Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Field Trip to the DIA

Learning Community 9A had a wonderful field trip to the Detroit Institute of the Arts on February 1st. 89 students and 10 chaperones had an opportunity to see six galleries, focusing on an investigation of several themes related to World History and English Language Arts. And thanks to the DIA's extensive digital exhibits, students who were unable to accompany us downtown enjoyed a day of virtual art exploration from the classroom.

One of the highlights of the visit was seeing Rivera Court, Diego Rivera's mural depicting the advances and costs associated with the Industrial Revolution, which students will be studying this quarter in World History. Students learned a great deal from the docents on hand in this exhibit. Another impressive piece was a brilliantly colored Iranian Qur'an dated from 1450. Students were asked to consider what they felt makes this a classic piece of art as a segue into their Writ Lit topic for 3rd quarter about classic literature.

The students also thoroughly enjoyed the chance to sample two hot chocolates (one with cinnamon and cloves and the other with a hint of chili), thanks to the special exhibit "Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate."

If we can count on their reflections, each student saw an exhibit with which they connected. We hope that for students who have been to the DIA before, this field trip gave them an opportunity to see some of the pieces they might have overlooked in the past, and for those who have never been, we hope this gave them reason to go back. For residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties, admission is free!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Historical Fiction in Writ Lit and World History

November was the kick-off for our historical fiction unit in Writ Lit and World History, which began in English class with the delivery of students' novel baggies! Each bag contains one of the 6 novels we are reading (all centered around globalization in the 16th and 17th centuries), 2 packs of sticky notes, and the reading schedule along with reminders for how to sticky note during reading time.

Each day, students have 30 minutes of class time to enjoy reading their books. As they go, students sticky-note their thoughts, observations about the characters, and questions about historical references.

Students have also been categorizing their sticky notes as literal, inferential, or critical, helping them to better understand the different levels of thinking involved when we interpret texts.

On any given day, students can be found reading in various spots around the room. On the left, Antigona decided she was most comfortable at the high top table, whereas Noah wanted to read on the floor. There is great energy in a room full of readers (even if no one is speaking)!

The second part of each class period is giving students time to build a warehouse of resources that help them understand the historical context of their novels, events they are also studying in World History. So far, we have studied how the migration of the Germanic Tribes affected the evolution of the English language and how the Edict of Expulsion explains the beginnings of the Reconquista in Spain. Next? The Bubonic Plague!

We also used our very own BHHS statues of the Knight and the Baron  to give us insight into creating historical fiction. Below, York and Amari decide on the best angle from which to photograph the Knight for their story, and to the right you can see part of Georgia's story about the Baron.

While learning about these historical topics, students have also learned how to apply the C.R.A.A.P. test to assess a source's Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. And of course, they are quick to share that they're learning "CRAAP" in English. (As a side note, they are also using this CRAAP in World History and Biology!)

Here's what the students have to say about our unit so far:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mathematics on LC Team 9A is on full throttle!  Algebra classes have studied linear functions and their graphs and equations this semester.  Most recently we have been solving systems of equations in many different ways including on the graphing calculator.  we have also used systems of equations in many applications.  Geometry has been getting introduced to proofs along with their study of triangles.  Crazy angle problems have been challenging.  Coordinate proofs have also been very interesting.  Both classes are ready for their unit assessment this week.  Remember this:  Mathematics is Logic, and Logic is the stepping stone into adulthood.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Goodbye, Invasive Species. Hello, Biodiversity!

Students are nearing the end of Unit 3 focused on biodiversity.  We started the unit by learning about what biodiversity looks like and how to quantify it by calculating the diversity index.  This was modeled through an activity called "Bird Island", which also helped to build our vocabulary with terms such as species, abundance, and endemic species. Students first calculated bird populations, graphed the population data, and then analyzed their data to use as evidence when discussing questions related to biodiversity.

