Monday, August 31, 2009

Natives of Haiti Speaking to Students Today

Speakers: Two New Trier employees, Mr. Bonhomme and Mr Cayemitte, brought a group of about 6-8 teachers to Haiti this summer to explore possibilities for helping Haiti.

Mr. Bonhomme and Mr. Cayemitte spoke about current health, education, welfare and the employment situation in Haiti. They spoke of historical and political conditions that have contributed to current problems in Haiti and of their wish to help their people.

History: Small Groups teaching each other from Zinn and Diamond readings. Juniors and Seniors in mixed groups today.

Library Research
: final hour
"So What do You Care About?" or a Plan for Action. Students will work individually or in small groups to select a problem that is solvable in the world and to present a plan of action. Research in the library is launched today with independent work continuing through the week. Poster session presentations due on Friday.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tapped: New Documentary about Water

Is most of our water just tap water? Is it a marketing scam? Take a look at the trailer for Tapped -- a film that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and reliance on oil. This documentary from director Stephanie Soechtig and the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car?, condemns how consumers are conned into spending too much money on water packaged in plastic which is often not as clean as tap water. This film will be purchased by the New Trier library when it becomes available on DVD.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Save the Dates

September 22, 2009 - IGSS Parent Open House

Trip to Chicago Humanities Festival to see Paul Farmer at Northwestern University School of Law - Monday November 9, 2009 6 pm - 7:30pm

Click here for more information

Town Hall Meeting Today

Town Hall Meeting
Ideas for group IGSS Projects:
Service Project
PIH Fundraiser
Music Monday
"Show & Tell" Interests
Name Games
Global Food Days - IGSS Food Committee
Global Art Days - global art exhibit - mural ideas
Video chats across the Globe
IGSS Theme song and/or movie
Advisery publicity committee
Senior Carnival project
T.E.L.L. Day could be sponsored by IGSS

Discussion of IGSS class expectations; philosophy of education**; general responsibilities; IGSS grading and levels

Discussion of History Reading: Juniors go to room 121; Seniors meet in room 123

Groups teach each other history.

Science in 123: Microorganisms

**Philosophy of Education:
"The IGSS will be driven by individuals who open-mindedness inspires the spirit of inquiry, who personal involvement is fueled by compassion, and whose convictions lead them to be responsibly active, both locally and globally, in the world outside the walls of New Trier."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are all human beings equally important?

Today 1/2 of the class is in Science Lab while 1/2 the class is in discussion of Mountains Beyond Mountains:

Are all human beings equally important? Can we value usefulness to society?

Do some people matter more than others?

Activity - Creative Visualization re: much loved family member.
How does love connect with who we value?
Should you attempt to see all lives as equally important?

Discussion: How do your views compare/align with the viewpoints below:
Farmer's belief: "the idea that some lies matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world."(p.295)
Freud's belief: "not all men are worthy of love".Civilization and Its Discontents

Science Lab:
Based on yesterday's experiment with infectious disease and today's readings, we ask the questions:
How much can infectious diseases potentially cost society?
How might people reduce the transmission of infectious diseases found in animals into the human population?
How can medical and public health professionals prevent the development and spread of resistant pathogens?
During the lab write up focus on conclusions about your research and the assigned readings. Data in chart or graph form must be included.

History Documents Discussion:
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 1789
What do you owe to the State? What does the State owe to you? Do all people have the same inalienable rights?

Monroe Doctrine
- 1823
European powers should stay out of the Americas. This paved the way for the United States to colonize Haiti. How is this relevant to Haiti?
Claim also made that we would not interfere with other nations in Latin America.

Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, 1904
This added a policing element: How could other countries interfere with American rights? Economic imperialism.

"The US Cannot Accept that the Haitian President it Ousted Still has Support." UK Guardian article (2006)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 2 and we're off and running

Today in IGSS [Mountains Beyond Mountains unit]
Whole group lecture on history of Haiti
Small groups of 4: each group reading/annotating different primary source documents
Large group--small groups present out on the question:

How do the primary source documents point to the current situation in Haiti politically, socially, and economically?
This discussion to be continued tomorrow.

