Friday, September 23, 2016

The Hunger Games and Culture and Goat Cheese

On Monday, I had all the students in the computer lab.  They were looking for examples of culture in the book.  They had to list the ingredient of culture, page number, and give a quote.

First hour found more than any other class, so I thought I'd give them a little treat.

The book mentions goat cheese quite a few times.  (One of the characters, Prim, owns a goat.)

One of the ingredients of culture is food.  And, although I bought the goat cheese at Martins - which is part of our own culture - many of my students had never tried it before.  So, this morning I brought it in for my first hour class to try.

Here's one of the quotes from the book, "Gale spreads the bread slices with the soft goat cheese..."  So, I got them bread as well.  As expected, some students liked it, and some didn't.

True story:  before I left for a year on my own in Croatia, my father would sit me down and have me try random foods that I'd never tried before.  I was practicing being polite, and respectful of what the someone from an other culture had prepared for me.  Maybe it wasn't what I was accustomed to, but I knew to be appreciative of their generosity.  Hopefully I helped pass that mentality on to my students.

As we've been working with culture, I had students draw pictures of each ingredient.  Here are 10.  Each class is represented.  In order to get credit for reading and discussing this blog with an adult, look at the pictures and see if you can determine which ingredient of culture it's supposed to represent.  When you have them listed, have the adult you've read and discussed the blog with sign your paper.

Turn it in Monday in the extra credit spot.  (Also, don't forget the "Made in _______" tags that you may also bring in for extra credit.)  Here are the pictures:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Culture: Values

We have been discussing culture, and it's ingredients in here the past several days.  I give students 10 ingredients I want them to know.  They're on a bulletin board in the back of my room:

Pretty sweet, right?

Some of the ingredients are easy to understand: food, dress, language.  Others get more complicated: government, religion, ethnicity.

And certainly there are more than 10 ingredients of culture.  What about holidays?  Where do they fit?  Sports?  Should government be on there?  Or is that something that influences our culture - like geography?  I remember a time I boarded a plane at JFK International Airport in NYC.  It was snowing so hard.  I was all bundled up.  We were lucky to even make it to the airport.  And we got of the plane in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  101°.  Maybe geography should be up there...

One that trips up students every year, though, is values.  The definition I give is, "something a culture esteems as good or worthy.  Ideals they try to live up to."  That's an admittedly weak definition.

Students continually confuse values and valuables.  I just had students draw pictures for each of the ingredients of culture.  Every year I have students draw diamonds, or gold earrings for values.  ...Not what we're looking for.

So, I told students values are what you want your kids to become when they grow up.  No parent tells their kid, "today at school, I want you to be as lazy as possible.  Try to sleep in every class if you can.  We want you to live with us until you're 40."  Or "Make sure to be a bully today, honey.  Pull a kid's hair, if you get a chance.  Hopefully you'll get suspended."

We want our kids to be hard workers, honest, helpful, brave.  Trustworthy, empathetic but not whiny, genuine.  Those are values.

Students may receive extra credit if they read and discuss this blog post with an adult.  To prove that they read and discussed it, please write 5 values that the adult wants to instill in the student.  Have the adult sign the paper - proving they read and discussed.  Then, make sure the student's name, date, and hour are on it.  Turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit tray.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Writing on Desks

One of the first things we work on in this class is learning/relearning the continents and oceans, and understanding how latitude and longitude lines work.

There's something that seems inherently fun about writing on desks.  I don't know if it's because it's generally forbidden, or because dry-erase markers are so much more fun to work with than pencils, but we wrote on the desks themselves today.

I projected this map onto the SmartBoard:

They had to draw it on their desks.

When they were done, they added the Equator and Prime Meridian.  Then they also added 180° E/W without looking it up.  ...Then they added 90°W and 90°E without looking.

We didn't spend a TON of time on it, but the students did a good job:

We took a test over the continents and oceans really early - before we'd studied them.  Students are required to retake that test until they get a 12/12.  If they haven't earned that score yet, they should make sure to see me about retaking the test.

I should add that we also read a little bit of The Hunger Games today.  I keep finding more and more that ties in with this class.

If students read and discussed the blog, they should have the adult they read and discussed it with draw a map of the world.  They aren't allowed to take more than 2 minutes.  If students can get the adult to do this, and they both sign the paper, students will earn 5 extra credit points.  Just make sure you turn in the paper tomorrow.  (Put it in the extra credit tray.  ...Make sure your name is on it.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Contact Form and Extra Credit

Congratulations on making it to the classroom/extra credit blog.

Hopefully your child (or whoever you know that's in my class) filled out THIS FORM on their own this morning.  I'm asking that you fill it out too.

I know that many of you filled out a form or two or five at orientation, or when you registered for the school.  Unfortunately, I can't separate that all out in a way that would make it readable.

When you fill out the Contact Information Form (yes, it's the same link... I thought that if I posted it twice, you'd be more likely to fill it out...) you will be asked if you want a daily homework reminder emailed to you.

I don't care if you check the yes or the no box.  I want you to do whatever is best for your family.  You may opt out or opt in at any time.

Today in class students worked on learning (or relearning) the continents and oceans.  They're retaking the test tomorrow.  I also showed them several more ways they may earn extra credit.   One of them is by reading and discussing this very blog with a parent.

If students read and discussed the blog with a parent, they can earn extra credit.  To prove that they were here, have the student write a sentence telling whether their parent (or guardian or other adult) read and filled out the Contact Information Form.  Then, have the adult sign it.  (Yes, my dad John Habecker read and completed the Contact Information Form.  Signature_______________________  ...Or No, my dad...)

Obviously, I don't need proof that you filled it out.  I can look it up.  I just need proof that you were here for the extra credit.  And I wanted one last reminder to fill out the form.

Make it a good one.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Learning Names

I have a goal of learning the names of all 170 students by the end of Wednesday of next week.  I don't know if I'm going to make it, but I'm really working on it.  REALLY working on it.

And I want my students to know each other as well.  I'm surprised that after spending the past 6 years together (in some cases... not all...) many students still don't know others in their class.

Today for bellwork, I handed them a seating chart, and gave them a quiz over the names of the other kids in class.  Very few were able to complete it.  Not that I'm judging them.  I didn't get a 100% on any of them either.

I wonder how many of them realized that this was also a social studies activity.  We're going to spend a lot of time this year looking at maps.  That's what a seating chart is: a map of the classroom.

We also tried an ice-breaker activity where students asked each other questions that I'd come up with over the summer.  They took a note card, introduced themselves to another student and read the question on the note card.  Then they took turns answering the questions, exchanged cards, and went to ask someone else.

I participated in this as well.  It was nice, because I got to know the students a little better.  The students may not have realized this, but they were also getting to know me a little bit better, too.  Even if they didn't come up and ask me one of the questions, they were still reading a question I'd asked.  For instance, here's a question "Why can't I win a fight in PokemonGo?

I mean...  I've sent ALL my Rattatas against... you know... their guys.

Have you played PokemonGO?  Why or why not?"

By crossing out a fake, question and leaving it their for the students to read - that says something about me.

You should know we also took a real quiz today over the continents and oceans.  If students didn't do well, they may retake the quiz.

Students can get extra credit by reading and discussing this blog with an adult.  If they've done that, they should write at least 3 sentences about the discussion, then have the adult they discussed it with sign the paper.  Students, make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper and turn it in on Monday.  It goes in the extra credit tray.