Sunday, February 21, 2010


1.  National Archives.  Online Exhibits.  Israeli Exhibit Hall.
Menorah:  I didn't know the menorah was the official emblem of the State of Israel.  My family uses ours to light candles for Hanukah.  The menorah was given to President Truman in 1951 for his recognition of the State of Israel in 1948.  There is an actual photograph showing Israel Prime Minister David Ben Gurion presenting the menorah to the President.

After reading some of the oral histories and letters of the 1940's, I learned a lot about more about history during that era.  It seemed so much more real being able to read from the primary sources of the information.  These are actual accounts from real people who lived during that period of time.  There are photographs of the people who were mentioned.  I feel empowered to know that this website exists, as a resource for classroom teaching.

As I'm more practical and will only look up something on the computer if there is a need, I've not done much exploring.  I'm pleased to know that this source of primary information is so easily accessible.  I find that I'm always less interested in reading information that has been watered down or slanted by the book publishers.  I will be able to download actual historical photographs and letters for use in my classroom, probably by way of Powerpoint presentations.  Since I was wanting to continue to read more and more about this period of time on this archive website myself, I'm assuming some students will want to also.  I'll have to make sure I show the sources of the information so the students will be able have easy access.  As opposed to a textbook, the computer allows you to get to the information of your choosing which is always more educational and fun. One site can lead students to another and so on and so on.

2.  National Educational Association.  Achievement Gap.  The Achievement Gap is defined as the differences between the test scores of minority and/or low income students and the test scores of their White and Asian peers.  The student groups that experience achievement gaps are:
1)  Racial and ethnic minorities

2)  English language learners
3)  Students with disabilities
4)  Boys/girls
5)  Students from low-income families 
The five groups most significantly affected are:
1)  American Indians and Alaska Natives
2)  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
3)  Blacks
4)  Hispanics
5)  Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People (GLBT)

In the article, Becoming a Culturally Competent Educator, there is a list of areas where teachers can choose teaching styles that are most suited to them.  The three I feel most comfortable with are:
1)  Determine the diverse groups served by your school. Consider cultural, linguistic, racial, and ethnic diversity. Find out the degree to which families and students in these groups are accessing available school services.
2)  Identify and include budgetary expenditures each fiscal year to facilitate personnel development through their participation in conferences, workshops, and seminars on cultural competence.

3)  Gather and organize resource materials related to culturally diverse groups for use by school staff.

Teachers can learn more about the students in their particular school if they do some research to determine what cultural backgrounds exist.  From there, they can come up with percentages for each group.  Discussions with other teachers can help determine which groups are taking advantage of services offered by the school. 

I feel teachers can learn a great deal from outside speakers coming to the schools on staff development days.  There are people from within the community who will want share their heritage at no cost to the school, as well as professional speakers from local universities.  Speakers should be from a very broad mix of cultural backgrounds, not just those represented at that particular school.  If the school is primarily white, it is even more important to bring in minority speakers.

Having printouts of resource materials of people from various cultural backgrounds available and laying on a table in the school lunchroom, and the library will make the information available to the teachers, as well as the students.  Possibly designate the month of September as Hispanic month, and the month of October, American Indian, etc.  Teachers and students would be able to read up on different cultures, and learn something new that they can incorporate in their curriculum.

3.  Stop Cyber Bullying.   I didn't know that there were Cyberbullying Summits being offered to schools and communities in an attempt to bring awareness to the problem.  One was held in Westchester County in 2005 that was designed for no more than 400 participants, 600 showed up.  As a result, it got major news coverage, and the word has spread.  In addition, video of the summit was recorded and can be viewed on  You can also learn about hosting your own Wired Kids Cyberbullying Summit at:  email:   Instant Messaging is also a problem.  People have used it to cheat on tests, pass messages while in classrooms, and pass along viruses.  Blocking anyone not on your buddy list or who sends you inappropriate messages will help with the problem.  Making students aware that cyberbullying exists, that it is a problem, and that there are websites  that discuss it and how to try to protect yourself is a first step as a teacher.  Showing the cyberbullying video in class for everyone to see would also be helpful to each student.

4.  Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators.  I will definitely use this website often.  From the "Subject Access" (23 choices available) area of her "Guide for Educators" section, I clicked on just "Education Resources."  Oh my gosh...a  plethora of opportunities.  Where do you even begin?  There are 16 "Back to School and End of School Resources" websites, 55 "General Education Resources" websites, and 15 "Early Education Resources" websites.  On the "First Day of School Ice Breakers" website, I found the following helpful hints for doing something different.  There are suggestions to ask:

1)  Now that I've told you my expectations of a good student, what are your expectations of a good teacher?

2)  Tell me about the best teacher you've ever had. What made that person such a good teacher?
3)  Now that I've told you some of my ideas about how we will go about learning this year's material, tell me about how you learn best. Give me an example of a project or unit where you learned a lot. Describe the project in detail.

From the "Teacher Helpers" section, I accessed "Gadgets and Podcasting."  Not only will this help me to learn about podcasting from the 7 websites available, it also has 9 sections on "Digital Cameras and Camcorders in the Classroom" and 15 sections on "Other Devices in the Classroom" which includes information on GPS, USB drives, videoconferencing, etc.

