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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How can the past help the present?

The Revolutionary War.  It was over 200 years ago, but is it still relevant  today?

One of the reasons we learn history is because the past is relevant to today, and it is in countless ways. 

Many of you heard me discuss my trip to the Battle of Brandywine on Pennsylvania a few weeks ago.  Some of my innovative (and intelligent) West Point classmates have a company to help develop leaders.  Part of their process is to show how leaders of today can learn from the events of yesterday.

Your task: Look at the information from my tweets and from their promotional video.  Then you might have to do some research about the Battle of Brandywine and the Revolutionary War on your own.  What event, idea, or characteristic related to the battle could be useful for political, social, or military leaders today?

This reflection requires some research, critical thinking, and effort, and you will be proud of the connections you make.  Each student should be making a unique connection, so make sure to read any other comments first.  I look forward to reading these!

The things teachers learn about during the weekend...

Many of you know that a few weeks ago I participated in an amazing conference, called "#ECET2NJPA. (You can find out what that stands for on the image above.)

At this conference, hundreds of educators (teachers, administrators, etc) from throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania spent the weekend learning and discussing about a plethora of things related to education. I even got to give one of the presentations!

I complied the tweets from my twitter-feed that weekend and compiled it into something known as a "Storify." By viewing the Storify, you get a glimpse of some of the things we did, and some of the things we were thinking about.

For this blog post, I want you to reflect on any one tweet.  Things you can reflect on: Do you agree or disagree and why, can you contribute to the discussion of the topic, can you provide an example, etc. Each response should be about a paragraph in length.  Each student should also choose a different tweet, so you have to read the comments to see if the one you desire was choses or not already. (Therefore, the earlier you do this, the better.)

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about all these important school-related issued!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Post WW2 World and the United Nations

On May 2, 2017, our Global Studies class was privileged to visit and tour the United Nations.  In our world history classes, we learned how the United Nations was created after World War II.

To get some further information on  the functions of the United Nations, a good start would be to check out their website: United Nations

Of course, there's so much to learn at and about the United Nations, and the tour was only an hour long.  For each tweet on the Storify, there's literally thousands of pages of information that can elaborate that topic.  Your challenge is to investigate some of it! Link to Storify: UN Tweets

1. Pick a tweet (mention the time stamp in your response so we know which one you are referring to.)
2. Using the website above and other research, investigate more about that tweet.  Whether it was a painting, the Declaration of Human Rights, the Security Council, etc., there's much more to know than what was mentioned!
3. Share some of what you discovered in a well developed paragraph with specific details.  Make sure to read previous posts, please do not repeat information that is already shared.
4.  Remember that the UN was created as a result of World War 2.  Find a way to connect what you learned with the effects of the war.
5.  Vague or brief posts will not receive full credit.
6.  Make sure to save your comment before submitting, in case there is a technical issue as it posts.
7. Pick something you find interesting, and enjoy the process.  I encourage you to respectfully respond to your classmates comments!

I look forward to reading what you share!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

As we approach another Memorial Day weekend, I often worry that these significant days are not covered enough in schools.  I hope students realize that they are not just "days off of school," weekends for sales and parties, but days that deserve reflection and even action.

You may have noticed the pictures in the room of classmates that I have lost serving our country.  Some of you may have heard me tell stories about them, and I have listened to many of your stories as well.  You may have noticed from time to time I wear a bracelet that my grandmother gave me in high school, before I went to a week of JROTC training during the summer.
These bracelets were sold in the '90s to raise money for the New Jersey Vietnam Memorial and Museum, located off the Garden State Parkway.  if any of you have been there, I'd love to read about it in the comments or hear about it in class.  These "KIA" bracelets have the name of New Jersey service men and women who lost their lives serving in Vietnam.  For many years I knew nothing about LCPL Firth's name and the date of his death.  But since it was recently the 50th anniversary of his passing, and since Google has come around since I was in High School, I was able to find out more about him.  
The first thing I discovered was a young face to the name I wore all these years.  I learned the town where he grew up in, the names of his parents and siblings.  I learned where he died in Vietnam.  I learned that he earned several decorations, including the Purple Heart medal.  I also learned that he was only 21 years old.  It seems that with every discovery, every event in the news, every day that passes, this bracelet has much more meaning.

