2007-2008: Week 27 Reflections

February 29, 2008 (Day 121)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  The main stories involved an update on the economic slowdown in America and a look at an autistic girl who has learned to powerfully express herself with a computer.  We then analyzed the most recent Robert Arial cartoon from The (Columbia) State newspaper.  We were able to grasp the imagery and the message about Ralph Nader and the Democratic party – he is siphoning gas (votes) from the Demccratic bus.  This gave us a chance to talk about the impact of third party candidates In American politics.  The system, unlike in other countries, is set up to favor the two dominant parties.  However, third parties can bring issues to the forefront that get adopted by the major parties, and third party candidates can affect the outcome of races.  For example, Ralph Nader arguably affected the 2000 election by sapping support from Al Gore, and the same happened to George H.W. Bush in 1992 when Ross Perot ran as an economic conservative.   We continued the political humor theme by watching last weekend’s Saturday Night Live satire of the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton debates.  We then viewed a clip of Hillary Clinto referring to the SNL skit in the most recent debate.  In Math, we engaged in an M&M candy project about ratios, and we also consulted one-on-one with Mr. Longanecker.   We then reviewed our recent quiz and spent some more time on ratios.  In Spanish, we broke down our Unit 3.2 test and talked about our likes-dislikes project due next week.  In Humanities, we concluded the American Revolution from the British-perspective Webquest and completed the evaluation form.  Mentor Bucky Buchanan arrived during lunch and spent the rest of the day with us.  In Flex Time, we worked on Spanish projects and our women in American politics map activity.  We also played a version of tag in the gym (stay on the lines only) that he learned with the College of Charleston swim team.

February 28, 2008 (Day 120)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  One of the main stories looked at the earthquake that struck England.  This gave us the idea to look at the US Geological Survey map of earthquake zones for our country, and we saw that the three major zones in the continental United States are the Pacific coast, a central area of parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee, and here in coastal region of South Carolina.  We talked about how different construction materials respond in an earthquake, an idea that emerged because the video footage of England included a lot of brick veneer damage, and we linked this to the ACC concrete material used in Mixson that we saw earlier this week.  The next story looked at a possible stash of Nazi Germany seized valuables, possibly including the Russian Amber Room, that might be found in eastern Germany.  Using sonar technology and personal information from family members, the leader of this expedition feels they will have an answer in the coming weeks.  This story connected to the exhibition of art seized from Jewish owners by the Nazis that is currently on-display in Europe.  The owners were killed in the Holocaust, and there is a search on to locate possible relatives to return the art.  We then saw the agenda-setting power of newspapers.  This involved noticing that today’s Post and Courier ran a story (“Marine life in peril“) that echoed much of what Stratton Lawrence wrote about in the Charleston City Paper a month ago (“Water, Water Everywhere“).  We talked about how the print media affects that news coverage that television and radio provide, and this allowed us to see the differences between working for CCP and P&C.  Stratton Lawrence files 2-3 stories per week, and it is likely that Bo Petersen had more time to work on his story because the Post and Courier has more resources and reporters.  Finally, we continued our exploration of the post-American Civil War Reconstruction period, and this involved watching and discussing another webcast episode from the PBS-series Reconstruction: The Second Civil War.  In Math, the theme of the class involved rates and ratios.  In Spanish, we took our Unit 3.2 test, and this included an oral portion.  In Humanities, we split up into groups as we headed into the home stretch of our Webquest.  It is teaching us a lot about the British perspective on events leading up to the American Revolution, and this specifically includes the acts passed by Parliament in the years before independence was declared by the American colonies.  In Science, the full period was devoted to our pH lab.

Assignments
Leadership & Life Skills
– for Friday, 2/29 – Moodle resources for map analysis about women in politics in America — completed map and comments will be submitted; for Friday, 3/7 – Moodle on-line text about possible shadowing/career interests

Math
– for Friday, 2/29 – page 290 20-25, 33 and page 294 10-17, 22

Spanish
– for Friday, 2/29 – finish working on your project “Asi Soy Yo” due on Tuesday, March 4th; for Monday, 3/3 – read pages 120-121, take notes, and study info for Unit 3 test and finish working on your project “Asi Soy Yo” due on Tuesday, March 4th

Humanities
– for Friday, 2/29 – Webquest presentation and peer evaluations — have handout to turn in and be sure your role within your group’s presentation tomorrow is clear (* upcoming, read and take notes on chapters 20, 21, 24, and 27)

