Monday, December 12, 2016

Individual field experiences and summative post

November 14th, 2016
Today was my first day with Ms. Barrancotto’s first grade class. Ms. Barrancotto teaches first grade to a spunky group of children at Noble Elementary school. If the whole class is present there is sixteen children in the class. When I first walked into the class it was bright and cheery. One whole wall is covered with windows, so a lot of light gets through. There is also tons of colorful posters and various things hung up on the walls. There is constant stimulation around the room. It seems like there is not one part of the room that is not covered with something. There is also three groups of desks, but desks on their own throughout the room as well as a table in the back of the room and a chair in the front. During my first day I walked in and the kids were already doing their stations for the day. Ms. Barrancotto splits the class into four separate groups. Each group gets a color to indicate where they are supposed to be and what group they are. One group is in reading group with Ms. Barrancotto, while the other groups are doing the various assigned activities. The kids not with Ms. Barrancotto have a lot of control over what they do and how they behave because no one is watching over them. It actually worked pretty well, giving the kids freedom kept them in line with what they had to do. To switch stations a bed dings and Ms. Barrancotto say “too-da-loo”. The other stations that day included spelling, math facts, and reading a book silently. The words at the spelling station included base words and then words adding an “ed” to the base word. The math facts station was what would seem like simple math facts and a flash card that the kids were supposed to look at quickly, find the answer, and then move on to the next fact. During Ms. Barrancotto’s reading group she has to remind them of the rules which are posted on a board. She points and says, “ C- voices at 0, 1, or 2, H- use a quiet hand signal, A- reading, writing, work hard, M- sitting in our area, P- focused, listening, working.” In the reading group Ms. Barrancotto focused on specific words and what they meant. When I sat in the math facts group, in order to keep the easily distracted kids interested I made it a game and they loved it! Also one of the boys was showing me how he used the counting chart on the wall with dots to help him with his math facts. There is so much stimulation around the room, but it seems like everything has a purpose. 

November 15th, 2016 
During class today, I got there a little earlier during the morning meeting. All the kids were in a group in front of Ms. Barrancotto which was sitting in a chair on a level above the kids sitting on the ground. They all sing a song together and then Ms. Barrancotto pulls out a picture of two kids on a playground holding a ball. She asks the kids what they see? Ms. Barrancotto is asking a lot of leading questions, so the kids can pull out answers to the questions. Ms. Barrancotto’s expression is also very involved and animated, so the kids get more into the activity in return. There was a transition then and all the kids looked over to the smart board which had a letter written to them by Ms. Barrancotto. She reads it out loud and it is asking all her super students to behave today and outlining to them what they will be doing throughout the day with her, step by step. Then the kids are all sent back to their desks to start their next activity. I notice that there is a rewards systems used a lot in the class. There is participation points for different groups and the class as a whole along with clipping up and clipping down, which individual students will be asked to do based on their behavior. The kids then do “I say, You say” vocabulary and spelling words. Throughout any group activity it is really obvious that Ms. Barrancotto has to discipline the kids a lot. Their attention drifts quickly and she has to pull them back in or scold them for acting out. She then has the class transition again to a discussion about cause and effect. This transition is hard for the kids because they have to put away materials at their desks and then make it down to the carpet to talk. It reminds me about how we’ve talked about transitions and even had to deal with making transitions in a class work when teaching during our clinical teaching experience. It was not easy to figure it out with a group of college students how to make a transition in a class smooth and it is really obvious to see that making a transition smooth in a first grade class is very difficult. The kids have a super hard time with this transition in particular and a couple of them had to get clipped down and the groups of desks did not earn any participation points. After the discussion on cause and effect the kids are sent off into their four stations.

