Saturday, October 31, 2009


Well, no one is really commenting to help me out, but I know that there was our opening that we had to prepare for and everything, so I will not be offended, haa.
Anyway, my new Goal for my blog is to make it a conversation for my upcoming unit and to get feedback based on the things that I encounter or that other bloggers think I may encounter related to personal censorship. One of my first questions (as stated in the post below) is what are some questions that students will ask, that are asking for your personal opinions? How far would you go to explain them in the school setting? How do you stay authentic with them, without jeopardizing your job?
Next, I want to search for the things in this particular lesson that show personal censorship, for instance, I have a couple videos and articles about earthquakes in china that I will share, where they say the government lies about how many people died, etc. for certain reasons.

Basically, this lesson will be the vehicle for which I can explain personal censorship in the classroom because it is in the classroom, and all the times that teachers are put in tough situations might not come up in this particular class, but it will get us thinking about them.

Hopefully I can get some more replies to make it work, otherwise I will just keep talking to myself!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Help: this should be fun

I want to share my ideas for my lesson for middle school on the blog and see if anyone has some more ideas to add to it, also what I think would be really meaningful to my topic of personal censorship and helpful for everyone would be if after hearing about the lesson, you all posted a really heavy question from the point of view of the students in this class.

The point of this for me is to test myself. I don't want to be one of those teachers that buckles under pressure and stumbles for words or avoids the question completely. Just as Vanessa Lopez said in class, I want to make myself accessible to the students but what is the best way to go about doing that especially with certain heavy topics?

Example: Take Pangea for instance and how for some students who don't believe that the earth is that old because it does not fit in with the bible, say that there must have been a catastrophe that moved the continents the way they are that happened faster. I presented this to Mrs. Punch the science teacher as a sort of Creationism vs. Evolution question and she had a great answer. She said that there are layers and layers of rock that scientists have been monitoring and it takes a certain amount of time for them to form, they can then assume that if it takes that long then based on the amount of layers the earth be about this old. It doesn't mean that the bible is wrong, the 7 days to us may not be 7 days to God so the creation of the earth may have taken a really long time and gone through many changes. The first instance of evolution is actually mentioned in the bible. The snake was cursed for deceiving Eve and God said "You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dirt all the days of your life" Some snakes even have vestigial legs. The people who wrote the bible way back then had no idea about evolution... interesting.

The issue is to be able to give your own opinion with adequate support without putting down the views of a student, taking them seriously.
There will always be the kid with smart a** questions, but I want to be able to have answers ready for him or her too.

What do you think?
Here is my lesson so far:

Earthquakes and Social Justice. I want students to break up into groups and pick from 4 areas of the world that suffer most frequently from earthquakes, who lives in those fault zones and why? What do their dwellings look like? What is their financial status? What happens during an earthquake there? Who responds to the disaster?

They are going to make dwellings similar to the ones in their specific area, but made better based on the information I will give them on the new progression in Earthquake safe houses. They will be 3-dimensional constructions focusing on structural soundness in sculptures, and in architecture after learning joining and bonding techniques in sculpture as well.

The major issues I am hoping will come up are the fact that some governments refuse to pay for safe structures for their lower class citizens and when an earthquake happens people die as a result. What are some questions you anticipate 6th grade students asking?
I will do my best to answer them, and then if you have any ideas for the lesson feel free to contribute those too, as well as better answers to questions if you can think of some.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Children Never Were What They Were: Paul Duncum

I thought this article raised a lot of very interesting questions. I never really thought of myself as protecting children from being exposed to harsh realities for selfish reasons, but it did make me think.
From a psychological perspective:
"Adults feel pressure to preserve childhood for their own children while, for their own sakes, they seek to preserve a sense of their own early life. Childhood becomes an homage to the imagery, a rich depository for all the qualities adults desire but believe they cannot indulge in for themselves."

From a developmental perspective:
"A clear separation helps us define ourselves as adults."

From an institutional perspective:
"Routines help ensure control and reduce confusion but also teach both teachers and children that control and efficiency are important."

From a contemporary cultural perspective:
"Childhood as a time of happy innocence and openness to learning was foundational to modernism where childhood embodied hope in a seemingly unlimited future."
(I have more of a modernist view)
"Postmodernism has replaced that hope has at best been replaced by a cautious optimism at
worst by a deep skepticism of the future."

In the end of the article it gives you ideas about how to deal with children today:
1) Children are processing fragmented identities. Remember that they are constructing their understanding of things every day, every hour.
2) Examine images of other children, and dealing with pictures of children's deepest concern- themselves.
3)Extend lessons to the media- what does it mean to them that they are being targeted to? Compare media images and art images. I like this one because instead of saying that they are too young or immature to understand a certain thing you are giving them the opportunity to discover it and decide for themselves, analyze and understand.
4) Explore how children are visually represented in contemporary society.

