Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Human Rights Awareness and Dropping Bombs...or Eggs....

Today was an eventful day in D9. Students were all excited that today is the last day before Thanksgiving holidays, and we as teachers were excited, too, but for other reasons. Today students tested their Egg Drop Designs that they had been building with Mrs. Soblo this week. Teams had to drop eggs from a second story classroom and build a device that would (hopefully) keep the egg from breaking. Most groups were successful and employed all sorts of wild ideas to keep their precious eggs from scrambling, including but not limited to bubble wrap, popsicle sticks, cotton, peanut butter, and tissues. We're still searching for media on that so if you have any pictures or videos email them to Coach K!

In other news, with our OLS challenge coming to a close in the Go stage, Mrs. A, Coach West, and myself have been planning our next humanities design challenge. Students have been researching the basics of human rights in class with me the past few weeks, Coach West has been teaching a unit on culture and world geography, and Mrs. A has been reading The Book Thief all with students in preparation for this design challenge.

Yesterday students completed a survey on what human right they would be most interested in learning more about. After much deliberation and careful place on the part of Mrs. A and myself, students were placed in 14 different groups, with each group focusing on a different human right.

We wanted to do something a little different this challenge. Normally, throughout the course of a challenge a group leader will emerge organically and do things like delegate tasks, report to the teachers, and generally make sure work gets done. This time, instead of letting that occur organically, we chose project managers for each team to make sure these things get done. Project managers were selected for a variety of reasons including consistency in the first challenge, a strong work ethic, desire for group success, ability to delegate responsibility, knowledge of when to lead and when to follow, humility, good listening skills, and leadership doesn't go to their heads.

Human Rights Awareness Campaign Project Managers

Left to Right: (Top Row) Alaina Smith, Tyresha Boyd, Tavarous Gillespie, Chelsea Blackett-Medina, Jaida Carter, Kiana Valles, Kayshon Mitchell, Xavier Vereen, Dominitrius Stribling (Bottom Row) Chelsey Martin, Marbel Lopez

Project managers were given a small, gold charm to wear on their Studio D lanyards to distinguish them. We made the comparison that boy scouts earn badges and military personnel earn insignia, so our project managers earn these charms. We will have a new charm for every challenge and all students will have the opportunity to earn the right to be project manager at some point, but not every student will rise to the challenge. We wanted to recognize these students for all of their work thus far and award them with the responsibility of leading their teams. Congratulate your project manager, and get excited about the new challenge, which is.......

"How might we promote and educate our peers about Human Rights both globally and locally?"


I've put the Design Challenge Check List on the File Cabinet page, but a copy is also found in each group's binder.

On behalf of all your teachers, have a fabulous Thanksgiving. We are so truly thankful for each and every one of you, and know that Studio D would not be the same without you all. All of our love and safe travels, kiddos!

Friday, November 22, 2013

11.22.13 Student Achievement

This stuff ain't easy!! Celebrating the daily victories... 

Stars indicate the student has earned at least one A on a vocabulary quiz!
Pink stars indicate the student has scored a perfect 100% on at least one vocabulary quiz!
Stickers indicate the student has earned an additional A on a vocabulary quiz!
Keep shooting for the stars (and stickers)!!

Yellow books indicate the student has earned a B on a reading quiz!
Orange books indicate the student has earned an A on a reading quiz!
Read to succeed!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11.21.13 Harvest Festival Certificates of Service

Big thanks and shout out to our students who gave of their time and resources to make the school's Harvest Festival a huge success this year!! The festival benefited Harvest Hope Food Bank and the local community. 



Studio D had TWO cars at this year's festival: "The Lion King" and "Star Wars!"




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

11.20.13 Hint, hint....

Since building is back in full swing as of today, I wanted to remind students not to forget about their UDHR flow chart we began in class. For today, you should have completed all the way up to the Petition of Rights of Man and the Citizen. Even though we will not be working on this assignment in class the rest of this week, students should complete that assignment at home.

I repeat, STUDENTS  SHOULD COMPLETE THAT ASSIGNMENT AT HOME. If you didn't get to finish the work in class, you can bring it to me during rotation and show me that you have completed through the Declaration and  Bill of Rights at minimum to gain credit for what was due in class yesterday. Don't forget to include all the details of the document as well as the date- you can do this on paper, too.

There will be a quiz next week on the History of Human Rights, and those with completed flow charts will be at a HUGE advantage on that quiz!

All the documents you need to complete that are found under the File Cabinet tab on the home page, and directions are on the post from Monday (11/18).