Science
– none

February 27, 2008 (Day 119)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  There were three major stories in the webcast.  The first looked at yesterday’s power outage in Florida that affected millions.  We paused after watching this, and we talked about how America’s power grid is connected and many different utilities and co-ops generate power.  Because it is connected, it is possible for different companies and different regions to purchase power from other areas.  This interconnectedness was partially the cause for the power disruption even though the source was a faulty connection and a fire at a substation.  Mr. Kreutner explained that this interconnectedness and the length of time it takes to build a new power station, led to Enron taking advantage of California’s power shortage a few years ago.  For example, California paid high rates for electricity from neighboring states, and Enron sold power from some of its California plants to out-of-state entities and then resold it back to California for a much higher price (pocketing the profits and passing the bill along to California).  The next story looked at the performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Pyongyang, North Korea.  Relations between North Korea and America have been poor since the Korean War of the early-1950s, and this event is viewed positively by both countries.  To provide context for the state of North Korea’s awful economy, we talked about how millions of North Koreans have starved to death because of poor harvests in the past decade, and the country is viewed as a pariah by many because of their authoritarian and hereditary leadership for the past half century.  To highlight these points, we examined a nighttime satellite image of Japan and the Korean peninsula, and South Korea almost looks like an island because there is so little electric lighting in North Korea.  Finally, we learned more about the efforts to display and locate the owners of art seized from Jewish citizens by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.  Because their owners perished in the Holocaust, it has been hard to find family connections and the rightful owner of various pieces of art.  We then read an overview of the recent Pew Forum on Religion and & Public Life report entitled “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.”  Reports by non-partisan groups like the Pew Research Center are invaluable to understanding aspects of our world that do not usually have data collected.  For example, the United States Census is critical in helping track developments in America through its every ten years mandate, but it does not look at religion in the depth that this survey does.  In our quest to gain religious literacy, this information will be vital to understanding where America has been and where it is headed on matters of faith and religion.  We then worked on our women in politics map analysis assignment.  This entails looking at rates of participation of women in different levels of government in all fifty states, and then we plot these results on a blank map of America.  Using shading and coloring techniques, we will look for patterns in the results.  In Spanish, we reviewed for tomorrow’s test, and we used a questions sheet that each one of us generated as the starting point for the preparation.  In Humanities, we worked on our Webquest, and it is providing us with a better understanding of the British perspective on events leading up to the American Revolution. In Science, we played Cranium, and then we took a knowledge survey about what we know about acids and bases.  This survey focused our attention on the subject, and then we watched a webcast on acids, bases, and pH.

Assignments
Leadership & Life Skills
– for Friday, 2/29 – Moodle resources for map analysis about women in politics in America;  for Friday, 3/7 – Moodle on-line text about possible shadowing/career interests

Math
– for Thursday, 2/28 – none

Spanish
– for Thursday, 2/28 – study pages 108 – 119 and 128 – 131 for Unit 3.2 test. Don’t forget to learn at least 10 extra personal words in order to get as many as 10 extra credit points; for Friday, 2/29 – finish working on your project “Asi Soy Yo” due on Tuesday, March 4th; for Monday, 3/3 – read pages 120-121, take notes, and study info for Unit 3 test and finish working on your project “Asi Soy Yo” due on Tuesday, March 4th

Humanities
– for Thursday, 2/28 – work on Webquest; for Friday, 2/29 – Webquest presentation and peer evaluations (* upcoming, read and take notes on chapters 20, 21, 24, and 27)

Science

– none

February 26, 2008 (Day 118)