Whole Group Outdoors: Science Lab on Spread of Microbes

readings --emerging infectious diseases and pathogens. Readings/ questions assigned.

Instructions for outdoors "lab" (not raining and 67 degrees)
1) Everyone receives a small dixie cup of a solution. Do not drink/taste.
Make Qualitative and Quantitative observations.
2) Share solutions by pouring yours into ONE other person's cup and they pour into yours. Make predictions about how infections spread.
3) Phenolphthalein indicator - dropped into your solution -- looking for color pink
4) 2nd time do 2 exhanges (repeat: do another exchange of solutions)
5) 3rd time do 3 exhanges
6) disposal instruction for solutions.

How do we display information when writing up science lab?

data tables
How do we write a formal lab report?

observations - both qualitative and quantitative
analysis -With each exchange the infection doubled. Must include how readings on infectious disease informs your work with experiments.
We will work on write ups in small groups tomorrow to give enough time to incorporate our readings on infectious disease.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School's in Session!

We are sitting together for the very first time. We read/viewed Paul Farmer's This I Believe statement. Teachers are handing out our first night's readings and suggesting that students follow our schedule/calendar on BlackBoard.

Students also received first written assignment today: writing a brief narrative about how they have helped a total stranger in an impoverished condition, poverty/illness on a non-personal level, and poverty/illness as something you will or won't try to change.

Science Labs this week are T-TH & Friday. Pre-lab reading for the week: "Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases: A Global Problem".

We get to do an activity outside later this afternoon! This is way cooler than being in the library all day. We are all very excited.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Another new title I will be sure to order is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I discovered it by reading the the cover story in today's New York Times Magazine: "Why Women's Rights are the Cause of Our Time". The authors eloquently argue how world liberation of women could help solve many of the world’s problems, from poverty to child mortality to terrorism.

Read some reviews found on

“I read Half the Sky in one sitting, staying up until 3 a.m. to do so. It is brilliant and inspirational, and I want to shout about it from the rooftops and mountains. It vividly illustrates how women have turned despair into prosperity and bravely nurtured hope to cultivate a bright future. The book ends with an especially compelling ‘What you can do’ to exhort us all to action.”
-Greg Mortenson, author, Three Cups of Tea

“If you have always wondered whether you can change the world, read this book. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have written a brilliant call to arms that describes one of the transcendent injustices in the world today–the brutal treatment of women. They take you to many countries, introduce you to extraordinary women, and tell you their moving tales. Throughout, the tone is practical not preachy and the book’s suggestions as to how you can make a difference are simple, sensible, and yet powerful. The authors vividly describe a terrible reality about the world we live in but they also provide light and hope that we can, in fact, change it.”
-Fareed Zakaria, author, The Post-American World

Listen to a podcast interview with Pulitzer prize winning journalists Kristof and WuDunn.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tracy Kidder's new book: "Strength in What Remains"

Watch the interview with Tracy Kidder as he discusses his new book, about Deo from Burundi who has worked to establish a public health facility in his native land, Burundi.

Read an excerpt from Tracy Kidder's Strength in What Remains [PDF].

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Waiting for Earth Days to Open in Chicago

Don't miss a big hit at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, the new film by Robert Stone called Earth Days, a documentary with great archival footage about the Environmental Movement in America.

Stone traces the origins of the environmental movement in the U.S. back to the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and its full development with the first Earth Day in 1970.

Watch the trailer to "witness the seeds of a revolution". It will also become part of the PBS’ American Experience series aired on a date to be determined.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Steve Dembo recently blogged about his top 10 free favorite Web 2.0 tools at the NECC Conference. One that I find that would be particularly useful for group projects at New Trier is Its online collaboration and file sharing service that would provide our students with a simple, real time and private way to chat and share images, video, audio, documents and other digital content through sharing points called 'drops.'

Each 'drop' is non-searchable, non-networked, does not require any type of account registration and can be password-protected and set to expire after a period of time after the project is completed.

New Trier Organic Garden