11.20.13 The Independent Reader



Students are currently reading the New York Times bestseller The Book Thief, set in 1939 Germanyas we embark on a study of human rights. They are really loving the novel! (They are also excited by the prospect of the movie coming out, which was news to me! I have begged them all NOT to go and see it yet, lest they spoil the rest of the book for themselves. We will see who can hold out!)

We began by reading the book aloud in class, stopping to discuss and take notes as we read. Throughout our reading of the prologue, I did a "think-aloud" for students, questioning the text, deciphering unknown words, and modeling how I determine which parts of the text are important enough to take notes on, and which parts are just extra details. Once we finished reading and discussing the prologue we wrote a class summary of it, and again I modeled how to write a successful summary and how to select which details are important enough to include and which we could leave out.

Since then we also began reading Part One of the novel aloud in class, continuing to take notes as we read, in an effort to engage in active reading, reading with the intent to critically engage the text, understand it, and ultimately be able to analyze and evaluate it. For days, students have been engaged in class, taking notes, making predictions, asking great questions, providing evidence from the text to support their points, and staying really focused as we work!!

And then something happened.

I sent students home over the weekend with a few chapters to read by themselves and the promise of a quiz on the material when they returned. For the most part, the quiz was a disaster. When I said, "But you were doing so well in class as we worked together - What happened?!," students responded, in writing:

"I did not comprehend."
"Some of the questions on the quiz didn't match the notes I had taken."
"I didn't read it at all. I completely forgot I had to read."
"I think when I was reading I wasn't paying attention to detail because I was also watching TV while I was reading."
"I really wasn't expecting some of the questions."
"I couldn't remember what I read."
"I didn't attempt to read the book. I wanted to play basketball instead."
"I didn't pay attention to what I was reading."

Students' answers indicate a wide range of issues. Some students simply are not completing work unless someone is standing over them, making them do it. Some students are not managing their time wisely and are only completing portions of their assignments. Some students aren't keeping up with assignments and deadlines because they aren't using a calendar and a daily "to-do" list. These are issues we can and do address each and every day in Studio D.

But the real issue I want to address, the issue I HAVE to address, is the issue of reading but not comprehending, reading but then forgetting what they've read, reading but not being able to distinguish which details are the most important or not being able to anticipate what questions might be on a quiz. THIS is what we began working on today. Students began taking notes on reading strategies that will help them succeed, and we will continue this discussion in the coming days and weeks. We will take more time to read The Book Thief aloud together in class, and to discuss and analyze the novel. But students also know that more and more they will be expected to read independently, and actively, and that ultimately they DO have enough strategies at their disposal to read successfully.

Monday, November 18, 2013

11.18.13 UDHR/Hitler/Inertia

Weirdest blog post title ever, right?

With me today, students learned about the history of human rights and where they began. We watched a cool video on the history of human rights and you can find it below.

video


Students used this document as their guide to the history behind human rights. They also used LucidChart and began a document to show the progression from one document to the next, ultimately showing how we arrived at the modern day Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I walked through the first document with them and modeled how I wanted the chart set up. It's like a timeline, but it also includes the details of each document and what happened as a result of this document's creation. This is the example....


With Coach West, students watched a video on Hitler and his rise to power. They are learning about Hitler in conjunction with their study of The Book Thief. In Mrs. Soblo's class, students took a video quiz on Inertia, and began planning for an egg drop project. Mrs. Soblo told students if you bring in a canned good, she will award you a 100 on her video quiz from today! (woop woop)

Friday, November 15, 2013

11.15.13 Curious George and Human Rights

We started off this morning with a surprise quiz. Happy Friday!

I told students their quiz was to identify the steps of the design process in the video I showed, as well as identify the problem the design process was creating a solution for.

Students had to identify the problem, and then how each stage of the design process was shown in the video clip.

Just as a reminder, our design process goes like this:
GATHER
GLEAN
GENERATE
GAUGE
GO

The responses could be bullet pointed or written out.


Here's the link to the video for anyone who was out, or just wants to watch it again.

Windmill Monkey

After the quiz had been turned in, students split into thirds.
Here's a note on progress with the Educational Tools from Mrs. Soblo:

The educational tools are coming along as the due date (11/26) is quickly approaching.  So this past week students learned a new presentation tool- Voice Thread.  To showcase their educational tools & get feedback from both peers & users, students created a Voice Thread presentation of progress.  Our hope is that through this feedback process, the finished product will be really awesome!
Check out the rubric for the presentations & what they've done so far here.

