Saturday, September 21, 2013

Meditation, Monopoly, Making Connections with the world and ourselves: Just another week in 8.2 Social Studies

Quick Note:  Grades for Periods 7, 8, and 9 have been updated.  Periods 2, 3, and 5 grades will be updated on Monday morning before 9:00 AM.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  (Roster was left at school and I am not tempting fate by going in there on the weekend to get it.)
Any week in which Meditation and Monopoly can guide instruction has to be a good one.  Certainly, this one fit the bill.  Being able to see kids come into class, barter with money, understand the implications of economic empowerment and poverty, and experience the range of emotions associated with the accumulation of wealth is a great thing.  Through the game, lifelong lessons as well as content related ones about capitalism and its underbelly are gained.  How are the rich viewed?  How are the poor viewed?  How does the game enhance the wish fulfillment intrinsic to a "rational" philosophy of capitalism?  These are a few of the lessons we gained.  (We also learned how unlike the real world the game is.  In the words of Creed Bratton, "You don't go by Monopoly, man. That game is *nuts*. Nobody just pick up Get Out of Jail Free cards. Those things cost thousands.")
Within this schematic, our students also engaged in meditative practice.  Seeing our students engage in meditation was wonderful.  They were on their own journeys and they recognized it.  I was able to join them, and effectively put administration off center in the process in one class period.  It was truly enlightening to see students embrace something, if only for a moment, that could help them in a lifetime.  To view with the mind's eye what can be a part of their being was transformative.  I have indicated that their nightly homework is to find their "fifteen minutes."  I hope they are able to do so, refining a practice and a deep understanding of how important it is to construct a being in the world that will control how they react to the issues in the world and not become bogged down with feeling helpless in a world that seeks to remove power from individuals.  
This week, students will be working on familiarizing themselves with work from the textbook in chapters 17 and 18.  Students will be bringing home a copy of the textbook for them to keep at home. Please help me help your emerging scholars by encouraging them to work on a little bit of the task each night so that by Friday morning, all of it is completed.

All best and happy hunting.
Mr. Kannan

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