I believe that children should be given a lot more credit then they are and though I am conservative about how much they should be exposed to certain violence in movies and video games, I think that they should be given access to knowledge and treated with respect as individuals able to analyze and form their own opinions.
What do you think?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I also started looking into how movies are censored. There is a censorship rating system. Do you have a rating system for yourself? Should you?
From the article:

"Some people feel that any form of rating system is censorship, a limit on freedom of speech. Others worry about the effect of violence, sex, and rude language on young people and feel a rating system is necessary to help parents monitor what their children watch."

Beth gave me a great jumping off point, this article was crazy, I had no idea that this happened. When they broadcasted the reading of war of the worlds people across the country were in panic because they thought they were listening to a REAL war broadcast! Here is the article

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I thought this was really interesting: Newspaper journalists self-censor to protect organizations!

"The survey highlights the difficult challenges faced by local journalists in the increasingly competitive media environment. About one-third (32%) of local reporters acknowledge they have softened the tone of a news story on behalf of the interests of their news organization; only 15% of those in the national media say they have done so. And 26% of local reporters say they have been told to avoid a story because it was dull or overly complicated, but suspect the real reason for the decision was that the story could harm their company's financial interests. Just 2% of national reporters harbor such suspicions."

That also got me thinking about famous people and how little we really know about them. They all have PR agents that cover their tracks and keep the truth from us and then there is people magazine and others that try to uncover the truth or just make things up.
What do you think about how those individuals feel when they are being told that they have to change their hair style to fit with the new trends or they cannot bring their old friend to the Grammy's etc.
Here is a video I found about a PR agency and their testimonials. Wait for the part where the guy says that his trust from journalists and respect in the industry has gone up.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Personal Censorship can be a tough thing, especially in today's society when anybody and everybody is willing to share their opinion. People often take advantage of their freedom of speech, it is true, but it is still important to be able to share your ideas and values.
Where do you draw the line in schools though?

I found this article which also has links to others about artists censoring themselves.
There was also a short article I found about the artist, Grayson Perry who found himself self- censoring because he feared reprisals.  I had trouble finding another specific artist that used self-censorship but these articles led to many other relevant things.
(2 artists and 1 text resource)


Self censorship by force? Is that self censorship?
-this is the type that I am finding most often, when people have something to say or something they want to make work about but they fear the consequences. I interpret that as a force.

Self- censorship... of yourself?
-when you have values and ideas that you want to share but you think better of it because another side of you feels that it may not be the right time and when is the right time?
EXAMPLE- telling my kindergarten kids about diet coke may not be the best thing to do and I can recognize that, the conversation would eventually lead to cancer and brain lesions and "what's that?" until they go home with nightmares and have panic attacks when anyone they know drinks diet coke. It is bad for you but definitely not worth that.

In the classroom there are both types and I invite you all to post some more things that you can think of that you would keep to yourself, depending on age group or things that you think you are forced to keep to yourself but you don't think you should have to, etc.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Diet coke and all the people that drink it

It's really hard to be a server at a restaurant and have all these strong feelings and hatred for aspartame and how they are affecting people. I actually think it is really sad, here are some people that want to try to take care of their bodies, they read and hear on the news about all the obese people in the world and they think, "ok, I can switch to diet coke to better my personal health." It is so sick that sodas have twisted their advertising like this. Calories are not the only important thing when maintaining good heath. 
The guy who invented aspartame, Searle, knew how much money would be in a sweetener that had no calories, how genius! He wanted it so bad that he was willing to pay what ever it took. The FDA trying to do it's job, denied it 9, yes 9 times, then finally approved it... hmmmm.
I have told some people that were eating at the restaurant and sometimes they are really appreciative, I say look it up yourselves, don't take my word for it, and they say "oh my goodness, I am so glad you told me!" and sometimes they are very upset and it affects my tip, so I have learned to keep my mouth shut. 
Some people are so addicted to it that they can't imagine having to give it up, and get mad when you tell them all this time that they thought they were being good to themselves, they were actually harming themselves.
In art education, what does this mean for me?
Do I silently give messages about how the FDA is not always sincere? Probably not, that would be like telling them to be anarchists I suppose. Do I just stay out of it then?
I can tell you right now, teaching at a middle school and watching a thirteen year old girl drink a diet coke she got out of the vending machine because she is watching her figure will just kill me! It's just so sad, I don't know why people don't see that we just weren't meant to eat crap, all the things we eat now are cheaper, filler-filled versions of the original, and I can tell you the original is much tastier!