Thursday, April 28, 2016

Social Justice Event: The Vagina Monologues

So. The Vagina Monologues. This was an interesting experience.

First things first, a friend and I went, however we also decided to bring our boyfriends, somewhat against their will, because we wanted them to meet. Let me tell you, they sure bonded over how awkward they felt, and the good news is they're now buddies!

So aside from our boyfriends feeling completely out of place together, it was a really awesome production. In the Vagina Monologues, stories from different women are brought together, about sexuality, about gender, about what it means to really be a woman. These stories are put into a monologue format and read out loud, individually on stage one at a time. A lot of the actresses were really good at being able to read their monologue in a way that was convincing and got the message across, while some fell short. The majority however did a really nice job.

One of my favorite monologues was about the Angry Vagina and all of the basic daily struggles that a woman in todays society have to go through that men would just think were completely unbearable. From tampons and periods to sexual assault, this monologue covered everything, and it was really funny. The girl who preformed it was really good at timing everything right in order to get the best reaction she could out of the audience.

One of the reading I can connect this too would be August. A lot of this production was about sexuality and being comfortable with who you are sexually. By educating us about the different sexualities in this play, we were creating a more educated and therefore more accepting crowd. Safe spaces were created, and after all of the prewritten monologues were over, many of the actresses got up and were able to do their own monologue about their own personal experiences.

This entire production challenged SCWAAMP, realizing that maleness was valued in society and pushing to make a difference. The women in this play were not bashing men at all, in fact they just wanted to be considered as equal. One thing I actually really enjoyed about this production was that not all of the stories of sexual assault were a man to a woman, one of them was actually a woman to a woman. They were not clumping all men into the stereotype that they are the only ones who can commit sexual crimes. The women in this play realized that women can as well and it was very well represented.

If there was one thing that this production screamed, it was Johnson. The entire play was about how no one ever talks about vaginas, we pretend as if they aren't even there and go about our lives uneducated and okay with it. All of the monologues were them saying the words, trying to make a difference.

This American Life Extended Comments

For this blog post, I will be extending the comments on Amy's blogpost.

First things first I always love reading Amy's blogposts because she put the vocal she doesn't know at the top of the page. She includes the definition for the words and it is really helpful to read especially before I read the article, so thanks!

I really enjoyed the quote that Amy selected for the first quote for this blogpost, which was "I think that children can overcome the stigma of poverty. I think children can overcome the stigma of their ethnicity. But what they cannot overcome is the stigma of separation. That is like a damned spot in their being, in their self-image. And that's what segregation does to children. They see themselves as apart and separate because of the language they speak, because of the color of their skin, the origin of their parents." -  563: Part Two

This quote really shows what the problem is with the idea of segregation. While technically the schools have eliminated segregation, things are not completely intergraded yet. Many students are still separated by their social standings and how they are seen in society. They are only pushed to the point their school wishes to push them too, and schools in better neighborhoods will push them to do better. I really enjoyed how Amy connected to Kristof's article about how if you're poor you will typically stay poor. The way the school system is set up, it is extremely true. The same AP class at a poor school rather than a middle class school is so significantly different in the amount of work that you are expected to get out and this doesn't allow the students to learn exactly the same amount as the students in the exact same class at another school.

The second quote she used really helped with her argument as well, which was "In the schools where white families chose to stay, test scores for black transfer students rose. They were more likely to graduate and go to college. After years of resistance, Saint Louis had created the largest and most successful metro-wide desegregation program in the country. And then state officials killed it."

This shows that integration can actually work in a society, and it is helpful to the students involved. If all students were given the same opportunities in the educational system, then they would essentially all be at the same levels with the same experience. Schools that have more to offer the students help them to be everything that they could be, rather than being shaped by the society around them.

Is there a good way to help these students get what they need in order to succeed?
I understand raising school funding would help tremendously, but is there an easy way to help these children? Also, this suggests that children should go to a school that is good for them and not just the one that is nearby, but if you are a low class family how are you supposed to get your child to the school thats good for them when the school thats nearby just picks them up?

Monday, April 11, 2016

In the Service of What?

By: Kahne and Westheimer


     Service Learning has done something wonderful to they way I view the jobs and duties of a teacher. It has done nothing but solidify the fact that teaching is something to do for the rest of my life. However it has not only been beneficial to me, it has helped the children in my classroom as well. Service Learning is about being able to give back to your community in a way that not only helps the ones you are helping, but also helps yourself. This opportunity has been an amazing learning experience, and I know my students feel the same way as well.

