Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #13

Shane Koyczan: To This Day ... for the bullied and beautiful
By: Jordan Neely

Kids are always told what they are: geek, fatty, slut, etc. At the same time kids are also asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, as if to say, you can’t be what you define yourself as right now. In the video Shane Koyczan: To This Day, Shane goes deep and talks about what he felt at each age. Sometimes he wanted to be alone, sometimes he wanted to die, and sometimes he wanted to kill a kid. When he was 14 he was asked to consider a career path and he said “writer” and was told to choose something realistic so he said “professional wrestler” and they told him to not be stupid. He was told to somehow become what you are not. He was being told to accept the identity that others will give you. His dreams seemed easy to dismiss. His dreams were called names too: silly, foolish, impossible, etc. Shane kept dreaming on being a professional wrestler, but his dreams became crushed. He went back to his love of poetry. He stated that standing up for yourself doesn’t mean embracing violence. Shane discusses the saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” This causes kids to believe they will grow up, never be loved, and be lonely forever. Shane quotes a poem to a violin and video titled, “To This Day.” This poem tells about a little girl who grew up being bullied and made fun of. She had a birthmark covering half of her face. She
found love but still never believed she was beautiful. It also tells of a kid who is ten years old and tried to kill himself due to bullying. To this day kids are still being called names. Every school has it happening. You have to see something beautiful about yourself. These kids had to build a cast around their broken hurt and push on. Adults cheer for the underdog because sometimes they can find a piece of themselves in them. Words hurt, of course. Looking back at my elementary through high school years, I can remember words that were said to me that hurt; words about my appearance, certain actions, and just rude comments. It is easy for kids to remember the hurtful things and carry those comments with them throughout their lives. Once they have heard the same mean words over and over, those words become embedded in them and they begin to think they must be true. Shane’s poem about bullying was very powerful and I believe everyone should listen to it.

"Turning Trash Into Toys for Learning" By: Arvin Gupta
By: Kaley McDonald

Arvin Gupta is a toy maker and has been doing so (making toys) for the past thirty years. In this video, he demonstrates several ways of transforming recycled materials into toys which can be used in teaching strategies for the purpose of engaged learning. In the early 70s, he worked as an engineer making trucks for a particular company. He only stayed two years because he realized he wasn’t born to make trucks. He then declared a statement that I most certainly agree with, "Often one doesn't know what one wants to do, but it's good enough to know what you don't want to do." He began working for this great program in India, in which its purpose was to revitalize primary science in village schools. This program began based on slogans of the time, "Go to the people," "Love the people," "Start on what they know, build on what they have."

Gupta and his science toys
In the video, Gupta presented how he creates several types of flexible shapes with matchsticks and pieces of black rubber, which he cut out of a bicycle valve tube. He used this to illustrate the many different strategies of teaching geometric shapes, such as triangles, squares, cubes, pentagrams, etc., and how to integrate the strategies into teaching relative information. For one toy, he took a straw, cut it open and bent it in two places, inserted a small stick in the center, bent both legs of the straw into a triangle, wrapped some tape around the bottom, placed it into a bowl of water, and began to spin it. This was what he called a centrifuge sprinkler. He used old newspapers to create origami birds that flap their wings, and he also told a story with caps made of old newspaper. The story consisted of a captain who wore several different types of caps on his adventures each day. Gupta kept folding the newspaper into the different caps and continued, adding events and enthusiasm into the story. He finally folded the last cap into a ship, and then suddenly, in the story, he exclaimed that a storm came, tore the top and both sides of the ship, so Gupta tore off the top and both sides of the newspaper. When he did this, he then opened and unfolded the newspaper and it was now in the shape of a life jacket, which was the only possession the captain had left and it saved his life.

He displayed many more genius inventions and explained that children love to learn by creating these toys. When teachers just deliver science information textbook style, it’s dull, boring, and lacks adventure, but when kids make these inexpensive toys that relate to the science lesson there’s a gleam in their eyes that express their happiness, joy, and thrill of learning what science is all about. The fact that it generates curriculum lessons to "go green" is also a wonderful factor of these inventions. I hope to one day utilize these strategies for my students, putting into practice and proclaiming the slogan, "Start on what they know, build on what they have."

Kakenya Ntaiya: A girl who demanded school
By: Brooklyn Rowland

In this video Kakenya Ntaiya tells her life story. She is a member of the Maasai tribe in Africa. She has grown up in a world where women and men are not equal. Men are able to go to school and men own all property. Her father worked as a police officer and would only come home once a year. Her mother tended to the home and children, milked the cows, took car of the pigs, grew the crops, all to feed the family. When Ntaiya's father would come home he would sell all the crops, cows and pigs that her mother had worked so hard to take care of. Why? Because they belonged to him, not her. Ntaiya went to school until she was in the 8th grade, at that point she was to undergo a ceremony is which she would be officially a woman. After the ceremony she was supposed to marry the boy that she had been engaged to since she was 5 years old. This did not work for her because she had dreams of becoming a teacher. Once she was married though she would no longer be able to attend school. Ntaiya went to her father. She basically gave him an ultimatum. She would go through the ceremony and after return to high school, or she would run away and would not participate in the ceremony. Her father eagerly agreed to allow her to return to school because having a child that did not complete the ceremony was something that would shame him for the rest of his life. So, Ntaiya went through with the ceremony which was a female circumcision. After she was healed she went back to school. While in high school she met a boy who attended school in Oregon. She enlisted his help in getting into a school into the United States. She was accepted to and received a scholarship to an all women's college in Virginia. The only problem now was getting the funds to get herself to the United States. She went to the head elder in the community and begged for his help. She ended up getting the support of the entire community. She came to the US and learned that the ceremony she went through was actually mutilation and illegal. She also learned that her mother did have a right to the property her family had and that she didn't have to deal with the beatings from her husband just because she was a woman. Ntaiya went back to Africa and started a school for girls. She has changed the lives of 125 girls in her home village. They will now be able to follow their dreams and will not have to go through the mutilation or arranged marriages at 12 years old.

This is such an inspirational video. It makes you realize just how much we take our education and equality for granted in this country. We have kids who just drop out of school and in other countries they aren't even allowed to attend school. This woman has over come so much and struggled to attain what we are given freely every day here. We should strive to live our lives with the drive and determination that this woman has. We are given all the opportunities in the world and if we just simply had half of Kakenya Ntaiya's determination, drive and passion our possibilities would be beyond endless.


  1. Hi Jordan,
    If I am not mistaken, you were my first c4c and now my last for the semester. That's only part of the irony. The other part is that your group chose two of the same ted talks from Ken Robinson's top ten list that my group did which were, "To this day...for the bullied and beautiful," by Shane Koyczac and "A girl who demanded school," by Kakenya Ntaiya. I am starting to believe that God placed you in my path for a reason. I really enjoyed your comments, especially the part about the poem, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I always wondered why someone would make such an untrue statement. I feel like whoever came up with that must have never gotten their feelings hurt.You are doing a great job Jordan and for that you will be blessed! Thanks for being a role model to an old lady like me.