2007-2008: Week 5 Reflections

September 21, 2007 (Day 24)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  It included an update about five-year-old Youssif, the Iraqi boy who was horribly burned and was subsequently brought to America for medical care.  We talked about the age at which appearance begins to be something that young people focus on and why that is.  We also discussed all of the reasons why helping Youssif was the right thing to do.  In Math, we worked on becoming more proficient in dealing with measurement and the tools for measuring.  In Spanish, we practiced conversational responses and improved our pronunciation of various words (especially countries).  In Humanities, we marveled at the coincidence of today’s The New York Timesfeaturing an article on Bulls Island (our first Learning Outside of the Classroom experience), and we read and discussed the article, “An Island Wilderness and Alligator Kingdom in South Carolina.”  We also took our test on “The Gold Bug.”  At lunch, mentor Khailey Walsh arrived and spent the rest of the day with us. We celebrated a birthday and then went to P.E.  In Science, we talked about the connection between our actions towards others and how that affects them (research has shown links between laughter and companionship and improved health outcomes), and we watched a video that demonstrated this on a micro-level.

Assignments
Math
– worksheet

Spanish
1) send an email to Mrs. Rowland
2) study all vocabulary
3) bring in all project info and rough draft on Monday

Humanities
– read and then take notes on chapter 21

Science
– none

September 20, 2007 (Day 23)

Reflections
During Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news.  The two main stories involved the typhoon that struck China overnight and the endangered Siberian tiger.  These stories led to a follow-up discussion about how hurricanes and typhoons are named (there is a rotating list maintained by many countries, not all letters are used, genders are alternated, English/Spanish/French names are used, and names can be retired).  We then talked about our experience at Middleton Place yesterday.  We looked at a packet of Post and Courier articles that included three stories about the evolution of the plantation over the past ten years.  The articles highlighted the reunions of descendants of the plantation owners and former enslaved peoples, the broadening of the “stories” conveyed to visitors to include women and African enslaved peoples on the plantation, and the move to add period agricultural elements.  Middleton Place provides a much different experience for visitors today than for visitors ten years or more ago.  We then examined PBS’ companion website to their feature Slavery in the Making of America, and we listened to the audio recording of a former enslaved person talking about life after emancipation (part of the WPA slave narratives recorded in the 1930s).  This powerful moment provided a jumping off point to talk about another effort to get the story of a group of people who are dying at the rate of 1,000 per day … America’s World War II veterans.  Sunday marks the start of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary on WWII participants (The War)from several towns across America, and it features anecdotes and narratives never shared or heard before.  In Math, we continued working on adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing measures of distance.   In Spanish, we reviewed our test, and then we broke into pairs to collaborate upon learning from our mistakes.  In Humanities, we discussed “The Gold Bug,” made connections from our studies to our time at Middleton Place, and recapped the student presentations. We also examined the newly announced pictures from the Auschwitz concentration camp that were revealed in today’s New York Times. In Science, we reviewed our test and our lab reports.  We also completed reflections on the Middleton Place expedition, and then we broke into groups and were assigned a new project (atomic theory research). We were joined for Science and the rest of the afternoon by mentor Zach Thames.

Assignments
Math
– 9 problems from the board

Spanish
1) study new vocabulary
2) work on pronunciation with studyspanish.com
3) write Mrs. Rowland an email in Spanish if you have not done so already
4) work on research project and finish by Monday

Humanities
– “The Goldbug” reading test

Science
– Complete Middleton Place Reflection questions

September 19, 2007 (Day 22)

Reflections

We had a great day at Middleton Place for our Learning Outside the Classroom experience for this week.. After traversing the center portion of the plantation and walking amidst the grazing sheep, we arrived at the stable/barn in time for the morning cow milking.  We then saw water buffaloes, pigs, peacocks, geese, and other animals.  The students also discovered from the on-site potter and cooper how enslaved persons on the plantation made pottery and barrels.  We also took a guided walking tour of the grounds and learned about the life and culture of all the people who lived and worked at Middleton Place.  The adventure had strong links to our trip to Bull Island (for example, pottery and trash was buried at both sites and served as a record of their lives) and to our studies in Science (esp. survival and water), Humanities (early settlers of Charleston, enslaved peoples from Africa, etc.), and Spanish (comparisons to Cortes and the Spanish exploits in the Americas).