     The drastic change in the children has been something amazing to see. In the classroom, I am seen as a "reward" for good behavior, or an incentive to make good art work in ways such as "If you are able to fill the WHOOOOOOLE page with artwork, I'll let you get up and show Ms. McCulley what you have done!" and "If you guys behave, then Ms. McCulley will be happy to come into class today and see all of you!", and that has helped the overall atmosphere in the classroom.

     As the article explains, the purpose of service learning is to "Improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all levels of schooling...[we] aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students." and I believe that this service learning project has done just that. I have helped the students I am with while also learning many things myself. Service learning is an important part to the community as a whole because in doing these projects in schools, we are raising well rounded students who are aware of the social problems in their community and willing to fix it. In that, we are also helping the community heal as a whole.

Questions/Points to Share:

     As I saw in some of the other blogs, people were required to do community service projects in order to graduate high school. While a lot of people saw this as normal and thought there was no other way, I was the opposite. My school did NOT require any form of community service in order to be able to graduate. I feel as though if we were required to, this project would have been a lot easier since day one because I would have know exactly how this was going to work. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Kliewer: Quotes

First things first, I think everyone should have a better understanding of Down Syndrome, because everyones heard of it, but not everyone knows exactly what it is.

"Justify a competitive ethic that marginalizes certain students or groups of students ...[that] legitimize discrimination and devaluation on the basis of the dominant society's preferences in matters of ability, gender, ethnicity, and race... and [that] endorse an elaborate process of sorting by perceived ability and behavior" (73)

     This quote reminded me of a lot of things that we have learned in class so far. The main two would be SCWAAMP and the piece by Oakes. One piece in SCWAAMP says society today values "Able-bodiness" as one way to be able to obtain power in society. This quote just solidifies the fact, because it discusses about how in todays schools, children are sorted into classes of Able-Bodied and Unable-Bodied. Also, this backs up the piece from Oakes about tracking in schools. The schools are tracking these children by ability and behavior giving some of them a worse education then others. 

"He didn't get credit for it because he didn't do it right, but he clearly knew which was the block, which was the spoon. And he followed directions in an organizing sense." (Page 84)

     I feel as though this is an important quote because it shows that these children with down syndrome are being looked down upon. Even though this child was able to clearly know the difference between the blocks and the spoons, he was not given credit because he didn't do it the way that they told him to. Some students comprehend things differently, and the fact that he wasn't able to get credit even though he came to the same end result of knowing the difference between the two disgusts me.

"I have Down Syndrome, but I am not handicapped" (93)

     I feel as though this is a subject that is having it's "glass tapped" more often now than ever. Being able to see people with down syndrome for more than just their extra chromosome, but for who they are as an individual. People with Down Syndrome are beginning to push the boundaries of what people thought they were capable of. Two of the top people of this movement are Jamie Brewer of American Horror Story and also the first model with Down Syndrome to walk New York's Fashion Week, and Madeline Stuart, a very successful Australian model with Down Syndrome. Both of these women are spreading the word that maybe Down Syndrome is not a handicap, but an obstacle that can be overcome.

Questions and Points to Share:

At my little brothers elementary school, they are beginning to merge the special needs classrooms with the regular classrooms in order include all the children on the same level of learning, however the helpers of the children with disabilities and some of the problems they have tend to distract the class from learning and divert their attention to the special needs children. Is there a way to incorporate the children better without compromising learning time in order to get all of the children focused again?

Aria by Richard Rodriguez


Richard Rodriguez talks about the necessary evil of giving up ones private identity for a public identity. He uses the example of him giving up Spanish in order to convey this message. When Richard was younger, his family only spoke Spanish, and he spoke (or tried to) at school. However, during his schooling, his teachers forced him through an Americanization to phase out the Spanish he and his family spoke. Personally, I don't believe that someone should have to give up their private identity for a public one, because no one should have to give up what they love in order to look right in the public eyes. Now I'm not saying that it wasn't beneficial for Richard to learn English in a way where he could have intelligent conversation, but I don't think it was necessary for him to completely phase out his Spanish side, and I know that it can work. Some people that I work with only speak Spanish at home, and can have a very normal conversation with you in English as well. It wasn't necessary for them to have to give up their private identity for a public one, because they are able to have the best of both worlds.

