Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

BEE Willing to Change

The determination not to let anyone bee thrown away, including yourself and your greatest dreams, ALWAYS produces successful results.

Either the dream IS achieved, or important learning opportunities showing the way to the achievement of the dream are revealed.

(Bella coming down singing, "I'm a business bug, a business bug, a business bug.")

So far, five students have all "A's" in class. Once they achieve "mastery" in the approved curriculum, I am allowed to begin teaching them "my way" (which is for deeper meaning of the curriculum and in a way that uses their strengths and desires to overcome their weaknesses and boredom).

Marc Mero, former pro-wrestler who visited the school last year, came again this week and again fired up the students. I held Bella and barely held onto my tears.

Marc was part of the reason why last year there were four Level One students in class at the beginning of the year (the lowest possible at which you can test) and NONE at the end.

Tapping into the unending energy of a dream and applying individualized instruction to its attainment works where traditional teaching fails. This is because traditional teaching often fails to go bee-yond mastery of surface knowledge and bee-yond external motivation (doing it for grades, for recess, for mom and dad, etc).

So with five students now free to really begin learning, the problem is that if the traditional method hasn't worked in the past for the other 17, will continuing to force it upon them miraculously work? Not likely.

At this point I can give myself the very valid excuse of, "I'm doing my job by covering it in class. They'll have to get tutoring if they want to do better".

But if I want to do the job of helping them bee-come real dream achievers, no excuse, no matter how good, is acceptable. You either have excuses or results, an any excuse is still an excuse.

(Sofia lining her class up for phys ed)

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I tell the students it's like an insect caught inside a room and banging its head against the window, again and again, hoping this is the time it escapes and finds its freedom. (this scene is at the end of the clip)

We are much smarter than bugs, yet we don't always act like it. We'll keep banging our heads (or faces), eventually tiring out and giving up by sitting on the windowsill and watching life pass us by, while slowly, slowly dying.

So when you find yourself in this situation know that there is something to bee learned ....something needs to change in your approach. Often this change is within you, which is what you want. You want to have control. When you put the blame on someone or something else, you give your power for change away.

There is a great need for change in our schools, because education right now is banging the heads of its principals, teachers and students against the wall, hoping that maybe if we cover more, test more, force more....then we will achieve higher student scores and the problem will bee solved.

We have raised our scores, but only at the surface level, and the problem hasn't been solved. Why?

Read this from the book, "Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain":

“Regretfully, most schools do not engage students in the reflection, inquiry, and critical thinking needed to help them cope with and take charge of the influences of technology and the media.....

'Teaching is more than knowing a subject matter and presenting it in clear language; ...teaching involves knowing how students think, their preconceptions and misconceptions.... It involves learning what motivates students and what genuinely gets their attention....' (Merlin Wittrock, psychologist at UCLA)

The result of continuous input without realistic engagement in interactive experiences may well be a generation that has access to a great deal of superficial information but has no deeper sense of how that information connects to ecological issues, a global economy, the quality of life, or even the joy of learning.....

****Some of this lack of deeper understanding may be reflected in the fact that most 11th graders have extremely unrealistic career goals when measured against standards established in the profession of their choice. ALTHOUGH U.S. CHILDREN RANKED LAST IN MATHEMATICS AMONG 14 NATIONS TESTED IN 1988, they ranked highest in their own assessment of how good they were in mathematics. Sixty-eight percent thought their knowledge was 'excellent', compared with 22 percent of the Korean students who had, in fact, performed best." (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement 1988, cited by Finn 1989).

I agree that all teachers should bee held accountable for teaching what they're supposed to.

But teaching all children the same thing at the same time and forcing the same homework upon them is as ineffective as a doctor treating all his patients the same way at the same time and sending them all home with the same remedies for their different ailments.

(I took the class outside to practice prime factorization by looking at it and doing it in a new way.)

The difference is that a doctor treats his patients one at a time and a teacher treats everybody all at once, hence the adoption of an efficient, yet ineffective, traditional teaching method.

But we're not even sending our "successful" students out into the world as "healthy" adults. Something MUST change, and change now. The solution isn't to DO more (testing and "teaching")'s to "BEE" more (higher level thinking and empowering students and teachers)

(My son, who is proofreading this, wanted me to change the "BE more" to "BEE more". I like it.....OK, now he wants me to go back and change all the "be's" to "bee's" about giving a kid a little power.....Actually, give a kid a little power, and he becomes just a little man......give him A LOT of power, show him how to use it, and he becomes A LOT of a MAN! he's sticking his chest out - LOL :-)

I've achieved success in the past by breaking the rules of traditional teaching. Now even more rules have been imposed on all of us by well-intentioned policy makers who have never met us or our students, and treating us all the same.

Many teachers are more gifted than I am so the answer isn't to make everyone teach my way, but in a way that allows their students to bee-come more.

