January 17, 2008 (Day 93)
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news. The stories were rich with links today to our studies and experiences, and this led to several pauses in the webcast to pose and answer questions (and to elaborate on each story). The main story reviewed the Michigan primaries, and we talked further about how each major party is running the presidential selection process (no level of government administers these elections), and they have had to discipline state parties for deviating from the schedule that the respective national party created for the order of primaries and caucuses. We also had a conversation about South Carolina’s unique early role in the process, and this means we get a disproportionate share of attention (and this includes the running of ads and personal appearances) from the candidates. In less than two weeks, the current frenzy of activity and media cacophony will end in a fairly startling way. We also continued our analysis of newspaper endorsements, and we read today’s Post and Courier endorsement of John McCain in the Republican primary that is held on Saturday. McCain has been the clear winner of the endorsement “race” on the Republican side. We also made connections between today’s article about Mount Pleasant Waterworks’ proposal for fines for stormwater pollution and our ongoing study of water this year (and our first-hand experiences at water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities in Mount Pleasant). Mentor Zach Thames did not have school today, and he arrived at the start of Math class and stayed for the rest of the day. In Math, our areas of focus were really large and really small numbers (including fractions). It is important to have a good “sense” of scale as we learned earlier in the year for making informed estimations, and this will be an important skill as we move into smaller units of measurement for our work in science. To get a firm grasp on some units, we practiced activities, including keeping silent, for different multiples of 10 seconds. In Spanish, Mrs. Rowland administered our vocabulary quiz, and then we reviewed it. We also practiced using the verb “to like” and gained experienced with infinitives (ex. to do, to spell, to work, etc.). In Humanities, our class focused on the middle English colonies in America. Our discussion centered on William Penn and the Society of Friends/Quakers who largely populated Pennsylvania. We talked in depth about Penn and the characteristics of Quakers, and there was also time to compare the three distinct colonial regions, especially in terms of religion and religious roots. In Science, we completed a written test on the chemistry of life (aka “biochemistry”). We also worked on formatting graphs using MS Excel. We ranked the terms insoluble, partially soluble, and soluble with numbers 1-3. Ranking terms with numbers is a technique used in science to graph ideas.
* School is closed on Friday, 1/18 for faculty in-service and on Monday, 1/21 in observation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. School will resume on Tuesday, 1/22.
Leadership & Life Skills
– review if you are having trouble with “to like”
– consider completing some of the extra credit opportunities that are available to you
– The Scarlet Letter chapters 8&9 are due
– Completed lab reports (lab #4) with the graphs are due today (Thursday, 1/17). They can be emailed to Mrs. Ewing.
January 16, 2008 (Day 92)
In Morning Meeting, we talked about our agenda for the day, and then we launched into a time bloc to work on independent study courses (ex. writing, algebra, geometry, music history, etc.). We then headed downtown to explore the newly opened Old Slave Mart Museum on Chalmers Street.The City of Charleston acquired the location in 1987, and the museum opened in October 2007. We received an informative and engaging guided tour from the Museum’s curator, Nichole Green, and the rest of the museum staff. Although we knew Charleston’s and Sullivan’s Island’s importance to the imported and domestic slave trade, it was shocking to see first-hand implements of slavery, the treatment of enslaved people as property, and the peculiar handling of enslaved people for sale (plucking gray hairs, outfitting in new clothes, etc.).
The cost-basis for each age of an enslaved person was also startling and repugnant. A unique architectural feature of the Museum is that it is technically an alleyway between the two adjacent buildings, and this means the different featured segments are on “floating walls” that are connected to the ceiling because the museum does not own the walls. Overall, it was a powerful experience. We then went to Santi’s Restaurante Mexicano for lunch. Known for its authentic Mexican fare, we enjoyed the chance to use our budding Spanish knowledge outside of the classroom. Our meals were delicious, and some of us ventured outside of our normal “comfort zones’ and ate regional specialties such as “pork and cactus!”
We then drove a half-mile up Meeting Street to Magnolia Cemetery, and it lies nestled against the Cooper River. This has been the final resting place for many of Charleston’s oldest families, and we were amazed at the family sections that we saw in this sprawling area. The cold winter weather combined with the deterioration caused by time (and tree roots pushing up) created a haunting environment. This was also the first time many of us had seen markers for Confederate war dead from the American Civil War.
We also saw the section containing the two crews of the Hunley submarine. Before leaving, we made some rubbings from some of the markers we found touching or beautiful in the cemetery. The day’s experience of seeing the Old Slave Mart Museum and Magnolia Cemetery made a powerful impression on us about this era of America’s history.
