Monday, March 3, 2014

Dancing Shoes/ Why Do We Need to Learn This Stuff?

Well, I didn't post on Friday, because I was off cutting a rug at the dance.  Here's my proof:

Lots of people were taking "selfies" there, so Mr. Ogle and decided we had to get in on that action.  Although, there's a new report out that says selfies lead to headlice.  Yep... we were definitely living on the edge.  And maybe it begs the question: if a selfie contains someone other than yourself, is appropriate to call it a selfie?

On to social studies:

We did some ISTEP prep today.  I gave students questions in the format of the ISTEP, and I'll be grading them today.  I'm grading them hard too - just like the ISTEP.  Hopefully it's eye-opening and helpful.  The questions dealt with the religions we've been studying for the past two weeks.

If you weren't here today, make sure you see me to get a copy of the assignment.

I heard Mr. Cowells is taking a break from ISTEP prep to teach about the riots/Russians in Ukraine.  He used that link today.  Click it if you want a REALLY quick and easy intro into what's going on...

I bring this up because I just had book club last night.  We just finished Bloodlands.  The premise of the book is that the real story of WWII is in the land between Russia and Poland.  It goes into detail about Stalin "collectivizing" Ukraine.  Stalin intentionally starved the Ukrainians.  ...Starved... as in to death.  Lots and lots - Snyder puts the number killed in these "political famines" at 3 million.  And then Russians moved onto the land - which maybe accounts for some of what we're seeing in Ukraine today.

I'm often asked by students why they need to learn this stuff.  (Sometimes it's about other classes as well.)  There are many fine answers to this question, and I've addressed it before.  But here's one I don't think I've brought up yet: deeper understanding.  At least, I haven't brought it up like this...

Many of my students have found themselves in this situation - in class, somebody's bothering one them and he - "good student B" tells that person to be quiet.

And then HE - good student B - gets yelled at.  (Well, "yelled at."  Chances are the teacher has just asked him to be quiet.)

Now, good student B was talking, and so the teacher has every right to ask him to be quiet.  The only information the teacher needs is that THAT student was talking.

BUT if the teacher had more information - the fact that the other student had been bothering him first.  In fact, the other student had been bothering him ever since he got this new seat...  In fact, good student B has been bullied by this student in the past, and they have a long history of conflict...  Well, that might change the teacher's understanding of the events.

The point is, gaining more historical/geographic/etc... knowledge allows you to have a deeper understanding of the historical/geographic/etc... knowledge you already possess.

You think you understand something - like the teacher who only understood that a student was talking - but with more information, you find out you barely understood it at all.

If you want the extra credit for reading and discussing this with an adult, tell them how you think you did on the religions bellwork from today.  Then, discuss the analogy I just gave.  Do you agree?  Does an increase in knowledge (of stuff we may not need to know) allow for a deeper understanding of what we do need to know?

Write at least 3 thoughts from the conversation on a piece of paper, and have the adult you read the blog with sign it.  Turn it in tomorrow for extra credit.


  1. I think the analogy works well, though maybe better verbally than in writing.
    -Great Khan

    1. Maybe it works better verbally. I'm guessing you weren't there to hear it. The whole time I kept thinking, if I could only write this down it'd be so much better...

    2. "Gotta have faith!"
      - George Michael