2007-2008: Week 10 Reflections

October 25, 2007 (Day 48)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we looked at the Post and Courier article (“Suit filed over plan for park”) about the lawsuit involving Mt. Pleasant’s plan to secure land on Shem Creek through eminent domain.  This allowed us to learn something about the way online sources are organized.  The article mentioned that the landowner, Mark Mason, claimed the Mount Pleasant had made an attempt to buy the land in 2005 but permanently abandoned the effort.  We searched the P&C archives for a mention of this, but we were not able to find it.  Because of our assignments and reflections our permanently on-line, it is easy for us to find earlier articles that we read this year on Shem Creek.  However, we then looked at The New York Times’ website and picked a sample story (“Giuliani Questioned on Torture”) on Rudy Giuliani from the Politics section.  Here we saw that The New York Times embeds stories with links to prior coverage/articles from The New York Times, and the bottom of the page includes pre-scripted searches of The New York Times archives of major topics.  This difference brought up the change in technology for print media, and we talked about how one would need to look at pictures of earlier newspapers (pre-1990s) on microfilm at the library until they are converted into a digital or on-line text format (as some newspapers and magazines have done/are doing).  The differing availability of sources on the internet will affect how the story of people and events in history will be written.  We then watched CNN Student news, and the main stories involved the fires in California.  The first one looked at the use of the football stadium in San Diego for shelter, and it included an overview on the use and troubles plaguing the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.   In Math, we reviewed our assessment from earlier this week.  We also learned about variables and their use in equations.  In Spanish, we started a review of available on-line resources for pronunciation.  We all have the opportunity to learn about what sites we may find useful, and we will be able to share our insight with the rest of the class.  We also looked at some fascinating photos that Mrs. Rowland had of hummingbirds.  In Humanities, we took our test, and then we continued our analysis of the characters in Of Mice and Men.  In Science, we took our end of quarter assessment.  In Flex Time, we had some review time and then played “Map Wars” in teams.  This was fun way to end the day, and we had a chance to show our knowledge of states and countries across the world.

October 24, 2007 (Day 47)

Reflections
Because our original Learning Outside the Classroom experience was postponed until November 7 because of the inclement weather, we engaged in a number of service and learning activities on campus.  In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  We got an update on the tragic effects of the wildfires in California, and the newscast included a primer on the health effects to humans and animals of the fire and ash in the environment.  The final story highlighted the lift-off of space shuttle Discovery.  This mission is special because, for the first time, the two leaders are female.  The shuttle is commanded by Pam Melroy, and the International Space Station is commanded by Peggy Whitson.  We then talked about the difference between consensus and majority rules, and these are important concepts for leaders to understand.  We used gauging pizza preferences and then ordering one as an example.  Under majority rules, the pizza type selected by the most would be the one we ordered, and this may mean that some people are left with a pizza they might not be able to enjoy.  Under a consensus decision, we determined that everyone would feel good about ordering a cheese pizza because no one felt the decision was at odds with them.  These ideas are important in our crafting Letters to the Editor in regard to the issue of admissions to Academic Magnet High School.  After this exercise, we had some time to research and work on our letters for this assignment.  We then spent time practicing for our all-levels geographical literacy competition.  After these endeavors, Mr. Kreutner showed us a slideshow of pictures from the year, and we made consensus recommendations on images to include in the PowerPoint presentation he had for the Rotary group he spoke to today.  As an example of an effective presentation and for us to give feedback, he then delivered the presentation to us with the photos we selected.  Mrs. Ewing then led us through a Mad Scientist game, and we spent some time with Ms. Pat’s K5 students from Hibben Preschool.  We matched up in pairs, and each kindergartener shared what he/she has been learning this year with us.  Mentors Zach Thames and Chris Marsh arrived and spent the rest of the day with us.  After eating a pizza lunch, we played Cranium and then watched a webcast video on water.  At the end of the day, we reviewed for upcoming tests.