For this blog post, I invite you to research about another service man or woman from New Jersey who lost their life serving our country.  It can be from recent or from early American history.  Each one will be significant.  Please do not just copy and paste a biography you find on-line, but take time to read it, reflect on it, and share what learning about it means to you. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

CRS-10 Post launch

CRS-10 Reflections

     Well now it is March, and the CrS-10 successful launched, and the Dragon docked with the ISS. By now the astronauts are conducting some of the experiments that were on board, and Space X launched again, this time their first reused falcon 9! 
        When I go on these NASA adventures, I usually find one concrete way to relate it to our classes. However, this time I realized that there are just too many ways to limit it to one (or two, or three.) Social studies covers economics, and it was fascinating to learn about all the private partnerships at KSC (it's more than Space X.) We learned how it connects to the Scientific Revolution, about how we are studying how to grow plants on Mars (Columbian Exchange, anyone?)  We learned about different roles that women have played over the years, and about the historic significance of launch pad 39-A.  We learned about how the science experiments aboard the ISS will effect humanity here on Earth, and even how it connects to New Jersey. Overall, I'm happy we learned so much and happy for this opportunity!
        If you were unable to follow along while I was there, take a few minutes to catch up on some of the experience here. 
1. Pre-launch press briefing.  Here you can learn about many of the experiments that were carried on the Dragon to the ISS.  I ask two questions here, I won't tell you at which points to try to get you to actually watch as much of this as possible. (It's worth watching, these experiments are fascinating!) 
2. Press-briefing with NASA and SpaceX. Yes, I was here to! (Check out my pics of the Tesla on my twitter feed from this!) Hear about the relationship between public and private spheres, and reflect a bit on just why this launch is so historic. 

3.  Pre-launch NASA coverage.  This is where you can watch my "famous" interview.  There's other parts worth watching as well of course. 
4. Watch the launch and the landing. It really is amazing!!

5. Read my interview from the Daily Record. This was more about why we cover aerospace science in class in general, as opposed to a specific connection to this mission.  It still should get you in the right mindset before commenting. 
While you're at it, here is a press release from Morris County: 

6. Tweets. Next, to see lots of the individual facts and details of the trip, check out my tweets on Storify: 

7. Radio Interview. A whole half-hour show devoted just to this topic!

8. What can students do! A quick video I took when a scientist told me ways that students get involved with the plants grown aboard the ISS.  You can do this too!

Now, it's time for your feedback! I am asking you to find two things that you learned from this adventure. 
#1- What did you learn that relates somehow to your academy. (Trust me, there are examples of information here that relate to all academies.) 
#2- What did you learn that you found fascinating, interesting, or significant?

Requirements- Your response should be a detailed paragraph. The feedback you share should be unique. Once a classmate shares a fact, you have to share something else. Trust me, there's plenty of information here for everyone!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Contract Grading- We Want Your Feedback!

Since implementing the contract grading system, I've heard from many students that they wish this system existed in some of their other classes. I can share all the information I want with other teachers about it, but it would be best if they also heard the reasons from you.

I actually got the idea of contract grading a few years ago from our awesome Media Specialist.  After she told me about it, I did tons of research as a good teacher should.

Here are some of the articles/studies /opinions that I read before implementing contract grading.

Contract Grading To Improve Teaching and Learning

A Simple Alternative to Grading

An agreement Between Students and Their Teachers

Avoiding Resistance to Contract Grading (blog)

Something to keep in mind is that I rarely do the same thing twice because there can always be ways to improve things. Therefore, our contract from this marking may look different than the one for 4th marking period, just like it looks different than the ones I gave for 3rd marking period last year. Additionally, there are ways to do it that could be vastly different than ours. For example, think of how a contract might look different for an algebra or a physical education class.

There were two major factors that I appreciate about the contract system:
        1. We can focus on learning and the standards, not grades.
        2. This process should make class less stressful. You know you will get a certain grade once you             master something, not whether you master it for the first time or not.
There are still some things that I would like to improve about the system. Here are my major concerns:
       1.  I want to ensure the difference between A and B contracts are about Quality, not Quantity.
       2. I worry that many teachers avoid it because of the "logistics" of the system.

For students: 
I'd love feedback. What do you like about contract grading? What don't you like? What would you improve if you could? Make sure your comments show you read some of the provided articles. Do you agree with what they claim are benefits of this system? Do you have some ideas from them that you would like to see implemented? Please provide insight that is unique, with specific examples.  This is time for you to give us feedback and potentially influence your future classes!

If you want to look at our current contract to refresh your memory, check out the image below:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

CRS-10 Launch date is approaching!

Hi Students! I am with hopes that you read the information provided on the last blog post and you have a basic foundation on the upcoming CRS-10 Launch. In just the past week, there has been so much new information regarding this launch so I wanted to share it with you.

A few days ago the Falcon9 rocket was launched onto LaunchPad 39A.  After the roll out it conducted a static test firing. It is tested while still strapped down to the launch pad. This is the first time there were flames burning on that historic site for several years!

Here is an article about the static test: Static Test article

Now reading about the test is cool, but watching it is much cooler! Check out the video below:

As if I wasn't already excited about the launch, I learned that SpaceX will once again land their rocket! (Not the entire rocket, just one stage of it!) (You may want to zoom in on the image below.) SpaceX has successfully recovered 5 rockets thus far, so this launch could make for number six!

