RTF /{\rtf1\mac\deff2 {\stylesheet{\sbasedon222\snext0 Normal;}}\paperh15860\widowctrl\ftnbj \sectd \sbknone\linemod0\linex0\cols1\endnhere \pard\plain {\f16 Melissa Snyder\tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab \tab Inquiry part 2\par



\tab When Anne and I decided to teach our unit on the Holocaust, we found many possible avenues we could explore. Since The Diary of Anne Frank is the required text in Park Forrest Middle School, we decided to read thi

s and do activities around the readings. I decided that a good way to implement my journal was to do a reader response journal. By doing this, students could state opinions about the readings while still having the opportunity to receive feedback or a re

sponse from a teacher. As I looked for information about reading response journals, I decided that this may fulfill my desires and goals for student learning. I wanted the students to learn and reflect on the Holocaust while having them find a relation t

o their own lives. I thought about the possible ways students could draw connections between the discrimination that took place toward the Jews and those considered inferior and the discrimination they hear or see and what they experience themselves. I d

ecided to have students focus their journals on stereotypes. The Holocaust began because of a stereotype placed on individuals based on their looks, beliefs, or abilities. They were thought to be inferior to others and suffered because of it. Most stude

nts are exposed to some sort of stereotyping in their everyday lives. I wanted the students to be aware of the stereotypes that surrounded them and I wanted them to be able to identify stereotypes more easily.\par


For this project I wanted to provide them with specific guidelines to follow and still allow them the ability to show their individuality and express themselves freely about the subject matter. I asked each student to record the stereotypes they noticed

in the readings as well as those they observe

d in their own lives. When recording the stereotypes, they were required to identify the stereotype and where they found it (if it was on television or a movie, if it was in a magazine, at school or home, etc..), how they felt about the stereotype, and so

me way they may be able to change this stereotype. I was very skeptical about journals in a classroom of this age. I had used journals when I was in high school and they were always simply a regurgitation of what the teacher had told us that day in class

. I didn\'92

t want this to be a project or assignment that students hated and did not put an effort into. My intent was to learn how the students responded to readings and discover what sparked their responses so that I could learn more about each of them a

nd help them learn more about their own lives. I focused my original inquiry on the general overview of the types of journals there were and the benefit of using journals in a classroom were. I wanted to get a broad overview of the various types of journ

als and how each was used to see what may be more appropriate for me to use. I wanted to present the journals in a positive way so that the students would want to write in their journal. I also wanted to fairly assess each student for the effort they put

forth and what they had discovered. I had a difficult time deciding how to assess students on journal work. After discussing the problem with my cooperating teacher and her colleagues, I found many possible ways to assess the student\'92

s effort and work. I decided that by requiring a certain number of entries and a general topic to be discussed and focused on, student still had the freedom to explore the subject in their own idea of what was important.\par


I had a difficult time to critically analyze and reflect back on what I had taught and what was included in the journal. I originally felt that a journal should be a personal collection of thoughts and ideas on readings, discussions, or personal views.

I thought that if I didn\'92t make the journals personal

then I would not get students to respond truthfully and they would simply write to complete the assignment. I decided to make the journals personal but asked them to share one entry with me. I told them that this gave me the opportunity to see what was

important to each of them as well as the chance to respond to them on a more personal level. Although I was still skeptical about the journals, I was very confident and excited that this would be a beneficial and positive experience for the students as we

ll as for me.\par


When I began giving the directions for the journal they seemed apprehensive at first. I questioned them on previous journal experiences to find out what may or may not have worked. I told them of my own experiences and explained that I wanted to make th

is an exciting and rewarding experience for them. I wanted them to learn from the project, while having fun with it at the same time. The more I talked and made them a part of the decision making process, the more responsive they became to m

e and to the journal. I had a few questions, but overall they seemed to understand the assignment and were willing to do the work. As the assignment progressed I learned one of the most important lessons a beginning teacher needs to know - constantly rem

ind the students of the assignments. I new that I would need to give the students directions and remind them of the assignment and the due dates, but I had no idea how much reminding I would have to do. I guess I either forgot or never realized how many

times my own teachers reminded me of the work that was due. \par


Although it was hectic at first about what was due and when, the ideas and observations I received back from each student was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I had students give me more encouragement through this experience than I think

I could ever be to them. I had a student tell me that because of the discussions in class and me presenting opposing views to have him think about, he realized that women are portra

yed as inferior to men and that they deserve as much respect as men. I discovered that I need to be more explicit with directions. I need to listen to the students and consciously respond to everything in a way that I am questioning what they may be tell

ing or asking me while still answering each question. I have discovered that this is a constant job. A job where you need to love what you are doing, a job where you n