October 5, 2007 (Day 34)
In Morning Meeting, we talked further about creating a culture of honor. We closely examined the short but powerful Honor Concept of the United States Naval Academy, and someone suggested looking at another university also. We took this suggestion and looked at the University of Texas. It was similar in many ways, but we liked the succinctness of the Naval Academy’s. We then brainstormed the standards we expected for treating each other, guests, and faculty. We took these ideas and began to create our own Honor Concept. In Math, we reviewed the worksheet on finding the area of various shapes, and then looked at different shapes and analyzed what changes were necessary to gauge their area. In Spanish, we learned all numbers to infinity and practiced them orally. We went over our tests from last week, and then we talked about Hispanic Heritage Month (an ongoing segment of CNN Student News also). Mrs. Rowland also mentioned this Sunday’s 16th Annual Festival Hispano at Wannamaker County Park in North Charleston (12 pm – 6 pm): it would be fun to experience. In Humanities, Mrs. Logan was awed and touched by everyone’s word portraits.
She also introduced Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and we will begin reading this American classic next week (click here for the site of the National Steinbeck Center). After lunch, we watched CNN Student news, and it included stories about the trapped miners in South Africa. We also paused and talked about features on racially charged incidences at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It mentioned the Honor Concept of the Coast Guard, and this linked to the one we have become familiar with at the Naval Academy. The episodes also involved nooses, and we have seen the connection here from what we learned about lynching and racial segregation in America (a study prompted by the nooses hanging from a tree from the Jena 6 story we investigated). We also saw the balancing act of power in America. The chair of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation, Elijah Cummings (MD), talked about his desire to strongly respond to what had happened, and this was a reminder to us that civilians maintain control of the military as set forth in our Constitution (President is commander in chief and Congress provides funding). The final story involved a proposal to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens in New York, and this led to a discussion about America’s resettlement of the Bantu tribe in America. In Science, we were joined by three mentors: Khailey Walsh, Chelsea Joyner and John Dodds. We showed our word portraits to each of them, and then each Atomic Theory group delivered their PowerPoint presentation in turn to each mentor for feedback on content and presentation style and clarity.
Life & Leadership Skills
– for Wednesday, October 10 – encourage your parents to watch the Frontline webcast on the brain (link from Thursday, 10/5)
– for Wednesday, October 10 – final version of MS Excel skills tracking sheet due
– find the area of the shapes on the worksheet
– study all numbers
– write the phone numbers of your parents (home and cell) and Mr. Kreutner
– copy new vocabulary (pages 20-21)
– organize your folder
– test on Thursday, October 11
– Atomic Theory presentations carry over from Friday
October 4, 2007 (Day 33)
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news. It included two stories that led to great discussions and to links of what we have already learned. First, it recounted the impact of Sputnik 50 years ago, and we learned about how this Soviet achievement galvanized the American space program and science & global language learning in America. The name of the primary U.S. rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, was mentioned quickly in passing. We paused the video to learn more about von Braun, and we were startled to learn that he was the inventor of the first rockets used in warfare. He was a scientist in Nazi Germany, and he designed the V-1 and V-2 rockets that killed thousands in the latter part of World War II. His move to America and involvement in official government research work led to moral questions for us. Here is a brief biography about von Braun from NASA’s website. We then restarted the podcast and watched a segment in honor of Hispanic Heritage month, and we discovered the fluid nature of ethnicities today. Several people were featured who considered themselves Chinese and Mexican, Canadian and Nicaraguan, etc. With advances in technology and transportation that began in the 1500s and have accelerated with each passing year, different civilizations and cultures are increasingly in touch and marrying. The role of European countries in conquering the Americas also has played a role. We discussed how not all Central and South American countries have Spanish as the dominant language, and this is because other countries (esp. Portugal in what is now Brazil) ruled for long periods of time. This also played out in Canada. It is Quebec’s 400th anniversary, and the town’s website is presented in French and English. Western and Central Canada speak English primarily because the English forced the French out of Canada. Many of these French-speaking people in the Quebec region of eastern Canada left Acadia, as they called it, and settled in Louisiana. Now known as Cajuns (say Acadian quickly), we can see how their culture and presence in America is linked to world events that played out over hundreds of years. To see a Cajun speaker in action, we watched an on-line video of famed Cajun chef Justin Wilson preparing garlic bread recipe. These discussions linked heavily to what we have learned in Humanities, Spanish, and Science so far this year.
