8th – Election Challenge

After spending a week looking at the pro’s and con’s of the Electoral College (related to the fairness and distribution of power amongst the states), the students are ready to start the process of the Election Challenge!  In this case, students are involved in predicting the outcome of the November 3 presidential election, using the game at this website.  Each student, using their school profile, will predict which states will go blue and which states will go red.  These predictions will be done after a decent amount of research (fingers crossed…but some of the students already found their way onto the Federal Election Commission candidate donation tracker and were shocked at the type of money going into these campaigns).

Feel free to have your student show you their predictions thus far and be sure to ask them why they made those choices!

7th – Day 3 of Deconstruction

An era comes to an end!  The Sukkah, previously standing outside our building (which mind you withstood numerous wind and rain storms), is officially down and put away.  We have done our best to salvage as much of the wood from the Sukkah as possible so that we can reuse the wood (and screws) next year.  Afterall, Sukkot is about connecting with nature and we are doing our best to conserve materials so that we have the most limited impact on our environment.

1 Sukkah built, 1 Sukkah taken down, and most importantly…0 major injuries (splinters do not count).

6th, 7th, 8th – Electoral College

The Electoral College is a complicated system that people struggle to understand, which is why we are covering it in class.  One of the big issues that will likely arise in this election, just as it has in previous elections (2016, 2000) is the popular vote vs. the electoral vote.  What does it mean?  Does my vote matter?

Today in class, we are reading an article which attempts to explain the Electoral College and how it works (and no, it is not a university people attend.  The name means a group of people gathered together (college) to select someone (elector)).  After reading the article, students are able to ask questions and explore different topics, such as Gerrymandering (once again, tricky topic to discuss).  The article we are reading is linked here.

Once we have covered that topic, we are going to do a bit of math and focus on previous presidential elections; focusing on how the electoral college has work.  The website we are using for that exploration is linker here.

7th – Day 1 of Sukkah Deconstruction

What took us a little over two weeks to build and put up took us all over two hours to take down.  Everything is down and our next job is to clean up.  Fortunately for us, it appears to be nice enough weather over the next few days!

And yes, I TOLD every student to bring a jacket to school and bring it outside with them.  You know as well as I do that directions given are not equal to directions followed.

8th – Veterans Essay

As we move forward, we are going to be working on our newest unit: The Bill of Rights.  Our study of the Bill of Rights is naturally an important topic to cover (after all, we get many of our rights and freedoms from this document).  In addition to understanding the amendments themselves, we will work on applying these rights to our daily lives as students and citizens.

At the end of our unit, we will work in Social Studies and ELA to participate in an essay contest, hosted by the local VA branch.  The prompt this year is “The Bill of Rights and me.”  Feel free to explore the website, which highlights some of the requirements.

This project will take us up to December.  Expect us to focus on different aspects of the essay and the requirements each week in conjunction to to what they are covering in ELA.

6th – Road Mapping

Our road map unit is near completion.  Students spent a good amount of time focusing on the different types of road maps we as adults encounter such as city maps, tourists maps, and complex freeway maps.  We do have a brief assessment on Wednesday in which students will get different visual stimuli (usually 2-3 questions for each stimuli), analyze these stimuli, and use their critical thinking skills to answer questions related to the stimuli.  All questions will be based on different types of road maps; which will provide me with a more in-depth understanding of what the students comprehend.  Additionally, these types of assessments allow for students to interact with assessment styles they will encounter in high school and Advanced Placement course (a long way off, but still something to be prepared for).

Feel free to practice with your child and get them ready to navigate the roads around Milwaukee.

7th – 1st Day of Compost Collection

After working hard the last few weeks to understand the importance of composting and setting up our program, we are finally ready to pick up our compost.  Buckets have been delivered to each classroom.  Every teacher was sent an introductory email, which included personalized videos explaining what we are doing, and a reminder message was sent this morning.  Now, all it comes down to is our moment of truth!

We are going to be recording our compost collection amounts each day and week.  Hopefully we have good news to report at the end of the week (in terms of environmental protection; not on your bank account seeing how we are throwing away a lot of food daily).

Quick update…for our first day, we are at 62.5% participation from grades/cohorts across the school!  For a first time, we will take that!

7th – Presenting our Compost Project

It is tough to do an all-school composting program when not everyone is here (some students virtual) and everyone that is here is confined to our own cohort.  We are doing it nonetheless.  After three days of script writing for our introductory videos, we finally got to recording.  Students had to record (masked) their introduction to their grades and their respective teachers.  These videos will then be sent to the classrooms on Thursday, with their compost bins (the orange Home Depot 5 gallon bucket (and no, we are not sponsored by Home Depot, but will gladly take some money for this advertisement)), as well as an introductory letter.

Feel free to ask your student to share their video with you.

6th – How to use a Road Map?

Recently, I took a bit of a road trip to an area I have never been.  About halfway into the trip, my phone stopped working (in part because my phone is actually older than the students) so my Maps app no longer told me where to go.  I have become so dependent on the phone to get me from place to place I forgot one important skill: how to read a map.  I pulled over, took out the pile of maps from the glove compartment, and figured out my path.  I obviously made it back home just fine, but I was reminded on the importance of those basic life skills we all develop along the way.

This week, we are continuing our quest for mapping dominance by learning how to read and effectively use a road map.  Yes, an average road map (for those times the phone just won’t work).  We are working our way from small to big; first by navigating a neighborhood map to eventually graduating to a tourist map.

When you go away for the slightly extended weekend and drive somewhere; humor me and ask your student to take out a map and help navigate a route tot where you need to go.  It will take a bit longer, but help reinforce and practice those skills at home.