Reflections
Before heading out for our Learning Outside the Classroom expeditions, we had math class.  We worked in groups and individually on tackling word problems that covered the spectrum of topics we have looked at this year.  We then drove to the Harvest Free Medical Clinic in North Charleston.  It shares a building with a clinic for Detyen’s Shipyard, and it an awesome sight to be in the midst of this industrial and port area.  Our visit deliberately coincided with the clinic’s Spanish-speaking patient day.  As we learned over the course of the morning, every worker at the clinic is a volunteer: there is no compensation for anybody.  The space was donated by a benefactor, and all donations to the clinic are used for patient care.  We met a nurse and a translator, and they both gave us an overview of the clinic’s operations.  Two patients were willing to let us see their exams with Dr. Robert Freeman, the clinic’s founder and sole physician, for their superficial injuries.  The value of the translator was clear, especially as one patient’s first language was Portuguese.   Dr. Freeman then showed us the computer database used for the patients, and this included a cool and comprehensive coding system for dispensing prescriptions.  We then saw the pharmacy area of the clinic, and Dr. Freeman explained that the clinic only purchases generic medications – essentially keeping prescription costs in the pennies.  The clinic also has an x-ray machine and some on-site lab equipment, and it serves non-English speaking patients and patients who fall below the poverty-line and are not yet eligible for federal government medical programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  The demand for the clinic’s services is overwhelming, and patients are seen largely by appointment.  Dr. Freeman cited a statistic that four are turned away for each appointment made.  We were impressed by his drive and commitment, especially as he has done this for six years without income after a career at MUSC and the VA hospital system.  We then drove to East Montague Drive for lunch at EVO: it is a great brick oven pizza place that is located in a revitalized area of North Charleston near the high school and not far from Park Circle.  After lunch, we walked to the information office for Mixson.  We watched a presentation about the genesis for the development, and we learned that the inspiration came from a small town in Italy named Luca.  This means a more intimate feel and includes buildings with arches over roadways. One of the key components is ACC (autoclaved cellular concrete), and it is used throughout Europe but is only now catching on in America.  It is concrete with air bubbles in it, and this makes it light and a strong insulator.  It is cast in large blocks, and Mixson will feature it in all of the buildings.  Although more expensive than traditional concrete, it also features great wind resistance.  In the wake of the hurricanes in Florida of the past decade, building codes have changed that make ACC an attractive product.  This is where Mixson purchases the product because it is not made in South Carolina.  We then drove to the development itself.  Although the rain affected our ability to fully tour the site, we were able to get a sense of this New Urbanism project.  Located on 44 acres, under typical suburban development, this would lead to about 180 homes on .25 acre lots.  Mixson is geared to build over 900 homes, and this includes “live-work” buildings so that the commercial needs of the residents are within walking distance.  They are also seeking LEED certification for the development and the homes (including interior appliances), and this includes the use of permeable pavers so that stormwater will soak back into the earth instead of adding a big burden to the stormwater system because of the high density of development.  After leaving Mixson, we met mentor Zach Thames back at school.  We shared our pictures of the day with him and wrote thank you cards for our hosts.

February 25, 2008 (Day 117)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we reviewed Charleston City Paper reporter Stratton Lawrence’s “Water, water, everywhere” article in preparation for his presentation today.  We also explored the websites for tomorrow’s Learning Outside the Classroom expeditions to Mixson and Harvest Free Medical Clinic.  In Math, we took a  mixed problems assessment.  In Spanish, we reviewed weather expressions, took and corrected a quiz, and practiced “-ar” verbs.  In Humanities, we used our laptops to complete revisions for our colonial-era short stories.  We also continued working on the American Revolution Webquest project that is giving us better insight into the British perspective on the conflict.  In Science, we worked on MS Excel graphs and reflections from the Sewee Center.  We then hosted Stratton Lawrence from the Charleston City Paper.  He talked about some of the same sources and articles we have looked at during the course of the year, including the recent New York Times piece about unexpectedly high mercury levels in tuna served in New York.  Lawrence also mentioned that even though the mercury levels are high in our local waters, a new coal powered energy plant is slated to come on line that will emit 100+ pounds of mercury per year.  He also talked about literary “tricks” to engage readers such as a hook.  Lawrence also discussed the people he talked with to write the article, the insight they provided, and the methods of research that he uses.

Assignments
Leadership & Life Skills – for Friday, 2/29 – Moodle resources for map analysis about women in politics in America; for Friday, 3/7 – Moodle on-line text about possible shadowing/career interests

Math – for Tuesday, 2/26 (we will have class before the LOTC experiences) – word problems worksheet; for Wednesday, 2/27 and Thursday, 2/28 – none

Spanish – for Wednesday, 2/27 – study all Vocabulary 2 on page 131, be able to do Acts 2 & 4 on pages 128 and 129 (grammar 2) Test Thursday on 3.2 Don’t forget your personal list of vocab for extra credit; for Thursday, 2/28 – study pages 108 – 119 and 128 – 131 for Unit 3.2 test. Don’t forget to learn at least 10 extra personal words in order to get as many as 10 extra credit points; for Friday, 2/29 – finish working on your project “Asi Soy Yo” due on Tuesday, March 4th; for Monday, 3/3 – read pages 120-121, take notes, and study info for Unit 3 test and finish working on your project “Asi Soy Yo” due on Tuesday, March 4th

Humanities – for Wednesday, 2/27 – quiz on run-on sentences, short story revisions, work on American Revolution Webquest; for Thursday, 2/28 – work on Webquest; for Friday, 2/29 – Webquest presentation and peer evaluations (* upcoming, read and take notes on chapters 20, 21, 24, and 27)

Science – for Wednesday, 2/27 – if incomplete, finish graphing the Sewee data, the report from last week’s lab, and Sewee reflections

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