Questions/Points of Discussion:

Is there any point where it would be necessary to have to give up your private identity for your public one? Not necessarily Spanish or any other language, but anything that you use to identify yourself in private. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth


     "Safe Spaces" by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Meghan S. Kennedy was a text I could really connect to. A really close friend of mine had a very hard time coming out to her family and friends all through high school because they felt as though they could not be accepted. My friend Ciera was born with not only a different name, but a different gender. Her family is extremely religious and after her coming out as transgender, they kicked her out and told her to never come home. Since then she relies on friends and her college to provide her with a place to live, and its extremely difficult for her to get a job because no one wants to hire her while she's in the middle of her transition. She has lost many friends that she has had in the past because they think its weird to watch as she transitions from male to female and they can't quite wrap their minds around it.

     It is really important to me that people who identify as LGBT have a safe place that they are able to feel comfortable, especially in schools. A lot of times, school is the way for them to get away from the things going on at home, especially in my friends case. If they don't find a safe haven at school, they will never be able to feel truly safe. I also think its very important to be able to talk about the LGBT community in schools, because if we had learned about transgender people in school and what exactly happens, all of Ciera's old friends would have been able to understand what was going on and that even though she is becoming a female, she is still the same person that she was before.

     Questions/Comments/Points to Share: One question that I have is about how we can make the kids comfortable who don't even feel comfortable in their own homes? The reason my friend never said anything to her friends about being Transgender is because her family has engrained it into her head that she would never be loved or accepted if she transitioned. We can only help so much in the schools, but in order to help anything, we have to get to the root of the problem.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Christensen - Reflection

     Okay so heres the deal, while I do agree with most of what Christensen says, there is one big disagreement that we share. Do I think princesses are completely gender stereotyped and their appearances exaggerated? Of course! There is no possible way I will be able to get my waist line as small as Cinderella's or my makeup as on point as Belle's. When I undo my updo after a long hard day of building my ice castle, it doesn't fall gracefully onto my shoulder into the perfect messy braid. I do not spend my day slaving after 7 men or chasing after my prince charming, nah, I have better things to do. No, I don't agree that any of the gender stereotypes and perfect bodies are good at all! I completely agree with that! The ONE thing I don't disagree with is the racial stereotypes in Disney movies, PARTICULARLY in regards to the princesses.
     Yes, many of the Disney Princesses are, in fact, white. Which on the surface may look like a problem. But the REASON they are all white is not because Walt Disney wanted them to be, or because he made the conscious choice to not include princesses of color, but because he stayed true to the princesses original fairy tales. Snow White was from a German fairy tale, making her white. Cinderella was French, making her white white. Aurora was also French, ALSO making her white. They made the characters fit the settings of the original stories that they were told in. They didn't change the stories, they probably didn't even think anything of it! They just represented the princesses in the colors and ethnicity that they were written to be portrayed in. But then, not much further down the line comes Jasmine, an Arabic princess rightfully portrayed as Arabic. They didn't make her blonde and white to change her character simply because they didn't want to portray people of color. They simply kept true to the story. Not much later comes Pocahontas, a very strong, very powerful Native American princess, portrayed with tan skin and black hair. And after that, Mulan, a Chinese princess who SAVES FREAKIN CHINA PRACTICALLY SINGLEHANDEDLY. Do we just look over these people?? One of the strongest Disney Princesses was NOT white. She was Chinese!
     And these are just the original Disney princesses, don't even get me started with these new ones.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
by: Peggy McIntosh

White Privilege, what a difficult topic to understand. People don't like to talk about it, hear about it, or think about it...if you're white. Arguments on white privilege become one sided, because white people don't really BELIEVE there is an argument. One of my favorite things in the world is Slam Poetry, because it takes the things we don't like to talk about, the things that would normally make people uncomfortable, and it turns it into an art form. This article reminded me of that, so i figured what better way then to link it to a few of my favorite Slam Poems, and a few that I have found when looking for said poems.

There are a seemingly limitless number of Slam Poems about white privilege, but I have narrowed it down to three.

