Nostalgia: How 1980's Music Rejuvenated My Spirit: Part Two

What makes 80's music timeless, to me at least: optimism, honesty, diversity and of course that synthesizer, bringing it all together. Of course they embody heartbreak, overcoming adversity, and the opulence of the decade, but rather than being a message of 'me, me, me and selfies', they were more focused on our individual drive to find our place in the world, in a world where we were equal, not better than. With every note we felt united, a part of something bigger, even when we didn't know, that that is what we wanted.

The music, a cacophony of imagination, inspiration and idealism gave every adolescent of the time, a voice. We were focused on how we were alike, not on how we were different. Even the movies made us feel like an ensemble of explorers, each a road map to understanding ourselves. There were big haired, make-up coated singers screaming "We Are the Champions," and the first ever all girl band shouting, "We Got the Beat." Even Don Henle…

Nostalgia: How 1980's Music Rejuvenated My Spirit: Part One

"Hills and valleys" my grandmother used to say to me, on those days where the bullying became too much to bear. The surface of our landscape is never level, nor is it smooth. There will be days when the sun is obscured amidst a thickness, like no other. You know it is there, a glimmer of its pervasiveness seeps in and out, almost on schedule. But, it quickly dissipates as soon as it appears. Voices of wisdom and strength echo in, like whispers of yesterday. Memory meeting immediate. Depending on our personal climate, each day can be clear and sunny, cloudy with a chance of rain, or any atmospheric condition in between. "Optimism", my grandmother used to say, "is a weather pattern, humid with our tears, but also a cool, breezy day, if we allow ourselves to feel it."
I have discovered recently, however, that even with the best intentions, that a cool breeze can become a full-blown hurricane in a moment’s notice. The only way to keep the surge at bay, is to p…

Dissecting a Dyson and Engineering with Grit and Collaboration

A Collaborative Engineering Activity
Dyson Engineering Box
     Three years ago, I stumbled onto the Dyson Engineering website. It was summer and I was looking for some fun, creative labs that I could use for enrichment with my gifted/talented students. I was looking for more STEM, problem-solving activities where no handouts were necessary, just good old innovation. You have to order the engineering boxes about four months in advance and then you get to keep them for 3 weeks. Then you ship them back. Its 100% free.            The first year, they arrived in a giant box and were delivered to my room during one of my GT classes. Instant intrigue. "What's in that box? Do we get to use it?" I hadn't even opened the box and between myself and my students there was level of excitement we hadn't felt in awhile. After a semester and a half of the human body we were all ready for the holidays. We were in the middle of dissecting chicken feet, so I held off opening the box…

It All Works Out in the End: Taking Chances, Running Out of Time and Readjusting

High and Low Tides

There are days that go smoothly and days that need every last bit of my energy. Some weeks fly by without any hiccups or speed bumps while some are riddled with them. This particular 7 day allotment of time, my classroom, was full of miscalculations and detours. A few panned out and were helpful, but some ended up being set aside and never completed. This tends to happen when I get overambitious. Our Circulatory and Respiratory system unit has come to an end and throughout the week, students have been creating models, writing songs and parodies about the systems and reviewing for the test they are taking today. Like any cycle, as with the high and low of tides, there is a balance that syncs into place, but only after a little give and take.

The highs were awesome, models of the systems were creative and informative (yesterday's post is examples). Students had full access to the makerspace, for the first time and it was fun to watch them explore and find new ways…

Finished Products: Respiratory and Circulatory Models

These are the final models once Circulatory was finished and students added Respiratory structures. They came out awesome. After they were done with the models each group wrote a rap, poem, song etc. They performed them for the class- they wrote these in ten minutes. I recorded them and posted them on our class website  they are under Videos to Watch section.