November 16, 2007 (Day 63)
In Morning Meeting, we continued expanding our Microsoft Excel document containing our skills rankings from the interim period and the First Quarter. We created a new worksheet within the document for a comparison, and this was facilitated by using the sorting feature to have the skills listed side-by-side from both periods. We then learned about plotting data, and we deliberated over a sample on the board (a line graph using x and y axes). This allowed us to see changes visually between the two periods. We then explored the line graph further by plotting all of the skills for each period as a group. In Math, it was a review day. We spent some time refining our understanding of algebraic expressions, and we practiced writing and solving sample equations. In Spanish, we practiced further with adjectives. Mrs. Rowland helped us evaluate our understanding with an assessment. We also enjoyed our second student-made Spanish treat of the week – a form of Spanish Christmas cookies made with almonds known as polvorones. Earlier this week we were delighted with flan (custard-style dessert). In Humanities, we took our multiple-essays-style test on Of Mice and Men. Once we were finished, Mrs. Logan prepped us and divided us into groups for another experience with poetry. For the beginning of lunch, we went to Ms. Pat’s K-5 classroom.
We wrote our names on small placards, and Ms. Pat placed them on the room’s wall alphabet poster underneath the corresponding letter (joining the names of her students). Her students read to us, and then we played together in several small groups. After lunch, Mentor Zach Thames joined us for the rest of the day. In Science, we conducted lab experiments. We compared the solubility of two substances and four concentrates of each. This gave us the opportunity to observe the impact of concentration on the solubility of a substance.
Leadership & Life Skills
– MS Excel skills sheet must be ready for comparisons and graphing (3rd worksheet in the file must have the interim and quarter datasets and be alphabetized together)
– for Tuesday, complete worksheet
– copy and review vocabulary Nuevo on page 52
– complete Acts 6 & 7
– final drafts of both essays (Depression-era narratives) due
– lab reports (from today’s lab) are due Tuesday
November 15, 2007 (Day 62)
In Morning Meeting, we updated and expanded our MS Excel worksheets to reflect our latest skills rankings. Completing this and sorting the data will allow us to see how we have progressed over the past few months. We will then move into graphing this information because we will have more than one data point for each skill (and for each class). In Math, today was an exercise in improving our literacy in mathematics. Transforming written statements into mathematical expressions is a critical skill, and Mr. Longanecker helped us explore the vocabulary conversion for words we will encounter (i.e. put together, give, decrease, etc.). We then practiced this for the balance of our time together. In Spanish, we reviewed for a quiz on phrases and then completed the quiz. We then photographs to practice describing people, and we did this through writing and oral expression. In Humanities, Mrs. Logan guided us through a mini-lesson on crafting an effective introductory paragraph. We then worked independently on our notebooks to revise both of our Depression-era essays. In Science, we explored solutions vs. pollutions in our lab today. Definitions for particles, dissolve, and concentration were clarified. We then observed two particles and predicted solubility of each for a wet lab tomorrow.
Leadership & Life Skills
– finish First Quarter skills worksheet on MS Excel
– finish the written statements to expressions worksheet
– finish crossword puzzle
– assessment on adjectives and “ser”
– test on Of Mice and Men (Friday)
– final drafts of both Depression-era stories are due on Monday, 11/19
– none (unless MAD review article #2 requires revisions)
November 14, 2007 (Day 61)
In Morning Meeting, we reviewed the agenda for the day, and then Mr. Kreutner read a story to us. It related to his sister whose oldest dog will soon pass away, and he explained that it connected to our prior talks about empathy (and its difference with sympathy) and the noble goal to have real relationships with others (and animals). The story came from a Sports Illustrated NFL columnist about the passing of his family’s dog named Woody. We then watched CNN Student news, and the main story included an update on understanding how MRSA works. It detailed how recent research shows that it blows up immune cells, and this information will be used in developing weapons against MRSA. We also saw how Georgia’s governor led a prayer for rain in the drought-stricken state. We have tracked the drought this year through the Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska, and we have seen pictures and read updates through the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. Governor Sonny Perdue made the following comments in his prayer: “We come here very reverently and respectfully to pray up a storm.”
