2007-2008: Week 29 Reflections

March 14, 2008 (Day 131)

In Morning Meeting, we took a practice version of the Olsat7 achievement test section and then reviewed it together.  In Math, we explored pi and ratios in art, nature, science, and talked about the Pythagorean Theorem.  This included looking at man-made block structures in Pohnpei, Micronesia (a topic in this month’s National Geographic Magazine) where Mr. Longanecker lived and taught for several years, and they exemplify the theme of the day.  We also discussed how some scientists think humans find symmetry pleasing (and even attractive in other humans), and this led to learning more about the golden ratio.  In Spanish, we took and corrected a quiz and then reviewed our homework.  We also talked about expressions with “tener.”  In Humanities, we discovered more about the conventions found in works by William Shakespeare (anachronisms, asides, soliloquys, etc.).  This was part of our finding out more about the exposition for Act I, Scene I of Romeo and Juliet.  In Science, we took our test on pH.  In Flex Time, we wrote thank you cards and reviewed summer camp resources online.

March 13, 2008 (Day 130)

In Morning Meeting, we took a section of the Stanford Achievement test.  In Math, went over the assessment from Monday on proportions.  We then walked through our problems about proportions and similarity in parallelograms.  In Spanish, we practiced speaking for most of our time together, and our conversation topics were our classes and their characteristics.  We then listened to a webcast of a conversation between native-Spanish speakers, and we discussed pronunciation and what we heard them talk about.  In Humanities, the period began with a discussion of current events, and this was eagerly anticipated because Life & Leadership Skills has been used for achievement testing for the past week.  We then learned more about the background details to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and we began reading the play in class.  In Science, we briefly discussed our MAD projects and the expectations for a written paper on our research and goals.  After the in-class discussions, we went outside to review facts on acids and bases for our test tomorrow.  Mrs. Ewing stopped when she spotted a large bird in a tree that she could not define.  After our quiet reflection time, the grand finale of the day appeared.  It was a bald eagle that soared across the marsh in front of us, and then its mate came!  We watched as that big female bird that Mrs. Ewing could not distinguish earlier made her royal appearance as she soared next to her white-headed & white-tailed mate.  It was a beautiful sight to see and made the walk to the oak by the Shem Creek marsh an exciting adventure.  We certainly do understand that pH can have an effect on all living organisms, even the big ones that flew over our heads today.

March 12, 2008 (Day 129)

To begin our day, we took a section of the Stanford Achievement Test.  We then had some Flex Time for independent work.  For the rest of the morning until lunch, we had small-group workshops with the four faculty members who are grammarians.  The topics included punctuation, subject/verb agreement, editing, and commonly confused words.  These sessions were a valuable joint exercise because we, the teachers and the students, recognized these as areas that needed extra attention.  Because we write consistently in all of our classes and use a number of writing forms (critical essays, argumentative/opinion pieces, electronic communication, research papers, lab reports, reflections, etc.), this morning brought us all together to focus on written expression.  After lunch and recess, we watched two more webisodes of the PBS series Reconstruction: The Second Civil War.  The videos highlighted the tension that erupted between white planters who had been pardoned by President Andrew Johnson (in his attempt to reconcile the white North and the white South) and free blacks.  The primary clash was over land granted to free blacks by military order by Union officers, but pardoned landowners now sought to reclaim their land.  Throughout this simmering environment in the first year of Johnson’s presidency, free blacks also built schools and sought to educate themselves so they could operate on even ground with southern whites.  We then concluded the day by breaking into small groups and making digital recordings for Spanish class.  We wrote and spoke our conversations about each one of our classes, and these performances showcased our knowledge of our new vocabulary related to school and education.  We will email the audio files to Mrs. Rowland.

March 11, 2008 (Day 128)

In Morning Meeting, we took a section of the Stanford Achievement Test.  In Math, we reviewed our homework about triangles and proportions.  We then learned how to determine whether or not parallelograms are similar, and we looked at several samples together.  In Spanish, we reviewed our quiz and then completed a puzzle for our new vocabulary (school and education-related words).  In Humanities, we took another section of the Stanford Achievement Test, and then we had our Declaration of Independence assessment.  The bulk of the test entailed document-based questions from the Declaration itself.  In Science, Mrs Ewing guided us through a review of our pH-related studies, and this included some time for independent study and work on our Making a Difference (MAD) project.  Mentor Zach Thames arrived during Science and spent the rest of the day with us.

March 10, 2008 (Day 127)

In Morning Meeting, we discussed Daylight Savings Time, its history, and the basis for the change in the law that extended it last year.  We then looked at two editorial cartoons.  One was from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and in it Mike Luckovich highlighted the high cost of gas by showing Bill Gates lamenting his loss of wealth after filling up his tank.  The second was from The (Columbia) State, and Robert Arial portrayed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton using each other’s standard expressions in the wake of the Ohio-Texas-Vermont-Rhode Island primaries.  We then watched the next episode of Ian Sanchez’s kayak trip from the mountains of South Carolina to the sea.  This episode showcased the Piedmont area of the state, and he discussed the dams on the Saluda River near Laurens that provide hydroelectric power and recreational activities on the lakes they created.  However, the use of dams disrupts the normal ecology of the river, and this has led some dams to add fish elevators or other bypass devices so that fish, especially salmon in the northwest states, can follow their normal path.  Finally, we took another section of the Stanford Achievement Test.  In Math, we took an assessment on proportions, and they primarily involved setting up and solving word problems.  In Spanish, the first part of class entailed reviewing our homework and today’s quiz.  We then practiced speaking, writing, and conversing with our new vocabulary related to school and education.  In Humanities, we concluded our discussion of the Declaration of Independence.  We then finished watching the scholastic version of Shakespeare in Love, and we paused the film at several junctures to make connections to our era and to recognize the many allusions.  In Science, we discussed the audience and purpose of our MAD projects. Each of our science projects has an educational and service proponent.  Because the projects are unique, the specific requirements are being discussed and outlined on an individual level.  We were given time to talk about our projects and/or work on our pH lab reports that are due tomorrow.

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