December 14, 2007 (Day 80)
In Morning Meeting, we continued to craft and refine our on-line reflection about our experiences over the last two weeks (both in the classroom and for Learning Outside of the Classroom). In Math, in a collaborative exercise, we tackled four complex fraction problems. It was a challenge, but we enhanced our understanding of manipulating and solving fraction-based questions. In Spanish, we continued our use and understanding of the preposition “de.” In preparation for our Unit test on Monday, we took a practice quiz and reviewed it. In Humanities, we took our test on The Scarlet Letter and poetry (esp. figurative language). Upon completing the assessment, we continued building our 2008 presidential candidates’ file folders containing facts about the aspirants from the two major parties. In Science, we took stock of the semester’s studies by heading over to the Shem Creek Boat Landing dock. In our ongoing examination of water, this is a location we have repeatedly frequented. While there, we composed written reflections about the spheres of the Earth, the components of an estuary, the building blocks of life, and questions we still ponder (these will connect to areas we will study in the near future). In the evening, we had our students & mentors holiday party. We enjoyed talking about the year, recounting our joint experiences, and watching the movie Home Alone.
Leadership & Life Skills
– revise/complete any outstanding Moodle assignments (grammar, Depression-era stories, reflection on the last two weeks)
1) 15/42 + 13/45
2) 97/126 – 13/45
3) 13/70 + 17/45
4) 59/66 – 17/110
– Unit 2 (pages 44-85) test on Monday
– write a short essay
– read chapters 17 & 18 in your history text and take notes
– “Making a Difference” (MAD) folder is due on Monday, 12/17. This includes four articles and one proposal paper.
December 13, 2007 (Day 79)
In Morning Meeting, we prepared for our work as ushers for Hibben Preschool’s Christmas program today, and then we watched CNN Student news. The main story connected to our ongoing studies of the 2008 presidential campaign, and it provided a recap and some highlights from yesterday’s Republican candidates’ debate in Iowa. Other stories included a look at the recruitment strategies used by Britain’s MI-5 (equivalent to our FBI) and MI-6 (equivalent to the CIA), and Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat idea is present in what they are doing. In sharp contrast to the stereotype of James Bond, they are looking for people who a representative of the greater world. To reach potential candidates, they have placed “ads” in virtual worlds and on-line gaming programs. Fascinating! The final story defined the term socioeconomics and reviewed a recent report that showed that America has the strongest correlation among family wealth and performance academically, and this linked to another study that showed America’s pedestrian performance in comparison to the world’s leaders (Japan, Finland, and Canada) in academics. We then talked about how the funding of schools in America is typically tied to property tax largely, and poorer areas tend to tax themselves at a higher rate than average but still yield less money per student. So, this tends to create a situation where our free public schooling system in America does not create equality of educational opportunity for all of America’s children. Again, in thinking in terms of Friedman’s The World is Flat, this is troubling for America in the long-term. In Math, we focused on prime factors and fractions. In Spanish, we reviewed our homework and then looked at “to like” in a different manner. We also deepened our understanding of the preposition “de” (from). We then headed across campus to serve as ushers for Hibben Preschool’s Christmas program. We also enjoyed the experience: it was fun to watch the kids we work with. The children were exuberant, and their parents were very proud to watch them in action. Afterwards, we visited Ms. Pat’s room for refreshments with the five-year-olds and their families (and they paid us a lot of nice compliments)! We then returned to Humanities and completed our colonial New England quiz. After lunch, we reflected on some questions that Mr. Kreutner posed to us about this semester and our experiences. This was an on-line/Moodle assignment. Mentor Zach Thames arrived after lunch and joined us for the rest of the day. In Science, we broke into our groups and finalized and compiled our “Making a Difference” article reviews and project proposal that are due tomorrow.
Leadership and Life Skills
– p. 205, #s 14, 15, 16, 19, and 22
– p 209, #s 16, 17, and 19
– complete the worksheet on the back of today’s notes
– Unit test (pages 46-85) on Monday, December 17
– Christmas in Mexico Moodle assignment due Tuesday, December 18
– test (chapters 1-5 in The Scarlet Letter and poetry, esp. figurative language)
– “Making a Difference” (MAD) folder is due on Monday, 12/17. Students receive +5 credit for turning it in on Friday, 12/14. This includes four articles and one proposal paper.
December 12, 2007 (Day 78)
To begin our day, we had a nice presentation about Kwanzaa from two members of the Charleston Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee. Ms. Nesbit and Ms. Ahliellah explained the origins of the festival in the 1960s, and they detailed the traditions that are inherent to it. We marveled at the similarities among the religious and cultural holidays we have examined so far this year, and this is especially seen in the use of candle lighting and singing.
We then headed to the kitchen and baked over 600 cookies — both ready-made and from scratch. After cleaning the kitchen, we counted, sorted, and assembled containers of cookies for our Learning Outside the Classroom teachers/hosts, friends of USL, and for “random acts of kindness.”). The afternoon was spent delivering the cookies and recounting the joy of giving back upon our return to campus.