Mrs. Auspelmyer worked with the students on how to do a quote analysis and close reading in The Book Thief. Here are the notes from class today:

Quote Analysis Notes

In Foundations, students re-wrote the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into more simple terms, and we posted them in the classroom. Next week, students will look more closely into the categories of human rights and how they have been broken internationally and here in the United States.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

11.13.14 Bullying is Theft

I subscribe to Seth Godin's blog and everyday I get a post delivered to me via email. I thought this was post was spot on concerning how Studio D sees bullying, and why we think it's so important for our students to work together to not put anyone down in our program.
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Bullying is theft

Someone in your office walks out every day with a laptop under his coat. He fences them down the street and keeps the money.

After he's discovered, how long should he keep his job? What if he's a really hard worker? Perhaps you give him a warning, but, when he's discovered stealing again a week from now, then what?

Bullying costs far more than laptop theft does.
The bully frightens away some of your best employees, because they can most easily find another place to work. He also silences the eager and the earnest, the people with great ideas who are now too intimidated to bother sharing them. His behavior has robbed your organization of the insight that could open so many doors in the future.

I define bullying as intentionally using power to cause physical or emotional distress with the purpose of dominating the other person. The bully works to marginalize people. In an organizational setting, the bully chooses not to engage in conversation or discussion, or to use legitimate authority or suasion, and depends instead on pressure in the moment to demean and disrespect someone else—by undermining not just their ideas, but their very presence and legitimacy.

The end to bullying starts with a question: does senior management see the cost? Do they understand that tolerating and excusing bullying behavior is precisely what permits it to flourish?

If so, the next steps are painful and difficult, but quite direct. Bullies can't work here.

If you don't have buy in on that, spend more time and passion and energy to get it. Not around a certain person or a certain action, but on the general irrevocable principle. An organization that is built on ideas and connection can't thrive when there's a bully in the room. If you're part of one that doesn't care about this, perhaps it's time to considering moving on.

Once you start to clean up the culture, will there be judgment calls and edge cases and a need for warnings and improvement plans? Of course. But just as laptop theft drops when our tolerance of it disappears, so does bullying. Most bullies aren't sociopaths, immune to correction. They are opportunists, using the tools that have often worked for them in the past.

It's a wrenching process for some organizations, but one that leads to few regrets. It's your chance to help a bully get his life straightened out too.

-Seth Godin

       

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11.12.13 Time Management

More about this later.....

Click HERE to download weekly calendar.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

11.7.13 The fruits of their labor

Today students split into thirds, like yesterday.

Mrs. A had students reading the Prologue in their newest book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This marks the beginning of a new humanities design challenge for our students, one that involves researching human rights both globally and locally. The book is just the gateway into the project and students are already into it. They even asked if they could stay during lunch to get a little further into the book. Makes this English teacher proud.

Students working with Mrs. Soblo continued their storyboarding and their use of VoiceThread to critique their storyboards. They should be ready for her tomorrow.

Students with Coach West and myself in the tool room continued their work on different deliverables each group had designed. Today we had our first finished product, and Group 1 (Tavarous, Alicia, Trinity, and Xavier) were so proud of their bench. Rightfully so, too. Check out how beautiful it is!

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They were just a little proud of themselves.
And who could blame them?




The entire bench was made from pallet wood, with the exception of one 24 inch piece of 2x4.




This is their first of several, eight I think, but they did a great job and cranked it out in one day! Once they hand the hang of it you couldn't stop them. So proud of that group for working so hard today!

Our other groups are right on their heels and should have more designs completed as the next few class periods unfold. Some students even came back during lunch to work on their projects.

Seriously, what teenager does that?

Ours do. And they're awesome.

So proud of you all today!

And for those of you who think it's cute to blow up Coach K's phone with selfies....there is payback my friends.

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Boom.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

11.5.13 Beginnings

Today students began two new chapters of their design challenge. Students are creating a storyboard to showcase their educational tool this week.  The storyboard (due Friday) will be turned into a student created Voice Thread.  This draft needs to include a minimum of 7 panels with an image, the scene (tell me what I'm seeing), the script (write out exactly what you plan to say) & the message you are trying to convey to the user of your educational tool.
At the same time, students are getting familiar with Voice Thread (the tool we'll use to peer evaluate the educational tools) by making at least 3 comments  & 1 drawing of the slides I've shared with them.
Comments & storyboard are due by Friday.

The Voice Thread presentations they'll create from their storyboards next week.  The presentation must include a minimum of 7 slides- 1 that introduce their education tool, & 6 featuring parts of their educational tool they are either really proud of or want feedback on.  These are due at the beginning of the news show Thursday, so we can have a virtual gallery walk.  The plan is to link all the voice thread presentations to my environmental studies page for both teachers, students & parents to look at.  Teachers & students can comment on the slides in order to help create better end products.

