Professional Article Analysis: How Spelling Supports Reading: And Why it is More Regular and Predictable than you may Think

     The article, How Spelling Supports Reading: And Why it is More Regular and Predictable than you may Think, Louisa Moats provides research regarding the importance of spelling instruction in addition to reading and writing; explores the writing/spelling system within the English language; and shares knowledge that students should know in grades Kindergarten through seventh grade. Teaching the framework within the five principles transforms the arbitrary weekly spelling list into purposeful instruction toward understanding the English language and becoming better readers and writers. The five principles “explain why English words are so complex … and reveal regularity to the English language” (p.14). Article concludes, with the following idea and purpose, “The complexity of English gives us seemingly infinite choices among words we’re searching for the right way to express ourselves, and the language’s regularity makes reading, speaking, and writing those words an achievable goal. (p.42)”

  • learning the rules of spelling
  • studying the meanings of roots, prefixes, and suffixes
  • families of related words
  • historical development of the English language
  • words’ language of origin” (p.14)

     Research correlates the link between writing and spelling. Being a person who has always spelled quite well, I have never thought about how this would deter students when writing papers. Limiting the words they use within their written forms of communication and assignments and losing their purpose of writing through the process of trying to correctly spell a word. Research also shows relationship between reading and spelling. It was stated in the article, “spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand the key knowledge (connection between letters and sounds) resulting in better reading” (p.12).
     As a future middle school English teacher, knowing the importance of continuing spelling instruction for my students changes my thought about what ought to be taught in my classroom. The article suggests the following in allocating a small amount of time to continued appropriate spelling instruction: 
This teaching will provide students with assistance toward their vocabulary growth; as well as support their reading.

The UnSocial Network

College of Southern Idaho
Professor Matier
English 102      

      Facebook was created to bring friends, families, childhood playmates, acquaintances, and those within our local communities together. One must wonder with status updates such as, “I made chocolate cupcakes today”, “I am taking my family to Disneyland this summer”, and “I ran fifty miles this week” who it is we are posting for. Facebook, an online social network that was created to connect one another, has become a place for the disconnected.
     Facebook, created by Harvard University’s student Mark Zuckerberg, was launched on February 4, 2004. According to Caitlyn McGarry of PC World, “it was a way for college students to seek each other out for friendship, or, you know, whatever” (par.1). Ten years later the mission of Facebook has expanded to connect the world to the internet, with one billion active monthly users one might say Zuckerberg is well on his way.
     Statistically speaking one-seventh of the world’s population is connected to the internet through the online social network Facebook, of these users, how many are actually connecting to one another?  In order to make a connection, one would need to communicate with those “friends” they have associated themselves with. Does posting the status update, “I made chocolate cupcakes today,” on one’s Facebook wall satisfy the idea of a connection? Most people would not translate that into a conversation or even an update they would be interested in reading, in fact one may even consider it as a selfish boast of themselves, a way of communicating to those reading their news feed, look how wonderful I am this very second. These status updates are not only annoying to read and a waste of our valuable time but they are creating a disconnection amongst the connected.
     Instead of having millions of people connecting, conversing and building relationships on this social network, we have millions of people disconnecting, boasting and breaking communication lines on this un-social network. In the paper entitled, Misery Has More Company Than People Think, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Alexhander Jordan shares a series of studies in which examines how college students evaluate their moods. The researchers at Stanford’s Psychology Department found that their subjects consistently underestimated how disappointed others were and would likely end up feeling more miserable as a result. These college students observed, appeared to be feeling particularly inferior about themselves after logging onto their Facebook site and scrolling through their friend’s attractive, filtered, Instagram improved photos, accomplished about me sections, and the boastful “I ran fifty miles this week”, status updates. Jordan was often told by these college students, “they were convinced that everyone was leading a perfect life” (par.32).  Though the tendency for people to compare ourselves to others is nothing new, social networking is making this negative practice worse.
     The truth is people only post what they believe others want to know. Not very often a status update will include the words, “I hate that I yelled at my children today”, “I failed my English class this semester”, or “I could not pull myself out of bed this week”. The Facebook “Like” button has created a social pressure to post that everything is wonderful in one’s life and the more wonderful it is the more likes one will receive from those they are connected to.
     The reality is no one’s life is always wonderful and those who are truly connected off line are often too busy and have no need to share about the cupcakes they made for their family today. These posts of too much information that lead us to blocking a user or even unfriending them may be an act of invalidation to someone who just wants to belong.  A study finds that oversharing on the world’s most popular social network is a possible sign of loneliness, these people are disconnected. Yeslam Al-Saggaf and Sharon Nielsen of Charles Sturt University found Facebook users who felt lonely were more likely to post more personal information, as well as their relationship status, favorite things, address, interests and hobbies, than users who felt connected so that similar people or those living nearby could approach them, allowing them to minimize their feeling of isolation (pp. 462-464). The research also states that these over sharers admit to refraining from posting their thoughts, facts and beliefs in regards to subjects such as politics and religion to steer clear from people disliking what they say.
     It is impossible to categorize Facebook users into two perfectly separate groups, the connected and the disconnected; however, it is important to be aware of such differences. Rebecca Hiscott of The Huffington Post describes Facebook as a, “double edged social sword, a network that can simultaneously alleviate symptoms of depression and loneliness in some and cause them in others” (par.13). A lesson attained from such information is that not all users are aware or respect their audience they have on Facebook. Instead of being quick to slap the hands of someone who we are uncomfortable with their need to belong, one may need to become a more attuned reader in knowing the post author in avoiding the overlook of the over sharer who might just be reaching out for a human connection.  Facebook after all was created to be an online social network that will connect the world to the internet
Works Cited