December 11, 2007 (Day 77)
In Morning Meeting, we exercised in the gym and talked about our upcoming events with the Hibben Preschool students (working with the 5-year-olds on Spanish today and serving as ushers at their holiday program on Thursday). In Math, we explored Prime Numbers and Prime Factors. In Spanish, we reviewed our homework, and then we went to the 5-year-old Kindergarten class and taught them some elementary Spanish. We had a nice time with them, and they enjoyed learning some of the basic words and phrases for social interaction (“hello”, “good bye”, “how are you”, “I am fine” etc. Upon returning to our classroom, Mrs. Rowland taught us about using the word “like.” In Humanities, social life in a typical New England village was the topic for the day, and we enjoyed discovering more about life, school, and religion at this time and place (especially in comparison to our lives today). We also continued our focus on the 2008 presidential election, and this meant learning more about who’s who in order to round out our knowledge of the candidates in the two major parties. In Art, we maintained our study of portraits, and we had the opportunity to sketch a few more samples and to receive guidance from Mrs. Johnson. Mentor Zach Thames arrived during Art and spent the rest of the day with us. In Science, we worked with our partners on our MAD projects – researching and completing our proposals.
Leadership & Life Skills
– for Wednesday, research Kwanzaa in preparation for tomorrow’s speakers
– for Wednesday, bring at least 2 packets of ready-to-bake cookie dough
– for Thursday, factor these numbers: 1092, 660, and 1386
– for Thursday, p.199 #s 13-35
– for Thursday, study the new grammar on p.70 & take notes
– for Thursday, complete Act 34 on p. 69
– for Thursday, study #2 well and complete Act 37 carefully
– for Thursday, quiz (open-notes) on history text chapters 10, 13, 15, 16
– for Friday, test (chapters 1-5 in The Scarlet Letter and poetry, esp. figurative language)
– for Friday, “Making a Difference” (MAD) folder is due. This includes four articles and one proposal paper.
December 10, 2007 (Day 76)
In Morning Meeting, we reviewed our on-line course (Moodle) grammar exercise in active/passive voice. Mr. Kreutner explained the value of active voice in strong writing, and then we rewrote sample sentences and placed them in active voice. In Math, we took our weekly assessment, and then we continued to deepen our understanding of fractions and number characteristics. In Spanish, we reviewed what we learned last week, and then we spent some time preparing for our class with the Hibben Kindergarteners tomorrow. Mrs. Rowland also guided us in a discussion of some new grammar (p. 68). In Humanities, the period divided neatly between two major areas. First, we delved again into argument-making and persuasion, and this took the forms of oral and written debates. Making a strong statement of one’s position with powerful proof was the key lesson we learned. We practiced this by writing pro and con arguments for several issues, and this enabled us to better grasp both sides of the topic. We also had a conversation about faith in America, and this linked to our reading of The Scarlet Letter and to recent news in the 2008 presidential campaign. In Flex-time, Mr. Kreutner showed us a New York Times article that connects to one of our group’s MAD project for Science. We then reviewed the difference between a primary and secondary source, and we talked about the need to critically examine sources we come upon. This meant that we should look at sources that are referenced in our articles, and, therefore, we looked at some of the institutions that were mentioned in this article on ocean wave power (“Efforts to Harvest Ocean’s Energy Open New Debate Front”). We also talked about how internet search engines can be manipulated because relevance (rank order) is typically based on the number of links that are made to the site. As we learned earlier this year, the domain (.com, .org, .edu, etc.) also says a lot about the site, but one must pay attention to the details to evaluate a site’s credibility. We saw this when Mr. Kreutner showed us that the #4 ranked site on Google for Martin Luther King, Jr. (important because the holiday honoring him is next month) is martinlutherking.org, and it is hosted by a white supremacist group, Stormfront, that strives to destroy MLK, Jr.’s legacy in a very subtle way. One cannot easily see this when examining the look of the site, but the tone is clear. In Science, the students spend time researching their MAD topics. Mrs. Ewing worked with each individual group to help them focus on their topics. Among the topics, the students are researching how to clean water for drinking water, what industrial pollutants are being released by American companies in foreign water ways, how can we better manage our storm water practices, and can we benefit from tidal energy. Each of the projects seems to have huge areas of current research to tap. The students are beginning to realize that YES! They can Make a Difference!
Leadership & Life Skills
– submit on-line corrections to Active/Passive voice exercise
– complete on-line grammar exercise for the use of commas, colons, and semi-colons
– find all of the prime numbers between 1 and 100
– study and take notes on p. 68
– complete Acts 32 & 33 on pages 68&69
– Unit test on Monday, December 17
– Christmas in Mexico Moodle assignment due Tuesday, December 18
– typed paragraph on ONE of the three topics from class
– Quiz on Thursday (open-notes) on history text chapters 10, 13, 15, 16
– Test on Friday (chapters 1-5 in The Scarlet Letter and poetry, esp. figurative language)
– bring in one of your family’s homemade cookie recipes (for Wednesday’s LOTC)
– For Tuesday, completed introduction and problem statement for MAD proposal
– “Making a Difference” (MAD) folder is due this Friday, December 14. This includes four articles and one proposal paper.