Friday, January 4, 2013

After a restful break, welcome back... to the sadness, hopelessness, and desperation of World War I! Is this fun or what?

The Winter Break was a restful one for me and my hopes are that our students are ready to go.   This blog will consist of several parts.  The first will be what is to be covered in the week we return:
Monday- Return back work, distribute everything, and begin work on World War I notetaking guides.  Homework is to finish sections 1 and 2 of Chapter 21.
Tuesday- Individual breakouts for those who are done with sections 1 and 2 and then in class work on Chapter 21 sections 3 and 4.  Finish these notetaking guides on Chapter 21 for homework.
Wednesday- Breakout session on Chapter 21.  Make sure all is done and everything is as lucid as it can be... at least from the textbook side.  Homework is to make sure all four notetaking guides are done.
Thursday- Pop quiz on sections 1-4.  Discuss the themes of World War I in a broad manner and talk about how the lecture on the themes will work.  Homework is to preview the themes of World War I.
Friday- Start lecture on themes of World War I.  Homework is to reflect and think about these themes.

I would like to bring to the attention of stakeholders a new feature that will kick in with this week's syllabus and should be present until the end of the year.  As part of the syllabus for Social Studies, I am including two elements.  The first is that I am giving some sporadic "thinking" assignments that students can reflect upon for the intrinsic value of thinking and rumination.  These can be written upon or delved into for extra credit.  Students can submit their work to me via hard copy or through email or googledocs.  If students wish to compose their work in another electronic realm and submit this work to me, they may do so.  I hope you will help me help our students in the process of this element of thought and rumination about the work we do in World War I and beyond.    Taking advantage of any and all extra credit or
Finally, I have started to ask students to engage in 15 minutes of meditation outside of class.  It is something that I can encourage through the online syllabus.  As this is the month which will really begin the process of our students leaving and enduring greater stress with such a move as well as increasing the workload in 8th grade, meditation and finding at least 15 minutes of quiet time is vitally important.  I have included helpful links on each night's assignments of the team syllabus that students can reference in terms of how to meditate, why it is important, and benefits to them in meditating  for at least 15 minutes.  Like so much in our educational system, I, as your child's teacher, am merely a proctor.  I am a bystander.  I am an observer.  Your children and you all are the real agents of change.  I can only help to guide them.  The reality is that I cannot assess them on their 15 minutes of meditation.  I cannot quiz them on it or give them a multiple choice assessment on it.  I cannot demand that they do this.  You can, though.  You can stress to these young scholars, your children, the importance of taking 15 minutes each night, every night to help their own mental balance in achieving the centered and balanced condition to deal with the stress that will be increasingly evident over the next months.  I will reinforce these lessons in class.  Yet, no different than any other success, I am only a proctor.  I am only a small part of a larger configuration that features you and your children as the real agents of action and change.  I hope that you can help me help your children, our students and emerging scholars.

As always, please contact me with any questions.
All best.
Mr. Kannan
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