This did allow us to have a discussion about the Constitution and its sections pertaining to religion. The prayer ceremony did bring protestors who felt it should have been held off of state government property, and then we then talked about the intersection of religion and government and schools. This led to an interesting connection from yesterday, and it relates to another example of a government/military official publicly praying for a desired weather outcome. Yesterday, one of the students remarked that he had met a descendant of World War II general George Patton. This led to our bringing this reference up again, and we talked about how our military employs chaplains from innumerable faiths to attend to the spiritual needs of our soldiers, andPatton even asked his lead chaplain to compose a prayer for good weather to relieve the German siege of Bastogne in 1944. Although we did reflect and talk about the extraordinarily complicated notion that a higher power could choose sides during war, Americans certainly feel WWII was our justum bellum (Just War) and the prayer composed embodies this:
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.” – James H. O’Neill, Chief Chaplain of the U.S. Third Army
The final story was about the display of items from King Tut’s tomb in England. Egypt will make millions from the rental of these items to institutions in other countries, and the popularity of them means the British Museum will recoup its costs and ultimately make a profit from tickets and merchandise sales. This economics lesson reinforced what we learned earlier this year in Math about queue theory and statistical modeling. The British Museum uses data from prior exhibitions and can predict income based on advance sales of tickets. We then reviewed the general procedures related to the SAT, and this entailed talking about the reasons for these policies. We discovered that a lot of the rules stem from security concerns. This also allowed us to talk about the need to get comfortable with the test by exploring it and taking some practice sections, but excessive attention and preparation will likely lead to anxiety. Mrs. Logan then gave us some more advice and insight, and she administered a practice multiple-choice writing section to us. Upon completion, we reviewed each question with her, and we discovered (as we did with the essay sample), that is was not as daunting as we feared before our examination of the SAT began last week.
We then headed to Poe’s restaurant on Sullivan’s Island, and this meal was a celebration of our semester-long study of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. About half the group ordered the Tell-Tale Heart sandwich (chicken breast or hamburger topped with an egg)! We were joined for lunch by mentor Bucky Buchanan, and he led us for the rest of the day.
Before our first-hand exploration of Fort Moultrie, we checked out the information center located across the street.
The views of the ocean and the harbor were spectacular, and we gained a good feel for the combination of formal fortifications and earthen embankments.
Although a former military installation, the setting was serene and ideal for on-site reflection on what he learned.
Our main activity involved learning about Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island. We went to the visitors’ center, and we got a sense of the fort’s history through the displays and the film we watched. We then broke into groups and explored the fort. As our time wound down, we gathered together to reflect quietly in our field journals about the similarities and differences between Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie. The contrast was in the forefront of our mind because our perspective gave us a strong sense of the proximity of Fort Sumter and the narrowness of Charleston Harbor’s opening. Upon returning to campus, we were joined by mentors Chris Marsh and Zach Thames. We gave them an account of our day, and then they guided us through an exercise to gather everyone’s thoughts on our field journal reflection question. The primary lessons we took away were the obsolescence that was produced in both by the advent of air power, the condition (Fort Sumter is in much worse shape in comparison to its original form) differences of the two forts as related to their distinct histories, and the design differences that stem from their locations.
November 13, 2007 (Day 60)
In Morning Meeting, we continued our acclimation process with the College Board’s website in preparation for the SAT (Duke TIP participants). We also watched CNN Student news, and all of the stories featured an environmental theme. We learned more about the oil spill in San Francisco Bay, and we got an approximate sense for the size of the 60,000 gallons released. This also gave us a chance to understand the tools used to contain spills and clean affected animals, and this relates to our recent studies in chemistry and mixtures. The poor weather in the Black Sea has led to a loss of life and to major oil spills, and the choppy water means a poor outlook for the environment there because it will preclude containment of the oil. We also learned more about the drought in the Southeast, a topic we have spent regular time on. Because of a chain of natural events (i.e. less precipitation, less accumulated snow, less snow available to melt), the natural stream that provides Orme, Tennessee with water has essentially run dry. The town is forced to truck in water, and taps can only be used for three hours a day. This could be an advance warning for other towns as the water crisis deepens. The last story prompted an economics discussion. The supply of helium has decreased because of less government production, but demand has steadily increased. As word of the supply crunch has spread, purchasers of helium have started to stockpile additional canisters, and this has increased the cost to consumers because the retailers have to pay a fee for the canister rentals. This is a typical response to the threat of shortages, and we talked about how this was seen a few years ago with the flu vaccine. There was enough available for those who needed it, but the perception of acute shortage led to a run on the available supply. In Math, we examined the properties of quadrilaterals and evaluated our understanding of manipulating positive and negative numbers. In Spanish, we collaborated to correct an email to Mrs. Rowland. We also continued our study of adjectives. In Humanities, we talked about the content and format of the verbal and writing (non-essay) sections of the SAT. This was in preparation for the practice writing (non-essay) section we will take and review tomorrow. We also learned and talked about the European settlement of Virginia, and this entailed discussion John Smith, Jamestown, and the Native Americans of this region.
