2007-2008: Week 19 Reflections

January 4, 2008 (Day 84)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news, and the key story looked at the results from last night’s caucuses in Iowa.  We used this as a springboard to look at the exit poll results for each primary.  In the Republican race, it was startling to see Mike Huckabee predominate in just about every category and every question among caucus participants.  As for the Democratic caucus, Barack Obama dominated in the exit poll surveys, but John Edwards and Hillary Clinton did have some victories.  This also allowed us to talk about the methodology behind predicting winners based on exit polls and early returns, and we looked at how one must be careful in making predictions based on a test case involving selecting a beverage.  We also checked the major candidates’ websites to see how they have responded to their performance in Iowa.  We were surprised to see that Huckabee’s site had not been updated yet to reflect his victory, but all of the other contenders in both parties were framing the results as best they could.  In Math, we reviewed fractions, and this was done through a presentation using Microsoft’s Equation Editor.  This tool can be used across all Office products to write mathematical and scientific equations.  In Spanish, we watched the second episode of the Spanish-language “soap opera” that we started last semester.  We then talked about what happened, and we were proud at how adept we have become at understanding spoken Spanish.  We then concluded the period with a conversation about where the Spanish speakers in America have come from.  In Humanities, we made connections between the witch hunts in Salem, Massachusetts and similar episodes that have occurred in our nation’s history.  Examples that we brought up included the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the Communist black list / McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, and the post-9/11 response to many foreigners and Muslims.  In Science, students critiqued the graphs completed for Lab #3.  A grading rubric was developed from the critiques.  Continuing the sharpening of critical thinking skills, the students were challenged to apply the chemical knowledge obtained in the first semester to categorize 5 basic molecules of life.  Today it was chemically confirmed that each of the biomolecules were composed of water (H, 0, H).  The students were able to distinguish organic and inorganic molecules visually and chemically by viewing diagrams.  In Flex Time, we talked about additional “pocket” and self-directed academic courses that we can pursue based upon our interests.

Assignments
L&L Skills
– find your way to the Duke TIP site and explore independent study products and e-studies courses. Get a sense of what you are interested in by examining the descriptions, syllabi, and sample lessons. This links to our discussion today about plans for spring and the upcoming year.

Math
– review quiz
– p. 246 35-38 and p. 262 1 & 7-10

Spanish
– start making your own personal list of Spanish words to learn. Review Unit 2 and be ready to start Unit 3

Humanities
– Read chapter 6 “Pearl” in The Scarlet Letter

Science
– Due Wednesday, 1/9 – revisions to the MAD project

January 3, 2008 (Day 83)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we started the new year and the new semester by sharing stories about the holiday break.  We also watched CNN Student News, and the main story involved today’s caucuses in Iowa.  This deepened our understanding of the caucus system and got us prepared to follow the coverage during tonight’s news.  Our ongoing study of the candidates and the American system of presidential campaigns has been enlightening!  In Math, Mr. Longanecker brought puzzles with geometric shapes for us to see the relationships between some of the concepts we have studied this year in a more “hands-on” manner.  We then competed against each other in groups to solve several of the puzzles.  In Spanish, we reviewed our Unit 2 test that concluded the second semester, and this refresher left us ready to begin our study of Spanish anew.  Mrs. Rowland also walked us through an outline for the upcoming semester.  In Humanities, we examined major themes in colonial America, and they included religion, tolerance (racial, religious, etc.), and women.  This linked to our current novel, The Scarlet Letter, and we briefly reviewed the story up to chapter 6.  Mrs. Logan also engaged the class in a discussion of the Iowa caucuses and the candidates, and we referred to our portfolios that we have built in the class about the major party contenders. In Science, we critiqued bar graphs from our precision measurement and standardization lab.  We also met in groups and individually with Mrs. Ewing about our MAD (Making a Difference) project portfolios that we submitted before the break.

Assignments
Leadership & Life Skills
– spend at least 10 minutes before bed getting a sense of the coverage of the Republican and Democratic caucuses in Iowa

Math
– none

Spanish
– read the scenes of the 2nd excerpt of the Soap Opera on pp. 76-78. Answer questions 1-3 on page 77 and questions 1-2 on page 78.

Humanities
– Read and take notes on chapter 20 in history text. Also read chapter 6 “Pearl” in The Scarlet Letter.

Science
– Due Friday, 1/4 – bar graph analysis.
– Due Wednesday, 1/9 – revisions to the MAD project.

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