daw.com - mach 20

This past weekend I spent 3.5 days with 525 high school students from all over the world as they debated issues that are current and relevant in the United Nations.  It was the 25th annual Beijing International Model United Nations (BEIMUN).  As I always am, I was impressed by the quality of the debate amongst these youngsters and the depth of knowledge they have on these issues.  While I know this has no bearing on our class, I cannot help but be amazed at how much our students grow and it is always my hope that someday a student that I taught will make headlines with a world changing event or idea.  This is one such place that it can start - the seed can be planted.

Our science unit on Transformations has been happening with a look at modeling the invisibles or the things that we cannot see.  We took a look at a YouTube video on elephant toothpaste and tried our best to model what really happened.  Of course, it is impossible to know about the parts we cannot see so the second part of the experiment made the invisibles more visible and the students tried to make sense of this with an explanation.  This is what science is all about.  It is very rare for science to come up with the 'correct' answer but rather attempt to explain what is seen or happened.  This is what makes science so exciting.  Anyone can memorize peri0dic tables, know molar expressions and even know the basis of molecular or radioactive actions, but asking questions and attempting to answer them is really what science is all about.  We are having a great time doing this and will do so
for the next 5-6 weeks.

The students first try at essays is going well.  The teaching has involved coming up with ideas from texts, living the text, walking the shoes of another and beginning with a thesis statement.  I do have to say that I find it easier to use personal pronouns in teaching thesis statements even though technically there should be no such pronoun.  I will teach lessons toward the end that hones the thesis statement into more of a direct statement.

By now I do hope all of you have signed up for Student Led conferences.  This will be a good time for you to see what your student has done this year and see their reflections on their learning.  I think you will be amazed.  Signup for these conferences happens through Friday of this week.

We have completed fractions for the year and move on to Addition and Subtraction with Volume and Area.  There are a stream of models that we use for this unit and students always find it interesting how these work to explain away the arithmetic that many will gain.   This is a fairly short unit of only about 5 weeks.

That is it for now.  Please remember that if you are leaving early or returning late for Spring Break to let me know.  It really helps with my planning.  Spring break this year starts on Apr 1.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me and  will set up a time that we can meet.