In Math, we looked at quadrilaterals (4-sided shapes) and learned how to measure the perimeter and area for them. In Spanish, Sarah presented her Aztecs/Cortes research topic. We also reviewed the paper component of the project, and then we concluded the period by learning and reciting the numbers 1 through 100. In Humanities, INCOMPLETE. At lunch, we had a working lunch, and this entailed watching a webcast of a PBS Frontline show on the brain – Inside the Teenage Brain. We learned how the brains of adolescents and teenagers are changing, and a key point learned was “use it or lose it” when it comes to brain power. We also looked at a companion PBS, The Secret Life of the Brain, that featured a fully rotational 3-D model of the human brain with descriptions for areas and functions (requires Macromedia Shockwave plug-in). This exercise links to the upcoming presentation about learning styles on Tuesday, October 9. In Science, we worked in small groups on our PowerPoint presentations. At the end of the day, we reviewed and discussed a PowerPoint on plagiarism. We talked about acting honorably and gave examples of how dishonorable behavior can have strong and lasting consequences (ex. at the service academies, at work, and at school). Here is a link to the United States Naval Academy’s Honor Concept page. Mr. Kreutner linked this to Sunday’s New York Times Magazine section on college, and it included the tale of a student whose high school career was altered by a dishonorable decision. He had to leave his original high school and the action ultimately played a role in his not being admitted to his number one college choice (of which his family had a long record of attending). Mentor Zach Thames came for Science class and the end of day activities, and he told us about the School of the Arts “Jump, Jive, and Wail” concert that the Jazz band is putting on at the The Bus Shed by the Charleston Visitor’s Center on Meeting Street (Saturday, October 20 at 7:30). Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults.
Life & Leadership Skills
– for Wednesday, October 10 – encourage your parents to watch the Frontline webcast on the brain
– area of plane figures worksheet
– Study numbers 1-39 on p. 18
– do Acts 21 & 22 on p.18
– copy new vocabulary phrases on p.19
– send this week’s email to Mrs. Rowland if you have not already done so
– other homework INCOMPLETE
– test on Thursday, October 11
– Atomic Theory PowerPoint due
October 3, 2007 (Day 32)
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news. The primary story involved the controversy with Blackwater security force contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of the inclement weather, our Learning Outside of the Classroom walking expedition to Alhambra Hall was postponed. Therefore, we engaged in exercises and games to improve our skills. First, we analyzed the Post and Courier article (“Wind and tides cut away from Isle of Palms”) from today’s paper on erosion on Isle of Palms, and then we contrasted it with an article from a July edition of the Charleston City Paper (“Isle of Sandbags”)which addressed the same topic. As part of this exploration in perspective, we had to find out the publisher, paper frequency, and mission for each paper. This information is available on the Post and Courier’s website, and we learned that the Evening Post Publishing Group is the publisher of this daily paper (and that it used to be a morning and evening paper entity) and it also owns other newspapers in South Carolina including the Charleston Mercury, Summerville Journal, and the Moultrie News. It also owns timberland, domestic television stations, and overseas papers. The Charleston City Paper is published by Noel Mermer, and it evolved from the Upwith Herald in the past 15 years. This difference in ownership raised questions that are relevant across the nation: are news outlets mainly focused on educating the public or on operating as profitable businesses? The papers both wrote about the physical changes of erosion, but the P&C focused on the impact on Wild Dunes and personal property. CCP focused on the threat to wildlife from sandbags. Each story presented an incomplete picture of erosion and its consequences, but together they hit most of the major points. We agreed that perspective is an important component of journalism, and we as consumers must be aware of this and not uncritically accept news as fact without paying attention to the source and double-checking what we encounter for confirmation. This was an important lesson as we learn more about journalism in Humanities and begin our own paper.
Linking this exercise to Science, we used Google Earth to examine Isle of Palms and Sulivan’s Island, and we made connections back to the erosion lessons we learned on the beach of Bulls Island. Mrs. Ewing then addressed the idea of fighting against nature or working with nature, and this is seen in man trying to stop erosion versus scientists & engineers developing machines to use ocean wave power to create energy. This involved looking at the physics of erosion and the mechanics of devices used to harvest power from the seas.
