not only teaches their students but truly learns more from them day to day. A teacher is never done learning, it all in how you look at it all to see the lesson.


This article really resonated with me because I have been working in a special education classroom for my service learning project. The article was started off by an heartfelt story that really makes you understand. I do agree that children with down syndrome shouldn't be kept from being integrated into a non disability classroom. I think that goes towards other disabilities too. In my classroom I worked with children with autism and other learning disabilities. The unit that we were going over consisted of body language and reading body language without seeing the face with it. I feel as though if the children in my class were allowed some time integrated into a no disability classroom, then they could apply their learning of reading body language in real life. I used a lot of Kliewer in my service learning PowerPoint because I feel that this author really brings up valid points.
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Kristof's piece, really resonates with me. The article "U.S.A. Land of Limitations?", Kristof argues with the ideas that this country for so many years has allowed the social class overshadow the opportunities and growth and learning of young children and even adults in our country. "I fear that in 2015 we've become the socially rigid society our forbears fled, replicating the barriers and class gaps that drove them away". U.S.A when many think of that they think of the land of the free, free thoughts, free ideas, free opportunities. By Kristof saying this, he is highlighting the sad reality that our country still oppresses those who live in poverty so that the are stuck in that rut of being in poverty, and those who thrive in success stay successful. We live in a greedy world one where once some get the taste of that rich lifestyle they hold on to it for dear life, while others are scraping at the walls of the hole our society dug for them.
It is rare and happy cases that children born into poverty are able to overcome the hole that was dug for them without their consent. These children didn't ask for this, hell nobody wants that, especially to see their children grow up that way too. Our society is failing most, its making the wealthy rise more and more everyday as it leaves a trail of poverty close behind it. There is no need for class gap. We our embarrassing our country by not being able to help our own.

Kahn and Westheimer

In this article the discussion of service learning comes into play, two different examples are used to get their point across. One of a 12th grade history teacher named Mr. Johnson, and the other of a teacher named Mrs. Adams. Johnson explained that his children's projects, would "interact with those less fortunate than themselves and would experience the excitement of the joy of learning while using the community as a classroom". Mr. Johnson did  not require any extra reflection upon completing their projects, therefore in my eyes, almost defeating the purpose. Even though they were getting a hands on experience and that is always a good way to apply learning, it is also good to have something in the end to help you reflect, otherwise I would feel as though I was just doing community service, instead of a learning project.
Mrs. Adams, had her students work together as well as having a main topic which was "the issue of homelessness in America". During their projects they had to write journals and reflections. I feel as though Mrs. Adams way is more effective. I think this because her has more of a learning process, not only are they working in their community and getting the hands on experience, but they are also able to relate it back to the classroom. This is a whole learning process in itself.
I was able to relate this to my service learning project. I was placed into different classrooms where I felt as though the work that I was doing was like charity, but find ing my place in the classroom, I was able to make connections and write journals and blogs about my experience to connect to other aspects I had learned in class.

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Promising Practices

My time at Promising Practices was honestly better than expected. I wasn't sure what to expect signing up for this forum. At first I really didn't know what to choose for my workshops. The one's that caught my eye were "When you fail you're learning", gross mindsets in everyday Elementary school lessons, as well as Stress Management, technique's to building resiliency. These honestly were both extremely good choices.
I was able to really grasp some good thoughts and ideas from the keynote speaker Robert Brooks. Some quotes from him that really stood out to me were, "If people don't feel welcome in your heart, you really can't help them." Another quote that I heard him say that really resonated with me was, "I may not want to go to work today, but today might me the day that I say or do something to make a difference in someone's life". As a keynote speaker he kept me really engaged and I was not guided away from his words at all.
Going to two different workshops the one that mostly resonated with me was the growth mindset one. When I got there we were able to listen to two elementary teachers talk about how you can find the ideas of growth mindset in children's books. As groups we were then challenged to see if the books we were given were open mindset or closed mindset. We were also given a bag with pasta and marshmallow's and we were told to try and make a tower as high as we could. It was challenging and we didn't know that the whole time the teachers had been going around listening to some of the key words that we were saying as we did these projects and judged whether we were thinking with an open mindset or a closed mindset.
It did not take long for me to be able to relate this workshop to one of the authors that we had read for our blog articles, and that was Lisa Delbit. Her ideals have to do with teaching our students the rules and codes of power, and that is exactly what the teaching of open and closed growth mindset is. Delbit would have been extremely happy to sit in on that presentation. The thought of teaching open and closed mindset at young ages is exciting, because it can change the way children look at the work they do. Its like positive and negative thinking and working through and problem solving from there.

The following are links that were given as tools to understand and use as supportive resources..

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tracking (Jeannie Okes)


Reading the Oakes article, I thought back to when I was younger. The memories were of teasing and joking and the feeling of not being good enough. Jeannie Oakes explains the ideas of different leveled classrooms and "tracking". In middle school we all started at the same level in math. My grade was all in the same class and then they split us all up. From this one class, came an accelerated math, moderate math, and "math". Except this "math" by all the other kids was called SPED math. I was decent at math and was placed in the moderate math class where we did worksheets group work etc. except at some points the other kids in my group and class were understanding things a bit faster than me, scared to ask questions because I didn't wan to get laughed at, I fell behind and was placed into the "math" class. This class consisted of maybe at most 7 of us. We would work in a big group with one teacher. It was difficult in that classroom as well because I was able to have more one on one time with the teacher but from that I was excelling in this math class but was stuck in it. It was also difficult because we couldn't really move on from what we were doing until everyone was on the same page which took up a lot of time. It was a lot of give and take and I really see that being one of the reasons for some of my learning gaps. Towards the end of middle school this idea of "tracking" evened itself out a little better. More of us were at the same level and there was an even medium found. I understand the idea of having higher and lower courses, but I wonder too that if I was challenged a little bit more and given the comfort in asking questions in class if it would have placed me in a different direction.

