Friday, May 18, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset: My last post for the 2011- 2012 School Year

Attention:  If you like, click here for a video of the 8.3 town hall visit with Governor Quinn! 

Also, click here for Governor Quinn's Twitter feed about his visit to Julian.

For the seventh grade bag of websites, click here!

I have decided that this is going to be my last blog entry for the year.  We teach all the way through, ensuring that each day is of instructional merit.  Yet, I will have this as my last blog entry and hope that your students, our emerging scholars, will let you know of all the intellectually enriching elements in which we will engage in that last week.
I want to thank all of the students for a journey that has featured different benchmarks for success.  Some have been able to embrace the first steps taken towards scholarship.  Others have begun to understand the arduous demands that are needed to even remotely compete on such a level.  I can honestly say that each and every one of the students I have worked with this year has changed in some way, pivoting towards this ideal, one that guides our vessels amidst turbulent seas.  For this, I can only bow my head and offer gratitude.
Seventh graders will engage in exploratory activities regarding the curriculum and the year this year.  This will take the form of answering reflective questions Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  On Thursday and Friday, we will examine different video clips and examine the presence of American History in these clips.  For the eighth graders, we will examine short stories by Gordimer, Kurieshi, LeGuin, and Tolstoy this week.  We will examine how the concept of "strange passengers" is both within us and outside of us.  Our world consists of "strange passengers," individuals who we don't choose to sit next nor who choose to sit next to us.  We simply board our vessels of voyage and sit next to them.  It is up to us whether or not we can make peace with the "strangeness" they possess and we possess in ourselves.
8.3 students can find their finalized Social Studies grades updated as of Monday, while 7.3 students will have their grades finalized before the end of Memorial Day weekend.
For the seventh graders, I wish a great summer filled with intellectual growth and curiosity as the next and final chapter in their Julian careers remains to be the page on which they will write.  For the eighth graders, I wish nothing but my best as they enter the great horizon of high school.  I wish them nothing but the best as they strive to embrace the idea that the fight goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die.  It has been an honor to be a momentary stop along your causeway of consciousness and being in the world.  I have been privileged to work with you and to both teach you and learn from you.   I can only hope that you embrace the hope and faith for good that lies within you.  As Sri Raghavendra says, "Faith can revive the dead while doubt can cause great harm."  To the eighth graders, I hope you possess faith in yourself and do not doubt what great intellectual strides you can take.  Thank you all for being you.  I will think of all of you, seventh and eighth, frequently this summer as I travel around India.
All best.
Mr. Kannan
Photo courtesy of with rights stipulated here

Friday, May 11, 2012

The week of the 14th with the end in sight

For 8th graders who wish to choose which film on which to write their Holocaust assessment, please know that it is past 8:00 AM.  At this time, the googledoc is closed and you are going to have to choose on what I select.  I wish you nothing but my deepest best... you might need it!

 8th Graders who need to access the Bag of Websites to conclude the Holocaust Unit, please click here!

It's real simple for both groups.  7th graders have their Final Assessments due Friday, while the 8th graders will finish with their Holocaust Assessment on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how things progress with the viewing of film clips.  Much at stake with much to finish this week.
Best wishes to all.
Mr. Kannan

Syllabus for 7.3 Social Studies
Week of 5.14 – 5.18
Mr. Kannan- Email:
Blog Address:
Monday:    Final Assessments are due on Friday.  Turn in your textbook before Friday. 
HW:  Final Assessments are due on Friday.  If you are not going to be present, please make sure your Final Assessment is submitted before you depart.

Syllabus for 8.3 Social Studies
Week of 5.14- 5.18
Mr. Kannan- Email:
Blog Address:
Monday:  Continue Holocaust Film Assessment, with  explore through film. clips. 
HW:    Make sure you are complete with the Holocaust film analysis on your prewrites.
Tuesday:  In class Holocaust Assessment.  Due at end of period.    This is dependent on how far we progress from Monday.  If it turns out we need more time, we roll the Assessment into Wednesday.
HW:   What do you take away from the Holocaust Unit?  How can you change lives based on what you have gained from it?  Extra credit if you compose a small and worthwhile paragraph on this topic.  Speak in specific and clear terms.
Wednesday:   Discuss Gordimer’s “Once Upon a Time.”    
HW:  How is Oak Park like the community that Gordimer describes?  How is Oak Park different than the community that Gordimer describes?  Where are our walls?
Thursday:  Read “My Son, the Fanatic” by Kurieshi.
HW:   Assess where we are in the threat of terrorism in the modern setting.  Be ready to explain if we are pursuing the terrorists or if we , ourselves, have become the terrorists in pursuing them?
Friday:   Finish enrichment sheet on either stories covered this week.  Surprise pairing ups.  You can elect not to work with that person, but it is strongly suggested that you do.
HW:     Make sure enrichment sheets are done either by the end of class or submitted at the start of Monday’s class.

Friday, May 4, 2012

This week is a tough one!

To put it in the most simple of terms, this is a tough week in Social Studies.  Good luck to you all!
8th graders- Homework from Karen Gershon's poems are due Monday with the Holocaust unit ending this week.  I wonder what the assessment will be?  Could we have something where the assessment is only one question... in 27 parts?  (We miss you, Rodney Dangerfield!)
7th graders- Monday is declaration day for your Final Assessments.  Then, it's working on your Final Assessments and being able to submit them on Friday, 5.18.
Best wishes to all of you.  I think you will need it.
Mr. Kannan

Syllabus for 7.3 Social Studies
Week of 5.7 – 5.11
Mr. Kannan- Email:
Blog Address:
Monday:  Start working on Final Assessment.
HW:  Final Assessments due on 5.18.  This is the last chance to proactively raise your grade.
Tuesday:    In class working on Final Assessment.
HW:  Keep up with scaffolded breakdown of what needs to be done.
Wednesday:   Continue making progress on Final Assessment.
HW:  At this point, you should have made some level of progress in completing your Final Assessment.  Have you thought about submitting a rough draft?
Thursday:   Progress through Final Assessment construction.  Conferences.
HW:   Assess where you are with your Final Assessment.  In the final analysis, the work is yours, but it might be good to get opinions from parent/ guardians.
Friday:    Final Assessments are due in one week.  Conferences.
HW:  One week from now, your Final Assessments are due.  Will your Final Assessment reflect your best work and your best chance of getting the grade that is most representative of your work and your problem solving abilities?

Syllabus for 8.3 Social Studies
Week of 5.7- 5.11
Mr. Kannan- Email:
Blog Address:
Monday:  Discuss Day V:  Holocaust Lecture Notes and poems on “Lessons.” 
HW:    Reflect on what the ultimate lesson is on the Holocaust.  Man, this sounds like a heck of an ending question for the class… Just a thought.
Tuesday:  Sylvia Plath and “Daddy.”  (It is official:  You all have been indoctrinated into the realm of depressing poems if you are reading Plath.  Congrats and welcome!)
HW:   Read “Riddle” and “Portrait of a House Detective” and answer questions on these questions. After these questions, explain how the Plath poem represents the idea that “Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted.”  Explain this in a solid and thorough paragraph with reference to the poem and Plath’s confessions through it.  These will be collected tomorrow.
Wednesday:   Close with “God,” “Experiments with God” and “Ani Maamin.”
HW:  Answer questions on poems.  These will be collected tomorrow.
Thursday/ Friday:  Film Clips of the Holocaust unit.
HW:   Finish writing assignment based off of film clips.