I've been consumed by school and family these days, and less on top of Trump Times, and can say after a bit of review that President Trump continues to disappoint and worry me as the leader of the United States.
It seems that Trump is much more concerned with his popularity than any other aspect of his work or endeavor. In what ever way possible, his main aim is to get his name out there in sensational ways so no one forgets who he is.
His childish behavior continues as he wages word wars with the leader of North Korea. Their word fight is something very akin to what you may see now and then on an elementary school playground. His retweet of the golf ball hitting Hillary Clinton is also similar to the kinds of cyberbullying we have to deal with now and then at elementary school, the kind of cyberbullying his wife, Melania, spoke against this week. I wonder if she gave Trump a time-out. His willingness to speak out against NFL players' non-violent, peaceful advocacy for human rights, once again demonstrates his willfulness against human rights and freedom of expression (unless it's freedom of expression by those who he agrees with such as those who will to end equal rights, health care, good education, and all else that is right and good for humanity.)
So what are Americans to do about such an offensive President?
First, I am grateful for all who put Mueller in charge of an investigation of Russia's influence over the election. This matters greatly, and it seems there is mounting evidence of Russia's impact on the election. This information will help us to better our electoral system and rid our government of those who work with foreign leaders to undermine our United States laws, government, and individuals' right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Next, I am grateful to all the political leaders who are standing up to Trump's willfulness when it comes to getting rid of good health care for average Americans. It seems that Trump's main reason for getting rid of equitable health care is to put his name on a new health plan, and to help wealthy Americans become more wealthy. Rarely to never does Trump stand up for what is right and good for average Americans, and that's why I'm so surprised that many average Americans continue to support him.
Third, I am grateful to all the leaders from all fields of study, work, and location who are willing to stand up to Trump and his cronies' unfair, elitist policies and speak. Their leadership is challenging who we are as Americans, and those who speak up position themselves for Trump's relentless and childlike name calling, put-downs, and disrespect. Trump, again similar to what we see on playgrounds here and there, uses public shaming, name calling, and seemingly untruths whenever he feels threatened or disagrees with people.
We have a very child-like President who is creating havoc in our country. It is a real problem for our country and all the people in it. As for my part, I'll continue to work for equity in my professional field, community, and nation. I'll read up, and do what I can to support a better America, one that embraces our wonderful diversity and one that works with the rest of the world to forward the potential that our humanity holds for what is right and good.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More
This week we'll revisit the focus on team as we complete the marshmallow-spaghetti challenge again. I'll use the resources on this team page, plus the pictures from the last challenge to jumpstart the event. Later in the week students will reflect on the teaming and learning from this event.
We'll also focus on learning in many ways this week including how to teach our kindergarten buddies about ones and tens in base-ten. Fifth graders will practice finger-counting with the kindergartners, and then they'll make a tens-chain up to 100 with strips of finger counters.
SEL: Open Circle
The week will find us at our first open circle where we'll again talk about teamwork. In general, the group is learning how to work as a team and respect one another's needs and focus as well as the learning/teaching focus of the class. The school counselor will lead us in this discussion in a big circle in the school cafeteria.
Math: Facts, Place Value and Assessment
Math will focus on facts and place value. We'll start with a discussion about short-term and long-term memory, and how placing those math facts solidly in the long term memory helps with math learning. Then I'll tell them that the results of their first facts quiz demonstrated where they are on this learning curve, and that this week's home study will help them gain greater mastery over this learning challenge. I'll give another set of online quizzes next Friday to see who is making progress, and differentiate the assignments and support in this mastery endeavor accordingly in the weeks ahead.
We'll also begin to focus with greater depth on place value. We'll discuss the concept of systems, and then discuss the base-ten place value system. We'll see a film on the history and creation of this system, and then make models of the system parts and behavior.
Students will take the Track My Progress and Symphony Math assessments this week too. These assessments along with class work, the place value pre-assessment, and other scores, informal assessments, conversation, and observation will help us to target the teaching and learning in student-friendly, positive ways.
Read Aloud: Metaphor for Life's Journey
Our read aloud will continue as we watch the young Merlin develop and change over time. We've already discussed how resilience and dreams can push a person forward even when times are tough. This week we'll focus a little more on the people that impact your journey as Young Merlin otherwise known as Hawk in Yolen's trilogy begins to travel with Ambrosious, the mage and mountebank, and Vivianne, his accomplice. We've made connections in this story to Harry Potter particularly since young Merlin is born of mortal and immortal parents.
STEAM: Solar Ovens
We'll embark on the solar oven creation project this week too. Working with partners, students will build a solar oven out of a pizza box and measure the increasing temperature of water in that solar oven. Next week students will have the chance to improve their designs and cook s'mores in their ovens. This should be a fun project!
Team, Learning, and Leadership Events
The week also includes today's systemwide Family Cook-Out, grade-level team meetings focused on scheduling, projects, and field studies, the school Faculty Senate meeting, DESE's Teacher Advisory Council meeting, and the High School Back-to-School Curriculum Night (my son's in high school). All of these events will contribute to team and optimal teaching/learning focus too.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Yesterday the students engaged in a well-planned endeavor that was beyond their collective, current skill level. As that became apparent, the teachers in the room shifted the teaching/learning to a review of the concepts using a number of short videos. Upon playing a music video, many children started to dance--they were very good dancers. The first instinct was to ask them to sit down and listen, but before I did that I watched recognizing that many learn well as they move their bodies to music and sing the lyrics. I let them dance, and then noted that students sometimes use dance and song to learn concepts, and then showed them a few videos that exemplify this. There was clear interest so I said that I'd have a math music video contest, a contest I've since decided to broaden to a math creative expression endeavor and contest.
I'll organize the creative project requirements which will include the following:
I'll organize the creative project requirements which will include the following:
- Focus your creative project on teaching specific information from our place value unit
- Work in mediums you enjoy such as visual arts, video, song, instrumental, theater, or dance.
- Make time to plan the work together, practice, review with a teacher, produce, and share.
I'll create a few opportunities for children to come to school early or stay late to work on their projects.
Toward the end of the unit, there will be a time to share the projects with classmates and perhaps others.
I'm not sure where this project will take us, but the reason I'm starting it is that I want to engage the students in the learning, and there is clearly a desire from these students to use art and creativity to learn. Let's see what happens.