Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jonathan's Exhibition

Here are some notes from Aristea, who attended Jonathan's Exhibition on cultural identity.

First, Jonathan explained where his family is from (Ireland and China). Then, he explained that he realized that the reason people celebrate different holidays is to fill a missing cultural link. 

Jonathan gave us a survey on cultural identity. Also, he is planning a Summers-Knoll Culture Day, where volunteers could show things they think represent their culture and serve traditional foods. He said that for Culture Day he would (probably) make dumplings and tea. 

Last, we drank some of the tea (Chinese and Irish) and filled out the surveys.

THE END!!!!!! (:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Avalon, Rivera, the Rouge and the D:Hive

We are two trips into our Detroit tours.

On February 7, in the context of our Cities work, we visited two small businesses in Detroit: Avalon Bakery in the Cass Corridor (now called Midtown) and the D:Hive, a group that serves as connective tissue for people looking to work, play and live in the city.

Behind the counter, with steam rising from freshly baked delicacies while the cold wind blew outside, a baker called Atiba gave us a rundown of Avalon's philosophies: local foods, local clientele, investment in the city, both in terms of great products and a warm gathering place for Detroiters. Jianmarco was able to answer a question about the advantages of locally grown food that harked back to his first Exhibition in November of 2012. I was impressed.

At the D:Hive on Woodward, Kyle Cantwell showed us their orange-painted space, plied us with maps, brochures, and stories, and invited us to write on their giant chalkboard about our visions for the city (much like the chalkboard in SK's entry). He mentioned that Midtown has a 97% occupancy rate. For all the plans people are making for Detroit's wide open spaces, there are parts of town where housing is being built to accommodate people moving in.

On February 14, we went big, first at the Rouge Plant tour and then at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Rouge is the first fully vertically integrated factory in the world: ore came up the river on barges and left a few days later as Model A cars. These days the factory produced Ford trucks, and I have never seen a more muscular and inspiring demonstration of what the auto industry did for this part of the world. The tour included video presentations, experts explaining the living roof of the plant and each step of the construction process, and an elevated walkway around the factory floor, staffed with guides, lasting one-third of a mile.

We went from there to the DIA. The kids viewed the Rivera murals, one of the great and ambitious artworks of this part of the world. Seeing Detroit Industry half an hour after leaving the Rouge plant was a little bit magical.

Some links:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nico's Exhibition

A few notes from Margaret, who attended Nico's Exhibition on Neanderthal DNA.

Nico taught a lesson on Friday morning to me and the other sixth graders. It was good in that it was hands-on, but we felt like it could have used something... visual--like a slideshow. 

The second one, his Exhibition after school on Friday, was good in the fact that it was visual, including a slideshow on Neanderthal's DNA and where they lived. We felt like it could use something... more hands-on. The Exhibition could also maybe have used a paper, or something to test us with. 

Nico knew a lot about the topic, and it was fun to hear him share what he had learned and what he knew. I learned a lot about where Neanderthals lived. I didn't know that people thought they had been killed off by our species of human, and I didn't know that scientists think now that they just mixed together.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jianmarco's Exhibition

Here is a little report from Lily, who attended Jianmarco's Exhibition.

Jianmarco’s Exhibition was titled A Totem Pole for Summers-Knoll.

Jianmarco first explained that his Identity project was making a totem pole. He explained in detail what a traditional totem pole looks like and compared it to our non-traditional totem pole.He explained the process of how he is going to do his totem pole, with examples of the words the SK kids and adults came up with and the animals that went along with them. We were all very enthusiastic about this.

Jianmarco passed around a ‘mock-up’ which he explained was a sort of first draft. I really liked that we got to see what he had done and feel and look at the materials he had used. He answered questions with confidence and was very clear. He seemed to know a lot about what he was talking about and had examples to go along with his answers. He helped everyone’s understanding of things by comparing our SK totem pole to a traditional totem pole.

After he had given us a load of information and we had learned a lot he explained our activity. He had handouts to help do a very fun and exciting activity. We had to cut out animals which had a personality and make a totem pole with them. We all got very excited about this and came up with different ideas of how our our totem pole whould look. Everyone was very excited about this. Then we had to write where we would put the totem pole. Everyone was very thoughtful about this. Overall Jianmarco’s exhibition was a success and very fun.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Maya's Exhibition

A report from Saul, who attended Maya's Exhibition on Holocaust survivors.

