Lauren Flood's blog

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Gardner: Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurdflood at 3:24 am on Tuesday, February 19, 2013

These are the main principles to keep in mind while writing. These can all be altered depending on grade level but are all constantly evolving. This is mainly due to technology and the fact that there are so many elements in the writing process.

1. Everyone has the capacity to write – even if some students are not born “natural writers” that does not mean that they are not capable of improving and having a better understanding of concepts.

2. People learn to write by writing

The only way to effectively improve on something is to practice it. Not listen or take notes, but actively practice. It does not matter how you engage your students, just as long as they are interested in what they are writing about and getting words down on the page. It will get easier each time and their writing will become more fluid and they will feel more comfortable.

3. Writing is a process

Students see a book or an article, that is all they see. Students must be reminded time and time again that even published authors make first, second, even third drafts. The more you revise and edit, the more it will show in your final draft. The first time you create a piece of writing is never the last time you will look at it. Students must remember patience during the writing process and know that even you as the teacher are still developing in your writing skills.

4. Writing is a tool for thinking

One of the best ways writing can be used is to brainstorm. Writing helps get all of your ideas out onto the paper and to organize them into full and complete thoughts. This is why I think journals are so helpful, in any setting they are a great tool for communication.

5. Writing grows out of many different purposes

Students must understand that whenever pen is put to paper is considered writing. A formal paper to a teacher is not the only writing that students complete. That is why writing is such a complicated and ongoing process because it can never be completely formally defined because everyone has their own definition. This means that teachers must make the purpose of students writing differ, This sparks creativity as well as helps students find their niche in writing.

6. Finished and edited texts are important to writers

A “correct text” is very tricky to pinpoint. A student could have all of the logistics right, but there could be no real ideas, creativity or flow. Ont he other hand, a students could have great ideas communicated clearly, however, a parent or principal would look at it as if the student is not learning. This is the fine line for teachers, how do we encompass all parts to cohesively work together as one. This is why practice is so important in writing.

7. Writing and reading are related

Writing and reading are not only related, they are completely codependent on each other. To excel in reading you must actively practice writing and vice-verse. As teachers we must remember that this is why variety is so important in writing; students must be accustomed to all different types of reading and writing in order to re-create it in the classroom.

8. Writing has a complex relationship to talk

The best way to revise and edit a paper is to read it aloud. Talking through what you have written on the page points out so many things that you mind didn’t catch but you ears do. This is a crucial thing to remind students of when they are writing. This is also where peer and teacher editing coming into place. Discussing your ideas out loud, not only with yourself but with others, is a great way to bounce ideas off of each other and create ideas that you would have never thought of yourself.

9. Literate practices are embedded in complicated social relationships

Students are always so concerned who they are writing for and the fact that it is going to be a grade, that they will not have as good of a final product because they are more concerned about their audience than the writing itself. In these situations, we must remember code switching, and to encourage our students to use the language that they feel comfortable with.

10. Composing occurs in different modalities and technologies

As teachers, we must try and fully embrace the technology that has impacted our world today. There are so many helpful resources that students can use to better their understanding of writing and their writing itself. However, we must not forget to include traditional modes of composing as well. It can also be helpful to students to get creative with posters, journals and sketchbooks.

11. Assessment of writing involves complex, informed, human judgement.

Teachers must be constantly assessing students work, both formative and summative. As teachers, we should let students how we are assessing them to help them better understand what the assignment is and what is expected of them. We should assess them in different ways, for some students might be graded differently depending on their strengths and what the assessment stresses, and also so it is able to equally assess all levels of students.


Final Blog~Middle Eastern Music after September 11th

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurdflood at 11:40 pm on Friday, April 27, 2012

The topic that I chose for my final blog is whether or not the perception of Arab Music, globally, but particularly by the Western world, has changed since September 11, 2001. Of course this is the day that terrorists struck the World Trade Centers in New York, New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. After that day, the Middle East took on a different kind of connotation. I am a huge fan of country music and after 9/11 I noticed a huge amount of backlash towards the Middle East in the lyrics of songs being recorded shortly after and still today. This sparked my attention as to whether or not, when Americans hear “Middle Eastern” music, if they automatically get a sour taste in their mouth or if they are able to listen and appreciate the music for what it really is.

