Explaining why and how…

Alzar School | 15.10.12

Hello All!

It’s not that we’re done wondering why and how (which we discussed in my last post; rather, we now have some additional tools for explaining why and how.

No longer are we learning to express ourselves in the past in our Spanish 3/4 classes. The past, as they say, is history. (Conveniently another class of mine, in case we start to forget our conjugations.) We’ve moved from our unit on the media to talking about the environment and the natural world. In order to gear up for Chile, we’re practicing our use of the subjunctive, a tense that expresses uncertainty or desire, two things that I’m sure there will be no shortage of as we figure things out in Chile. We’re additionally practicing our use of the imperative form, or commands, which we have been reinforcing with games of Simón Dice (Simon Says). If someone walks by us while we’re rolling around in the grass, we already know what to say: “Estamos aprendiendo.” (We are learning.)

In our history classes we are rolling in the green, though of a different sort. We are starting to see the wealth of America expanding as we move into the era of Jacksonian democracy and head toward the Civil War at the end of this unit. Our debate regarding the ratification of the Constitution that ended our last unit was a great success as well, as students played the parts of delegates from Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. It makes me wish our students had been some of the Founding Fathers and Mothers; their ability to compromise surely surpassed that of our Framers. In our World History class we are delving into trade routes. Looking at the comparative advantages of the Silk Roads and Sea Roads (Indian Ocean trading routes) we looked to our experience backpacking and rafting to inform our thought process. During which activity was it easier to transport significant amounts of goods? In which case did we value what we had with us more? We are sure Chile will provide us even more experience and context for making sense of the world that surrounds us.

A collaboration between our math and history classes last Saturday (which we have dubbed either “mastery” or “mystery” depending on how charitable we are feeling), allowed us to explore the complications of personal finance and credit card debt, and then to extrapolate our knowledge of fixed interest rates to understand the Federal Reserve in more detail. We even discussed stocks and some of the reasons for the financial woes that plagued the nation in 2008 and 2009. Again, I think our students might be more qualified to act as decision makers than the folks who are actually in charge. Still, we feel better knowing that ultimately that will be the case, that our students will lead with compassion, thoughtfulness, intellect, and wisdom. They are certainly demonstrating it in their Spanish and history classes.

Thanks for tuning in!



Advanced Spanish and History Teacher