Maya’s exhibition was about the Holocaust. She interviewed a survivor of the Holocaust, Irene Butter, and showed us a video of the interview. She also showed us some pictures from her visit to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, including a uniform from one of the concentration camps, a painting depicting Nazis burning newspapers, and many other artifacts from the Holocaust. She also shared a passage from Night by Elie Weisel, another survivor, describing a scene at one of the camps. She asked us to imagine that we were the only survivor of that scene, and to write about our emotions. It was a very interesting lesson, and I think that Maya did a great job.

Saul's Exhibition

Here are a few notes from Jianmarco, who attended Saul's Exhibition on cultural identity.

For Saul's project, he taught three lessons to Ms. Carpenter's class of 1st and 2nd graders on the subject of cultural identity. For his exhibition, he did the first of those three lessons for us.

Saul talked about what cultural identity means. Here's what he said: “Well, identity is how we think of ourselves, but what is culture? Well, I think there are really four major parts of culture, and those are nationality, religion, community, and family traditions.” 

He went on to describe what each one meant (with our participation of course). He then showed us how they overlapped, how religion is often one of your communities, and how your family traditions can relate to your nationality. We thought SK had many characteristics of family, too. 

As the lesson continued, he did a quick overview of the next two lessons with the little ones, and wrapped it all up with questions. Overall I think that Saul was well prepared. By the time he was done, I knew exactly what he had done with the 1st and 2nd graders, as well as having a new grasp of cultural identity myself.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lily's Exhibition

A few notes from Maya, who attended Lily's Exhibition on detective work. Lily's project was a four-lesson unit on that subject, which she taught to Elaine Neelands' first & second grade class.

Lily’s exhibition was a blast. Her topic was detectives. She focused a lot on fingerprints, finding leftover hair from the criminal, and footprints. Lily not only taught the audience who came to her exhibition, she also taught the children from Elaine’s class about detectives and how they find their criminals. Lily had some of her classmates take pictures while she was teaching Elaine’s class. At her exhibition, she presented the pictures. She had a wonderful activity in which you rub oil on your finger, print it on a cup, and then pour cocoa powder on the cup so you could see the fingerprint clearly. Lily then had a slide show which taught her audience more about detectives and their work. In that slideshow she showed us what kind of fingerprint we all had. At the end, she had a little quiz on her slideshow and we all enjoyed challenging ourselves in the quiz. I think everyone enjoyed participating in Lily’s project.

Isobel's Exhibition

A report from Sydney, who attended Isobel's Exhibition on identity theft.

Here are a few notes and pointers.

A chart showed that people ages 18 to 29 get their identity stolen the most. People under eighteen have it stolen the least. That age is when most people in our society leave home.
  • Cut up your credit card before you throw it away.
  • Your social security card should be kept locked away.
  • Beware fake web sites, fake lottery wins, and people asking for money online.
  • We played a phishing game that tests users' knowledge of online scams.
  • Detective Tacy at the AAPD shared a long form that you can fill out if your identity has been stolen online. He was a wonderful resource with on sense of humor.
  • Never use an easy password. Change them often.
  • Isobel made a great pamphlet defining identity theft is and how to avoid it.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Trent's Exhibition

A report from Ryan, who attended Trent's Exhibition. Trent is planning a fundraiser of swimming activities that will raise money for Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue.

Trent showed his audience a project in the making, giving us the rationale for his project and what he would be doing. He spoke about FMAR, which is an animal shelter operating for 10 years. He kindly opted out of showing us his entire 28-minute video, as he felt it was a bit long. The video began with some music, so kindly defined as Dora/Mario/Tropical music. The video is about a group (DRC, or Downriver Rescue Connection), that interviewed people at FMAR, which stands for Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue.
His project was to create a pool fundraiser, by renting out the pool, with activities, concessions, etc. The money raised would go straight to FMAR, who would spend it on food and medicine for animals.
The audience was totally captivated by the mass amounts of cute little animals featured in the video, up to the point where they were asking “Can we see the doggy?”.
After the audience saw the video, along with some nice side additions from Trent, they received a small ten-question test from Trent OH NO! This prompted some discussion of the facts around animal abuse and rescue in the United States.
Learn more about FMAR at http://www.fmar1.org/home0.aspx.     
Exhibition Fact! Did you know that 6-8 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters a year!
Word of the Day: TNR = Trap, Neuter, and Release.

