What it Takes…

After a week and a half of engaging kenesthetic activities. I changed directions with my students today. We talked. That was it. We talked. They wrote, they thought and we talked.
The opening question – their bellwork, what got the ball rolling – was a simple query, “Is diversity a good thing?”
Underneath, on the board, read the parenthetical note, “If you do not know the definition of ‘diversity,’ look in your dictionary.”
Let me say this before moving on – they actually looked in the dictionary. Even better, at tables where both students were stymied as to the denotative meaning of the word, I watched as one table partner waited patiently (not getting off task) for the other person to finish with their Webster’s work so they could have a full understanding. It really is an amazing thing to see such dedication to getting it right.
As is oft my role, when they had written their initial thoughts, I played devil’s advocate depending on the majority’s opinion. It really was some fantastic discussion.
At the end of 7th period, Jamie announced to the class, “This class made me think some things that I didn’t think before.” Any educator knows it’s not often that you get a child to realize, let alone pronounce, a paradigm shift.
One of the places a few of the discussions wound around to was shoes. I polled the class on an acceptable maximum amount for an 8th grader to spend on a pair of shoes. We had been talking footwear as an example of following the crowd rather than one’s one drum. Jordan’s were the favorite though none of my students was alive to see MJ play live. The mean acceptable price was around $110.
We talked about why brand names were “important” and whether or not acquiring one’s clothing from Wal-Mart was a mark of shame. The whole thing set me to thinking about where to take the discussion next. Not with every class, just the ones who showed interest. After a little reflection, here’s what I’ve got:

  1. Each student picks a country (most likely a Third World counry).
  2. They use the CIA World Factbook to find: children per capita, average annual income per capita, possibly mortality rate per capita
  3. Each student then finds the retail price for each item it took to prepare him/her for school that day. (This would include hygeine products, et al.)
  4. The student finds the total cost of being him/her and multiplies it x7 to get the cost per week.
  5. The student then compares the findings.

The question is – what do they do with this info.? I’m sure it will be eye-opening, but what real purpose can they put it to? Where do they go after they realize “what it takes to be them?”
Anxious for thoughts and suggestions. Anyone have a class they’d like to have compare themselves to mine?
More later.

17 thoughts on “What it Takes…

  1. This sounds like a great idea. I’ll see if I can squeeze it in before the end of our term and I’ll get back to you.

  2. I do believe your students will see this topic more clearly than others. When diversity is present, students are required to consider it. But, your students also have a commonality in academic struggles that tends to bring them together. Once they realize the common thread they will see each other more clearly for their individual strengths, not differences. Thanks for sharing… Steve

  3. I am so stealing your “is diversity good?” question and I am definitely willing to try the activity with my students and think the Canadian-American comparison is going to be really cool!

    Thanks for rocking the teaching world, Mr. Chase!

  4. hey mr chase this is jeremy o. from you old phoenix class… the one you abandoned for philly. anway ijust wont to say i really really really miss you and i thought we agreed on a young funny teacher because are teacher is an old bald not so funny person PLEASE fix this i want the teacher ro be exactly like you.%-}

  5. Dear Mr. Chase, you were the best teacher I have ever had. You actually made class fun and educational at the same time. I am going to miss you vert much. You taught me more in less than a month, then all of my teachers from last year did all together. I understand why you must go to Philadelphia, I just wish we could of had a fun year with you. I am not mad at you, just frustrated that you must go so soon.

    From,
    Shawn Barry

  6. Mr.Chase it is the second day without you here and it sucks especially because Ms.Dunda is also not here today.anyways Mr.Francis is letting students write you today so i just want you to know that verybody here misses you thankfully nobody has been crying but it dosent mean that they are hurt cause i know that i am and you know why from what i wrote.i say your comments and i just hope that everything goes ok and also hopefully the school will be as great as the school that will never forget you. anyways dont forget to give me a heads up on when you will be coming to vist.anyways class is almost over soooooo let us know how things go.

    <3 always
    ASHLEY AND SAMANTHA

  7. actually, that’s brilliant. Thank you. I’m going to pass that on to a couple of people.

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  9. LSnAmb actually, that’s brilliant. Thank you. I’m going to pass that on to a couple of people.

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