How do I help make this happen? I'm not quite sure, but I do know I've been working on it since 1:30 Saturday morning.

And I do know I WILL figure it out. The WHY is important enough to me to figure out the HOW.

Is your WHY big enough for you to figure out HOW you will go from bee-ing on the windowsill of life, just looking out and wishing for your freedom...... to actually achieving it?

Or are you hoping someday someone just comes by and opens the window for you?

Bee Brave....Find a Way!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

MATH ~ Prime Factorization & Exponents

Chemical Reactions

From Bill Nye the Science Guy

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Atoms, Elements, Matter and Molecules

Storm Chasers

We just finished our story, "Eye of the Storm". Now let's take a look at what storm chasing looks like!

Opening Pursuit


Stay on the link to watch the Direct Hit

Blue Planet

Wanted to share these clips from the show, "Blue Planet". Science is so much more than data from a book. It is a living, fascinating world.


Cold Vents

Reef at Night

The Harvest Moon

(this is a post from Larry)

For me and many, that's the signal that FALL is just about here.
For those of you who noticed the Harvest Moon last week, you might have thought it looked BIGGER than normal...especially when it was on the horizon. That's because of the tilt of our planet and is actually an illusion. IF you had covered the full moon with a quarter held at arm's length after it cleared the horizon and then used the same quarter to cover it when it was high in the sky, you'd have noticed that it was no difference in size. Our eyes play tricks on us.

IF you missed the Harvest full moon, it will do the same thing again next month when it's called the HUNTER'S MOON.

On Monday night/Tuesday morning we bid adieu to summer and greet Autumn.

The Concept of Chemical Reactions

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Carl Jung
Swiss psychologist (1875 - 1961)


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Molecular Machine

A molecular machine is a minute mechanism consisting of molecular components that perform mechanical-like movements in response to specific stimuli. Chemists have synthesized a number of simple molecular machines, including molecular propellers and molecular motors, the latter of which are powered by light or reactions with other molecules and are capable of unidirectional rotation. Far more complex biological versions of these artificial nanomachines are found in living cells. What do they do?

A molecular machine has been defined as a discrete number of molecular components that have been designed to perform mechanical-like movements (output) in response to specific stimuli (input).[1] It is often applied more generally to molecules that simply mimic functions at the macroscopic level. The term is also common in nanotechnology and a number of highly complex molecular machines have been proposed towards the goal of constructing a molecular assembler. Molecular machines can be divided into two broad categories: synthetic and biological.

Synthetic molecular machines

A wide variety of rather simple molecular machines have been synthesized by chemists. They can consist of a singe molecule, however they are often constructed for mechanically-interlocked molecular architectures, such as rotaxanes and catenanes.

Molecular motors

Molecular motors are molecules that are capable of unidirectional rotation motion powered by external energy input. A number of molecular machines have been synthesized powered by light or reaction with other molecules.

Molecular propeller

A molecular propeller is a molecule that can propel fluids when rotated, due to its special shape that is designed in analogy to macroscopic propellers. It has several molecular-scale blades attached at a certain pitch angle around the circumference of a nanoscale shaft.

Molecular switch

A molecular switch is a molecule that can be reversibly shifted between two or more stable states. The molecules may be shifted between the states in response to changes in e.g. pH, light, temperature, an electrical current, microenvironment, or the presence of a ligand.

Molecular shuttle

A molecular shuttle in molecule capable of shuttling molecules or ions from one location to another. A common molecular shuttle consists of a rotaxane where the macrocycle can move between two sites or stations along the dumbbell backbone.

Molecular tweezers

Molecular tweezers are host molecules capable of holding guests between two arms. The open cavity of the molecular tweezers binds guests using non-covalent bonding including hydrogen bonding, metal coordination, hydrophobic forces, van der Waals forces, π-π interactions, and/or electrostatic effects. Examples of molecular tweezers have been reported that are constructed from DNA and are considered DNA machines.

Molecular sensor

A molecular sensor is a molecule that interacts with an analyte to produce a detectable change. Molecular sensors combine molecular recognition with some form of reporter so the presence of the guest can be observed.

Molecular logic gate

A molecular logic gate is a molecule that performs a logical operation on one or more logic inputs and produces a single logic output. Unlike a molecular sensor the molecular logic gate will only output when a particular combination of inputs are presents.

Biological molecular machines

The most complex molecular machines are found in within cells. These include motor proteins, such as, myosin that is responsible for muscle contraction, kinesin that moves cargo inside cells away from the nucleus along microtubules, and dynein that produces the axonemal beating of cilia and flagella. These proteins are far more complex than any molecular machines that have yet been artificially constructed.

Theoretical molecular machines

The construction of more complex molecular machines is an active area of theoretical research. A number of molecules, such as molecular propellers, have been designed although experimental studies of these molecules are inhibited by the lack of methods to construct these molecules. These complex molecular machines the basis of areas of nanotechnology, including molecular assembler.

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