Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Rollercoaster Week

The students have been caught up in “election fever” this week. Even though most of the students are not American, we are close enough to the States that the election is a major topic of interest. We receive American TV also, so they have been watching CNN and other news programs from New York, Boston and Tennessee. The seniors held a mock debate where they represented the various platforms, but didn’t name the candidates directly. In our mock election, Nader’s platform won. Now, was it because of the student’s charisma or the actual issues? Well, does it matter, aren’t most elections a bit of a popularity contest?

Monday was a difficult day for me. It just seemed like nothing was working right – the computers, the printer, the students. I was very upset and frustrated. I wrote to the MiddleWeb list and very quickly received many encouraging thoughts and advice. This relates to my entry on isolation – simple things become overwhelming when there isn’t a place to vent and receive support. I felt so much better knowing that I was not alone in my feelings.

Things are a little more on track. I’m working on a neat project with the 8th grade World Cultures. After studying the general idea of culture, plus the five themes of geography, I have asked them to create a new culture. In Lithuania, the 4/5 teacher did a similar project. I drew a fictional world with landforms and split it up into countries. The students needed to transfer their country to a larger scale and fill in the details. Then I handed out general guidelines on what makes climate happen and where natural resources can be found. The students needed to apply that information to their country. Tomorrow they will begin designing an early culture for their country. I’ve talked to the English and Art teachers in order to extend the project. In English, they will be writing a myth for their country, and in Art, they will create a piece of art. Once the early culture has been created, the students will come back to “modern” times and decide how the early culture influences the modern culture in housing, fashion, government etc… I’m excited to see the end results of this project.

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