Middle School Update
September 18, 2015
I'm reading a book by David Allender, and something that struck a chord with me is his discussion of awe. "Awe is the capacity to bow in the presence of something or someone more glorious than ourselves. . .Each syllable of awe is meant to prepare us for the day we will stand face to face with utter glory - the very presence of God. . . Whereas gratitude calls us to be fully ourselves by embracing freedom, awe invites us to be fully part of something bigger and more glorious than ourselves. . . We feel pleasure not solely for ourselves but also for the sake of the other. We feel delight in giving to the other. "
So, I've been looking for things that inspire awe. Students turning in money they have found rather than keeping it for themselves. High school kids hanging out at lunch with middle school teachers, because they feel a sense of comfort. Uncontrollable laughter during an SAT game. The rain stopping just in time for a big concrete pour. Fifth grade boys swarming Dominic for a hug. Staff members spending a week traveling with seniors to help them bond and have a positive ending to their Dalat careers. Coaches disappointed to miss a weekend trip to KL with their teams. (I expect the kids to be disappointed, but the coaches?!)
What do you see that inspires awe? Submit your ideas on the form below. After you do, you should be able to see other people's suggestions, too.
Sept. 22: PD Meeting: Fixes 1-3
Sept. 23-25: School Board Meetings
Sept. 25-26: JV Volleyball Tournament @ Dalat
Sept. 29-Oct. 1: SEW
Oct. 2: No Uniform Day (10 RM donation to Care and Share)
Oct. 2-3: JV Volleyball Tournament @ ISKL
Oct. 6: MS Concert, 7 PM (grades 7-8 only)
Oct. 7: End of Q1
Oct. 8: First Day of Q2; End of Q1 X Blocks
Oct. 12, 8 AM: Grade Verification Deadline
Active Learning: Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire
Last semester Heather Fischer sent me a book with the above title written by a teacher who has won national recognition for his work in an inner-city school in California. As I read through the book, I was struck by how much the author’s thoughts echo the list of excellence in teaching traits we discussed last week: trust, competence, dynamism, and immediacy. This week I want to focus on giving you some active learning strategies for increasing dynamism in your classroom, or in his words, “teach like your hair’s on fire!”
- If you’re practicing some key concepts, skills, or vocabulary, try calling out pairs of students and having them race to the whiteboard to write out the definition or solve the problem.
- Over the long weekend, pick up some shaving cream at Tesco and squirt a little on each student’s desk and allow them to create a little “white board” on the desk. Have students solve the problem, write the vocabulary word, or answer the question in the shaving cream.
- Have your students create a mind map of the main concepts you’ve learned so far this quarter. (See instructions for mind mapping in the Active Learning Manual.) If your students use color, it will further reinforce the concepts.
- Write problems or key words on notecards. Turn the cards so your students can’t see them, and fan the cards in your hand. Walk around the room and select students to choose a question for the class to answer. Everyone works on solving the problem or answering the question on their own, and the student who selected the card will give the answer.
- Write problems or key words on notecards. Hide the notecards around the room before your students come into the classroom. At the appropriate time, ask students to each find one card and solve the problem on a separate paper. They can then trade cards with other students for further practice.
By Susan Allen