Project Proposal Blog #2

In my first blog I mentioned the idea of wanting to conduct interviews with people of diverse backgrounds and report on the findings. After our class on Tuesday, I know that I would really like to follow through on this project.

I am a reader. I always have been and assume I always will be. I love stories, especially memoirs. There is something special about knowing that a story I am about to sit down and read is true. This even connects to movies. When I sit down to watch a movie and if before it starts, the opening credits inform- Based on True Events- I instantly know that I am going to like the movie better than if it were a fictionalized story. People have amazing stories to tell. Just listening to my classmates in class on Tuesday, I felt great emotion to their very honest and personal accounts. I think it is important to hear from people, people who come from different places in the world, who have different experiences, and who may view themselves or their lives as unique or even as simplistic. There are stories to be told. Stories that will teach wonderful lessons. Stories that celebrate. Stories that inspire. I would like to find and to share some of the stories that are out there.

For my project I would interview perhaps 5-6 people who fit the above description. I would create interview questions that range from: How do you feel you are viewed by others in society? to How do you celebrate your ethnicity? The questions I would create would open a dialogue for the purpose of the project: Is how we view ourselves different from how others/society view us and what impact has that had on us? I would figure out how to put my interviews together in a "documentary " fashion. I have an iPad that I can use to record the interviews, and iMovie on my computer, but am very unclear how to go from one to the other as I am not very hands on tech wise, but I will figure it out. I would like to really focus on common themes that the interviews showed (if there are any) and create some type of narrative about those findings. I also feel that I would need to create a release as the interviews would end up on our class website??? The point of my interviews, the focus, is to celebrate race and ethnicity, but also to look for commonalities that our society has imposed upon people. 

Blog #2 – Project Prosposal

Mary McLeod Bethune said "The whole world opened to me when I learned to read" This is a very powerful statement. I remember reading as a young person and imaging being in the story or taking part in the world of make believe.  I remember going on vacation every summer or just going to the museum and being able to connect to those things I read about. Some things I had not read about but was exposed to a world outside of my city.
      Having worked  in education for 15 years, you see a lot of students that do not have that same creative mind because of the lack of exposure  to the world itself and books other than what we supply them in school.
     One of the most challenging things I have seen the teachers come up against in the classroom and that is writing . Our students within the school I work at come from a very low economic family status. And so the teachers are finding it very difficult to get these students to write papers.  
     I was thinking of interviewing a panel of educators and maybe a panel of students about the "The Effects of Poverty in the Classroom." I want to get the educators view vs.the students view. Recording on video as each side gives their opinion of the struggles with teaching and the students learning.  I am thinking , this should only take about 20 minutes no more than 30 minutes.Here are some of the  questions I came up with:

1.What are some of the challenges with teaching writing in the classroom?(teacher)
2. Why do you feel your students are struggling with writing?
3.Do you feel students feel very disconnected to this so called real world, that they have not been exposed to?
4. Do you believe that gaining a students trust will help the student open up to you?
5.What are some of creative ideas you have been able to help in the classroom? Have they worked or  not worked?
6. Do you feel like you are in this world of writing alone?
7.Has writing become more challenging in the classroom?
8.As educators do you feel as though there is enough material to help you get over these hurdles
 in writing ?

1. Do you like writing?  Why or why not?
2. Do you find writing a challenge? Why or why not?
3. What do can the teachers do to help with writing in the classroom?
4. Are you given enough tools in the classroom
5. Do you find writing a lot easier when you have a great connection with your teacher?
6. Do you feel the teachers understand your struggles with writing in the classroom?
7. Are you allowed to be very creative with your writing in the classroom?
8. Do you feel connected to this world in order to be creative with your writing?

