December 4

Floating Trash

Every year humans discard their trash which winds up in waterways around the world. Here is a video on one such “floating trash island” in the Caribbean Sea. What else can we learn about floating trash islands? Take a few moments to help the class crowdsource Internet resources to understand this “water catastrophe” (according to Evie).

April 5

Perseverance

Perseverance is an important character trait. It means having enough self control and drive to keep trying; without it we would give up too easily and not grow to reach our potential. It is not easy to persevere when things are difficult – perhaps your school work is difficult, or a friendship you’re trying to maintain is difficult, or you want to do a particular activity but it’s difficult. There are lots of things in our lives that are hard and having perseverance means you accept that it’s hard but you keep on trying.

 

April 4

Writing Poetry

Recently we have been writing poetry.  We considered thoughtful descriptions, figurative language, line breaks and punctuation.  It has been fun sharing our poems; listening to each others’ has inspired even more poems to be written.  

Tree

Standing tall
dark green
dappled
with deep shadow.
Glimpses of sunlit boughs
as the wind
stirs your branches;
tickling your leaves
you tremble with great majesty.

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March 17

Why We Give

Sometimes when we give to others, we receive even more in return. Watch this video. Try not to cry, then think of a time when you did a good deed or made a sacrifice for the benefit of someone else. Briefly write about this time. Try not to cry.

March 9

Building Empathy

Empathy means you can truly understand how someone feels.  It doesn’t mean sympathy – where you feel sorry for someone.  When you feel empathy, it can be hard because you share the feelings of that other person.  If they’re unhappy, you know what it feels like.  However, if they’re happy, you also know how that feels.

Last week a large group of teachers, and high school students, worked together to brainstorm ways to help students in school learn empathy.  In my group, we had lots of ideas which we put together under three categories: Open Communication, Relationship Building and Ownership.  We felt that if you had the first two categories, it would lead to Ownership.

Building empathy in schools will help students to be more successful because in life, we all have to relate to other people.  If you understand how someone feels, you are more likely to be able to resolve difficulties without them growing worse.  Open communication means you can feel that you can express yourself and someone will listen; it means they can speak to you and you will listen.  If someone tells you calmly how they feel, it is much less antagonistic than if they yell at you because you’ve accidentally upset them.  You listen to each other and you respect each others’ feelings.  Relationship Building makes everyone feel valued.  It helps you to understand that no-one is perfect, we all have strengths and flaws and we should share our differences as well as our similarities.  Students and teachers should feel equally comfortable with each other and respect and trust each other.  If these first two categories are in place, then students will feel a sense of Ownership – this means they will feel in charge of their own learning.  I believe that when students feel this, they are motivated and more likely to push themselves to succeed.  They won’t be scared to ask for support or to ask questions.  They will understand why learning will help them and they will have more choices in what they learn and how they learn.

March 6

Making Mochi

Mochi is a Japanese delicacy made with a special grain of rice. It takes a highly skilled person to make mochi. This video introduces the audience to the traditional art and craft of making mochi. Watch as the master explains his lightning quick techniques for turning rice into a classic Japanese treat. After watching, use the Reply space below to answer this: How do you think someone becomes a master or an expert at anything?