Bibliography – take one

I just finished sharing an initial annotated bibliography. I have about 40 sources, but have only written about 25 or so. Some of them will need to be thrown out, but I feel like I found them so I will list them and then edit at the end. I think my next step is to start dividing up sources into the different areas I am discussing: urban education, educational theory and then the methods I am exploring.

OK – I just looked and saw that this thing is actually supposed to be the lit review. What we did in Dr. Sutton’s class was to write about the sources in a paper, but the annotated bibliography is the list. I am not ready to write coherently about the sources – I will need some guidance on this part.

I am planning to come to class for the first time in a while on Thursday and hoping to meet with Dr. Zamora while I am there. The day before that I am going on a class trip to the Holocaust Museum in DC. I also had this bizarre bout of vertigo and I couldn’t even read for a while, so I am happy to be getting back to normal-ish. I am still nervous about not finishing this project, so I am struggling to keep going regardless of whatever else is going on.

Off to get some coffee before I start lesson plans, grading and paper work…


The Sprint Round 1

This blog will discuss my first go around trying the sprint exercise.

Below is my first attempt at fulfilling one of the exercises from my last blog. Everything written is almost verbatim (with the exception of a few misspellings) from my hand written journal. I will leave all of my comments below my attempt.

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I decided to start with a character first. I am focusing specifically on and African American character in the pilot. I think the idea I have now for his background story (that will slowly be revealed over time) is for him to be adopted by a Hispanic family. I plan for him to have all of the cultures and background of this Hispanic family. After I thought about it a little, I was trying to think of why exactly he would be adopted. Like maybe it could be because of bad parenting, or maybe it could be due to a natural disaster like something happened and killed his parents. He could be found by this hispanic family (though this style a little fairy tale to me). I was also thinking it could be because of violence from one of the parents. Maybe one of the parents is an abusive and angry alcoholic or maybe one parent is involved in a gang. Well, now that I think about it, if one parent was involved, then both would probably be. So, maybe that won’t work.

But as far as his characteristics, I want this person to be a male (I’m pretty sure). He will be able to fully speak Spanish. I also (this is a side note) haven’t decided where exactly his culture is from. One thing I’m certain of – well, as of now – is that I want him to be Latino as well as Hispanic. I want some of his clothes to represent the soccer team from his family. Soccer will be this character’s escape from reality.

He will become so immersed in the game that most of his surroundings will disappear. His worries too. If conflict is big enough to effect his soccer concentration, then this character has a huge problem on his hands. Because that means his outer conflict has become his inner conflict and will slowly start to eat at him.

I also want him to have a small value of faith. I think his family will have a much stronger faith due to the fact that it’s been a huge part of their culture. For this character though, he allows the idea of his parents leaving him to halt his relationship with God and at many times despises God for it.

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Originally, I started with the idea of only writing for two minutes. I owned this. I just kept adding and adding time until a reached 15 minutes of nonstop writing. I guess I didn’t give myself enough credit. This was fairly easy. Next time I will shoot for 20 minutes and go from there.

Regarding the content, I think I found myself predicting too much. After I look back on all of it, I see that I have some preconceived notions. For example I immediately go for a love of soccer and a faith. Although I have seen these characteristics active in hispanic countries, and friends from my undergrad program, I notice that I don’t select a specific area. I feel like I’m assuming. I will state that I don’t have this feeling when I am initially writing this. In fact, I may be overanalyzing, as I tend to do. These are my post-writing thoughts. They can change over time when I look back at this again. They can not. Either way, I think it’s worth noting.


Bibliography Update

I am just updating my work on my bibliography. I had planned to make a lot of progress this weekend, but I got distracted by some of the research yesterday. I found a few articles relating movement to creativity, academic achievement and writing. One interesting article was about how yoga helped college students manage their work. That was interesting to me, but maybe not relevant to my topic? I read it anyway just because it was personally interesting.

I also did some research on the code meshing idea. A few articles dealt with ELLs and their need to develop the ability to code switch in the classroom. I still have some reading to do there. I will try to organize some of this later today or this week…

But I need to watch the Eagles beat the Giants tomorrow…


Writing Exercises

This blog will discuss different ideas I brainstormed in hope to- well… brainstorm. 

I thought about writing both the actual thesis-screenplay while simultaneously doing research. Oy. Doable? Absolutely. Still, oy.

Thinking about this process, as a whole, is extremely overwhelming. Whenever I have big projects that need to be completed, I like to start small. I like to chip away at the bigger picture with a bunch of smaller ones. One at a time. I now have a couple exercises to keep that wheel turning, or the ball rolling, or whatever.

At the end of the day, writing (at least for me) is like running. I can’t run a marathon without training and exercising. Since I enjoy working out as much as I love writing, these exercises have actual exercise names. Because, hey, why not?

Exercise 1: The Sprint

Just like on the treadmill. I’ll start small, and work my way up. However, unlike the treadmill, I won’t start sprinting for two minutes straight. This is what I plan to do in this exercise. I want pick a place or character or theme for the pilot, and just write for two minutes straight. The first few rounds don’t have to be on topic. My pen just isn’t allowed to stop. (I should say, I think it’s better to use pen and paper for this. I tend to stop a lot when I type, and proofread after every sentence. Pen and paper, not so much. I guess that’s part of the magic.) Eventually I’d like to build up to 20 or 30 minutes straight while remaining on topic. The on topic part I imagine will be a little tough. One thing always leads to another and another and another. I’ll be sure to ice after this one…

Exercise 2: Stations

Similar to the treadmill, this exercise will be timed. However, instead of switching from pushups to squats, I’ll switch from character to character to location to time zone etc. I think I will start smaller with these. My improv skills may prove most effective here. I will just write down whatever comes to mind. I’m sure not everything will work. In fact, some of it may seem just right outlandish. After I go through the stations I set up, I plan to look back at my results. I suppose my next statement will serve as a hypothesis for this: I imagine that some of the things I write down will seem normal to me at the time. However when I look back, I imagine I will begin to notice my immediate responses to certain characteristics to different cultures might be ignorant, sound uncultured or unworldly. I don’t usually find myself in this place, but kind of how some people experience foot in mouth moments. I’m nervous to see the results, but it’s all part of the process. I think I’ve come to the realization that I need to grow together with my thesis.

I’ll be sure to type up my results with reflections for blog posts.


After the early proposal

I had a goal of doing something thesis-wise each day–even if it was just to find one or read one article. But a month into the school year and I haven’t met that goal, or even come close.

After submitting the early proposal, I am continuing on my plan of finding ways to help urban high school students find their voice and creativity in the classroom. I am looking for research specifically about physical movement as it relates to creative process and about codemeshing in the classroom. I have also noted that there will be sessions at the teachers’ convention about the achievement gap as it relates to best practices and one of the keynote speakers will be speaking about the narrative of race in the classroom–so I am hopeful I will pick up some ideas, sources, or direction from them.

October is a crazy month for teachers – all our state-mandated pre-assessments must be submitted so we can make sure we hit our student growth objectives for the year… plus observations, lesson plans, grading, teaching… so my goal is just to continue working on my sources…