January 15, 2008 (Day 91)
In Morning Meeting, we reviewed this month’s email newsletter to the University School community. We also talked about preparation for planned experiences. Just as we do advanced studies in anticipation of guest speakers and Learning Outside the Classroom experiences, we must make it a habit to study and learn about opportunities (ex. future schooling and job interviews) before jumping into them. One of our classmates is doing an internship/shadow day at a local animal hospital, and she became familiar with the practice and the staff veterinarians by reviewing the website. She also crafted questions to ask about the animal medicine and the practice itself. We will do the same when we have our own internship/shadow day. In Math, we studied mixed numbers, and then we practiced individually and in groups (both with and without calculators) on the board. In Spanish, we collaborated in pairs to review our vocabulary (sports terminology). Mrs. Rowland then led us in a discussion about the use of infinitives (ex. to do, to run). In Humanities, Mr. Roger Smith was our guest instructor for our monthly poetry day. The poems that we looked at and discussed for meaning included the following: “The Road Not Taken” (1920) by Robert Frost, “The Hound” (1936) by Robert Francis, “Constantly Risking Absurdity” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars” (1649) by Richard Lovelace. This exercise also allowed us to become more comfortable with poetry terms and the study of poetry. In Art, we have now moved into cartooning, and Mrs. Johnson explained to us the value of this style and its widespread use in many areas. For example, our ongoing academic study of persuasive paragraphs and marketing/advertising has allowed us to see a lot of examples of cartoons and cartoon characters. Mentor Zach Thames arrived at the end of Art and spent the rest of the day with us. In Science, we identified the four macromolecules of life, and we also listed the characteristics of life. These are the main topics of the test on Thursday. Mrs. Ewing has distributed a total of five handouts as part of our learning and preparation. One was basic chemistry, and the other four sheets were stapled together. These handouts are the notes for the upcoming test, and we will need to master these for the test.
** Learning Outside the Classroom – students will need $10 for lunch at Santi’s, a collared USL shirt, appropriate warm dress for the weather, and field journal & writing utensil. We are visiting the Old Slave Mart, eating at Santi’s, and then touring Magnolia Cemetery.
Leadership & Life Skills
– revise/correct your paragraph on Islam for Wednesday, 1/16
– page 278, complete problems 7-36 & 45-59 Odd
– study all of the vocabulary on pages 94-98
– study all of the notes on p. 100
– complete the worksheets
– on Wednesday, 1/16, quiz on poetry and poetry terms
– 1) Lab #4 report due on Wednesday, 1/16
– 2) test on biochemistry and characteristics of life on Thursday
January 14, 2008 (Day 90)
In Morning Meeting, we had the option to further study Islam in preparation for our guest speaker or to work on vocabulary at freerice.com. Imam Mohammad Melhem from the Central Mosque of Charleston arrived and talked about Islam with us. He placed it in context of other world religions and made clear the many similarities to Christianity and Judaism (as well as some of the differences). We marveled at how some of our perceptions of the faith changed from his presentation and his answers to our questions. He put it most succinctly that in all faiths and religions there are those that are good and those that are bad, and this helped us to better understand the horrible actions undertaken by some in the name of Islam (and other religions) both recently and throughout history. In short, it was very enlightening and enjoyable, and we hope to visit the Central Mosque in the near future. In Math, we took our assessment on fractions. In Spanish, a crossword puzzle proved a worthy challenge to show our vocabulary mettle, and then we spent some time practicing our new vocabulary (related to sports like football, soccer, swimming, etc.) orally. Mrs. Rowland then quickly checked us with a pop quiz, and we reviewed it. In Humanities, Mrs. Logan created a two-part class for us today. In part one, we discussed the threat of separation facing Pearl and Scarlet in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. In part two, we continued our work on the development of persuasive paragraphs. This involved looking at sample ads from magazines because they entail concise written (and visual) efforts to entice consumers to purchase their products, and then we continued crafting our own written examples. In Science, we worked on our revised MAD project. Some of us chose to continue with the original MAD assignment. Others are pursuing a more expressive MAD2 project which involves creating a comic, song, and/or skit to proclaim a public notice about water. MAD2 students will develop a digital video based on the best ideas submitted.
Leadership & Life Skills
– organized binders for each class are due tomorrow (the guidelines are on top of the Moodle page and/or use your sample binder as a model)
– If you have not done so today, submit your handwritten “write a paragraph to a friend explaining Islam” assignment to Mr. Kreutner on Tuesday
– complete the fractions and word problems worksheet
– email #2
– study all vocabulary on pages 94-98
– transcribe the vocabulary on page 98
– complete Acts 6&7 on page 98
– persuasive paragraph due tomorrow
– follow directions on the handout and place ten poetry terms on index cards
– lab report for Thursday’s lab is due on Wednesday, 1/16