Even though there are numerous negative connotations surrounded with Middle Eastern culture, I do not think that Middle Eastern based music that we hear in the United States should have to carry that same weight. I do not think that artists, especially since most are US-based, should be criticized for music that has been around for generations and essentially has nothing to do with Americans hatred towards the Taliban. To help prove my point, I have researched two prominent women who were either born in the Middle East or are from Middle East descent who have dealt first hand with trying to overcome the assumptions and setbacks that sometimes come with being associated with the Middle East, especially a woman from the Middle East. I have also found a academic article that directly backs my opinion with facts, which I thought was very interesting.

The first woman that I researched was Christiane Karam. She is the leader, founder and performer in the award winning ZilZALA Ensemble.  This is an ensemble that is a culmination of Middle Eastern and Balkans folk music along with contemporary jazz. It has countless rich and diverse instrumentation and is known for its harmonic complexities. Karam is a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and founded the annual Middle Eastern Festival, hosted by Berklee. This festival, along everything else Karam dedicates her time to, continues the attempt of bringing awareness and positive social change through music and the arts towards Middle Eastern culture. This is something that I feel directly relates to my argument. Music is so wonderful to me because it is universal; no matter what language you speak, everyone can read music. Music and the arts is one of the best ways to begin to fill this cultural gap that has torn our world apart. In putting together ZilZALA, Karam has tried to blend a variety of both contemporary and traditional multicultural music. Karam has been quoted numerous times about how she views her music and hopes other people see it as well “I feel this record is a collection of songs and sounds that connect and intertwine in unexpected ways, thus creating bridges and new possibilities.” “I deeply believe it has a unifying message, that connects different cultures but also past and present.”

The second woman that I researched does not correlate directly with the music scene. Her name is Mona Eltahawy. She was born in the Middle East (Egypt) and is not a journalist in the United States. Even though this is not a direct relation to my topic, I think it is definitely comparable and still deals with the taboos that Middle Eastern peoples have to cope with. Just like America has a negative relation towards the Middle East, the Middle East has a negative relation towards women of the Middle East. The Middle East is a culture that is completely degrading towards women; women hardly have any individual rights in their own countries. Eltahawy said women are “vectors” of culture and religion. A vector is in essence, a ‘carrier’. I think that this holds a lot of weight and ultimately means that women are the ties that hold our world together; women are the common denominator. Middle Easter women were misinterpreted and wrongly portrayed in the years after 9/11. Eltahawy has this to say about the true reasons behind women’s oppression in the Middle East, “They don’t hate us because of our freedoms, as the tired, post-9/11 American cliché had it. We have no freedoms because they hate us, as this Arab woman so powerfully says.” However, as Americans, we are always too quick to judge. We live in a country where yes, women do have inalienable rights, but to what extent does this ring true? We still have yet to elect a female into the presidential, or vice presidential office; and we still live in a culture that completely objectifies women and puts way too much pressure on being beautiful and perfect. Is causing someone to die of anorexia because they have been told by social media that they will never be good enough something that we as Americans are proud of?

Something as serious as this can easily be compared to the stigmas that Americans place on Middle Eastern culture and music. We are being completely hypocritical and taking our anger out on people who have never hurt us at all. Instead we choose to be closed minded and refuse to give these people the credit that they deserve in the music world and beyond.

The last source that I found was an article that directly supported my opinion. Published in Anthropologica in 2004, the article “The ‘Arab Wave’ in World Music after 9/11” by Ted Swedenburg (University of Arkansas) talks about how even though the Middle East conjures public hostility in America, how Arab music has entered the United States with heighted popularity since the attacks on 9/11.

Overall, I think that Arab Music has not been affected by the connotations that are associated with the terrorist attacks. It has been shown throughout this post that there are many people in this world who are trying to fix these connotations. There is also direct evidence that Middle Eastern Music has become more popular since September 11th.


