This week I was a busy one personally so all I was able to do was some more organization and started the actual writing of my blogs and ideas/topics fro writing. I have not solidified what platform I plan to use as of yet and I am making that a part of my research by looking at different platforms and what would be best for my work. I have updated my Thesis Google Doc to explain In more of my plan, but in short I will be creating a website where I will be using the perspective I have had as a parent, an early childhood education teacher, and as a grad student who has now spent the last year and half engaging with multiple forms of digital media platforms, for education purposes, and sees the importance of creating digital literacy patterns as early as the ages from birth to 8 years old.
I have approximately 15 solid sources so far, as I am preparing my literature review. I have not had a hard time finding information, it has more so been a challenge is going through the information and actually finding pieces I can use that don’t all sound similar or are stating the same things, I have not as of yet gone in depth with actual research on tech products for children of this age and what applications or programs work best. I noticed this as I was sorting through the information I have so my goal is to take this week to explore more of the actual tools children can use. As this relates to my blogging/ vlogging( because I am thinking of adding some vlogs/ pictures and other imagery examples to my website)
Overall this thesis will consist of two parts which will be the actual information I will be giving based on the research I do in the fields pertaining to early childhood education and teaching digital literacy. These ideas will be expressed in the second part of my project which is the actual creation of the website, the content ( which will be my ideas, scholars evidence surrounding the field, vlogs, other forms of of literature or digital art forms). I will be doing some interviews as well with other parents that I am familiar with, b ut have never had these conversations with them. I feel these will be posted on the website it will make for great content.
Even with all the other things I’ve been through, I’d say that these two days are among the hardest each year. I read back all that I wrote about the weeks leading up to this day last year, October 30th, 2022. I read through my 30-page senior thesis I wrote this past spring as a means of processing the sharp dip in my Grandma’s health that lead to her passing. I can’t read it all the way through; I have to put it down and keep coming back to it a couple hours later because I cry every time. I can’t quite relive having her here without acknowledging I can’t hold her hand, hear her voice, or watch her stay busy and learn all about different flowers and other plants and caring for them like I used to.
Often times I go back to the things that happened after November 11, 2011. I was bullied for how I coped (I always carried this light-up journal and would write in it as I struggled, typically being a bit extra about keeping it private when others were sitting near me). My journal was ripped from my hands one day on the bus as someone mockingly said “Look! It’s that journal about your dead grandma!” The same kid read some of what I wrote aloud and then tore some of the pages out before handing it back to me– at that point I was balled up tightly and shoved myself as far into the corner of my seat by the window as I could be, trying to cover up the streams of tears that welled up as a result of the humiliation.
I think the difference between how I handled these two situations– the passing of Abuelita (maternal grandma) twelve years ago now and the passing of Grandma (paternal grandma) last year– is one of the greatest character developments that the Lord has put me through to date. Will there be others? Certainly. Have there already been others? Of course there have! (I was talking about one of those other major character arcs of mine with a friend the other day, but I’ll be saving that one for a post I’m planning for April).
Let me paint a quick picture of eleven-year-old Bianca:
If you know me in person now, you know I have at least some lean muscle on me not a lot, but enough to see the muscle here an there even if not clearly aesthetically defined. Eleven-year-old me did not have that. Eleven-year-old me was as close to a human twig as it gets. She didn’t think much of her looks, but just wanted to be and feel stronger (something that still holds true today, come to think of it). She didn’t know how to be strong though. She, like I still am, was sensitive and probably held a habit of taking herself a little too seriously because it never felt like anyone else ever did. She was the one brushed off when trying to plan things with friends, or that they would flake out on last minute with excuses that were not true about 80% of the time. She was the one that refused to sing even though she loved to because she was incessantly bullied for her tapping the desk with a pencil and humming a song in the back of a classroom. She was the one that hadn’t really dealt with a lot of externally hard things. She was used to the battle within her own mind. Eleven-year-old me was starting to give up on knocking on her older brother’s locked bedroom door when she wanted to play or just needed a friend. She was alone, in large part because she hadn’t found herself yet.
So when little B heard that Abuelita wasn’t doing so well, her first instinct was to pray. Now, like I said, little me hadn’t found herself which– at least the way I see it now– is synonymous with turning towards and finding Christ. Even though I know now that God heard me then, little me didn’t understand that God sometimes has to give us some really difficult pills to swallow. He answered with what I thought was a hard “no” at the time… I realize now that He actually said “not yet.”
My prayer was as simple as this: “God, please let me see her alive one more time if this is really it for her. Just once.” I prayed it every day once my parents said we were road tripping to Florida from Jersey to see her– that is, until the call.
I would have been much better off bringing Him that weight and allowing Him to carry it– allowing Him to carry me.
We were probably somewhere near the Florida boarder if we hadn’t already crossed it, but I remember being zoned out staring at the car’s clock (before cars had screens) and noticing the time was 11:11am as my mom’s phone rang. Granted it wasn’t much, there are very few times I’ve ever seen tears fall from my mom’s eyes. This was one of those few.
I knew what the call was for in the back of my mind, but I coped with denial of the reality of what was happening. I had faith even then that God would answer my prayer as I’d imagined He would. So, even though Abuelita knew next to no English, I tried to start a normal conversation, my peppy tone shaking only slightly. “¡Hola, Abuelita! How are you?… Well, uh, maybe that wasn’t the right question but I’ll see you soon!” And that’s about all I got out before having to hand off the phone to my brother.
The weight of what I didn’t say always weighs the heaviest on me though– how could I forget to say I love you?
And I decided to not only carry that weight, but blame God for putting that weight on me. In my mind, all I could think was how dare He!? when I would have been much better off bringing Him that weight and allowing Him to carry it– allowing Him to carry me.
But the reality is that I didn’t. When I got back to school, I always had this tacky light-up journal that I never seemed to let go of while I was there– nearly all of what I wrote in there was from my grieving and grasping at straws trying to make sense of it all. I couldn’t. And eventually there was a kid on the bus that snatched this journal from me, taunting with the words “hey look! It’s that journal about your dead grandma!” before proceeding to read some of my grief aloud for the whole bus and then throwing it at the ground. That was when I decided to believe there was no God.
Despite that decision, I can look back and find the countless disparities between what I refused to believe and what I actually acted upon. I think back to Romans 1, namely verses eighteen and following.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)
Paul goes on after this about how God gives us up to the things we chase– the impurity, dishonor and abuse of our bodies, lies and deception, manipulation…
God gave me up to this “genie image” of Him that I had so that I could find that it was not him. He let me be hurt by the lie so that my blind eyes could see that it was not the Truth that He is. No matter how hard I tried to be wise, to attain knowledge, to look better or to sound smarter, that pain only reminded me of what a fool I was to deny the comfort and help and (most importantly) salvation that Jesus has always been ready to provide.
So I thought back less to myself and my mistakes when the time came for Grandma to go, too. As I held open my Bible to Psalms 22 and 23 each day I was at her bedside, I looked back at all the ways I saw her hold the Light on the candle over the table rather than beneath a basket.
I write a lot more about the experience of losing her in a couple of previous blog posts I wrote for a course I took on electronic literature, one you can find here, and the other here.
But I also want to leave you with what’s been the hardest to read through, let alone share, because (although it still needs some editing and proofing done) it’s among my most honest and vulnerable pieces I’ve ever written, because it’s about a couple of the most formative people in my life aside from my parents.
I barely even got through writing this piece in its entirety. See, I take a view similar to that of Madeline L’Engle on creating art in any form (such as writing)– it’s not about trying to create something, but about listening to the art as it comes and crafting it accordingly. That’s not always an easy task. Many times, when I as a writer am being faithful to the work I am creating, I find myself convicted of something. Many times, I find Truth nestled between the crevices of fiction, or divine fingerprints stamped within the letters of the imagery of poetry. That’s what makes real art, real art: it boastfully reflects it’s ultimate Source, even if it does not mention His name.
And much of this 30-page braided essay reflects on seeing that creative process in Grandma and her business. It reflects a lot on that change in my perspective since Abuelita passed, as Grandma was passing, and after it all as I wrote this whole essay. And frankly, I don’t know of any better way to honor them both than to testify about their faith and how (though it took some time and a lot of trials) they both have consequently been imperative role models in my faith journey– how Jesus has used them in my life, and others.
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience,as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
This week will pretty short with my blog post, as I plan to take our class time, and the rest of this week to starting bringing forth new ideas to my thesis. Doing more research last week I found 7 more articles that relate and I am in the process of going through them to find what I need and don’t need. I have done a good job so far of keeping the information I find organized. I can see how later I mat possibly end up not knowing where a specific piece of literature is as I start complying for my literature review. I am attempting to find specific quotes and cite them now so I know exactly where to look. The issue is not yet knowing -exactly what I might say or it where it will fit is the issue. I can see that as I now have about 15 solid sources ( I know should be more by now probably, but these are the ones I feel very strongly about as of now) , I may just want to find some way to track my work through the chapters or specific passages from he works I am reading.
Our discussion last week was very helpful as it truly helps me know I am heading int he right direction when someone says exactly what I am thinking. Creating a platforms for moms (or parents) was starting to cross my mind as I wanted to find a way to incorporate that parenting is so vast as each child is unique and it is important to hear the different aspects. With this thinking I have solifided that I have to look at eh realm of early childhood instead being so specific and looking at preschool, because this was to specific in the study, and I felt I was making my information search to narrow. Hearing the prerspectives of different parents from the early childhood age group can depth to my research.
I feel that I want to create a space where I can incorporate the use of technology with early childhood education by having a place where information not he latest tools are available, parents have a forum for questions, and of course showcasing how technology in this part of development can be helpful in the Childs development process. As I stated last week, taking this to a school perspective left too many gaps for question, but presenting this from a mom perspective leaves room for others to contribute their ideas. My suggestions and research are not the end all be all, but will give great insight into how this can help teachers with curriculum learning, parents keep up with curriculum learning at home, and how to gage a Childs development through the use of technology when it comes to education.
The rest of this week I will spend some time finding a few more sources for my literature review. Aside from that I will explore some platforms where I where I can bring my ideas to life. I want to see what my options are when presenting this work. I want to refine the information I am gathering and have a second look at my rough outline and add and take away what I don’t need based not he change I have made int he way I am presenting my work. I want to looking some education technology tools that are used in schools, and even some early childhood schools ( in or outside of the United States) where they are using tech tools to teach.
Last class was helpful, I didn’t put much though about the grand “arch” of my thesis. Obviously I knew within my essays I was leading up to something but I couldn’t figure out just what exactly that was. Well I did some reflecting. I started to look over the stuff I had already read like Sylvia Path and Sandra Cisneros work. I started to realize a general theme I was gravitating towards (even when it came to my own writing) was love, relationships, and sexuality.
When I looked back on the collection of essays I gradually been producing/building, I realized a lot of the themes within my essay focused around the same themes found in the readings I was partaking in for research. Therefore, I think perhaps maybe I can stick to these three themes as part of my arch or I can maybe narrow it done to just one?
I will say now though, I feel more comfortable starting my Literature Review process because now that I possibly know what my overall themes of area are centered around, it would be much easier to center my literature review that reflects those themes and helps make my essays potentially stronger.
This week was interesting to say the least. I sorted through the information I am using and tried organizing my beginning thoughts so I can move forward collecting my next set of information. I want to collect information in sets and go through them and then start another set of information until the end of this process. Then I may have themed groups of my information.
A new viewpoint came about this week which changed my direction a little, or helped me bring my concept more into focus. Last week I came to grips with understanding that I do not want to present a proposal, but this is more of a creative understanding of the passion I have for working with children and having learned all about new innovative tech teaching tools and finding a creative way to merge these two that is within guidelines of todays teaching standards.
I have trapped myself slightly, but for this same reason it works for me . My oldest being in preschool for the first time gives me a new perspective of school, and I will use this approach as a parent to speak about it.. I have seem it from a teachers perspective, of course from a students perspective, but now as a parent I have a slightly new outlook and will continue to gain more as the year progresses.
I knew I always wanted to be a teacher growing up, but after having my first child my idea shifted to opening my own. Somewhere to start a business foundation for myself , so this is where the spark and drive was to be determined to complete my vision from. I feel safest talking from a parent perspective and adding my input in other ways because this is a role I play everyday and am able to adapt in, and confirm off of experience.
This week I had a turn, or a pivot, in my research as my own daughter made me question my own theory in a way. I forget that although I am very good at parental controlling what my daughter watches on her iPad there are other ways that sometimes she may have access to things I don’t allow. The internet is so vast with everything to show and it is nearly impossible once someone is given access to this vessel to completely block everything. A regular video showed off of actors and actresses dressed up as character from my little mermaid. All seems well until long story short I hear Ariel is about to deliver her baby and needs to get back to the sea. Safe to safe what I heard made me go watch and a very innocent looking video almost changed my mind. This has happened before but this situation really clicked with me because of me working on this thesis about this very topic.
Although I did not gather any new information this week sorting through the info I already have and really sitting and thinking of what I truly want o express with this thesis was very much needed. I was starting to feel a bit stuck, but just being able to find a position satisfied me and made me really see the direction I am going in this process.
I’m not going to lie, work has been beating my a**. So lately I haven’t been giving as much time as I like too. But I will say, I write an essay when I can especially when I draw some inspiration or think of a moment/ idea I want to write about.
So far, I read “The House on Mango Street” again. I read it when I was a kid, I remember liking it, but now I read it again as an adult. I tend to use and tie this book in with my literature review. This week I also plan to dive into Sylvia Path’s work (I already own some of her books) and see what I can draw from that as part of my literature review.
Once the books are sorted out and kind of done (doing that first since a book is a lot more to absorb and way more hefty with information compared to an article) I will then go to the articles/ research and see what I will be pulling from there as part for my review. I would say all my progress thus far has seem slow but I do feel like while it may be a steady pace, I have been working and all this work I have done will result into the final bigger picture in the end. Hopefully the next couple of days I can devote a bit more time that way I can get even more work done, and see even much bigger results.
This week I have chosen to do a rough outline just to start putting together how I want to present this idea. I am not exactly creating a business plan completely, but I am focusing on a Part 1 and Part 2. This semester I will be completing part 1 which will be me creating a curriculum.
Staying focused on NJ as the location to implicate my model of a curriculum, because I live here currently and I have a general idea of what the early childhood education curriculums looks like at the preschool level, because I have worked int he field before and have kids of my own which has given me a closer insight into the the early parts of development for children, in a personal way. This is what peaks my interest with my topic as it relates to my everyday life, and has always interested me .
My main focus this week was looking at the different pdf’s on this site https://www.nj.gov/education/earlychildhood/preschool/, which has multiple pdf’s, have insightful information on different curriculums in NJ, how the teaching preschool system works in NJ, the standard that have been set, and the rules to follow when opening a center (or just looking at a classroom). This information provided the basis of where I started my research and what I started deeming most important to highlight at this stage in my thesis work. The website provides many informative perspectives of preschool education as a whole. 2 pdfs listed below:
These last few weeks as I settled into my idea I was starting to feel like I may overwhelm myself, because I wasn’t able to find topics as I was thinking I would. being that that I picked education as my topic and more specifically creating my own curriculum and model of a classroom, I began thinking I may have picked a topic that might get me stuck at some point. This week I focused more on finding the basics, which may set me back a little with research, but it has opened up the idea of my outline and how I plan to tackle this thesis.
Since I am in the process of understanding the preschool education system, on the first part of my outline I have noted that I want to talk briefly on why education is important to me. This will give my audience an understanding of why I choose this topic, and highlight some key reason other educators may care. I want go more in depth on why I have chosen this particular grade/ age level, and why it matters most to me and also what matters most in the process of creating a curriculum on my own. How will this do amongst the other NJ curriculums.
I will discuss the curriculums that are currently being used, in New Jersey specifically, and why they are successful with preschools across NJ. This will be a bulk of Part 1 because this will help guide me as I create my own curriculum. There are currently 4 that are in use in NJ preschools. Which is Connect4 Learning, The Creative Curriculum , High scope Preschool Curriculum, and lastly Tools of the mind. I have started explaining these generally within my google doc very briefly .
The note taking process at first was a little difficult, as I wasn’t really sure what direction I wanted to go in when it came to my topic, I just knew what it related. Now that I know I want to create my own curriculum example , with intention to focus on preschool and technology use within classrooms. Creating digital literacy is one focus, but not sole. I feel more selections will come to mind as I go through my starting points. I found a pdf that directly speaks of technology use in preschools specifically in NJ. Another focus could possibly be the reading and writing aspects as it pertains to digital and non-digital learning tools. This will tie in my understanding of English and how it is important in early childhood curriculum and and be a critical part in overall development.