Blog #2

For my project, I decided to choose the group, "Race and Identity". What I found important, was being able to focus on the judgement that comes with this. By judgement, I mean the way people think when they look at a person, or any form of racism that happens in the world today. I chose this idea because I feel that certain races/ethnicity get criticized much more than others, and I do not feel that this is fair at all. There is reasons that people feel the way that they feel and I think it's going to be essential to be able to explore that. For this project, I was thinking about possibly interviewing different people with different races/ethnicity. By doing this, I'll be able to get insight on some positive/negative things that they have experienced in their life because of "Judgement from others". By doing this, I'll be able to explore many different races and also see how they feel about others. I think what may be interesting is possibly being able to get an audio or a video where I would be able to make a documentary or just a film of some sort where we would all be able to visually see and hear the people speak about their different races and the struggles that they have to go through. This may be difficult because I do not have a camera, so that's why I'm still not 100% positive that's exactly what I'm going to do but I think for my focus, this would be awesome. If I'm able to the film instead of just the audio, I will make that atleast 20-30 minutes depending on how many people I interview and how much information I get. If worst comes to worst, I will try to use the video on my cell phone and somehow put it all together on the computer. What inspires me is just hearing all the problems on the news about Racism and all the incidents that are happening where people are being judged and misjudged and I've always thought this was unfair, so this class is allowing me to explore these feelings and be able to see how others feel about it also. If I am not able to get a camera or use my phone to do this documentary film, than I will most likely create a form of a website and add some visuals on there and the information that I get from my interviews from all the people in each race. I know the documentary would come out much more effective, but if I do not have the materials to do that, I will make sure that my website provides all the different races, the information that I had gotten from the people that I had interviewed (Possible audio or videos if I can) and I will also provide stories that have been on the news that has to due with judgement of ones race/ethnicity. I just really want to focus on the people whom I'm interviewing, but it's possbile that I can add in outside sources of issues going on around the world today and why this is pertains to Race and Identity.

Blog #1

What I would like to learn from this class is more about Race and Ethnicity. Since I'm highly interested in becoming a teacher for the ages from P-3, I know that knowing about these are very important since the classrooms will consist of many different races. I'm also interested in learning more about Identity. I feel that as being a part of a society, it's important to know who you are and where your family stems from. I know a small bit of my family tree, but I dont know everything, so I think that this class will help make it easier for me to understand my own personal race & ethnicity, and also many others. I'm also interested in the issues that come along with Race & Ethnicity, because JUDGEMENT is crazy in the world today. I believe that racism is still strong in many areas and there's many reasons why some people may feel like it. It might be interesting to explore this because it's a serious issue and it's something that needs to be understood. Even though I do not believe in racism at all, there's many reasons why people judge others and maybe that's something that we can explore and get into the deeper issue of why people do that. All of these ideas are great, and I know many of us are going to relate. So maybe we can get into groups and explore some of the issues that we all agree upon thoroughly, whether that's through a website, or some sort of presentation.

The Story Whispered In Your Ears


You are not sure why you are proposing this, but you know the idea of writing a personal essay about race, ethnicity and identity has been turning over in your mind for a quite a long time.

The scattered fragments flashing back forth in you mind as if they were shattered pieces of gloss glasses. They are so familiar that you feel like you are doing the last rehearsal before debut; they are so absurd that you are convinced that all these only exist in your wildest fantasy; they are so intimidating that you cringe and curl up in a corner; they are so vivid that you stretch your hands as if you want to seise some intangible glitters.

You remember last time you thought about writing this down in a form of braided essay. Glanced around, your sight dwelled at your identification card. For that second, you were not sure anymore if that was a card that records your identity information or a card that tells you who you are. So you picked up the card and contemplated. Name, Gender, Birthdate, Address and Race, all these seemed to be peculiarly familiar. Do they define you as who you are? Or it is that who you are that defines them?

———-2 —————

Somehow, you knew from the very beginning that it was not the kairos to write it down. You were confused by these identities. You wished every single column on your card can be emptied, forgotten or vanished. You craved a moment of absolute autonomy, just like folks craving a moment of tranquility after a mutiny. Just a moment that you can actually feel your flesh without labels, restrictions or definitions.

You imagined your flesh started to flee, as if the sands flee from the pace between your fingers, and your soul will be emancipated or untangled from your body.

So that rough draft was left there to be finished until the day when you discover more about yourself and your identity. But this unfinished piece enervated you as much as the labels on your identity: you don’t know how far you were to the authentic realization of who you are, just like that you don’t know how far these labels were to the authentic disclosure of your identity.