Last week, we had beautiful weather to remove two invasive species right
in the backyard of our school.  Students learned about how invasive species impact biodiversity and the environment, the different ways invasive species come into the United States and then several methods to remove them from the ecosystem. Ten classes of biology students walked out behind the softball fields to manually remove two local invasive species, Buckthorn and Bittersweet Vine.  Clippers, root jacks and pure muscle ripped out the invaders and provided room and additional resources for other native species to continue to grow in the forest.  Sixty compost bags of leaves, branches, vines and roots are evidence of the students' hard work and dedication to help with habitat restoration at our school.  

The last piece to our biodiversity unit is presenting on how human actions such as deforestation, urbanization, pollution, and agriculture (just to name a few) affect our global biodiversity.  Possibly even more importantly is how science, technology, government and non-profit organizations are developing solutions to reduce the impact humans have on our plant and animal species.  I am looking forward to hearing the students' presentations in early December!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Editorial Cartoons

Ian Kirner's cartoon concerning the Pokemon Go craze
Throughout the year in World History, our class will be keeping up to date on current events.  Earlier in the year, I encouraged students to download a variety of news apps onto their phones.  They were encouraged to download a local, national, and international news app.  If they wanted to take it a step further, I encouraged them to allow one of the apps to accept push notifications so that breaking news would appear across the home screens of their phones!  It has been fun to see students excited to ask me about breaking news to see if I had already seen it yet or not during our current events discussion that usually occurs on Monday or Tuesday at the beginning of class.

Jenny She's cartoon providing political commentary
To go along with our continued investigation of current events, we discussed the role that editorial cartoons play in allowing writers / cartoonists to make statements concerning events that are happening in the World.  It was stressed that cartoons should really go beyond the descriptive and should reach for the analytical.  In other words, they need to attempt to say something with their cartoon.

Georgia Zimmerman's cartoon this year's Nobel Prizes  
I gave the class the chance to test out their editorial cartoon making skills by creating a cartoon that was related to any New York Times article they could find.  Students were allowed to pick any topic found in the NYT that they thought was interesting and most importantly had something to say about it.  Finally, I chose some of the very best to compete in the NYT Learning Network's Second Annual Editorial Cartoon Contest.  We are currently awaiting the results of the contest and are hoping to have a winner or two from among the thousands of entries that they receive from across the nation.  Last year, BHHS had two cartoons that were chosen for recognition!

Mari Lynn's cartoon concerning the demotion of Pluto

Young Authors

Students in Mrs. Teal's Writing Through World Literature class have been reading, critiquing, discussing, and writing personal narratives as they investigate how storytelling helps us understand and respect other people's perspectives and identities​. After writing ​their own​ mini memoir​s, students were invited to enter their work​s​ for publication in Teen Ink Magazine, a national magazine, book series, and website w​hose​ sole purpose ​is​ publishing and sharing teen writing and art.​

Memoirs written by Brett Almany, Evan Saroken, Jenny She, and Eli Rubin have been published on Teen Ink's website. ​In addition, ​Darby Krugel received ​an editor’s choice award​, Sophie Henderson earned ​a front page feature, and Leen Rass earned ​a reader’s top ​pick recognition​.  Congratulations to ​these students!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What Makes a Healthy Ecosystem?

Image result for ecologyWe just finished Unit 2 in Biology that focused on many aspects of ecology.  During the last couple of weeks the students learned about the flow of energy through an ecosystem, how species interact to survive and how certain factors in the environment limit population growth.  Visualizing how species interact through relationships like mutualism, parasitism and predation was especially fun using National Geographic video clips.  You will have to ask your student to describe the parasitic relationship between the caterpillar and wasp larvae or how wolves are keystone species in Yellowstone National Park (see link below). Throughout this unit various graphs and data were analyzed, which is a transferable skill that I hope students can use throughout high school and beyond.  The students also used their math skills to calculate different aspects of populations, including predicted populations and population density.  Next week we are starting a new unit on biodiversity and how human activity impacts the variety and number of species throughout the world.  This unit will end in December with student presentations that explore the threats to biodiversity as well as evaluating solutions to decrease humans' impact on biodiversity.

Image result for how wolves change rivers