November 30th, 2016
The class starts again today with going over the note to the class with expectations and activities for the day. Then there is a small lesson about the difference between living and non-living things. Then the kids all go and answer a question on the “wonder wall”. The kids all get a post it note and write down one thing that something living needs and then they get to go stick it up on the wonder wall. This is great cause it is repetition of what the kids just learned, but also it is a fun spin and a little different way to keep the kids engaged. Then a power point is brought up with pictures of living and non-living things and a song that the class sings together about living and non- living things. Again, Ms. Barrancotto asks leading questions to help the kids understand, but come up with answers on their own. In the process of this lesson Ms. Baroncotto has to scold some boys enough that they have to go back to their seats. Each activity lasts between five and twenty minutes. They are all pretty fast, so the kids stay engaged without loosing out on what they are learning from getting distracted. It is pretty obvious that if any of the activities were made longer then this the kids would stop learning and start getting distracted. The kids have their stations again. In the stations it’s easy to see that each station is set up for kids that learn in multiple different kinds of ways. It is like what we discussed in Ayers book, you cannot evaluate students all the same way, you have to give them different mediums and ways to show that they know what they’re doing or are improving on the material. Ms. Barrancotto I think does a great job allowing for the kids to embrace this and give them different ways to show their strengths by the diversity of activities she has them do throughout the day and throughout their stations everyday. 

December 2nd, 2016

Today the kids are learning about empathy. They get into circle time with Ms. Barrancotto  and she goes over what empathy means through puppets. She also invites the kids to talk about specific times they’ve felt empathy or others have felt empathy for them. It is really interesting to hear what these kids come up with. It shows that each student is unique with their own unique experiences that they bring to the table. This is kind of interesting in relating to our discussion on urban schools, which Noble Elementary is, and how in urban schools it can be a positive to have so much different background and experiences, and instead of using that to hinder the school, it can be seen as a positive and show that the school has so many different backgrounds enriching it. After the kids go over empathy they go over their note to the class from MS. Barrancotto and then go into their stations, which Ms. Barrancotto reminds them should not become about a whisper voice level. She has to remind the kids of things she wants them to do at least three times it seems like.  The kids go through all the stations for about an hour again. It is easy to see that these groups are also broken up according to each child’s ability. There are reading groups ranging from children totally competent to those who have trouble. We talked about reading groups in class as well. I wish I could observe what it would be like if these kids were spit into groups where there was a range of ability in each group. But, the one positive with these reading groups is that it’s split up in a way that I do not believe the kids even notice it is decided by their abilities. The kids then transition to snack time, which is of course a little cray, and from snack time they sit quietly and watch a vocabulary video. In this video the vocabulary is being rapped to them and the kids love it! They are super attentive to it. It just shows the things can be taught through different mediums and still have the children understand it. 

December 5th, 2016 
The kids start with a sentence activity this class. They are all writing down sentences on the board with specific emphasized words. They are using these “secret readers” in their books which they can use to highlight and discover changes in the words. They are learning about suffix’s today. This proves to be a little more challenging for the students. But, they all seem to try to answer the questions even if it is not right. I think this shows that Ms. Barrancotto does a great job of making all the children feel comfortable and that they should try even if they are not one- hundred percent sure the answer is correct. The kids then watch a brain- pop video on suffixes. This is just using a different medium to enhance the kids knowledge of how to write with suffixes. I think, especially at a young age, using these multiple mediums really helps the kids ability to retain the information. I realized that Ms. Barrancotto lets the kids have some control over their bodies and how they sit. She lets the kids lay and act how they are going to if they need to get a little energy out, but knows where the line is drawn and when kids have to be told no. I think it’s interesting cause this idea goes all the way up through working in a 9 to 5 job. People need to be loose and express themselves in order to be productive. We even see that in out ED100 class, when students sit on the ground or need to walk around during group discussion just to stay intrigued. 

December 9th, 2016
Again, It was a pretty normal day in Ms. Barroncotto’s class. I got there during the reading of the letter to the students talking about their expectations and activities for the day. One thing that I haven’t observed yet that the kids were going to do was a spelling test. After the reading of the letter the kids transitions to their spelling test. There was a lot of craziness in this transition and what seemed like some staling, but to my surprise the stress level that I would have expected with a a spelling test was not there. I’m not sure if it was because the kids are so young they do not feel the stress yet or it was the particular group of kids. During the test though there was some obvious frustration and some kids that just gave up. You could tell as Ms. Baroncotto read out the words some kids did not even try to write them down and others you could tell did not know the right answer and were frustrated by it, but some kids answered with no problems. You could also see kids looking at each others papers even though they were spread out a little. This shows that no matter how young the kids are and carefree there is still some pressure testing brings that no one can escape from. I went around and saw some of the papers and there were kids that had absolutely horrible tests and some that had them all right. I think these is just a great example of what we learned and discussed about testing and how it is not appropriate for every student, but yes it still does need to be part of education to some degree. Ms. Barrancotto did not stress the test a ton, so this showed in her class the test was not the most important thing, but the learning was. 