With Mrs. A, students took their second vocabulary quiz. Despite the fact that she said it almost every day, some of our students STILL forgot that the quiz was cumulative and could/would include words from their previous quizzes. The jury's still out as to how the class did.

With me (Coach K) students who had passed all of their safety tests started tool demonstrations in the project room today. Students who had not yet passed all of their safety tests had to go in Mrs. A's room and continue those tests until they passed. We had a few last minute additions to the demo as people passed a test or two today, but for the most part the majority of each group had passed as of this morning.

Today we did demonstrations on some of the tools we use most frequently. Students had to make a cut with the miter saw, had to drill a pilot hole for a screw, make a cut with a circular saw while using saw horses, and sand with the grain using one of the handheld sanders. Students were generally excited about working with the tools for the first time, and even some of them who were apprehensive at first were making cuts and holes on their own by the end of the period. Students still need some work with the table saw, Dremel, and a few other tools in the room but they are (mostly) ready to start construction on their designs. We'll spend some time tomorrow making sure the prototypes are as complete as they can be so I can make a Lowe's run to ensure we have all the materials the prototypes call for. Here are a few shots of some of our students with the tools.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

11.4.13 The Devil Came on Horseback

Today students got the chance to view a film as part of the background on their upcoming Humanities challenge. Mrs. Auspelmyer introduced the film, with the help of Coach West, and gave some background about where the country of Sudan and the region of Darfur are.

Students were introduced to the documentary The Devil Came on Horseback which chronicles the story of Marine Capt. Brian Steidle who originally traveled to the Sudan as a military observer to monitor a ceasefire and ended up documenting the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. 


Students were enlightened about the genocide in Darfur, many of them for the first time, and answered some recall questions with Mrs. A. This documentary helps to lay the groundwork, along with the discussions on human rights from last week, to help students build their background knowledge for their upcoming project in English and Social Studies.

Recall from “The Devil Came on Horseback”


1. What country is Darfur in?
2. What are the rebels fighting for?
3. Who supports the janjaweed?
4. What payment do the janjaweed receive?
5. What is a genocide?
6. Why were people reluctant to call this “crisis” a genocide?
7. What does IDP stand for? (i.e., an “IDP camp”)
8. Given his mission, why would it be important for the narrator to remain “impartial?”
9. At one point the narrator says someone took his camera. Why would a camera be considered dangerous equipment in this situation?
10. Why does the narrator hesitate to share his photos once he is back in the U.S.?
What challenges and frustrations did the narrator experience when he spoke out (back in the U.S.)?
11. What country did many of the refugees from Sudan flee to?
12. What did the U.S. government say needed to happen before action could be taken in Darfur?
13. Why does the narrator visit Rwanda?
14. After this visit, the narrator expresses mixed emotions about his role in Sudan. Why? What are the pros and cons he considers?
15. What is the ICC?
16. As of the publication of this film, approximately how many people have died and how many have been displaced?


What questions are you left with?

11.1.13 Congaree National Park Trip

This has been sort of a whirlwind week for D9. I've been MIA a good bit this week doing presentations in the district on Design Thinking and Project Based Learning, so Coach West, Mrs. A, and Mrs. Soblo have held down the home front. Students have begun a new unit with Mrs. A that is going to be focusing on human rights and the struggles with those human  rights across the globe. To supplement that, students have begun their first unit of basic geography with Coach West.. Mrs. Soblo has been preparing students all week for the trip we took today to Congaree National Park.

We've had this field study on the books since early October, but with the government shutdown of national parks we've postponed it a few times. Finally today we were able to take both D9 and D10 to the swamp! Students were broken into groups and had to identify examples of the species they have been studying with their Educational Tool. Congaree has a beautiful boardwalk suspended in the air so all our students were able to attend the trip without worries of accessibility. Each teacher took three or four groups and we were off around 10 a.m. 

We walked,
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saw wildlife, 
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took selfies,
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 ate some snacks,
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took in the view at the lake and fed a turtle,
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 loved on some HUGE trees,
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The two boys in grey in the back are over 6 feet tall...if that's any clue as to how big this tree is!

 and walked more.
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We walked around 3 miles in total and my group did it in an hour and a half. We were wiped. Students had a great day even with all the walking. Some of our students had never experienced a forest like this one, and some had never spent time outside like we did. They got to see a lot of the species from their field guides first hand, which was a great experience and also let them see, in a small way, what some of the possibilities could be from their own outdoor learning spaces.