Saturday, August 31, 2013

Unlimited Horizons: Initial Impressions of 8-2 Students

Our first week is in the past.  This means that only the narratives we write exist in the future.  The anticipatory fear which seems to be intrinsic to the start of the school year is out of sight and in its place is the firm reality of the work that needs to be done.  One student in my 9th period class saw the length, breadth, and weight of the first packet that students will be receiving in terms of content and remarked, "I thought you were joking."

We know now that I don't joke about my work... or the work that students will have to do.

The first week was filled with some rather interesting impressions collected about students.  Many of them have been trained well by our educational system.  They waited patiently outside my door, tacitly showing a form of submission new to me amongst American students.  Many of our students were successfully navigating how to move from fourth to first floor back to fourth floor in a quick clip.  Some of them sat next to their friends.  Then, they woke up and realized that their education was more important.  I saw two girls in the space of two days leave their friends and simply move to a location of the classroom that had limited space, but guaranteed them the chance to engage in disruption- free learning.  (There is a life lesson here.)  In terms of their writing,  I was impressed with how some of them were able to assert that there is a such a notion of goodness in the world, even in the face of unspeakable evil.  A few students suggested that they would not have a problem erasing their minds of old memories because they knew they would be able to make new ones.  Others suggested that they would not want to lose memories of their past because they were too precious and what existed in the future was far too uncertain.  I read the thoughts of one child who said she would be glad to rid herself of the past memories because she had endured far too much.
Yes, these are my 8th graders.  Let the games commence!

With this level of inquiry, we progress towards the inevitable end of our first unit on learning styles.  Students will be concluding the instructional phase of the unit this week in terms of typing their colleagues, their teachers, and themselves.  This will set the stage for the learning styles assessment that will most likely start this Friday or the following Monday.  If students are unclear about any aspect of the topic or what has been covered thus far, they are invited to see me during 4th period lunch, email me, or contact me at my home.  Their clarification is the most important thing.

Here is our hopeful schedule this week:
Tuesday- Continue with lecture concepts.  Explore what is there.  HW:  Extra Credit writing prompt offered from class.
Wednesday- Discuss Student Profiles, if lecture is done and questions are answered.  HW:  Finish specific student profiles that were not done from class.
Thursday- Continue student profiles/ start teaching profiles.  HW:  Finish specific profiles from class discussion.
Friday- Assess where we are and where we need to be.  Identify how particular learning styles are seen at Julian.  Perhaps, take an in class field trip around the building to do so.  HW:  E.C. Writing prompt offered.  Preview the path for the Learning Styles Assessment that was outlined in class.

If I can be of any further help or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
All best and happy hunting.
Mr. Kannan

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dancing with and for the divine: Returning to Julian 8.2

This blog will be updated weekly with insights about the class.  One such insight is for students to check out the team website and this blog as often as possible.  This blog features this week's syllabus and next week's syllabus in order to facilitate your planning.  It will also contain plenty of extra credit opportunities that can be pursued to boost student standing in Social Studies/ Humanities.  As we get closer to the start of the school year, I will post another blog entry.

For now, I encourage all of you to enjoy the time left in summer.  As you can tell, there will be much in way of work on 8.2, your last stop in your District 97 journey.  It will be a privilege to lead and guide you through this terrain.  I can only hope that you will reap some benefit from my guidance.

All best.
Mr. Kannan