Summative post

I learned a lot from this experience in Noble Elementary and also our class field experiences. First, and I think most important, I learned that this is really what I want to do! I walked away from every field experience, individual or on my own, knowing I wanted to be a teacher and that I loved being in a classroom. Also I learned good and bad teaching skills. I believe Ms. Barrancotto, the teacher I individually observed is an amazing teacher! She showed me that you have to teach students through a variety of mediums. I saw that every student absorbs and learns things differently. So, when Ms. Barrancotto would teach something to the class through pictures, and then talking, and then a video, and then an activity it showed me that students need all these different way to learn in order for every student to understand it. Also I saw reading groups and this separation up close and why they are separated based on ability, but how maybe if it was tried a different way kids could learn better with different levels of abilities mixed. I also learned a lot about discipline and how to run a young classroom which we did not discuss too much. I learned that to some degree freedom needs to be there, but in the end I need to have the power and show where the line is drawn. And, of course, In a young classroom rewards are key! All and all, I loved these field experiences and I think they benefitted me a tremendous amount!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Blog Post 10

Overall this semester I was able to discover a lot about myself when I evaluated my own thoughts as well as thoughts of great educators through my cumulative course blog. The blogs allowed me to critically think about the teachings of other educators and then write my personal thoughts about the theories of education that they teach. I discovered a lot about myself through these blogs. It showed me the kind of teacher I really want to be and helped me discover that my teaching style might be a little different then I originally thought. Before I read our texts for class I really never thought about teaching for multiple kinds of students and how different students like to learn differently. It showed me that I have to broaden my horizons when it comes to this. I need to learn to also teach democratically and not to teach just in the banking concept of teaching, but to also know how to liberate education. When I was able to discuss this concept from Paula Freire I looked at it really critically and realized if it was in my future classroom I would want to teach a mixture of both these liberating concepts of teaching that lean away from teaching facts, but instead more critical thinking, but also still teach part of the banking concept of learning and teaching because at some points students do need to learn basic facts and memorization that needs to be banked in their memory. The blogs also forced me to ask questions about the different concepts, so for Freire’s take on the banking concept I really wanted to know what experienced teacher thought. 
I believe that education should be offered to all students equally no matter what their social status, family income, or race. I did preliminary research on our countries education system when it comes to funding. Funding is clearly a big issue in education that you hear about all the time, which in turn is why I want to write about it. One can hear about the disparities of educational funding across the United States on a daily basis, that is how big of an issue it is. It is not just the disparities from town to town, but also state to state, that’s the real issue. It was shocking to me when I first learned what “pay to play” was here at John Carroll because it was never something I had to come in contact with in high school because I went to high school in New York State, but those kids who went to high school in Ohio all had to deal with pay to play. Because I went to school in one of the most well funded states in America I didn’t have to deal with many budget cuts of funding issues. Money was rarely an issue at my school, but if you compare that to a state like Indiana it could be a whole different situation. I feel that it shouldn’t be that much of a difference from state to state. The system we have for federal and state funding of education in The Untied States does not allow for equal opportunity for all students trying to learn. If a student is trying to learn shouldn’t we give them the most opportunity to do that?

