2007-2008: Week 14 Reflections

November 20, 2007 (Day 65)


In Morning Meeting, we used our completed MS Excel document containing our leadership, and we continued our analysis of them.  We already conducted sorts and comparative analysis of each skill between the periods, and today we crafted responses to reflection questions posed by Mr. Kreutner on our on-line classroom.  This gave us the chance to pause and see our strengths, weaknesses, and trends.  We also set forth plans for improvements in our written submissions.  In Math, we focused on mathematical differences today.  This entailed using meteorological and geological data about the United States.  We looked at high and low temperatures in several cities, and we also used data from the U.S. Geological Survey to ascertain the highest and lowest points in each state.  We then performed comparative analysis and were able to get a sense of the differences in all of these locations.  In Spanish, we took a quiz and then reviewed it.  Practicing describing people by writing and by speaking was our next activity, and we concluded the class with a short webcast video that connected to our use of adjectives for descriptions.  In Humanities, we discussed the evolution of European colonization of the Americas.  1619 was a big year in particular for the English colonies in North America.  It witnessed the first boatload of women, the first boatload of enslaved Africans, the first labor strike, the first elected lawmakers, and the first instance of English settlers receiving permission to own land.  This conversation introduced a number of new terms for us, including collective bargaining.  We also began to look at the reasons for the Mayflower Pilgrims arrival at Plymouth, and the issues of religious freedom and religious tolerance were critical.  In light of our recent study of Jamestown, we speculated as to what it must have been like to cross the Atlantic and to be a member of the first settlement.  We also considered the response and mindset of the indigenous peoples who first saw Europeans and European technology.  This led us to watch segments of The New World (2005), a film of historical fiction (we only know so much about the participants, especially the Native Americans) about the Native Americans of the Chesapeake and the arrival of Jamestown settlers.  Mentor Zach Thames joined us after lunch and spent the rest of the day with us.  In Science, we gathered in our groups for the Making a Difference (MAD) project.  This allowed us to collaborate on research and on analysis of articles.

November 19, 2007 (Day 64)

In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  The stories were exceptionally powerful today, and we were able to talk further for clarity and understanding after each.  The first involved the cyclone in Bangladesh.  The use of Google Earth allowed us to see the area of impact, and we made connections to other significant events we have learned about in the area.  This included the domestic turmoil in Pakistan to the west, the Pakistan-India tensions to the west, and the anti-government protests led by monks in Myanmar to the east.  We talked about why the death toll was so high, and we zeroed in on infrastructure and communication weaknesses.  This gave us the chance to talk about how America and other countries have joined together to help several Asian nations with tsunami warning systems in the past few years, and ideally a similar effort can be made for cyclones.  We also got a sense for the latest Democratic Party debate in Nevada, and this included understanding Hillary Clinton’s response to the attention to her as the front-runner.  Finally, we watched a heartwrenching story about a teenager who took her own life, and it is felt a false friendship on her MySpace page played a role in her suicide.  This led to a thoughtful conversation about the advantages technology has provided us for efficient and fast communication.  However, the drawback is sometimes less meaningful and less personal contact than one can have when meeting in person.  This can also affect the tone and type of statements one may make to another.  Therefore, we must strive to remember we are dealing with human beings and not electronic avatars: what we say can have a profound effect on others.  Just because one cannot see another’s physical response does not give one license to act or speak callously.  In Math, we took our assessment on order of operations and algebraic expressions. We also looked at a sample SAT Math section, and we reviewed the directions and layout.  Time remained for us to work on ten sample problems, and there were two student-created solution questions in this set.  Mr. Kreutner led us through an examination of six of them (including one of the student-created solution questions), and this provided an opportunity for us to see where we stood in the following areas: translating written problems into mathematical expressions, degrees in a circle with intersecting lines, and plotting and solving problems on a two-axis graph.  In Spanish, we reviewed our test from Friday and last night’s homework.  We then orally practiced asking and telling each other about our birthdays and other personal information.  In Humanities, Mrs. Logan collected our history essays, and then we examined some more poetry.  We read “The Wreck of the Deutschland” by Gerald Manley Hopkins and a few others by e.e. cummings.  This activity allowed us to gain a sense of poetic diction, a sonnet, and tone.  We were also able to talk about the question of “what happened in Jamestown?” from our study of America’s European colonial history.  In Science, we worked independently on our MAD project, reading articles and crafting our reviews of them.  Mrs. Ewing also consulted individually with us on our project and plans.  At the end of the day, we were visited by Dr. Tom Horton (a member of our Board of Visitors).  We gave him a tour of the school and talked with him about our experiences, and he told us about how he was Mr. Kreutner’s history teacher in high school.

Leadership & Life Skills
– finish skills sheet in MS Excel

– complete worksheet for Mr. Longanecker
– finish the 10 SAT Math questions we looked at in class today

– study pages 52 & 54
– answer Acts 10 & 12 in complete sentences on pages 54-55

– read and take notes on chapters 10 & 13

– lab reports from Friday’s lab are due tomorrow

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