1.) "Cuz He's Black" by Javon Johnson

In Johnson's poem, he discusses the struggles his nephew will face growing up. He talks about how he is already afraid of the cops at a young age. He knows to keep his hand slow and his intentions clear when reaching for his wallet in his pocket. He understands that he is the lesser and that he is seen as the bad guy, even if he didn't do anything bad. This is exactly what McIntosh tells us that we are avoiding seeing. We don't realize that we have privileges because its our everyday life. We aren't taught to be afraid of the cops, even if we haven't done anything wrong. We don't think twice about reaching for our wallet, because we have nothing to be afraid of.

2.) "The Whitest Thing" by Adam Falkner

Falkner talks about how we try to understand and be a part of cultures that are not ours. We dabble in the positives of other cultures, ignore the racism towards them and instead unknowingly flaunt our superiority by stealing their "blackness" and pretending it is our own. We, however, are able to turn it on and off. We are able to pretend we are black if we want, but just the same we are able to be white. That is our privilege, because we can get the best of both worlds, and someone who is black can not pretend to be white. You can tell that Falkner is very aware of the privilege that he has, and he acknowledges that. He is privileged because he has a choice.

3.) "1-800 White Man Privilege Hotline" by Denice Frohman

In this Poem, Frohman discusses the different ways that white men are privileged over other races. I enjoyed this one, because it was about more than one race, and not just black people, and it hits on gender privileges as well. She talks about how white people are favored in the workplace, while hailing cabs, getting loans, or in situations with police. One of my favorite things about this poem was the end where she says "Please do not ask our white men about their privilege, they have no idea they HAVE it!" This is exactly what McIntosh's article is about. White people ignore the fact that they have privilege, until it is pointed out to them. But when and IF it is pointed out to them, they will deny that they have it.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
This article and these poems use the same idea as Delpit's theory that the people with power are often unaware of the power that they have. How are we able to make the change if the people in power aren't aware that they have the power? Even if they were aware, how would we be able to persuade them to give up the power that they were born into? Is it possible to be able to get rid of this power entirely or has it been too engrained into our minds that the white people in America have the privilege?

Sunday, January 31, 2016


U.S.A. Land of Limitations
by Nicholas Kristof

Kristof argues that moving up in social class, no matter how hard you work, is no easy task in America.

         Kristof uses examples from various studies from different countries to prove his point that if you are born in lower class, you are more than likely to stay in lower class. He explains that America might not be all that its cracked up to be, by proving that Canada and Europe's success rate in young people who work to have more status is significantly higher than America's, and they don't brag about their opportunities as much as America does.

        He also argues his point using personal stories, explaining the life of his friend Rick, who raised himself and his sibling from a young age. Rick had a lot of talent, but didn't have a lot of money, and because of that the author feels as though he wasn't able to make it as much in life as he could have if he had been born into different circumstances.

        He explains that there are outliers, just as every other social argument that you can make. There are people who were born into poverty who have made it big in the world and, with a lot of hard work, sweat and tears, have made it above that upper class line. However, he basically says that they are the poster children for America, they are the few who get pushed on you to "prove" that you can make it no matter where you come from. But making in big without being born into the right circumstances is highly unlikely, even though possible.

Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
How can we, as future educators, help this to become better? How can we teach our students and inspire them to work more to be able to make it out of that lower class bracket? Or can we even do that when the at-home circumstances are too pressing? What kind of impact can we have on the lives of the students to maybe make their futures a bit brighter?

About me!

My family is a huge impact on my life, I am the oldest of 4 siblings and we live in a very small house, so there is no way to NOT be close to them. We aren't exactly the most typical family, but not being normal is a lot more fun. Im constantly talking about my brothers, who are 8 and 9, who have been a huge impact on my decision to pursue a career as an Elementary teacher. 

From left to right: Declan (8) Logan (9) Sienna (17) and my mom

I am very passionate about a LOT of things, either I'm completely into something and very invested, or I don't like it at all. And I get excited about just about everything. One of my big things that I'm into is cosplay, or making intricate and precise costumes of characters from video games, TV shows, and movies and wearing them to conventions to take pictures with people. 
Here are a few of my favorite cosplays from the past year:
Amelia Pond from Doctor Who 
Loki (well Lady Loki) from Thor
Athena from Borderlands Pre-Sequal

Also, I have a LOT of animals. Living on a farm kind of does that I guess. I have 8 cats, a dog, a rabbit named Ed, a horse, chickens, goats, etc...the list could keep going on and on. 

Ed the rabbit, Huck the horse, and Harper the dog