October 23, 2007 (Day 46)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student News.  The main stories involved the wildfires in California and the debates that exist around global warming.  The final story examined the most recent Republican presidential candidate debate, and we saw clips that showed some testy exchanges among the aspirants.  The most notable items that we picked up on were their repeated use of Hillary Clinton’s name (as if she already was the nominee) and John McCain’s dry humor in explaining that he missed most of the psychedelic 1960s because he was “tied up.”  Our examination of the New York Times feature article on him from last week helped us to understand the wit in this remark.  We also read in today’s Post and Courier about the Charleston County School Board’s decision to maintain a ranking system at Academic Magnet High School (“Board OKs no change”).  In order to fully grasp the different sides of this issue, we then came up with the strongest arguments that we could in favor of ranking and in favor of a lottery.  The exercise was invigorating, and it spawned a Letter to the Editor assignment about the issue, and this involved looking at pro and con arguments in the paper and a primer for writing Letters to the Editor from The New York Times.  In Math, we continued engaging in the on-line exercises that we began yesterday, and then we played a student-directed map skills game.  We also started working on some review questions in our text.  In Spanish, we took the Unit 1 test today.  In Humanities, the topic of the day was the French in the New World.  This involved discussions of pirates, privateers, starvation, and the Huguenot presence in early Charleston.  We also had some time to work on our Depression-era project that involves the use of the WPA/Federal Writers Project narratives.  During Flex Time, we checked the US Drought Monitor for an update.  We also reinforced the measuring skills we have been using in Math by making visual estimates of the percent of area covered by drought in regional maps of the United States, and then we converted our answers to fractions.  We also worked on interpreting tables by translating the historical data provided for each region into comparative assessments between the current drought in each region with earlier this year and one year ago.  In Science, we spent time drafting our essay questions, getting feedback from Mrs. Ewing, and reflecting on what we learned so far this year.

Assignments
Leadership & Life Skills
– 7 online Math areas – due Wednesday, October 24
– Letter to the Editor Assignment – due Monday, October 29

Math
– finish p. 108 11-28 odd

Spanish
– none

Humanities
– print/copy the two articles from the Federal Writers Project that you have chosen to do your Depression project on

Science
– work on midterm essays – due Thursday

October 22, 2007 (Day 45)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we examined two websites (Anysoldier and DonorsChoose) for service learning ideas.  Each student wrote an online response evaluating each site and making suggestions for our involvement.  In Math, we took an assessment on shapes, numbers, and algebraic properties.  Once we finished, we experienced a cultural shift in our study of mathematics.  We looked at an educational website sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corporation, and it included reviews of the same topics we have studied recently and on-line quizzes.  This gave us the chance to test our understanding in an interactive way, and we gained some insight into British culture (for example, measuring a football pitch means measuring a soccer field).  In Spanish, we completed a review worksheet and utilized the review tools in our textbook (pages 36-40).  This was in preparation for our academic quarter test tomorrow.  In Humanities, Mrs. Logan conducted a re-cap of poetry and poetic devices. We then spent the balance of our time together working on our South Carolina WPA / Federal Writers’ Project research in conjunction with our reading of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.  During lunch and Flex Time, we ate by Shem Creek.  We watched the start of construction of a new dock, and then we met one of our neighbors.  Bert Zidlick, retired from the Navy, told us about the history of Vincent Drive.  He explained that the road’s oval shape stems from its use as a horse racing track.  We also learned that there was some rice cultivation in the area, and he also explained that the heavy presence of pecan trees is the result of commercial orchard growing of them in decades past.  In Science, we reflected on the past nine weeks and began thinking about the midterm.  Mentor Zach Thames arrived during Flex Time and spent the rest of the school day with us.

Assignments
Leadership & Life Skills
– for Wednesday, finish  all seven BBC math site topic areas

Math
– worksheet

Spanish
– study for Unit 1 test

Humanities
– note check on chapter 32 (you will need your history books in class)
– narrow WPA histories to two (2) choices
– Test on Thursday, October 25 on Of Mice and Men chapters 1-3 and poetry

Science
– For Thursday, bring three questions for the midterm

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