Monday, 11 January 2010 17:04

Looking In

When I first started my secondary education courses, nothing that was found in a textbook compared to the student-teaching observations.  You would read about the pros and cons of whole language, the various scenarios of ideal classroom management, and how to find all my boyfriends, Piaget, Maslow, Bloom, and Erikson, in the students' learning patterns.  But it wasn't until my first rounds of student-teaching observations and later in my first year teaching when I realized that I could know my textbooks cover and cover, and I still not know what to do with a pissed off teenager.  Maybe Maslow and Bloom would do a better job than I would the first time around, but no one can say for real.

Looking into Preiss' shop from his classroom, reminds me so much of how important it is to be in the moment of learning.  At 5:15 p.m. on a Monday, there are seven students working in the shop with Preiss, Dilossi, Simon, and Mark.  Mark is a self-employed specialist of the GTM.  He started working with the team a week ago. He fits right in.  He works well with the students in explaining the steps for the kit car.  Every now and then you hear, "shut up, shut up" from the students, which is a good thing.

These students are in the ideal situation.  They are learning something in theory and actually seeing how it works in practice.  Sometimes, I would find myself cringe reading the best practices of the classroom.  It just wouldn't work in reality.  Middle school and high school are the most difficult part of one's upbringing.  There is absolutely no textbook that contains all the right material.  You can't find the answers unless you are actually in the moment.

Within minutes, the students working in the shop confront problems and delays in putting together the GTM.  Poor Justin Clarke, he hurt his finger.  Justin Carter had to measure and remeasure the headlight and nose of the car.  Daniel is remodeling the harness for the Ford.

"I have completely assembled both headlights and started working on mounting them on the nose.  I had to think of different ways of tearing  the fiberglass on the frame of the car to fit the molds of the headlights.  I broke it.  I broke one screw on the corner when I was drilling.  Luckily, three screws would be enough to hold the frame in place. So I lucked up on that end." -from Justin Carter

Despite the setbacks, they are accomplishing a lot.  It is amazing to see what they did to the GTM just within the last week.  You know it is a good day when the shop smells like a campfire from the welding.  More parts are needed to order.  More wrenchs are needed for harnassing.  More hours are needed to prove theories wrong.

Ride or Die

Ms. R

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Saturday, 02 January 2010 12:34

Cheese Whiz on Fries

Today is Saturday, January 2, 2010.  Happy New Year!  We hope you have a safe and wonderful New Year!  Simon, Daniel, Sekou, Justin Carter, and myself are at West.  Goals for today are to test the Ford Focus engine and catch up on paperwork.  The men arrived around 9, and I slowly trickled in around 11.

Sekou and Daniel were building a post for the engine for the Focus.  Justin and Haug were making a motor mount for the GT.  "Ms. R, we are trying to get this engine cranked up," said Daniel about Ford Focus engine.  Sekou hopes that it doesn't blow up.  If it does blow up, we may not have school on Monday.

Right now, the men are enjoying cheeseburgers and cheese whiz on their fries.  Amazing.  Teenage boys and their metabolism.  And Hauger is eating the same.

Seriously, what an amazing combination.  Cheese Whiz, salt, pepper, and ketchup on fries.  But nothing on the cheeseburger.  This lunch is sponsored by Penn Pizza on 48th and Spruce.  It is high quality and high in cholesterol.

These boys are just vacuum cleaners.  It is so funny to see them watch and just devour their food.  Their conversation must be the most disgusting conversation in the history of the world.  Sekou talks about all the horrible things his dog ate over the years.  Of course, everyone joins in with other stories.  I am very passive in this conversation.  I only had cats.

According to rule, you shouldn't feed teenagers until the very last possible minute or very little work will get done.  With only two more hours left in the shop, lunch was critical.

I hope you one day experience cheese whiz, salt, pepper, and ketchup on fries sitting in a shop on a Saturday with friends.

Ride or Die

Ms. R

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Saturday, 05 December 2009 13:35

We go to school on Saturdays

Today is Saturday, and we have a meeting at school.  I got up late. Khaleda called me in the morning and told me to get my butt down here.  I was watched a movie last night so I sleep soooooooooooo late.  The movie was so good.  It’s called Pretty Woman.  My favorite part is at the end when Edward wanted Vivian come to New York with him, but Vivian didn’t want to become one of Edward’s girls so she said no.  The next day Edward showed up at her apartment and then they stayed together.  OMG!!  I love Richard Gere he is so great.

We met with Helen today. She works for Philadelphia Academy. She helped us to organize our meetings in a fun and effective way.  They want us to take more ownerships of the meeting.  Instead of Ann and Simon running them, we can run them.  At first, she let us introduce ourselves and use the first letter of our name to come up with an adjective. My name starts with the letter M, so I said "magnificent."  Then we played an icebreaker game. We have to ask each other a question and we can’t answer it.  I love that game even when I was kicked out at the third round.

She is a very nice person and beautiful.  We came up with few questions about what is important to building two cars. How is fun? What need to change? And why our school grades related to the team?  Jacques said: “dedication, determination, and discipline.”  Khaleda said: “great resume builder.”

I say: “to have more experience. Other people don’t have this great opportunity.”

At the end, Helen wanted us say what we liked about meeting and what we would change.  Mr. Hauger said: “people took all of his doughnuts.”  Most people said: “Not a lot of people showed up.”

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