Al-Saggaf, Y., & Nielsen, S. (2014). Self-disclosure on Facebook among female users and its    
     relationship to feelings of loneliness. Computers in Human Behavior, 36(2014), 460–468.
Hiscott, Rebecca. "Why Your Empty Facebook Profile Is A Good Sign." The Huffington Post., 3 June 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
Jordan, Alexander H., et al. "Misery Has More Company Than People Think: Underestimating
     the Prevalence of Others’ Negative Emotions." (2011).
McGarry, Caitlyn. "Facebook At 10: How The Social Network Grew Up." PC World 32.3  
     (2014): 24-28. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

Ted Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

In the Ted Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robinson shares his experiences with education and the importance of creativity. He claims that education strips children from their creativity. I believe, that if we are not careful, he is right.
     I was in a Kindergarten classroom a few years ago, completing my field experience for a College of Southern Idaho education class. One day the students were asked to create a pig out of the letter P. The teacher had a model of the creation. The P was on it’s side and had four legs coming from the long line of the letter P. The circular portion of the letter P was his face, with two ears, two eyes, and a mouth. The pig was lying down. One student, created the P standing up, with one eye, half of a nose, one ear, one leg, and half of a mouth. At first glance, I began to think she completed the assignment incorrectly and I wanted to help her fix it. When I kneeled down to discuss her artwork, the student looked at me and began telling me that this pig was tired of lying down and wanted to take a walk. I did not discuss with her of what I had initially thought, instead I told her that her pig was fantastic and asked her if she would like to share her pig with the rest of the class. She agreed and she was full of smiles. Later that day, after the children went home, the mentor teacher told me that I should have corrected her. She said that this child was always doing things wrong. She did not follow directions. I was shocked. I wanted to cry. I explained to the teacher what the student told me and I also told her that every other letter they have completed was right side up. I chose to stand up for the student and I wanted to know why the teacher had thought we needed to change her artwork. The teacher had no answer. We never brought it up again.

    I have seen this video before, but I have not made this connection to this particular situation. I do not know if this scenario happened again for this student. Was she told that she wrong? Did she have to complete the assignment again? I am glad that for at least for one moment that child was celebrated for her creativity. I am glad that I did not put a stop to it. I am saddened that a teacher would. If we are to create a classroom that fosters creativity, we need to change the focus from the teacher to the student. The student did not do this to be wrong, the student did not do this because she was lazy; she had a purpose and a story. As teachers, we need to allow for “mistakes” so the process of learning and creativity can take place. There is time for corrections during this process (spellings, incorrect facts, computation errors,etc). New ideas and something that is not on the lesson plan should be encouraged. I mean what if the girl who is allowed to let her pig go for a walk, keeps her creativity? If she is allowed to process her creativity now, imagine what she can be able to do in the future? As Sir Ken Robinson explains, what if she allows her brain to cross disciplines freely and does not put her creativity in a brain compartment for art class only and thinks of a way to cure brain cancer?