passed away yesterday at the age of
95. Decades before my five week trip to South Africa
this summer, Mr. Mandela was an inspiration - not only to me,
but for millions around the world. In January I will give
a presentation on my my trip, but today I asked every one of my
students, even those I have only for math, to read and listen
and learn something of interest to them, and to write a report
(1 page or so) by next Friday about this man who possessed such
great determination, fierce passion, and genuine
humility. There will be no dearth of information.
, our school superintendent, will be at Clague
on Monday, at 6:30 pm
for a "Listen and Learn" session
with the community. Those who have been to sessions at
other schools have reported being quite impressed both with
people's opportunity to voice questions and concerns, and with
Dr. Swift's eagerness to listen.
7th and 8th grade music concerts
are next week, at 7:30
p.m.: Orchestra and Band on Tuesday; Choir and
Drumming on Thursday.
6th Grade Math:
Students are working very hard to fully understand what is
happening with multiplication and division with fractions.
Instead of learning procedures by rote (and then having them get
jumbled up), students are first, understanding the story - the
context in which the problem arises, and then drawing a picture
to tell the story. This is a profound change from the way
most of us have learned math, but one that may not be easy (no
shortcuts allowed, at first), but proves to be very
powerful. However, this is not a 'quick and
easy' method; if your goal is to get a quick answer, grab a
calculator. What we are trying to do is to be able
to encounter new problems, analyze what is happening, and find a
logical and meaningful way to solve them. But the answer
to a math problem in school is not what's important -
understanding the path to a solution is.
Please ask your child to walk you through a few problems of Inv.
3 and Inv. 4 in our current book, Bits & Pieces II. Do
so quickly, as we are entering our last week with this book.
Note to my 5th hour
class: The Special Number
is due a week from Friday. I signed us
up for the computer lab on Friday, so students can do a bit of
research on real life connections, which I find is the most
'fun' part of the project.
Grade Social Studies:
Thanks to two students
who wrote questions, I created a jeopardy game to review what we
have learned to date. While we are having fun playing it
in game format as a class, the questions themselves, or rather
the answers, are likely to turn up in a test; be prepared.
While students took notes on Chapter 10 as homework, I completed
this chapter on the Maya, by sharing my month long trip to
Belize in 2005 with the students during class time. The
photos are available by clicking on: Mr.
Going from Unit I to Unit 2, we jump quite a
ways into the future, as we learn about Ancient Egypt, Kush,
Israel and the origins of Judaism.
: We are tidying up our work on Latin
America with some map work. I am also in the process of
scheduling a guest speaker, who is from Brazil.
From there we jump across the Atlantic to Europe.
Advance note: In conjunction with our unit on Africa, I
have arranged for a guest artist
to work with the two
7th grade classes, over 4 weeks in January and February. A
result of this work is that each group of students will compose
a musical piece, which they will then perform in the
Multi-Purpose Room of the Ann Arbor District Library
, on the afternoon of Feb. 7
At 11 a.m. that morning, the classes will be attending a UMS
youth concert at the Michigan Theater
, entitled, "One
Night in Bamako
." Information on the evening
performance is --> here
A permission slip and request for chaperones will come home in
January, but I am so excited by these opportunities, I couldn't
hold the news any longer.
links for potential use: