Thursday, May 26, 2011
It's the second-to-last week of school for 8th graders - they have exams next week. Seventh grade students have exams the week after that.
So the school, and Dept. of Ed, scheduled two assemblies for this week. One yesterday, Jr ROTC drill team. Today, a drug prevention presentation. Both during the same class periods. So that any teacher who is trying to either finish work or have reviews or have students work on final projects does not have the classes in which those activities would take place.
At the same time, we've received notification that we have too many teachers, or teachers with not-full-to-the-max classes. We do have some small classes, so that teachers can have expanded projects, or work with students on remediation, or focus on academic interventions, or work at advanced levels with the class. This is why (and how) our school met the standards for "yearly adequate progress" set down in the No Child Left Behind Act. So if we're doing what we're supposed to be doing, how can we have too many teachers?
And if the classrooms should be filled to the max, why are you pulling students out to attend assemblies, when we, the teachers, need the students in the classes to do their work?
Monday, May 23, 2011
We're supposed to be teaching rigorous material and making it relevant to our students' lives. So I designed my Palio project, based on the big race and parade and cultural event that takes place in many small Italian towns.
My students know Carnival - I explained that the Palio is kind of like our Carnival (not related to Lent), just a big parade and party and music - and that the Palio ends in a race.
We learned some Italian. We looked at medieval and Renaissance art. We learned the vocabulary of heraldry. The students got into groups (contrade) and picked an emblem, a blazon, colors - and then they each designed their own banners, T shirts, flags, and shields. The Advanced Art class used these "props" in our Shakespeare performance (a condensed "Romeo and Juliet") so they had some reading. The Basic Art classes each made a contrada book, where they created a myth about why the contrada had that emblem, how the contrada got started, a description of the emblem, and who are they in their contrada - so they had a lot of writing. One group designed the poster, and worked with the Graphics teacher to put everything into the computer and print the posters, which were displayed all over the school.
We had the Lions Rampant, the Eagles Volant, the Eagles Perched, the Phoenix Rising, the Dragons Guardant - and the students started talking about themselves in these heraldic terms.
Today we had our Palio - the parade and race. Advanced Art set up the banners around the bus circle, and the school monitors patrolled to keep people from parking in the circle. Deputy Superintendent and Principals were up front. Music sent a group of drummers to lead our march around the school. My Phys Ed teacher friend was my official start/end the race person. We marched around the entire campus, and classes/teachers came out to watch and cheer. (And somehow, we picked up about 100 students, I don't know who they were or where they were supposed to be - they just followed along! So about 25% of the school was out there - plus a few teachers brought classes to watch from the upper balconies.) We marched around the bus circle. Then everyone stood by their banners, and the runners (track team plus some of my students) ran three times around the circle. The Phoenix (with the Heartthrob Kid as their runner) were the winners, so I will bring a pan of brownies for them tomorrow. (And another pan for the rest of the class.)
So - some photos:
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Remember the show "Cheers"? Where someone would walk in, and everyone would yell out their name?
Do you have a place like that? A neighborhood restaurant or cafe you frequent, they know you, you know the staff by name, a place where you are a regular? They might even know your usual order?
We have a place like that, where DH and I usually go for breakfast on weekends. It's a place where we run into friends, we've made friends, and it's just a place we like to hang out. Plus they have the most reasonable - and tastiest - breakfast on island. Even though DH is off-island, I still drive down the hill to the Deli, and have bkfst, so much easier than making it all at home - today a Western omelet, half order of homefries, and multigrain baguette. Not my usual (although the Earl Grey tea was my usual).
I arrived chatting with DH on the cell phone, and as I placed my order I said to the staff, "Say hi to R" - they all yelled out "HI R!!!" - and I signed off with, "Okay, sweetie, talk to you later" - and the ladies all started yelling, "Bye sweetie" "Love you honey" "Talk to you later dear" and making kissing noises. It was so funny!!!! Although by then DH had hung up, and he missed the whole thing.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
My husband makes fun of me for watching medical dramas. "Grey's Anatomy" and "House" are my two (count them, TWO) HAVE-TO-WATCH shows on TV. That's it (except when "Project Runway" is on).
I like the medicine. I like the story-line of personal dramas. I like the characters. I like Seattle (used to live there).
And I like the fact that both these shows are informative - both include medical information that could conceivably change people's lives. There is a certain social justice in providing information that could help someone, while also changing information that others have.
I found this article (and I can't find a link, so I'm posting the entire article):
Ooops, found the link, here you go:
WebMD) Television has been called a "vast wasteland," but there is no denying the power of prime time.
Health educators slipped a message about HIV-positive mothers into a story line in the popular TV show Grey's Anatomy.
Then they tested whether viewers got that message.
Researchers from Kaiser Family Foundation, led by Victoria Rideout, met with Grey's Anatomy writers and staff.
One staff member was an ob-gyn who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.
The group also included a young woman, HIV positive since she was 19, who recently gave birth to a healthy baby with her HIV-negative husband.
The story line included a young HIV-positive woman who finds out she is pregnant and first demands an abortion, fearing she will pass the virus that causes AIDS to her child.
She learns that with proper treatment she has a 98 percent chance of delivering a baby who is HIV-free.
Randomly selected regular Grey's Anatomy watchers were questioned, testing their knowledge and attitudes about HIV-positive women giving birth.
Three surveys were given, one before the show aired in May 2008, a week after the show aired, and a follow-up six weeks later.
Here is one question viewers were asked:
"As far as you know, if a woman who is HIV positive becomes pregnant and receives the proper treatment, what is the chance that she will give birth to a healthy baby, not infected with HIV?
The answer? There is a more than 90 percent chance of having a healthy baby with the right treatment.
Here are the percentages of viewers who got that right:
# Before the show aired, 15 percent answered correctly.
# 61 percent knew it a week after seeing the show.
# 45 percent retained that knowledge six weeks later.
The respondents were asked whether this next statement was true or false:
"If a woman who has HIV or AIDS becomes pregnant, there is nothing that can be done to prevent the virus from infecting the unborn baby."
# A week before the episode aired, 53 percent knew the correct answer. (It's false.)
# A week after the show aired, 76 percent knew the answer was false.
# Six weeks after the program aired, 63 percent still knew the correct answer.
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