By Joan Brock. 6th Grade Math. Published at Friday, December 04th, 2020 - 20:13:44 PM.
We play a rendition of childhood game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, where I ask the kids to tape index cards containing the changes that happen during puberty on the appropriate gender symbol. Yes, more giggly! We then move on to basic anatomy and physiology, including an overview of the brain, glands, the pituitary gland, hormones, testosterone and estrogen, followed a discussion of the sperm, the egg, menstrual periods, wet dreams and ejaculation. The giggly is over, replaced with an occasional exclamation "Ewwwww, thats gross!" These outbursts are consistently normalized by reinforcement that the body is an amazingly intelligent and complex machine; that the miracle of life is indeed a miracle; and that each child in the room is, in fact, a miracle. We take some time for questions and then move on to an introduction to the emotional changes that happen during puberty as a set up for our next class.
Family was number one-Because of scarcity, we used to have plates, spoons and glasses that we kept for special guests. We children used Calabash or old utensils. At times my mother would cook and serve us with the best utensils and say we were her greatest guests. It was that way with everything she had. Conflict management-I called my mother "the silent striker." Dad would be like thunder announcing the end of the unfortunate soul or souls that crossed his line. My silent mother kept her cool no matter how threatening the situation seemed, and no matter how much someone needed to tell Dad he was wrong. But after she had a quiet talk with him, one knew by his contrite spirit he had received the message. She used the same silent striking strategy with neighbors and other women with whom she was forced to share her husband.
Who actually uses advanced math in their everyday lives? Well, students do. This might seem to be obvious, but it is worth pointing out that doing well on the SAT or ACT requires a fair amount of algebra and geometry. (These subjects arent really advanced math, but they are advanced compared the math that many adults use.) These tests give high school math a certain amount of practical importance, even for people who plan on majoring in liberal arts and entering a mathematics-free profession. Engineers, many kinds of scientist (both pure and applied), computer programmers, and actuaries are a few examples of people that actually do use a great deal of math. There are plenty of other math-intensive careers, but the truth is, most people who dont want to do trigonometry, calculus, or statistics as adults will never be held back by that preference.
Her fathers decision to educate sons rather than invest in a daughter who would eventually marry ended mothers future in the academic world. She, however, had acquired an education that would jumpstart my learning experience. Mother used to prepare a small portion of the ground outside the mud structure we called our house and used it as blackboard or writing pad to teach me A-B-Cs, 1-2-3s, and simple words. If there was wind, class was cancelled. If it rained, it was an holiday. She taught me stories and listened to my childish stories. But in that basic existence, mother passed on to me what I now do in my calling as speaker, writer and seminar leader.
Original wood flooring and seats in the auditorium were carefully refurbished and re-installed in this San Antonio school by the Districts Plant Services crews. The stage and walls were also repainted. "Not only do we have new things that we are excited about but were also honoring a lot of the history of this school," said Melanie Herr-Zepeda, principal. Colors, tiles and wall textures throughout the campus express the African-American and Mexican-American cultures of the neighborhood surrounding this San Antonio school. "This school is truly rich in history. Were honoring the neighborhood in what it is now and yet honoring where this school has come from," Herr-Zepeda added.
The next step is a conversation about why boys/girls act the way they do, followed by lots of questions about crushes, flirting and relationships. Theres also some discussion about parents and why they seem to be so annoying, but at this point the kids are much more interested in themselves and their classmates. We have one more day together. I ask each gender separately how they would like to frame our last day together. Unanimously the kids tell me they would like to ask each other some questions to gain understanding into why boys/girls act the way they do. I give them an opportunity to write down their questions anonymously and end with an "anxiety check". Everyone is feeling pretty comfortable.
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