I think my belief responds to the hopes and dreams of almost every student and parent out there. Every student working hard and putting in the effort to make themselves better and learn what they need to wants the same opportunities as every other student in the world. No student hopes it is harder for them or that they have less opportunity then someone else when it comes to their education. This goes for the parent as well. Every parent wants the best and most opportunity for their child. If a parent cannot afford to live in a school district with a highly funded school or can send them to a private school with their own funding does that mean that their child should suffer and get less opportunity then other students? Should a child that lives in Cleveland Heights have any less opportunity then a child that lives in Shaker Heights? Although, I do not have much experience in a low income school myself it is very easy to see that it is a problem. Through my time at John Carroll I’ve sat and listened to my fellow students talk about having to pay hundreds of dollars just to play a sport or be in the band. This do not seem fair to me. Expression and art are very important to the education process and it seems crazy to me that a student just trying to better themselves has to pay money to do this, and why because I live in a different state did I not have to do that? I’ve also heard about fellow classmates talking about multiple academic classes being cut. They’ve expressed that their schools did not give them the opportunity to take some advanced placement courses cause they could not afford it. I also did service at Cleveland Juvenile Detention Center last year and the young teenage girls I worked with talked about the schools they came from. These girls did not know half the things they should have know by the age they were. They came from awful schools with teachers that weren’t dedicated to their students and the progress of their students, and in turn the students did not have any motivation to learn. The schools were given such little funding and in such bad neighborhoods that it seemed like these poor girls did not even have a chance of getting the education and opportunities they deserved. I think I could connect this topics about what Bill Ayers wrote about standardized tests and how they aren’t necessarily fair because they ask questions targeted to certain demographics. My topic about funding touches on the idea of low income and diverse neighborhoods. Another reason they are not necessarily performing may not just be funding, but also their demographic and state state wide tests and curriculum does not cater to their needs. Some big questions I want the answers to is how do we fix this issue and is it even fixable? I believe some would say there’s no way to change the current system. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Blog Post 9

Annotated Bibliography

Loewenberg, A. (n.d.). School Finance - EdCentral. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from

This article is a great source for my This I Believe essay. My essay is going to focus partly on the way public schools are funded in the United States and what I believe about it based on my findings. This article is great for further research into this topic, because it outlines the main sources of funding in schools. It breaks it up into the three main categories of funding which include Federal, State, and local funding. The article also depicts the funding in the highest and lowest funded areas throughout the country. The article goes into detail about schools revenue. The article goes into a description of courts role in this funding issue as well. The article will be extremely helpful because it has a lot of information about the array of issues facing school funding, but in an easy understandable way. Although, all the sections don’t go into great detail, they do give at least some idea and a basis of knowledge about many of the financial disparities to start my research with.


Federal Role in Education. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2016, from

This is another great source. First, it is very helpful because it is a government source, so it gives the perspective of what the government thinks of the issue or if they don’t feel there is one. This is helpful because a lot of what I am most likely to look at is probably going to be against what the government is giving schools for funding. This article is important, because it gives a different perspective then that and when doing research it is very important to have more then one perspective. The article also gives the history of the governments involvement in educational funding nationwide as well as what is currently happening with the topic. The article explains how government’s role may be small, which is what a lot of people have issue with, but it is hard worked and important to the nations educational success. This article definitely gives me and interesting perspective to work with.


Baker, B. (n.d.). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from

This article is extremely helpful because it is very detailed. It also includes a website that explains the article more in depth which I found the original article through. The main goal of the article is to study each state and identify which states get particular funding. The goal of the article or the National Report Card (NRC) is to asses the equality of funding given to each state throughout the United States. The article shows where each states money is coming from and why, based on a number of things. It provides people with a basis to see where money is going and coming from and why. Because of this article adjustments are able to be made based on the results, or at least that’s the goal. I’d like to really look into this article and see if the right adjustments are being made or if the states with the least funding are still underachieving and schools are suffering despite this NRC. The NRC is an attempt to make things fair, but I want to study if it really does. The NRC gives me a lot of information to work with as well.


10 Facts About K-12 Education Funding. (2005, June). Retrieved November 14, 2016, from

This article is beneficial because it gives a basic background and knowledge as to where the money comes from in federally and state funded schools. It just gives me a solid idea of why and where certain money comes from. The article basically just goes over what you would think are frequently asked questions about school funding. I like the article because it kind of strikes me as a school funding information page for dummies, so basically everything you need to know in ten quick explanations. I will use it just as a back and forth reference, just to keep my facts straight and know that the information I’m writing about in my This I Believe essay is actually correct in its original basis.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blog Post 7