———-3 —————

All these faces keep emerging like the pathway dipped by the drizzling sunlight. You thought about those racist warnings camouflaged as warm caring advices you got before you came to the united states. You thought about that Chinese mentor told you that this city is dangerous because of minority people live around. You heard all these toxic snobbish words like contaminated soup served to all your Chinese fellows. You witnessed how they became so paranoid that they dare not let their african american suit mate get into their room. You witnessed how hey became so cynical when talking to each other in Chinese about “old black” they met at cafeteria. You witnessed how they became so miserable that they walked became their own prisons of their misconception and prejudice.

And now, you heard the murmur in your head telling you that it is time to write all these down. You saw all these cruelty around you like rowens spinning around your head. Finally, you made up you mind to write down all that in one personal essay. You want to raise you voice and let it be loud. You will tell all that you saw when peeking underneath the curtain, the fire, the rage, the blood, the hate and the sublime humanity.

Somehow, an image of a ritual appears in your mind. Perhaps this is a destined ritual on the pathway of your life.

Identity and me 2015-02-16 18:32:00

Passion: most people I meet tell me that they have very little passion for anything and therefore it is very hard for them to pick a career. I have always felt that I have had the opposite problem. I am  feel passion for too many fields and possible professions. I am slowly starting to learn that I can satisfy these bugs in different ways than just trying to change careers a million times. Either way, I was finding myself in the same dilemma with approaching a project for this class. I can easily see myself in every one of the groups. So, how do I create a project that truly encompasses all the the aspects I want to explore? In my first blog there is was a strong theme of self- discovery and I truly believe I have been able to discover more pieces of myself by listening to others and reading about their journeys. That is why I want to interview a minimum of five people and try to learn more about their identity, their struggle, and their worldview. While as a class we have not yet explored this aspect of identity, there are many people who struggle with their racial identity and not because of external forces. I have met many people that seem to hate the racial category they are placed in. I must admit I didn't really listen to their arguments that seemed to be filled with stereotypes of minorities, instead I debated. Now I really want to listen and go beyond the stereotypes and truly try to understand how their racial identity affected them. I will have to study how great interviewers how able to inside the mind of the ones they are interviewing in order to understand the human condition in a better way. I will study how Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Larry King and others were able to extract so much information from the people they interviewed without getting into a confrontation. If there is anything I have discussed in the two class we have had is that identity is complex.

After I gather all of my interviews I will try to edit it into a short video that will maintain the audiences attention. The full length interviews can be posted to our class website(if this is our main class project) for the world to see. It is very easy to judge front he outside looking in, but once one learns the motivations, intentions, circumstances around a situation true understanding can take place.  From these interviews we can see how language, race, identity, education may all play vital roles in the lives of these individuals. After completing my interviews, I want to write a few monologues that relate to the themes that emerges from the interviews and how it relates to my own identity. Actually, it is not 9:10pm and I just thought that these monologues will be based on the interviews! I am going to try(hopefully successfully) to bring to life the people I interview through a creative art form.

As for a class project I do believe a website where our work could continue to live is a great idea. We are going to learn from each other and that is a powerful goal.


As I'm reading my classmates' blog posts, I'm realizing that I'm not alone in wanting to understand how we can impact young students in the classroom.  It is there, and at home, that children really begin to develop their own identity and to understand their roles in the world around them (and the roles of others).  For my project, I think that I want to create a tap into both of those environments.  I want to create a curriculum unit (or a few specified lessons that can be tied into an established curriculum) that facilitates students' journey toward self-discovery and self-actualization and, though it will be done in a classroom environment, the major cornerstone of the course will relate directly to their homes and families.

Some of the ideas that I have for potential lesson plans involve interviews of family members, a research component that involves a family tree and/or timeline, the creation of a family documentary (and presentations of those), and an ongoing journal that documents students' personal feelings about the journey itself.  Dr. Zamora suggested that in order for my lessons to move students toward reaching that goal of discovery and actualization, that I should experience them myself.  I actually had the opportunity this past weekend to do just that.  My grandmother passed away two weeks ago and we held her memorial service on Saturday in Dundalk, Maryland, where my father was raised and where his side of the family still lives.  Because we live pretty far away, I didn't really get as close to her as my cousins and I heard some stories at the service which really opened my eyes about the person my grandma was and what her life was like.  I didn't know that she didn't speak English until she was five- she was a little Finnish girl that was sat down in the back of the one room school and told to "learn."  That's how she learned English.  I never knew that. That is just one of the stories that made me recognize the strength of my grandmother.

