One Sweet World

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Virginia Tech: Questionable motives of NBC’s release of Cho Seung-Hui’s video April 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 1:11 am

Personally I don’t understand why NBC released Cho Seung-Hui’s video. Are they doing it for  the publicity? I think so. They have their name plastered all over it like they are proud that they are the ones to have it. Is this why they released it? The media is playing into his hands. They are doing EXACTLY what he wanted to be done. They are playing his video and giving him his glory. I’m appalled that they released it. The focus should be on the victims, and their friends and families. The media should focus on the candlelight vigils and the outreach of communities around the world. That is what we need to focus on. That is what deserves glory. That is what desreves remembrence. God Bless the victims and their families. I pray for you, and I pray for peace.


Bright Ideas Conference April 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 2:31 am

Jacqueline Woodson:

            Jacqueline Woodson was very inspiring. I really appreciated her enthusiasm for writing. Just listening to her made me want to write. That made me think about myself as a teacher, and how important it is to have enthusiasm. If I bring that enthusiasm to the classroom, I think it will rub off on my students. Enthusiasm changes the whole atmosphere in the room. I think that is powerful.

            She made me think a lot about my teaching career, and how my actions will affect my students. I don’t want the “candle [to go] out” for my students. I want to help light that fire and encourage it to burn. I am going to take her advice about writing and incorporate it into my teaching. I’m going to try not to criticize students in their early stages of writing. I’m going to be careful to be sensitive to my students’ writing.

            Jacqueline Woodson also made me think about my writing. I really liked her “Elbowesqe” ideas on writing. I think it is cool that she doesn’t know what the story is going to be about until she is about half way through her draft. She said something like, “I want to get my characters walking, talking, and doing stuff first.” That just really struck me. I never really think about my characters as alive. You can tell she really does. I think if I can do that, then my writing will sound a lot more authentic and alive. I really enjoyed listening to her. She made me want to read her books!


Introducing a Twenty First Century Curriculum:

            I finally learned what a wiki was! Honestly, I did not know that anyone can write in Wikipedia. That’s kind of embarrassing. It made me realize that I really need to keep up on technology. My students could have been using Wikipedia, and I wouldn’t have known that it isn’t a reliable source.

            The presenters talked about setting up a wiki for a class. This is an interesting idea. I still need to research a little more about wikis. I still don’t have a full understanding of them, but I want to learn more. They also talked about how we can use IM language, Wiki and Myspace codes, and e-mail language to help teach students Standard American English. This is a cool idea. I just wrote a paper about using AAE with AAE speakers to help them learn SAE. I never thought about using this technological language to do the same. That is a pretty cool idea. I think it would take a lot of research though.

            They also talked about using Youtube in the classroom. We can teach kids a lot through Youtube. One thing they talked about was using Youtube to teach kids about biases, perspectives, voice, and motives for writing. I think kids could have fun with this. I liked this presentation. It had a lot of information packed in.


Acing the Interview:

            “ ‘Everyone loves kids, did well in school, and would love to work for us. What makes YOU unique and someone we need to hire?’ ”  This is a questions the presenters asked us to answer. I need to find a good answer to that question. I think if I can answer that question honestly then the rest should be fairly easy. I need to really figure out what I’m all about as a teacher. I’m in the process of discovering, but I still have a lot to learn.

            The presenters talked about how we need to sell ourselves like a product. That is an interesting way of talking about interviewing. I think it is a good way to look at it, but I also think that this advice could hurt you. I think if you try too hard to sell yourself, then you may become less genuine, and I think that would do more harm than good. They did give us a lot to think about, but I feel like a lot of it was stuff that I’ve heard before, but it is always good for a refresher!


Final Thoughts:

            I’m glad I went. I really enjoyed Jacqueline Woodson. She was definitely the highlight for me. I think this conference is a good learning opportunity.


Comment Links April 8, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 9:24 pm












Creative Healing- In Conclusion April 2, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 10:28 pm

“Any kind of journaling has power, Clement says, ‘because it allows you to leave whatever is in your head on the page. That makes room for new thoughts, ideas.’”

The article, “Journalers Say Writing Salves Physical and Emotional Ailments” is the perfect summation and testament to this semester’s blogs.  The article focuses on how journaling can help people work through physical and mental challenges in their lives, but I would argue that any creative writing can have same the effect.

The article cited several studies supporting the claim that journaling can help salve physical and emotional pain.

Two decades of studies byUniversity of Texas at Austin psychology Professor James Pennebaker found that journaling for 20 minutes three days a week can lower blood pressure, reduce missed workdays and visits to the doctor, and increase immunity.

