Friday, March 10, 2017

Week 24 -- Greetings from Livonia

Middle school trip to Livonia 

If you encounter one of these brave fifth or sixth graders, be sure to ask them about the food-related science experiment that they participated in at the hands of seventh graders Nick and Owen. (This is their reactions to eating haggis, but before being told what haggis actually is.)

We began the week on Monday digging further into Place Out of Time. We had an interesting in-character conversation (ask your child about "the POOT switch") about their thoughts and experiences breaking social and/or legal boundaries. The issue we're examining with Place Out of Time is if it should be socially and/or legally acceptable to steal something in order to survive. Most of our characters seemed to be in favor of breaching social boundaries on occasion. Transgender activist Jazz Jennings, for example, had thoughts about the social norms that she has felt compelled to break, based on her gender identity. Al Capone felt great about violating legal boundaries, as doing so made him quite wealthy.

Out of character, we had a discussion about the the differences between the ideas of nationalism versus global citizenship, which are two concepts that have been discussed a lot in the world lately. We specifically talked about the nature of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, as well as the role that China (and other parts of Asia) plays in manufacturing things inexpensively for the world. Our journal prompt this week also related to the discussion. Kids were asked to respond to the following quote:

"Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit." — Eli Khamarov

Responses varied, as you can imagine. These are thorny issues that don't have easy answers. Exploring them together gives us much to think about as we increase our awareness of the nuances of a complex world.

Though this sounds like this may have been a pretty heavy week, our work and conversations have been spirited and engaged.

Spirited and engaged were taken to a new level on Thursday, when the entire middle school traveled to Livonia for a day of socializing and activity at the Recreation Center there. It was a make-up trip for our canceled snow tubing trip (thanks for nothing, global climate change!) and the kids had a great time swimming together, playing basketball and other games, and more. It was a great bonding day, and an excellent way to celebrate a three day weekend.

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