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Empowering Education (Shor)

I think all together, Shor was my favorite author to read. I really appreciated her ideals. The point of Shor's mentalities were to develop children for the world rather than have them just memorizing an reciting material. I think that Alex really gave good examples from his high school experience in his blog post. After reading his it really made me think about my high school experience as well. It made me think of how I really wish it was more like the college I went to before RIC. All of our classes at Wheelock were discussion based and included hands on activities and internships. By doing these activities and internships I was able to understand the material being taught better, as well as appreciate exactly how I can apply what I had been learning in my classes to real life. These ethics made me appreciate being in school and getting good grades. If my high school had more of this and explained how I could use what I was learning for actual parts of life, I think I would have put more time and effort into my high school work. I think that the quote that Alex used at the end of his explanation of his high school also really applied to me and how I felt of mine as well. "Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and learn (12)." Again if it was explained to me, what I was learning in high school, how it would be transferred to my adult life, I would've appreciated learning it more instead of it feeling like a hassle.

Alex's blog really helped guide my thought process and really helped me relate my feelings towards the education system. The quote that Alex included in the end of his blog really summed up what I learned from Shor's writing, "students in empowering classes should be expected to develop skills and knowledge as well as high expectations for themselves, their education, and their future (Shor 16)."

This really made me stop and think of where I am today. If I had pushed harder and questioned my teachers more in high school would it have effected my outlook on the material I was learning at the time? Also, if they did explain to me how it can be applied later in life, and it changed my outlook on what I was learning, would it have set me on a different path I am on today?  It makes me appreciate how a lot of my college classes, especially FNED 346, have been based around discussions. Many times I have come to class with things that have happened and have been unknowingly confused about them, but by bringing them to class, I was able to talk them out with my classmates to better understand them.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Centers and Margins

"Youth who struggle with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender identities, or are bullied for the mere perception of being different, often feel as if they have nowhere to turn"
From this, many youth suicidal incidents are from this statistic.

"Refusing to talk about LGBT issues or showing discomfort when LGBT topics arise are nonverbal messages that tell youth that being LGBT is abnormal or wrong"
This is the reason that so many are afraid to show who they really are and feel isolated from everyone else.

"Teaching young people to 'read the world' goes a long way toward nurturing sophisticated and democratic thinkers"
Teaching people to be more open minded and accepting at a younger age can allow more of a sophisticated and safe feeling environment for everyone.

("Safe Spaces" Gerri August)

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Education Beyond the Classroom: Media Literacy

It was so interesting to read unlearning the Mets that bind us by Linda Christensen. I never really thought into the facts of different myths and stereotypes within children's cartoons and books. For example ducktails at first glance apparently they are looked at to be cute then when you look closer into the show the whole show is based on money and that's the important thing in life. Also Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles they're fighting the bad guy and they solve their problems using fists and swords instead of words. It is so interesting to think that the shows are created for children's entertainment but when you actually think of the deeper meaning that is being taught to the children, it is completely disgusting. No wonder why people are complaining about generations and generations to come your painting a message in media of ways for kids to be acting and thinking and these ways are completely disgusting. Girls don't have to be a damsel in distress having men be princes and come to save them and provide for them men don't have to be strong knights they can be whatever they want to be. The media from the beginning has painted what everyone should think why can't the prince wear a dress why can't a princess where are sword and shield why does there have to be a town clown why does somebody have to profit from money in the end. Not only did Christensen educate us on what media has been secretly been doing all these years, she also taught her students to make the change and they have the opportunity to make a difference into unbind the myths that bind us. 
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Voices and Silences: Language is Power

This reading is called "Aria", it was written by Richard Rodriguez. Richard Rodriguez and his family were immigrants from Mexico, in coming to America they adopted the English language as their main language. Rodriguez explains in his writing that all That all immigrants should try and adopt English as their main language because they will be more successful in their new country. It will be hard and it will be difficult but it is rewarding in the end. At school he spoke mainly English and even though his teachers said that he wasn't speaking as well, the family did everything that they possibly could to help them in school. By doing this and taking on this challenge the family spoke complete English at home. It led to frustration because the parents weren't as advanced as the children in the English language. This led to a strain in the family and their family closeness was lost. "So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality" (Rodriguez, 39).

Sunday, September 18, 2016

For homework, I had to read two articles. The titles were, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" and "All Lives Matter". I found it extremely interesting to read what the author of "White Privilege" had to say. She outlined what she saw herself doing in her day to day life, this was detailed around the idea of privilege. A few of the topics listed was "I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time". McIntosh discusses the issue of race in a graceful way, not attacking or pointing fingers, not blaming anyone, but she instead uses examples of her experiences and the way she once saw herself acting. There is an issue of privilege and power, and where once the idea of privilege was "favored", is now seen as "dominance". Out of all of the readings assigned for class that we have read so far, I think that I like this article as much as I like Johnson's article. This was not just a reading about power and privilege, but a reconstruction of power systems.
The second article "All lives matter" was a response to acts of violence and protest throughout the country. I have to say that I agree with the phrase "All lives matter" and I say this not to oppress a specific racial group, but to show my want for s peaceful and equal environment.
My name is Rachel, and this is my first ever time blogging. It is super scary but I'm sure I will get used to it. I am super late setting up my blog. Over the summer I worked three jobs and barely had a summer. I worked at a coffee shop, waitressing at a sports bar and also was an orientation leader for RIC transfer students. When I'm not in class I am usually working or at practice for throwing for the schools track and field team. I live in an off campus apartment with three of my friends and commute to school.