I think that the stories of the family history is just one main component of what I'm imagining my lessons will involve, and I definitely need to flesh it out more.  I'm warning you all that I will be asking for help!!! :)  See you all tomorrow!

Blog #2 – Project Proposal

Trying to brainstorm about my personal project proposal was overwhelming for me at first. I simply didn't know which theme  nor direction to focus on. I am interested in Racial Identity, its effects on everyday life and the educational sector.  I am also very much interested in how to better serve students (in general and English Language Learners in particular), teachers, parents and other stake holders in addressing the issues involved in racial diversity. I am currently not in the classroom so I had to really consider what kind of project that I would like to do and how to go about it.

I arrived in the United States as an adult educated immigrant. I have experienced racial issues in the market place and as a parent. I happen to consider myself as reasonably well educated but I still had to deal with people who felt that because I had an "accent" my ability to perform my duties or hold an intelligent conversation was doubtful. As a parent, I was informed that since I was an immigrant and my child had another language being spoken at home she could not really be expected to excel in her studies! All this without the said educator having taken the trouble to find out anything about my child nor her background. This attitude, I am happy to say, was quickly erased after the said educator was taken to task and asked to substantiate his claims. Needless to say that I changed my child's school as soon as I possibly could.

When I decided to become an educator myself, I noticed the same problems occurring with English Language Learners in particular and students who have immigrant parents in general. Even when educators try to promote and celebrate cultural diversity students from immigrant homes will go to extreme lengths to merge into mainstream American society and do not want to be seen as different. What can be done to actively encourage students from immigrant homes to celebrate their diversity, encourage all stakeholders to recognize that we are all humans and each person is different whether we look alike or not and speak the same language or another language.

The fact that I do not readily have immediate access to students (that I'm currently teaching and therefore, their parents) makes me want to pause. Also, there is the fact that I am a relative newbie to technology but I will like to see how far I can cast my net and come up with something that is interesting and that will also make a positive contribution to the class.

Research has shown that students including ELLs do better academically when there is cooperation between parents/guardians and educators. How to make this a working reality with immigrant parents?

I would like to do some interviews of immigrants - some parents,  a few students (including first generation Americans with immigrant parents) to see how the issue of racial identity has affected them in their interactions in the educational sector, what specific incidences (if any) could they recall, how they think the situation could have been better handled and what suggestions would they like to give?

The materials used for the interviews would be a video camera and/or an audio recorder depending on the preference of the person being interviewed, also pictures of realia could be used if relevant to the interviews.

Writing Race & Ethnicity 2015-02-16 05:22:00

As I was reading my fellow classmates' blogs I came across one that was talking about creating a video interviewing others on who they think I am. This project would be conducted to see how people stereotype, or prejudge others just by the way they look. I really like the idea of this video interview.  I would like to dig deeper and ask them how they view themselves and have them discuss some of the stereotypes they have come across due to their cultural background.  This is just an idea.  I am not sure how I would do this yet but I liked the idea of using others outside of our classroom to influence our discussions. As for materials, a video camera would be needed, interview questions, and some sort of finished video product to present as a project.

Writing Race & Ethnicity 2015-02-16 05:22:00

As I was reading my fellow classmates' blogs I came across one that was talking about creating a video interviewing others on who they think I am. This project would be conducted to see how people stereotype, or prejudge others just by the way they look. I really like the idea of this video interview.  I would like to dig deeper and ask them how they view themselves and have them discuss some of the stereotypes they have come across due to their cultural background.  This is just an idea.  I am not sure how I would do this yet but I liked the idea of using others outside of our classroom to influence our discussions. As for materials, a video camera would be needed, interview questions, and some sort of finished video product to present as a project.