Class Notes April 1, 2011

This week we worked on the writing of dialogue, using many different exercises, which the children leaped into enthusiastically. This was in response to a movie idea some of the students were all buzzing about. (a project separate from school, a project of their own choosing. ) But since it was occupying much of their consciousness I thought it a useful time to work on those crucial writing skills of creating believable and dynamic conversation.
   We worked on skills for test-taking, exploring reading comprehension strategies, and attention to detail. We worked on Math problems and skills to approach them; among these the recognition of 1) Facts relevant to the problem, 2) Facts meant to obfuscate the solution, or confuse, 3) Facts still needed to complete the solution. I stressed the last step in a good strategy, which is to look at the question again and compare it with your solution.
   The students are making good progress on their woodworking, and I picked up some more gouges and carving tools, as they get to that phase of the work. I also found some butcher block finish that can be worked into the grain, and is food safe.
   We played Borderline, a good game for recognizing which states border which states, and bodies of water; we learned a funny version, with many gestures and movements, of “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean”, and had a rousing, all-out, barefoot ( they begged me) game of “Capture the Flag “, in the big field.
   We discussed briefly the latest history making details of the Libyan Civil War, and our involvement, and the sociopolitical ramifications thereof, and the ever-changing region. We discussed the fact that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, including nuclear scientists from around the world, are unable to slow down or predict the nuclear crisis in Japan. In the context of this, the German government has stopped all nuclear activity for review, and our governor is asking some serious questions about the Indian Point Plant. Within a 50 mile radius of that plant, the governor points out that 6% of the U.S. population resides. ( I asked them to figure out that math problem.)
   The kids had so much fun and were thoroughly absorbed for a couple periods doing their collages; they came out great, and I’d like to do a little show of them. Thanks for all the magazines. It is an art form that has so much process, and that kept them interested and engaged

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