FC: Michael Wicker
1: A brief introduction of yourself that is not academically focused Hi, I’m Michael (Mike) Wicker. I’m 27 years old and live in Berkley, MI. I graduated from University of Michigan in 2006 with a duel major in History and Political Science. While there I sang in the Glee Club and ran the U-Scan at the local Kroger. I am the middle child of 5 children (three brothers and one sister) and come from a long line of teachers. While I am not working I enjoy singing, camping, going to Tigers games and baking. Travel is a big part of my life; I have visited 35 states and 19 countries. Before I started my current teaching job (which is weirdly at the high school I attended) I worked for a year at the EG International School in Seoul, South Korea. My next big trip is either going to be hiking the Inca Trail in Peru or visiting penguin colonies in Patagonia.
2: A brief synopsis of your academic and recent work/teaching history | Follow link to learn about the Flex Program | <---Me eating scorpions at the Beijing night market | -----> The bazaar I shopped at when I lived in Uzbekistan
3: I graduated from Seaholm High School in 2002 and the University of Michigan in 2006. After graduating I subbed, worked at a local trucking company, and moved to Asia to teach English in Korea. After an exciting year of working and traveling in Asia, I returned to my home town to start teaching at my Alma Mater in Birmingham, MI. At Seaholm I teach AP United States History, AP Economics, normal economics, and a special interdisciplinary program called Flex. The Flex program combines English and Social Studies, has about 200 students of all four grades, is taught by seven teachers and focuses on ideas like social justice & diversity. This fall I started my master in Educational Administration at Michigan State with the hopes of becoming a high school principal one day. | http://flex21century.blogspot.com/
4: Your experience with struggling readers and writers Since Flex is a combined English and Social Studies honors program, I work with many novels, short stories, and nonfiction texts. With this difficulty level, variety of source material, and combination of age groups, I see many students struggling with reading. Many of the freshmen are not ready for the difficulty level of an honors program and too few students take the time to look up words they do not understand. Reading is such a central parts of both disciplines that my team and I focus very early on identifying struggling readers and offering them the support they need to stay with the group. On the same note, I see many students struggling with writing well in both disciples. While some have a strong handle on poetry or prose, they often labor with the more straightforward writing of historical research. Many of those who enjoy the more technical writing often see less utility in writing a sonnet or limerick. To add to this we have such a mix of writing abilities in all four grades, it really keeps me on my toes.
5: Great Wall | Temple of Heaven | St Basil's Cathedral
6: Upper Left: AP Economics students at the Michigan Economics Challenge State Finals Upper Right: Three students from the Korean School in Seoul Lower Left: Team building games for the Flex Program
7: Literacy related challenges you face in your teaching situation The biggest literacy challenge that I face is students who do not have the skills to read complex texts. Since the Flex program does not use a textbook, we pull our sources from a wide variety of materials: primary documents, academic journal articles, expert secondary sources, novels, and historical speeches. These texts each require a different approach and many students do not know how to read them, and thus do not glean the information expected of them. I also have trouble with the fact many of my students do not know how to separate the common way they talk to their friends from the way they are supposed to write in an academic setting. Too many students turn in papers with words like “cuz,” “dude,” or “Whatevs.” Getting them to understand you are supposed to write differently than you talk is my first struggle, and having them understand there is different level of formality to writing is my second.
8: WEST KRABI COAST | November 10 | What you hope to learn in this class I hope to learn three things from the course. First, I would like to learn new strategies to engage my students in personal reading. I feel if they are at home reading for fun, they will become more motivated to read for class. Second, I would like to learn how to better make connections between my fiction and nonfiction course work. If I can bridge the gap for the “History” or “English” minded student I not only help myself, but also them. Finally, I hope to learn new tips and tricks to help struggling learners. So many people believe high schoolers all know how to read, and many of them need more instruction.
9: Paris and the Eiffel Tower | Chinese Ruins along the Great Wall
10: Tiananmen Square | Doyadoya Festival | Japanese Noodle Bar | The Grand Canal
11: The David | Winged Victory | The North Korean/South Korean Border | Places I've been, photos I've taken