If that image alone doesn't show you what an amazing feat it is to land a rocket, check out the video of the first landing by National Geographic: 

Besides the amazing aspects of the launch, it's important to understand the mission of the launch. We learned that it is delivering cargo to the ISS.  However, that is not all! Watch the NASA video to learn about SAGEIII:

Besides the video, you can learn more about SAGEIII from the NASA website here: SAGEIII

Finally, some of you may remember that this launch was supposed to happen already. Here is an article that explains why the date changed: Date Change article

This blog post provided you with a variety of different information related to CRS-10. You learned about the date change, the launch and landing, and the SAGEIII mission.  With all those different components, it's easy to understand how thousands of individuals are involved in any one mission and how countless things can be learned from this mission.

When I attend the SMAP Launch in January of 2015, we met (now former) Director of NASA, Charlie Bolden. (Feel free to see that blog post with the related video and information.) One of the most important things I took away from meeting him was how he explained that NASA missions are not just to learn more about outer space, but to learn more about planet Earth. Think of all the things we will learn about Earth, about human progress, and ways to make things better for us on this planet just from this mission. Go through the sources on this post to think of something we can learn from this mission that will effect life on Earth, not just about how it will help people on the ISS.  I hope every student can identify something different, and will refer to the sources as they do so. Also, feel free to ask more questions along with your observation. I'm hoping we can answer as many questions as possible while there!

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Launch of SpaceX CRS-10

The Launch of SpaceX CRS-10

What is it?

SpX-10 / SpaceX CRS-10 is a cargo resuplly mission that will go to the ISS on February 14, 2017. What a sweet Valentine's Day it will be!

NASA awarded a contract to SpaceX for 12 missions, and this is one of them. This mission was supposed to happen this past November. However, there was an explosion on the launch pad on September 1st, and this mission was pushed back as a result.  

This mission will launch from Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A. This is a historic launch pad that was created for the Apollo missions, and then modified for the shuttle program.  Nothing has launched there since the last flight of the Space Shuttle program on July 8, 2011. 

Although this is a SpaceX launch, NASA determines the basics of this launch (what the payload is, the date and time of the launch, etc.) This launch will cary over 4,000 pounds of cargo. The rocket will be a Falcon 9 and the spacecraft it carries will be a Dragon C12. 

To learn more about SpaceX's Falcon9 rocket, view their website here: Falcon9
To learn more about SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, view their website  here: Dragon

Since this mission is bringing cargo to the ISS, it is important to know about the International Space Station. Go on NASA's website here, and note things such as who is on it, what countries are participating on it, how long it has been in orbit, etc. It is also really fun to note when it is passing overhead!

Mr. Quaglio also shared with me an awesome video that is a tour of the ISS. I highly suggest watching it! Please click on the video above and find out just where this cargo is going and why it is important that it gets there. 

Now here is something that might be the most amazing of all...
Students from our school have made things that will be launched on this mission! Yes, you read that right. (Maybe this is something that you can do your senior year!) Please read about this mission's connection to our school here: Students Build Parts For NASA

If you were in class or read the blog about our classes asking questions about the John Webb Space Telescope, you remember that we connected that mission to the scientific revolution. In previous missions (you can read older blogs), we connected them to what we study about exploration and even imperialism.

Blog Update!!

Check out this article, SpaceX could be launching a rocket here every 2-3 weeks! (Seriously, you should read it). Read Me. Now.

Okay, we resume to the original blog post. 

My question to you is, how does CRS-10 relate to what we learn about in World History? Can you connect it to anything we learned about yet? (Think: Renaissance, Reformation, Exploration, Enlightenment, Revolution, etc.) If you want to read on on what we will learn about, we will also cover the Industrial Revolution, Imperialism ,the World at War, and the Cold War. If you are having trouble thinking of connections, think of what this mission encompasses (delivering cargo, an international crew on the ISS, SpaceX being a private business, etc.) If you still can't think of a connection, consider what you are covering in your other classes. Can this connect to what you are learning about in Spanish? Biology? Mathematics? Physical Education? Perhaps it even relates to what you are learning about in your academy (for example, culinary and health care students, do you think there are medical supplies or food products included on this cargo?)

Your Task

Since I will be able to ask questions of many people, including the scientists and engineers related to this mission, wouldn't it be great if I could ask them one of your questions? Your response should be a paragraph and should reflect your understanding of how this mission connects to what we learn abut in world history or any of your other classes. Your response should reflect that you reviewed the material (websites, video, articles, etc) that is provided on this post. Lastly, come up with a question that I could ask while attending the press briefing before the launch. (It will be live on NASA TV and I'm sure you'd love to hear your name and question!) Make sure that your question is unique and not one that another student suggested. (So the earlier you response, the better!) 

I'm so excited about this mission and the ways that you can be involved with it! It's going to be a fascinating week!