Last week the 7th/8th Grade CREW worked really hard to complete an essay about Walter Cronkite and his influence on the Vietnam War. Two weeks ago we read his, 'We are mired in Stalemate" broadcast immediately after the Tet Offensive in 1968. Students were asked to write a five paragraph essay to explain the message of the broadcast, and they were asked to explain why this message was more important because of Walter Cronkite. There were a few tears, there might have been some laughs, but everyone finished (except for a few absentees).
In 8th Grade Math we have successfully completed our units on Algebra Basics, Linear Equations, Pythagorean Theorem, and Exponential Equations. After our test on Exponential Equations on Wednesday, we began a new unit on Geometry Basics. The first Investigation is in symmetry. On the first day, I brought in pattern blocks and gave them the period to create a design with the most lines of symmetry. Unfortunately for me my challenge was lost in the excitement, but fortunately for the 8th graders they quickly resorted to their 2nd grade-selves and experimented with the patterns. The end result was several gigantic and fascinating designs. These designs allowed us to discuss symmetry, and even with their best efforts the lesson was not lost. Hence there is the experiential learning in Action.
At the end of the day friday, we watched the a section of Forest Gump. The discussion of how movies portray the Vietnam War was extremely rich, and the students seemed to really open up and discuss their appreciation for our military service men and women. As a class we also watched the movie critically, and we discussed the use of music in the film. The film makers of Forest Gump used music from the time period to create emotion and to change the mood of the film. Overall it was a wonderful experience, and I think the students found a new appreciation for film making.
This coming week, we will begin our final products for our Power to the People expedition. We will be working on those and a few other projects over the remaining four weeks of this trimester. If you know any veterans of the Vietnam War, who would like to come talk with us about their experiences with the War. Please send me their contact information. We are currently working on a class wide project, and we would love to have some people involved to interview.