A 2002 study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that University of Iowa students who journaled about their emotions and tried to understand stressful events saw improvements in their relationships, personal strength, spirituality and appreciation for life.

A 1999 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that writing helped reduce symptoms among people with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

These are just more examples that creative writing is therapeutic. It can help with physical illness, mental illness, and it can just help us have a more positive outlook on life. We all need some kind of outlet no matter who we are, and how good our life is. We all have stress and need a place to release it!

The important thing is a journal is a place where writers are not judged. They do not have to have profound thoughts. They do not have to write about anything in particular, and they certainly do not have to worry about a grade. They are free to express themselves. The paper is theirs!

This article also gives ideas for journaling such as; The Gratitude Journal, The Travel Journal, The Healing Journal, The Self Discovery Journal, and The Well-being Journal. Each journal is designed with a specific purpose, and the article gives tips on how to keep such journal and the individual purpose of each type of journal.

So since we know all the therapeutic benefits of creative writing and creative expression, why don’t we use them more in the classroom? Giving students time for free-writing in journals, or spending time on creative writing not only strengthens the student as a person, but also strengthens them as a writer. I think we should allow time for students to free-write in a journal. This free-writing could even serve as ideas or prewriting for future papers in the classroom. If we want students to grow as person we need to equip them with tools, such as expressive writing, and if we want students to become better writers, then we need to give them time to write! Journaling and creative writing can give us both!


Full Article

Haller, Sonja. “Journalers Say Writings Salves Physical and Emotional Ailments.” The Lansing State Journal. 28 March, 2007.

Now for a message on Blogs!

I loved that blogging was introduced to me! Thanks Prof! The RSS aggregator is AMAZING! This is such a useful tool that I would have never known about!  I am definitley going to use this in my classroom! It would be a shame not to. I think blogging would be a great way for students to share their writing with other students and the world! I think it is powerful to know that someone other than a teacher will read my writing. I think it makes me a lot more conscience of my own voice. I also think it would be a great way for students to get feedback on their writing. You could use blogs to do workshops! How cool is that? It also teaches kids some cool stuff about technology, and that is so important these days. Technology is such a HUGE part of our everyday lives, so it should be a part of our classrooms.


A Private Place March 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 1:28 am

            You do not need to have a mental illness, live in poverty, or be involved in criminal activity to have problems! Everyone has them and everyone, at some point in their life, feels like no one understands. I know that I have been there! So what do I do when I am on the verge of breaking down? I grab my journal and my pen, the two things in my life that always listen and never judge. It seems that my method of coping is quite common. I found a great article that talks about teens, like me, who use journals to deal with their everyday problems.

            Humberto Zavala had problems with violence. He solved his problems through fighting and other aggressive behaviors. You don’t make a lot of friends that way, but you do make a lot of trouble. One day Zavala was near his breaking point, and just picked up a pen and started to write. It almost happened instinctively. Now when he is angry he uses his pen instead of his fists. His journal allowed him to channel his anger in a creative and productive way.

            So why does it seem to work for so many people? Joan Neubauer, author of The Idiot’s Guide to Journaling, seems to think it has something to do with acceptance.


You don’t want to say or do the wrong thing for fear of ridicule. A diary is the place to get acceptance.


Ana Garcia, a life long journal keeper, says that she uses her journal when she does not feel like talking to people.  

I just feel sometimes that maybe they won’t understand, that I just need to write it down instead of talking to someone. They might take it in another way that I don’t think is the correct way, so I just write it in my journal.


How true. When you are a teenager it is hard to talk to your parents and friends about drugs, sex, peer pressure and love. A journal gives teens a place to do this. The article moves on to talk about how many people are now using blogging instead of journaling, but for the same purpose. Blogging isn’t as personal as a journal, but it does allow for human feedback and connection. I think journals can be excellent tools for education! As a future English teacher I know how important it is to give students time to write! This is a perfect way to give them that valuable “free-writing” time, and it also gives them an outlet for all their problems, worries, concerns, dreams, fears, and creative energy! Students can also use their entries as ideas for their various writing assignments. It is a great place to practice writing and many people who start journals continue to write in them throughout their life. It becomes habit. We have accomplished a lot, as future educators, if we can get our students to be lifelong writers.  

Full ArticleLohnes, Kate. “Journey with Journaling.” The Monitor. 21 March 2007.