We then used MS Excel to create a running average for our Education Competency Skills in each class and for each skill. This will allow us to see improvement and witness/graph changes over the course of the year.
We then ate lunch and played the board game Cranium. Jacob sealed the victory for the blue team by spelling typhoon correctly (interestingly enough as this word popped up in CNN Student News a few weeks ago). We learned a lot about sharing roles within our teams and about the gifts we each had as expressed in the various categories of the game. We concluded the day with time to work in our groups on our Atomic Theory projects.
October 2, 2007 (Day 31)
Tomorrow, October 3, is a Learning Outside the Classroom day. However, the weather forecast indicates a good chance for showers and thunderstorms. If the weather precludes us from leaving campus, we will work on academic work for part of the time and on-site service learning for the remainder. If this happens, we will try to complete most of this expedition on Thursday afternoon.
We are slated to walk through the Old Village to Alhambra Hall, and our discussions will center on the architecture and the layout of the original Mount Pleasant (including making links to our downtown Charleston architectural journey). We will also examine plant species that we come upon and then conclude with a different perspective on Charleston Harbor (contrasting this one with the one from the ferry last week). The day will conclude with an exercise in cultural literacy: lunch and/or milkshakes at the Pitt Street Pharmacy.
Things to remember: USL t-shirt & hat, comfortable shorts with pockets, walking shoes, water, field journal with writing utensil, and lunch. ** If you wish, you may bring money to eat at Pitt Street Pharmacy in lieu of a packed lunch.
In Morning Meeting, we watched CNN Student news. One of the major stories involved last week’s recall of over 20 million pounds of ground beef. We talked about the culprit [Escherichia coli or E. coli — for more information, check this link for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage on it] and learned that it is a bacteria found in the intestines of mammals. The adoption of modern food production has led to lower costs for food, but it has led to heightened risk of contaminations and has called into question our treatment of animals. In Math, we reviewed the division worksheet, and then we continued working on gaining fluency with different types of measurement. In Spanish, the class enjoyed Aztecs/Cortes presentations by Banks, Jacob, Adam, Anna Grace, and Corey. In Humanities, we held a “constitutional convention” about weekend homework for the course, and we successfully debated, crafted, and adopted a policy. It entails no work over the weekend in Humanities as long as everyone continues to complete all other Humanities assignments on-time. We also heard Sarah’s presentation on the Conquistadors from Texas to Florida. At lunch, mentor Drew Bennett joined us, and we went to the Shem Creek Boat Landing dock again to show him the peak high tide. In Science, we took a Periodic Table quiz, and then we worked on our small-group Atomic Theory projects. Mentor Zach Thames joined us through Science until the end of the school day.
Life & Leadership Skills
– For Wednesday – organize flash drive as shown
– For Wednesday – using MS Excel template as a guide, determine your skills’ average
– measurement worksheet (show work and demonstrate why each is bigger)
– study numbers 1-20
– review p. 18 in text
– complete both sides of the puzzle handout
– write an email to Mrs. Rowland by Friday
– write a poem on your news article for Wednesday
– read and take notes on chapter 30 for Thursday
– work on the Atomic Theory project
October 1, 2007 (Day 30)
In Morning Meeting, we reviewed a sample Interim report, and then we looked over our own Interim report and narrative comments. In Math, we finished two-dimensional measuring, and we began work on measuring area. In Spanish, we had three Aztecs/Cortes project presentations: Kate, Tommy, and Anita.
In Humanities, we completed an analysis of the story elements in “Through the Tunnel.” We also explored “found” poetry. At lunch, we went to the Shem Creek Boat Landing dock. This allowed us to take a nice walk and enjoy the day, and we were also able to see the peak tide. The strong northeast winds led to coastal flooding, and this meant the entire boat ramp was under water! After lunch we saw tips on organizing our flash drives, and then we created a grade/skill tracking template using Microsoft Excel. In Science, we worked in our groups on our Atomic Theory project.
Life & Leadership Skills
– For Wednesday, 10/1 – organize flash drive as shown
– For Wednesday, 10/1 – using MS Excel template as a guide, determine your skills’ average
– Division worksheet
– review and study the numbers from 1-20
– p. 18 in text
– news article due
– click here for Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” (from this weekend)
– student presentations continue (chapter 27)
– project presentation update – Mrs. Ewing will check