In Art, Ms. Johnson brought native flora, and sketched flowers and other plants of our own choosing. Her prompting and feedback are making us more confident and capable artists! In Science, we built upon our mixtures lab from last week. This involved learning more about mixtures, solutions, solute, and solvents. We also discovered the difference between saturated and unsaturated.
Leadership & Life Skills
– review PowerPoint presentation on class webpage
– study adjectives (vocabulary) and take sample quiz
– bring some pictures
– quiz on Thursday on “ser” and adjectives
– chapters 7&8 due on Thursday
– final drafts of both essays (Depression-era narratives) due Thursday
– Of Mice and Men test on Friday
– complete article review #2 for MAD project
November 12, 2007 (Day 59)
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news. We also learned about Mr. Kreutner’s trip to Washington D.C., and we saw some pictures of the National Zoo. He explained that the pandas are a big draw, and they are “rented” from the Chinese government for several million dollars. Zoos participate in this exchange to help the effort to maintain this species through breeding, and although the cost is steep, zoos offset the fees through increased attendance because of the wildly popular panda bears. This also allowed us to grasp that the zoo is part of the federal government’s Smithsonian Institution, and the museums of the Smithsonian are open at no cost to visitors (the expense is borne by federal government). This led to connections with Veterans Day. Through a multi-media exploration, we learned about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the first black memorial in D.C. and designed by a 20-year-old Asian student at Yale) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We looked at pictures of both, and then we watched a video of the somber and precision actions of the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This gave us the chance to talk about the elaborate rituals humans have for processing death and for conveying respect, and we also made the connection to the earlier photos we saw of the caskets of American soldiers (fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq) being treated with great honor in the cavernous cargo space of a military transport plane. Although these events are not public, the dead soldiers are treated with the utmost respect and in an impressive manner. In Math, we took our assessment on shapes, measurement, order of operations, and algebraic properties. We then independently explored the SAT Math section primer on the College Board’s website. This gave us a chance to see what the section comprises and gain familiarity with what is expected of the Duke TIP participants on the SAT. We kept notes on items that we encountered with which we were unfamiliar, and this will allow us to better understand them. In Spanish, we corrected and email and discussed the differences between “ser” and “estar.” Mrs. Rowland also led us through a grammar lesson about adjectives that helped us to better understand their use in English and Spanish. In Humanities, we looked even more deeply at Armistice Day (11/11/1918) to expand our understanding of Veterans Day. We also compared and contrasted the film version of Of Mice and Men that we watched on Friday with the book. In Science, we discussed organic and inorganic compounds and how these contribute to water pollution. We also finished the laboratory exploration from Thursday’s lab on mixtures. Mentor Zach Thames joined us after lunch and spent the rest of the day with us.
Leadership & Life Skills
– complete exploration of the SAT Math section on the CollegeBoard’s website
– This includes composing a written reflection about what you have learned.
– complete Acts 2 & 4 on pages 40-41
– complete Acts 1 & 2 on p. 50
– transcribe and learn the adjectives on pages 48-49
– read and take notes on Chapter 5 on John Smith
– final drafts of the two papers on the Depression-era narratives are due Th., 11/15
– test on Of Mice and Men on Friday, 11/16
– MAD project review article #2 due on Wednesday, 11/4