Friday, April 25, 2014

In Honor of Shakespeare...

On Wednesday, it was Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. In celebration, I began reading The Tempest, which is required reading for one of my classes. In addition, I also decided to do a little bit of research on the Bard.

Through my light research, I realized that there’s a lot we owe to Shakespeare. I came across an article from NPR’s Ask Me Another about some common words and phrases that Shakespeare likely coined.

Photo I took of the books I use in my Shakespeare class.
I never really thought about some of the words Shakespeare uses in his plays, I just read them and deciphered meaning. But after looking at the list provided from NPR, I recognized how many of the words I actually use in my daily life.

For example, Shakespeare coined the word “gloomy” in his play Titus Andronicus. A little more out there, Shakespeare also created the word “bedazzled” in The Taming of the Shrew.

When I read The Taming of the Shrew earlier this semester, I’m surprised this word did not stand out to me more, as I’ve always thought it was coined more recently. However, that being said, the meaning has definitely shifted over the years.

As for phrases that Shakespeare coined, in Othello, he used the phrase “heart on my sleeve,” which is a phrase many people use in their daily lives.

In Macbeth, Shakespeare coined the phrase “Knock, knock! Who’s there?” However, it’s unclear whether or not Shakespeare can be credited with the creation of the classic Knock-Knock joke as a result of this play.

Another phrase we can credit to Shakespeare is, “method in the madness,” which he used in Hamlet. This is another common phrase we still use today.

There are other words and phrases we owe to Shakespeare such as:
            “skim milk” (Henry IV)
            “swagger” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
            “one fell swoop” (Macbeth)
            “laughable” (The Merchant of Venice)
            “jaded” (Henry VI)

If you’re interested in seeing more, take a look at the NPR article:

Friday, April 18, 2014

What is Flipping the Classroom?

This week in my online class (EDP 279: Technology + Media Literacy and Learning) we were looking at this idea of flipping the classroom. I’d never heard of it before, so I was interested in what exactly this idea is.
Image I took of one of the classrooms
found on campus.

The general gist is that instead of lecturing during class time, teachers’ who use this method, record lectures for students to watch outside of class. In doing so, this then opens up class time for more application, and it also allows teachers time for differentiation.

As part of my assignment for class, I had to come up with ways that I could possibly flip my future classroom. But as a future English teacher, I was struggling to come up with ideas. So much of what is learned in English classes relies on discussion, which can’t be created through a video that only contains the teacher.

I was stumped.

But then I started to think. What are all the things I wish I had learned in my high school English classes, but it never seemed that we had the time?

The ideas wouldn’t stop coming.

I realized that while it’s not really possible to flip the English classroom as one would a math or science class, it’s still possible.

The lectures for a flipped English class could be about grammar concepts, writing, project assignments – even reading.

All of these topics are necessary to cover, but they often are overlooked. But these are the foundations on which teachers build. These basic skills are not just necessary for an English class, but they apply to all classes.

One benefit of flipping the classroom is that students can refer to lectures over and over again if they have questions. In addition, if they’re confused on a concept, they can ask the teacher for clarification during class time.

While flipping the classroom is still a fairly recent idea, I’m interested to see the role that it will take on in the future. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

8 Reasons Why I Love College

1. I learn something new on a daily basis

Whether it’s inside or outside of class, I’m constantly learning new things about the world around me. I love learning, and college has given me the endless opportunity to learn and expand my knowledge.

2.  I’m surrounded by incredible people

Finding people who have similar interests is a lot easier than it seems. Everyone can find their niche, whatever it may be, and there are plenty of people who will share their interests. It’s just a matter of looking in the right places.

3.  It’s a personal growth experience

College is a catalyst for change. There’s no avoiding that. As cliché as it may sound, what matters is how the change is handled.
Photos I took of the Homecoming Decorations the
Community Leadership Team in my dorm created.

4. Flexibility/Time Management

Everything comes with a choice, and I’ve realized that I’ve become better at balancing all the aspects of my life as college has gone forward. I’ve learned what times work best for me to complete my homework and what times work best for me in terms for classes. I can do everything on my own time, and I love having that freedom.

5.  I like the classes I take

It goes without being said that I love the classes in my major and minor. As for the classes outside of my major/minor, I wasn’t sure I would like them as much as I have. But I've noticed that since I had a choice in the classes that I could take and I was able to look through and pick out the ones I like, it’s made me enjoy them more.

6. It’s easy to be involved

There are so many different groups and organizations on Miami's campus, that it's hard not to join something. One of my favorite groups that I've joined is the Community Leadership Team in my dorm. We plan programs for residents, which is a lot of fun.

7. The food is actually good

When someone mentions college food, typically the response is not positive. But Miami is an exception to that. The campus food is actually really good, and there’s variety in the various locations around campus. While it would be easy to eat the same meals over and over again, there are options available. 

8. Miami is gorgeous

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Miami’s campus is one the prettiest college campuses I’ve ever been on. I’m so lucky to go to school in such a picturesque place. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Feminism is Not a Bad Word

Last evening, I had the opportunity to attend a lecture that was given on campus by award winning actor, Geena Davis. Not only was her talk inspirational, but it was also incredibly eye-opening. She was the keynote speaker for the Women’s Leadership Symposium.

First off, I want to note that Davis has specifically chosen to be called an “actor,” as opposed to an “actress.” I noticed this distinction when she was introduced, and I was actually pondering why “actor” was chosen in her introduction when she started speaking.

As if she'd read my mind, she actually addressed this during her speech. She explained that the definition of “actor” is simply “a person who acts,” so there's no need for an extra bit at the end to connote female since there's nothing about being a male in the definition. 

Picture I took of Geena Davis during her
Throughout her lecture, she also included a lot of statistics on the disparities in gender equality, both in politics, and in acting. Furthermore, she discussed how there are fewer female roles on television shows and in movies, which sets a poor example for young girls.

However, one of the most interesting statistics that she shared was that girls who watch more television have lower self-esteem, and boys who watch more television have a higher self-esteem. Why is this?

Davis explained that females are not portrayed as particularly strong characters. Girls are shown that they have a very limited scope for what they can do, while boys have a wide range of options open to them.

As a future teacher, I find statistics like this to be rather scary. I was fortunate enough to grow up around many strong women, and have looked up to them as role models. My grandmother, my mother, and my aunts, have all set incredible examples for me and taught me to follow my dreams.

But what about the girls who are not raised in such supportive environments? What about the students who don’t realize that they can, in fact, do anything they put their mind to, as long as they do the work to get there?

I’ve always considered myself a feminist, and an advocate for gender equality, but after listening to Davis’ speech, I realize that we have even further to go than I thought.

Achieving parity is, no doubt, a long and arduous process, but, as Davis shared, the ratio of male to female characters in movies alone has not changed since 1946.

We live in a very different world now in 2014 than we did in 1946, so how come such a statistic has not changed in nearly 70 years? What are we, as a society, doing that still makes gender equality an ideal and not a reality?

Another statistic that I found particularly jarring, is that the U.S. is ranked 90th in the world in terms of elected female officials.

We have a long way to go before gender equality can be achieved, and a big part of achieving this equality, is by changing unconscious gender perceptions, which is something that we all can do.

If you're interested in watching Davis' lecture, click on the following link: