Monday, February 18, 2008

Because it's there...

In the comments of my last post, several people asked me why, exactly, my daughter was dressed as a blue M & M.

The answer is simple... because I happen to own a blue M & M costume.

A few years ago, Marley insisted that I dress up for Halloween. I was planning on refusing her demand until I came across the aforementioned costume on sale. All it required was that I pull it on over my regular clothes. A few days ago, while rummaging around in a closet, Marley pulled it out and his been playing with it ever since. My favorite thing she does is use it like a fort. She curls up in it, all puffed out--the costume, not her--and just hangs out.

I was hoping to post a picture to go along but she won't cooperate. I'll have to stalk her.

Now, about that mathmatics and Chinese thing...

Oddly enough, only one person asked me to elaborate on that.

Here's the gist, straight from the book:

"The discussion of Chinese orthographic effect on students' mathmatical performance is drawn from research conducted by Miura and her associates (Miura, 1987; Miura, Kim, Chang, & Okamoto, 1988; Miura & Okamoto, 1995). These scolars have claimed that numbers are inseparable from language; and, individuals becoming literate in Asian languages that have roots in ancient Chinese, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, share a common numerical
language structure. In essence, the numerical names in these three languages are congruent with the traditional Base 10 numeration system. . . This group of researchers argued that spoken numerals (e.g., eleven, twenty, thirty) in an alphabetic language such as English, are not congruent with the Base 10 system, that is, the elements of ten and ones contained in these numerals are not apparent in the spoken word. Consequently, an alphabetic language system may not provide sufficient scaffolding for some children as they advance from single digits to multidigit concepts in learning place value. In comparison, children from Asian language groups whose numerals are congruent with the Base 10 system benefit more readily from the relationship between spoken numerals and the concepts." (from Sociocultural Contexts of Language and Literacy, Chapter 7, Ji-Mei Chang)

Before everyone goes getting all impressed with my being able to read this, not all of my reading is this technical. This particular article happened to focus a lot on the specifics of the Chinese language so that it could serve as background information in teaching Chinese ELL students (English Language Learner). Throughout most of this article, my eyes were pretty much rolled allllllll the way back into my head.

So, there you go. The answers to your burning questions. If you have anymore burning questions relating to the nature of reading, just let me know.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ground Control to Major Tom...

commencing countdown, engines on...

I don't know why but this song popped into my head as I decided to do a quick post in the midst of two online class assignments.

I guess there is only so much analysis of the sociocultural context of literacy and learning using J.P. Gee's six contexts (cognitive, social, cultural, historical, institutional, linguistic) in regards to African American students and Chinese American students that a girl can do. . .

on Valentine's day!

And I still have the 30-year journey of literacy from a linguistic, psycholinguistic, cognitive psychology, and sociolinguistic perspectives.

Woo woo!

I do know more than I ever thought I would about the morphosyllabic nature of the Chinese writing system (not a logographic one as is commonly thought) and how it differs significantly from our phonemic alphabetic one.

I also know that the Chinese language is congruent with the Base 10 mathmatic system and that English is not.

I should probably stop before you all die of excitement and interest, shouldn't I?

At the risk of sounding like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, I am fairly scared over the amount of work I will have to do this semester. It will be much worse than last semester. Truly. Of course, in the face of so much reading, analysis, research preparation, etc., what am I spending too much time doing? Reading for pleasure.

I am procrastinator extraordinaire. I could compete in the Olympics of Procrastination and Time Wasting. I would win every gold medal.

Oh well, Marley is dressed up as a giant blue M & M and is bouncing off the walls. Paul is making dinner and Colin is making brownies. And the literacy journey awaits.

I just wanted to say hello.