5.  Multiple Intelligences.  I took the 24 question Learning Styles quiz.  My top 3 intelligences scores are:
1)  42% Naturalistic
2)  38% Interpersonal
3)  38% Logical-Mathematical
While watching the video, "Multiple Intelligences Leave No Child Behind," I took notes on the following:
1)  If you can learn your strengths and weaknesses early, you can develop more of your strengths during your educational years.
2)  PODS were a way for children to play to their strengths.  Teachers designed specific courses around them.
3)  We need to teach kids more of how to learn, as opposed to just information.
4)  There are 8 distinct areas of intelligences.  You can be very strong in a few and very weak in a few.
5)  NCLB testing is taking away from teaching time.
I like the idea of learning our individual strengths early on, as well as our individual weaknesses.  It would make us more self aware and in control of understanding ourselves and how we learn best.

6.  Teaching Tolerance.  The grade level I chose for this lesson was 1-2.  The subject was Art.  The topic is Identity Posters.  The idea behind it is that posters put a stop to teasing as students learn more about each other.  Students begin this lesson by researching their individual names, i.e., who named you, were you named after someone, etc.  Coming back to class, all students take time to share.

Next students bring in photos of themselves and their families and use magazines to cut out pictures of favorite things.  These are used to create identity posters.  This creates a springboard for the study of world history, religion and cultural identity that is taught throughout the year. 

Posters are hung on the walls of the classroom for the whole year.  Each week, the teacher chooses to move one to a prominent place for extra focus by the students.  Students learn they are all multifaceted.

7.  EdChange.  Multicultural Education and Equity and Diversity Awareness Quiz.  I found the following two quiz questions to be the most interesting.

1)  What percentage of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender high school students report that their teachers “never” or “rarely” respond to homophobic remarks made by other students, according to a national study by GLSEN?

15.1%     37.8%     63.2%     84.5%
Since the answer is 63.2%, there is a serious problem.  I feel teachers find it is easier to just not address the remarks made, but then the offended and offending students feel it is acceptable.  Teachers need to speak up and state that it is not okay to make homophobic remarks and not allow them in their classrooms.   If a teacher continues to hear them, the offending student should be sent to the principal's office where, hopefully, there are some diversity videos that should be viewed.
2)  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual income for U.S. white men, 25 years or older, who have earned graduate degrees, is $80,000. What are the median annual incomes for Latina and Native American women, 25 years or older, who have earned graduate degrees?

$80,000 and $80,000    
$70,000 and $68,000, respectively    
$60,000 and $62,000, respectively
$50,000 and $40,000, respectively
The answer is the lowest amount.  The disparity in incomes has existed for so many years.  Will it ever change?  Hopefully with time, or possibly legislation.  It's terrible.  For the same graduate degrees, a gap of almost half less salary.  It's shameful.

8.  Netiquette Guidelines.  The article's short description of why students should be taught about Netiquette is simplistic and probably naive but, nevertheless, has some truth to it:  "most people would rather make friends than enemies, and that if you follow a few basic rules, you're less likely to make the kind of mistakes that will prevent you from making friends."  It's also the old standard, "Would you say it to the person's face?"


Monday, February 15, 2010

stand up paddleboarding is so much fun

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Journal Article 1 Computing in the Clouds

After reading the article about "cloud" computing, my biggest concern is security of the documents that are created.  Students on any public school computer would have the expectation that no one will ever be able to access their documents, except possibly a "professional hacker."  I don't feel the security concern is addressed in a way that I am comfortable and would want my own children to write documents at school.  I feel there is an element of "Oh, it's just students writing articles, so there's nothing of importance that anyone would want to access anyway."

The author says he studies the privacy settings of any online program he uses, but then says the only insurance against problems associated with unwarranted data access is living a completely sin-free life.  What does that mean?

Where the information is stored is vague to me.  It say either a local-area network, a district intranet, or the internet itself.  Who is responsible if it crashes?

I do appreciate the cost savings to schools by using the netbooks.  The high school where I work has computer labs with ancient Dells that take five minutes or so just for the students to log on and they're very slow to operate.  It's such a waste of their time.  Thus, most teachers don't take advantage of the students' using computer technology.

For a school district to ask parents to buy netbooks, as well as the district investing in netbooks, would be a considerable outlay, even at $350 each.  Even the author admits that the sustainability of the cloud computing revenue model is anybody's guess.  What if that changes?  Also, do we want students to be bombarded with advertisements on the computers they use at school?  Who decides which advertisements are appropriate?

I don't feel comfortable, based on the information in the article, that school districts should adopt this form of computing at their school sites at this point in time. 

Monday, January 25, 2010


My name is Connie Hodgkins. I was born in North Hollywood, California and have lived in California all my life. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I feel I received a not-so-great public education as part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. After that, my education got better. I attended Valley Jr. College and Pierce Jr. College in the San Fernando Valley and moved on to San Diego Mesa Jr. College to finally get my two-year degree in Psychology. I was then lucky to go to San Diego State University to complete a bachelor's degree in Child Development in two years, graduating in 1983.
I have had this Dell notebook computer for way too many years. But it does what I need it to do, so I haven't moved to macbook like my daughters. I use my computer (which has Microsoft Word 2003) for e-mails, googling, Quicken, occasional basic excel spreadsheets, simple photo storage, and playing solitaire. I use my Palm Treo cell phone for storing addresses, directions, and have the most fun texting with my family.
Regarding the CSUSM COE Mission Statement, the words "reflective teaching" appeal to me as I often go through things over again in my mind wondering how I could do it differently next time. I feel teachers should always practice reflective teaching. At our first class session, Mr. Heil expressed his appreciation for the shared governance of the education department. It's nice to hear from a professor that he feels that the department really functions using the concept of shared governance. It's also nice to hear he really likes how things are run.