Lorenzo Walker Tech HS & Institute of Tech

Sunday, March 25, 2007

BODIES: The Exhibition

Accompanying the adult postsecondary Health Science students on their field trip to Miami to view BODIES: The Exhibition a couple of weeks ago was an incredible experience. (Listen to participant reactions on the podcast!) The exhibit is like no other - actual full body specimens perserved to show all of the major systems of the body. The skeletal system, often replicated in most biology classrooms, is really quite 'ordinary' compared to seeing the muscular and nervous systems - not often viewed in such a naked way.

Connections among the various systems are made throughout the exhibit - with the effects of diseases a major eye-opener. Though there is an obvious curricular relationship to Human Anatomy, there are many other educational insights: history of anatomy, process of preserving the bodies, physiology and interdisciplinary ties to art, health, psychology, ethics, mathematics, technology, and basic physic principles. As Dr. Roy Glover, Medical Director, University of Michigan asserts,

Opening yourself to a greater knowledge of your own body will enable you to make informed decisions about its care and keeping.

In addition to the great exhibit, there was the making of my first podcast with teacher/student interviews and the opportunity to spend time sharing and collaborating with a colleague! Thanks to Ms. Johnson, Principal, for the financial support and Ms. Amsalem, Health Science Coordinator, for organizing the trip.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Process of Change

We don’t experience the typical change of seasons here in Florida – though we do have seasonal changes (we’re in the heart of ‘snowbird’ season right now)! In fact, most would consider Southwest Florida as temperate and constant. The steady and dependable nature is a characteristic that we rely upon and anticipate, very much reflective of our expectations in life. We grow to depend upon the roads leading from home to work and the grocery stores being open at the designated time. Not that we don’t sometimes seek change or a diversion in the routine – but we tend to expect the familiar in our daily lives.

Our educational institutions have seemingly followed a similar pattern. Our students have been trained to expect the recognized lecture, note-taking, test-taking as a signal for learning. School is the place to be educated. The rite of graduation ceremony is the measure of success. So what if the learning is merely rote and a transformation really hasn’t occurred? What loss is there when little reflection, problem-solving, interdisciplinary collaboration, or relevance is present?

Change is tough…and it’s intimidating – often even downright scary! Change is also critical to greet the future. Jason Dehne, a finance buyer, creates his own work schedule and location (and he is joined by 70% of his Best Buy corporate colleagues) – “Work is something you do. It’s not a place you go to.” (What Works: Letting Employees Choose, NBC Nightly News, March 15, 2007). Will our students be prepared to do this? Do they view learning as something to do and not just a product of school? Are we modeling lifelong learning, adaptation to change, continuous improvement with our students?

I keep these questions in mind as a constant reminder – as a way to not settle for the mainstream. Though the process is slow, forward movement is a prerequisite! Be the river, not the rock...

PHOTO CREDITS: Fall Leaves by alykat, untitled by jakeliefer, and River in Mostar by burge5000

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Off the Shelf 0607-15

if you come softly
By Jacqueline Woodson
© 1998

Miah is black and the only child of celebrity parents who are now separated. Ellie is white, Jewish and the youngest of five children in a relatively “loveless” family. They meet as sophomores, both new to a private school, and fall deeply in love.

Woodson’s portrayal of their relationship is poetic, poignant, and purposeful. Furthermore, the exploration of their own connection is inextricably tied to that of their families and to the tension of an interracial relationship.

if you come softly
as the wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear.
See what sorrow sees.
If you come as lightly
as threading dew
I will take you gladly,
nor ask more of you.

Introspective and full of subtle symbolism, this book may tug at your soul, but its refreshing honesty kept me fully grounded. Though published nearly ten years ago, it is timeless.

My recommendation: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist


Monday, March 12, 2007

Off the Shelf 0607-14

We Beat the Street:
How a Friendship Pact Led to Success

By Doctors Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt with Sharon M. Draper
© 2005

This biographical account of Drs. Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins as they describe their school years in the New Jersey housing projects is an inspirational tale of grit, uncertain confidence, and interdependent support. Though their temptations are numerous and the environment less than friendly, these three demonstrated their potential and excelled – and they returned to practice medicine and dentistry in their old neighborhoods!

Their stories are real, demonstrating the value of family and friendship as an antidote to criminal activity. Even their short flirtations with negative behavior are lessons to challenge the relationships with each other and with their ultimate career goals.

A quick and enjoyable read, this book serves as an example for students drawn to health-related careers, as well as those questioning their career goals.

2006 Florida Teen Read

My recommendation: 4 ½ out of 5 stars
Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Off the Shelf 0607-13

Extraordinary Blogs and Ezines
By Lynne Rominger
© 2006

As the author duly points out, blogs and ezines are ubiquitous in today’s digital world. Most students are at least aware of them if not already participating in the world of online publishing. But imagine a teacher assigning one as part of class grade! Do you have the skills necessary to create an effective posting and or article for consumer publication? Mastering those skills may not only be important for education, but also for future success!

This book is an easy-to-read, how-to guide for publishing blogs and ezines. Not only does it give a history of blogging (did you know that it is both a noun and a verb? That it was declared the “word of the year” in 2004?), but it provides resources for formatting and designing the structure of publication. Just as writing a paper infers good technique, blogs and ezines can be an effective voice for critical thinking and reflection.

Though the book was designed for a student audience, it offers a great introduction to teachers who are new to blogs and ezines – especially how to incorporate them into their own classroom curriculum and assessment. The author offers multiple assignment ideas for history, science, literature and language arts!

My recommendation: 5 out of 5 stars
Submitted by M. Coleman, Media Specialist