 

 

September 18, 2007 (Day 21)

Reflections
During Morning Meeting, we reviewed the Academic Computing Policy and discussed the L.A.R.K. philosophy for using technology and engaging the internet.  This entails operating under these principles: is the action legal, acceptable, responsible, and kind.  In Math, to get a tangible sense of various standards of measuring length, we cut and labeled colored string (for a yard, a foot, a meter, etc.).  In Spanish, we reviewed our test from yesterday, turned in our research books, and learned our new vocabulary words.  In Humanities, we talked about plantation life in the 1700s, and we heard a student presentation about Christopher Columbus.  During lunch, we watched the CNN Student news.  It examined the crisis in Darfur (Sudan), and it mentioned China’s complicated relationship to the issue (providing peacekeeping troops for the U.N. and selling weapons to the Sudanese government).  We also talked about the unique public position China is in now: hosting the Women’s World Cup this year and the Olympics next year.  This has brought renewed focus on some of their governing policies and cultural practices (i.e. organized religion is under scrutiny, the one child policy combined with a greater value placed on male children has led to some infanticide of young girls and a subsequent demographic imbalance in the younger generations.  There are hundreds of thousands more young men than women, and this may lead to societal instability).  This provided a stepping-stone for discussing prior cases of genocide and for breaking apart the word genocide (looking at prefixes and suffixes also, and then using this knowledge to understand similar words like algaecide, regicide, etc.).  A brief update on O.J. Simpson’s legal troubles gave us the opportunity to look at the difference between America’s civil and criminal justice systems, the standards of proving guilt (beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court and a preponderance of the evidence in civil court), the classifications of murder, the federal system that America has that means different punishments for the same crime in different states.  After lunch, we analyzed the article sent to us by Middleton Plantation that accompanied the brochure.  We got an introduction to understanding viewpoints (and bias) by making note of the date of publication, the magazine title, and content (what was there and what was not there).  This also allowed for a basic exercise in annotating a document.  In Science, we took our test.  In Flex Time, we began work on our homework assignments.

Assignments
Math
– complete the worksheet

Spanish
1) study new vocabulary
2) do acts on new worksheet
3) write an email to Mrs. Rowland in Spanish by Friday
4) finish research paper by Monday, September 24

Humanities
1) individual presentations continue (Chapter 18) – take notes on this for Thursday
2) reading quiz on “The Goldbug” on Friday, September 21

Science
– research irrigation practices at Middleton Plantation (or other regional plantations) present-day and in the 1700s (antebellum)

September 17, 2007 (Day 20)

Reflections
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student News. The main story was a powerful one about a high school in Jena, Louisiana. The overview prompted questions about nooses, segregation, lynching and justice, and they led to discussions about Emmett Till (a 14-year-old African-American boy who was lynched in 1955 and whose case, like others from the Civil Rights era, was re-opened at the end of the 20th century and dawn of the 21st) and the end of legal segregation in public schools in 1970. In Math, Pete Kennedy was our guest math instructor, and he dazzled us with two exercises. In the first, he showed us some tips about patterns in adding large numbers. In the second, he showed how mathematics can provide a framework for better understanding large numbers and lead to questions about society’s priorities. This involved calculating the pay of Kevin Garnett (NBA basketball player from Mauldin, SC — annual salary of $23,750,000) on a per game, per hour, per minute, and per second basis. He makes over $100 per second over the course of his 82 game schedule. In contrast, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data , we were able to find the average salary for a registered nurse per year ($59,730) and for other occupations that we were interested in investigating. A nurse earns less than a penny per second! In Spanish, we took our test. In Humanities, individual presentations continued, and we read a thought-provoking New York Times article that contrasted our response to 9/11 to early New England colonists’ response to clashes with Native Americans in the late-1600s. In Science, we reviewed for our test as a group outside on the field, and we reviewed individually in consulation with Mrs. Ewing back inside.

Assignments
For you and your parent(s): read, sign, and return the Academic Computing Policy(click here for a downloadable copy – MS Word)

Math
1) measuring assignment for Mr. Longanecker (from Thursday, 9/13)
2) complete double-sided worksheet (bases and measuring) from today

Spanish
1) bring all books and notes for the Aztec/Cortes research project
2) complete Act 9 worksheet
3) copy new vocabulary into notes and study

Humanities
– individual unit presentations continue
– review Poe’ “The Gold Bug”

Science
1) finish vocabulary definitions, print out, and submit
2) Test on survival, water systems, and vocabulary

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