Thank you for reading about Trent's Exhibition!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Denali's Exhibition

A report from Trent, who attended Denali's Exhibition on tools of identity and the mural she's painting to illustrate them.

Denali talked about the past, present and future of identity tools.

These include fingerprints, dental records, eye identification, and facial identification.
A new system looks at the face and identifies it, using security cameras. Birth certificates, passports, diplomas, and last will and testament documents are also used.

The activity was almost like Pictionary or Charades. You got a card with a photo on it--the Fairy Godmother, the Red Queen, etc--then put it down and then acted like the the person in the picture. Your partner had to guess who you were.

Denali also talked more about the mural,showing it to us and answering questions about the imagery she chose. She allowed us to put a handprint on the mural.

Aristea's Exhibition

A report from Adi, who attended Aristea's Exhibition on theories of the fourth dimension.

In Aristea’s exhibition, we drew Hypercubes! A Hypercube is a cube inside of a cube. They are very confusing, and very cool to draw. You start out by drawing a cube, and then it extends. It's a way to explore the idea of a fourth dimension. Aristea also talked about the shadow theory and the time theory of the fourth dimension. 

The activity was super fun, and very interesting. We also watched an animation about Hypercubes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzL091mZQ-E. 

It was awesome.

Ryan's Exhibition

A report from Isobel, who attended Ryan's Exhibition on statistical measures of American poverty.

Ryan's topic is poverty in the United States and how it is calculated. There is a national poverty line, which he thinks should be adjusted depending on where you live, since a house in one city might be a lot more expensive in another city.

Here is his formula.

Adjusted [Poverty] Line (AL) = Current Line * Correction Factor

Correction Factor = .2 (transportation) + .1 (food) + .3 (housing) + .1 (utilities) + .1 (health) + .2 (misc.)

Note: factors (food, health, etc.) are defined by city against the national average, which is known here as 1.

Then, he conducted an activity, where attendees used his formula to calculate the poverty line for particular cities (Houston, Chicago, Phoenix and Indianapolis).

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mike's Exhibition

A report from Kaeli, who attended Mike's Identity Exhibition on prejudice.

Mike’s exhibition was amazing. He wrote and published a children's book called “Foggy Lenses.” which I thought was cool. It was cool how he had two pictures of himself, one with drawings over it, showing different ways people could see him, and one just him, to show how we see people through our 'Invisible Glasses'. It was just amazing the way he made and presented it. He did a really good job of talking about it with the elementary school kids who also came to his Exhibition.

Here's the opening paragraph of Mike's book.
Every person is born with glasses. Some are visible and some are not. Glasses have two parts: the lenses and the frames. The frames hold the lenses in place. The lenses are the parts that you look through. When your glasses’ lenses get foggy, it is hard to see. When your invisible glasses get foggy, you see people differently, and sometimes in a mean and hurtful way.

You can buy it on Lulu:

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Big Doings Report, Pt. III

Identity Projectscomplete projects
Identity Exhibitionsrehearse
Athletics & PEplan travel (U of M, Eastern, AAA); identify Ann Arbor school for AAA
Place out of Timeselect character
Lit Publicationsedit explorers selections; decide format; select identity pieces
Work Crewssecond rotation
Americanssingle project (5-8)
Student Gov'tset goals; survey; Robert's rules of order
Detroitdetermine itinerary
Cities Booksselect and begin reading six Cities novels; create coursepack
Spring Tripweb research & calls

This is our tentative itinerary for the Friday afternoon (11:30-3:30) trips to Detroit. We will use these trips to build out the material in the new coursepack, which focuses on the key issues of migration, work, inequality, diversity, and culture. We will do a little video viewing in advance of these trips, with excerpts from the films listed in the right-hand column.

2/7/2014Avalon Bakery1:00-1:30Detropia
Bleeding Heart Art1:45-2:00
D-Hive at Book Cadillac2:15-2:45

2/14/2014Rouge Plant11:30-1:00Henry Ford
DIA (Rivera)1:30-2:30
2/28/2014Ambassador Bridge12:30-1:30Come Unto Me
The kids are well into their readings in the six Cities Books. They created their own reading schedules with the understanding that they need to get all the way through the books by February 14. Some are finished already. Starting this week, they will engage the key questions of the unit through writing prompts, additional non-fiction readings, and projects. The coursepack has also been issued and will be processed in a complementary fashion.

As for the Spring Trip . . . . . We will be heading north to Lake Superior. Details will be forthcoming as soon as we hear back from our friends in the maritime science department at Michigan Tech University.

January Big Doings Report, Pt. II

Identity Projectscomplete projects
Identity Exhibitionsrehearse
Athletics & PEplan travel (U of M, Eastern, AAA); identify Ann Arbor school for AAA
Place out of Timeselect character
Lit Publicationsedit explorers selections; decide format; select identity pieces
Work Crewssecond rotation
Americanssingle project (5-8)
Student Gov'tset goals; survey; Robert's rules of order
Detroitdetermine itinerary
Cities Booksselect and begin reading six Cities novels; create coursepack
Spring Tripweb research & calls

The pace of the Lit Publications work slowed in January, one concession to the truncated schedule, given the looming cold deadlines of Exhibitions. Writing Workshop time has been devoted to key exercises, developed by Jason, on particular areas of the craft, with work time following, both on the exercise at hand and on other student work. The week of February 10-14 will be largely devoted to bringing these projects up to speed. We also have time set aside in early February to work with our friends from U of M's Sweetland Writing Center.

The kids have made a smooth rotation into the next round of Work Crews. Here are the current assignments:

Books: MikeDan & Saara Crane
Greenhouse: Jianmarco & SaulDr. George
Kindergarten PE: JonathanShan Cook
Maya & Aristea
James Collins
Recycling & Kitchen: Trent, Nico & LilyNick Taylor 
1-2 Homeroom: RyanElaine Neelands
Office: DenaliKaren Bayoneto
1-2 Music: IsobelJosh Grekin
postponed till spring
The project on American Identity is, at present, being hatched in the 5-6 Humanities class. It will be driven by the work I do on Wednesdays with Jason and Sam's homeroom group, with additional material drawn from the Infinite Mirror exhibit at the university. Here's the exhibit.

Student government has met twice, and begun work on a middle school survey and on goal-setting, but I postponed two meetings in order to make up some lost time on project work.

January Big Doings Report, Pt. I

Identity Projectscomplete projects
Identity Exhibitionsrehearse
Athletics & PEplan travel (U of M, Eastern, AAA); identify Ann Arbor school for AAA
Place out of Timeselect character
Lit Publicationsedit explorers selections; decide format; select identity pieces
Work Crewssecond rotation
Americanssingle project (5-8)
Student Gov'tset goals; survey; Robert's rules of order
Detroitdetermine itinerary
Cities Booksselect and begin reading six Cities novels; create coursepack
Spring Tripweb research & calls

The first day of school in February is in the books. This seems like as good a time as any to check in with the Giant Chart on our wall and see how we're doing.

Due to the weather, we missed five days of school in January out of a scheduled seventeen. Given that, we're doing well. The Identity Projects are humming along. Most will be completed this week, but a few ambitious undertakings, like Jianmarco's totem pole and Trent's fundraiser, look like taking a little more time. The Exhibitions have been rehearsed and will get underway tomorrow.

Our internal Athletics program has been planned out for the semester--I'll outline that entire plan and its rationale in a post later this week. Travel is half done: I've identified four intercollegiate athletic contests in four different sports. I'm organizing optional trips to these matches, games, and meets. Here is that schedule:
  • Sunday, February 16, 1:00: Eastern Michigan wrestling meet v. Buffalo (men)
  • Friday, March 14, 3:30: U of M gymnastics v. Penn State (men)
  • Saturday, March 29, 12:00: U of M water polo v. Indiana (women)
  • Friday, May 9, time TBA: U of M invitational track meet (women and men)

We have identified a couple of possibilities for Ann Arbor partners in the Alternative Athletic League and will continue to keep you availed of our progress.

Place Out of Time characters have been selected. With an emphasis on historical figures rather than literary ones, our students have made the following selections:
  • Harry Houdini
  • Elizabeth Bantory
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • King Henry VIII
  • Esme Raji Codell
  • Stan Lee
  • Leonidas of Sparta
  • Israel Putnam
  • Pope Francis I
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Peter Strasser
  • Raymond Spruance

They are now beginning to do the research necessary to writing autobiographies.