Having created a citation page along with my my rough outline to guide my use of my sources has been created in google doc. This way I manage to know which sources will go with what topics to begin with. Created a computer folder of all the pdf’s that I have so far totaling 10. I know at some point I may need to create micro folders for each each section of my outline. My note taking process seems as though it is funneling as we spoke about last week.
I’m attaching my google doc of the outline that I have started here. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iHgTaioapmO9bVqWWDxWjWwK0p0jasQRAzmUt9Pxv0A/edit?usp=sharing Building on this google doc each week as I discover new research will eventually turn into docs I feel that will be hyperlinked for the complete project, I’m just weary hyperlinks because they sometimes do not always open for me. I feel the hyperlink method to other parts or sections of my work will be the best way to present and keep things organized.
As I continue to build on this each time I feel it will come together nicely as a creative proposal if that makes sense. Splitting it into parts helps to assure that I cover the necessary areas to explain why I feel this is such an asset to the early child field, as well as the English field when it comes to beginner readers and writers, and seeing things from the teachers perspective.
Overall this experience is getting a bit easier since starting to use the funnel method as we discussed in class prior. I felt I was having an issue at first exactly understanding what I wanted to communicate which made my topic seem to general, but now with further insight I have narrowed down some of my key elements for my thesis.
I run into a bit of a writers block within my essays. I do believe we are our own worst critics, and right now anything I write is just not good enough. So I’m going to take a pause on drafting right now. Maybe collect my thoughts, journal, and find inspiration. Part of my inspiration I know will come from my literature review. Tuesdays class was extremely helpful. Dr. Zamora giving me a list of writers to check out after reading my last blog post was a stir in the right direction. I’m going to start with reading “The House On Mango Street.” I read that book before but the last time I read it I was too young, and although I remember really liking it, I know that if I read it now as a much more older woman with a different mindset and different experiences; it’s going to hit much different. And probably help me with my thesis.
For now, I want to continue curating a list from Dr. Zamora, my classmates, and my own research as all part of my sources for my review. But I don’t want to go crazy just yet. For now I feel like I have a good list now it’s just diving in and seeing what I can pull and take from each writer. My list right now currently consists of 10-15 writers so once I get a solid take from that I will continue to look for more writers so my list can then get up to 15-20.
Although I know the literature review is probably going to be the second hardest thing I’ll do, I also know that in some degree It’s going to be more fun. This is going to be the inspiration part of it all. I will report next week of some of my takeaways, stay tuned!
Last weeks library experience was very helpful when it comes to the research for this extensive thesis we are all working on. I always remember how important the library is when I get there and can see all of the ways in which information can be processed. Craig Anderson did a wonderful job showing us some helpful tricks and tips to exploring and also narrowing our research into the direction we are choosing to take it. The database can really give a broaden version of what you may be looking for, but as researchers we are able to shuffle and discard what we don’t need, and find the true gems that can help us create our thesis.
I feel that I will actually be using Union and Maplewood’s public libraries along with Kean’s to get the information I am looking for. I don’t want everything I research to come from the internet, even though some will, but I want to challenge myself with the collection of my data and broaden how I do my research. I feel that I have used the internet and databases to my advantage thus far in the grad program, but I want to step out of my comfort zone little and see what more information I can discover.
As I continue to research my topic I see if won’t be hard to find information on technology use in classrooms, What I am finding most difficult is the preschool aspect I have within my topic. I want to focus mainly on preschool & Kindergarten, because to me these are the fundamental stages in school for children, and I feel a lot can be learned if applied correctly and adequately.
I want to give a shout out to Gianna because she sent me a really good link last week that connected to my topic. She sent me a link to an instagram page by a woman named Brittany Washburn who teaches a tech curriculum, which really ties into my topic of the idea that tech should be an apart of the curriculum. She focused more on middle school and high school students, but I was still intrigued scrolling on her page, and I liked a bunch of her techniques, so she gained a follow from me. This led me to all of the ads and emails I get about how to incorporate these tech learning tools onto my Children’s iPad, where I spend obscene amounts in monthly charges to accommodate them. I have seen personal progression with my children using the tech tools with intention and purpose which has created my view.
The official class site for Dr. Mia Zamora’s Fall 2022 Electronic Literature course.