When I think about how I want to teach and the lessons I want to teach I think of Freire's philosophy on education and the banking method versus teaching for critical thinking. I think as a teacher, based on Freire's insights about how one must teach to expand the students mind and knowledge I would want to do a combination of both. I wish to incorporate both the banking and critical thinking styles of teaching for my future students.
My teaching plan would be to:
First open up the lesson with telling the students what the lesson is about. Say it is a history lesson about World War Two, I would ask the students what they already know and think about World War Two. We would discus this for as long as it takes.
Second, I will teach the facts of the lesson. This includes going over all the memorization parts of the lesson.
Thirdly, I would go back to my first question asking the student what they think about the subject. This time hopefully there is more critical thought to it because there is factual backing to the students thinking.
I think this incorporates the positive aspects of Freire's thoughts, well at least what I gathered from them, but also the much needed factual base of learning. I think this will allow for the students to really think and understand what they learned.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Field Post 3

Thinking of the craft of teaching some questions I could come up with include, " What does a specific teacher find the most important element of teaching?", also " Does this specific teacher find teaching the facts before critical thinking important? Do they believe that one needs to first teach facts before a student can critically think about them, the facts aren't necessary if the student critically thinks, or they go hand in hand when teaching?"
I'm basing these questions off of the reading which we did for class last week. The reading by Paulo Freire discuses a lot about he banking system of education and how students need to critically think and be taught to critically think instead of just being taught facts and that learning is only about facts. I had some questions about this reading, because I think there is an element of memorizing to anything someone teaches and learns. I do not believe that a teacher can be successful with their students without teaching facts before allowing the student to critically think about them and I wanted to ask questions to see if other people who are teachers and who have experience with this agree with me. I'm only a student myself and do not know what it is really like to teach in a classroom and I might have a skewed perspective about the banking system of teaching.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blog Post 6

In the Paulo Freire reading my group talked about a lot of our thoughts on our annotations of the chapter. We came up with a common conclusion on the reading, that yes the banking method of education is not necessarily productive, but it does have some benefits. We discussed how teachers just teaching to a test or for memorization is obviously bad, but in education there is always an aspect of memorization. For example, when one is teaching a history lesson a student must first memorize the facts before they can really start talking about what the facts mean to our history and present day problems.
I found interest in the quote, " In the banking concept of education, knowledge is a gift bestowed  by those who considered themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they considered to know nothing. Projecting an absolute ignorance onto others, a characteristic of the ideology of oppression, negates education and knowledge as processes of inquiry." (Freire104) From this quote, I interpreted it as Freire saying that in the banking system teachers are just throwing facts and knowledge at the student, but not really teaching them anything and allowing them to learn and discover things, but just memorize facts. Obviously, no teacher aspires to lead a classroom like this, with the banking system of education, but I think a teachers get into a rhythm over the years it is often what their teaching style turns into. I think to avoid this method of teaching, teachers just have to be conscious of the way their teaching, and as their jobs might get harder or longer that they do not phone in the way that they teach to make it easier.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blog Post 5

Last class we discussed homophobia and racism itself and in the education system. It is pretty obvious to see the distinction between liberal and radical views of this in schools. Some institutions have liberal views on these issues, including students and organizing clubs for all students to feel a part of something and represent their individual group of people. In my middle school and high school we had clubs for both African American groups as well a Gay Straight Alliance. I felt my school was very liberal and helpful to their students making them feel comfortable and that school is their safe place, as it should be. I never heard any negative or discriminatory language used against individuals in school either. Although, hearing stories in class from other students, this is not the case at all schools. Some my classmates were saying that their schools did not allow clubs to be formed in support of these groups and that they heard discriminatory language used not only by students, but by faculty as well. Rofes discusses childhood as innocence. Children do not know exactly what they are feeling yet, are they gay or are they straight? It is difficult as a child to know how to feel and what you are, but you know that something is different. That is the view I got of childhood form Rofes's writing. I think this shows that we as a community we need to be more liberal in schools with children. It is hard enough trying to figure out who you are as a child, but to be discriminated against, and feeling like being gay is not ok, this will make the transition and childhood that much harder for students. In the school I hope to be teaching at, I have a vision of a very inclusive school that allows for all students to openly express themselves.