Creative Culture March 18, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 6:27 pm

   My best friend Mai Ia moved to Michigan from Thailand when she was seven years old. At the time she did not know why she way leaving Thailand, her home, the place she loved. Later she learned it was because her mother had cancer and knew she was dying and wanted her children to have every opportunity in the world. Her father saved up enough money and sent his wife and children over to the United States. He planned on saving up enough money to join them in the near future. The mother died and the father died shortly after still in Thailand, of what Mai Ia calls “a broken heart.” Her older brother raised her and the rest of the four children. The school system placed Mai Ia in second grade. She didn’t know any English. She told me she would squirm in her seat everyday having to go to the bathroom, but not knowing how to ask. Soon she began to learn English and not having any parents or Hmong people around, she began taking on America’s culture. This upset her elders and they basically disowned her and her brothers and sisters. She wanted to preserve her culture, but she didn’t know how. She was never asked to talk about. It was never celebrated. It was silenced and much of it forgotten.

   So far I have explored how creative writing can help heal those who are mentally ill, in prison and those suffering from life traumas. Now I want to explore how it can help heal those people like my friend Mai Ia. She was caught in a culture clash and wanted to celebrate both her Native culture and
America’s culture. I believe that creative writing can help us do that.

   Botswana recently opened a creative writing program in the secondary schools to teach students the power of writing. The workshops actually taught students how to write more effectively and helped them to work on their creative skills, but in the process they also taught students how to

infuse their history, culture and language into their poems as a way of preserving them.

   Not only is this a way for the writer to pay honor and respect to their culture, but it is also a way for other students to learn about and embrace other cultures. This fosters tolerance, understanding and diversity. Mr. Seboni, founder of the program said:

Through poets, we are able to know about traditions, culture and lifestyle of a certain group of people, hence the need to be informed.

   This article shows how creative writing can help heal those students caught in a culture clash by allowing them to live in the American culture but still celebrate their native culture. It also helps to heal the wounds made by ignorance by helping to educate others about different cultures and ways of life all while developing good writing skills.

   I think a class like this could do wonders for a school. This article reminded me a lot of Linda Christensen’s ideas and critical pedagogy by using reading and writing as a political act. I think a class like this could do wonders for a school divided by racial tension and intolerance. It also gives the students of different cultures a voice. It lets them know that their culture matters and it is worth preserving. I know
Mai Ia would have certainly appreciated such a class. 

Full article

“Wabo Sent to Unleash Creative Talent.” BOPA Daily News. The Government of
Botswana. 12 March 2007.


SLAM February 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandy777 @ 5:19 pm

            Too often kids do not feel that they have a voice. No one listens. No one cares. No one gets it. Who are these kids supposed to talk then? How are they supposed to get their messages out? Too often we say “talk about your problems” but then we do not listen. How can we make students feel like they have a voice, like they have something important to say, and like someone will listen? The answer could be a poetry slam.

            A poetry slam is

an event where poetry is spit out, thrown, huffed, whispered and sung rather than just read.

Then an audience, where judges are often chosen at random, rates the performer. The crowd really seems to get into to it. People are listening, and that is a powerful experience. This could give students an opportunity to have an audience larger than their own eyes and their teacher’s. Plus not only are students writing their work, but their performing it. They talk and people listen, and cheer, and cry, and clap. It makes them feel like what they have to say is important.

            Kuter, an avid slam participant, argues that you do not even have to be a master poet to participate in a slam.

Slam poetry is accessible poetry. It doesn’t ask anyone to conform to a restrictive structure or meter – you don’t even have to rhyme. You just have to be yourself and say something meaningful.

            So it does not matter if students are great at poetry or not for it to be beneficial to them. All that matters is that they have something meaningful to say, and I think if we just listen we would know that they do.

            Some slammers write about stuff that is light and funny, and the reaction of the audience gives them a self confidence booster, which nearly every high school kid can use. Kuter explains;

I’ve had people tell me that I really capture their imagination, that they like the perspective I have, and they think my poems are fresh and funny.

Other students are given the opportunity to talk about heavier issues.

I’ve written about depression, losing my mother,
America, politics and being non-heterosexual.

            The cool thing about slams is that they are cool! Students will be thinking “You mean I can rap my poetry?” It is a way to let students say what they want to say on their own terms and be heard! What an awesome idea. Students could organize a poetry slam for their high school or their community. It would give them a sense of ownership of what they are doing. They could write their poems and workshop them in class. They could practice with each other and talk about the most effective way to present their poems. Imagine the sort of dialogue this could start. This could start conversations about racial issues, drug problems, health issues, fears, mental issues, and the list goes on and on. This could help students relate to each other and others in their school or community. Imagine the power a young girl could get back slamming about rape or teenage pregnancy, or the hope a student could get back slamming about depression. It just has so many possibilities and hey, it’s still learning.

Full Article

Frunzyski, Amanda. “Poetry with an Edge.”Arizona State University Online. WebDevil.    22 February 2007.