The “Arab Wave” in World Music after 9/11

Ted Swedenburg

Anthropologica , Vol. 46, No. 2 (2004), pp. 177-188

You Tube Links:



Filed under: Uncategorized — laurdflood at 1:07 pm on Friday, February 10, 2012

A super bowl car commercial featured the theme from Rocky, sung in vocables. What meaning is communicated contextually through this wordless song? How is this related to examples form native American unit.

When one thinks of Rocky, one thinks of the underdog, someone who always gives one hundred percent and always tries their best. This theme song over time has become recognizable just from someone singing the first bit of the tune.  Rocky is a notorious boxing movie but its message is able to be applied to almost any situation. When one thinks of a Native American culture and music they may not know it, but what they are thinking about are vocables. The first thought that pops into their mind is something along the lines of “hi ooh whatha”. This paper will discuss the similarities and differences between these two examples of vocables.

In the first example of vocables, the situation is being applied to a car company, Hyundai. The message that they are trying to communicate is that they may be thought of as the underdog, but they will always give one hundred percent and they will make sure that you have the best experience possible and that in the end, they will make the best car for you. They set up the commercial by having an employee say that he feels like he can’t do the job that he was assigned. The rest of the commercial is all of the employees singing vocables from the Rocky theme song, encouraging their fellow employee that he will succeed. This is great marketing strategy because not only are they attracting consumers, but they are also attracting new employees. The commercial leaves you with a feeling that this car company will not rest until they have satisfied every one of your needs and you will walk out of there with a car made by people who truly care.

This commercial is related to examples from the unit on Native Americans because of how often Indians use vocables. “In Native American music, where vocables are plentiful in specific sacred and secular genres, their existence has generated much attention. This work has suggested that vocables can be archaic or obsolete words, that they can imitate animal cries, that they are a fixed, integral part of   the music and poetry, that they are genre specific in some song styles, and that they fill out melodies and weld texts to songs,” Frisbie. The first example we looked at with Indians using vocables is the Sioux Grass Dance. This dance has a harsh timbre and a swooping range. There is a steady drum beat slightly ahead of the vocables which at first, to the untrained ear, makes this dance seem out of tune. However, this is how Indians have been performing this dance for hundreds of years.  The second group of Indians that we looked at was the people of the Navajo tribes. They had something called the “call of the Yei” which was a vocable pattern used to call forth ancestors. The Navajo also had a dance called the Navajo Circle Dance or “Shizhane’e” where they had a mixture of vocables and translatable text. This dance was humorous and used puns. The last piece of Native American music that used vocables that we looked at in our unit was the Hymn of the Native American Church. It used vocables with a descending, pentatonic, melody with jagged repetition of notes.


While the two of these instances where vocables are being used are completely different, they can be compared similarly. The Indians were always the underdogs and were continually trying to prove themselves to the Europeans, just like Huyndi is always trying to prove itself to companies like BMW. When the Indians sang these vocables, they were automatically recognized within the tribes; just as we today automatically recognize the theme song of Rocky.


Works Cited



Vocables in Navajo Ceremonial Music

Charlotte J. Frisbie

Ethnomusicology , Vol. 24, No. 3 (Sep., 1980), pp. 347-392



What is music?

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurdflood at 3:06 pm on Friday, January 20, 2012

To me, music is something that can help me relax. Music should be either a single thing or multiple things that can come together to make a sound that is pleasing to one’s ear. Of course everyone has different taste and what might be pleasing to someone might be nails on a chalkboard to another. For me, I like country music. I tend to not like music that it too loud or busy. I would rather listen to an acoustic version of a song that really showcases a musician’s talent both on the guitar and their voice. I tend to like music with a slower beat but I also to listen more upbeat songs. I really appreciate and admire when the singer/s of a song are also the songwriters. I think that this shows a tremendous amount of talent. Also, when they are able to play an instrument when they sing, I think it can really add to the value of a song.

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurdflood at 8:48 pm on Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hello everyone! Looking forward to blogging with everyone this semester!


Filed under: Uncategorized — laurdflood at 8:21 pm on Thursday, January 19, 2012