Building Global Citizens


Global citizens can be defined as problem solvers that are future focused. They understand growth is necessary for both the individual and the community in order to promote continued progress. They understand that to make the best possible progress, it is important to be proactive.

This week, students investigated the morphology and etymology of <proactive>. Once the denotation of <proactive> was uncovered, students began hypothesizing possible morphemes of <proactive>. The following hypotheses represents their initial thinking…

* <pro + active> –> proactive

* <pro + act + ive> –> proactive

* <pro + ac + tive> –> proactive

To determine which hypothesis was accurate, students first had to prove the morphemes. Students brainstormed words that used the identified prefix and suffix to check their theories. Once satisfied with the accuracy of the word’s affixes, students moved onto determining the base. Here they used Etymology Online to determine the root. Many groups looked up <active> because they were certain <pro-> was a prefix. Some looked up <act> because they were certain <-ive> was a suffix.

Etymology Online uncovered <act> as the free base element coming from Latin agere/actum/actus meaning “to do; set in motion.” This left students with the correct word sum of <pro + act + ive> –> proactive, which they quickly connected the meaning of the root to the dictionary definition stating proactive meant to set something in motion before it becomes a problem. Good thinking.

Finally, they were challenged to find as many related words to <act> as they could, showcasing their thinking in a word web.

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We are close to wrapping up the Impacts Unit. Students are making final additions and revisions to their written proposals asking the UNISDR to fund their country’s disaster risk reduction plan and finalizing their visuals for Thursday’s and Friday’s presentations.

To ensure both the proposal and presentation are effective, students learned about Aristotle’s rhetoric – the three means of persuasion: logos, pathos and ethos.

In their final rewrites, students are looking to inject emotional anecdotes, supporting statistical data and credible sources into their proposals to feel confident their appeals are persuasive.

To help your child prepare for the presentation, please allow them to practice the art of persuasion on you.

The students have placed so much hard work and effort into this project; they should be proud of their accomplishments. I know I am proud of them.


And all the while, students continue blogging. Please check out their voices on our classroom blog, Wonderland. Student links are on the right sidebar.


Impacts & Opportunities


Currently, students are well into the integrated Impacts Unit in which they have been studying the patterns of natural hazards within a country and working on developing a proposal to persuade ‘representatives of the UNISDR’ to fund a disaster risk reduction program for their assigned nation.

At the beginning of the unit, students were presented with the following GRASP scenario…

  • Goal: Your goal is to secure funding for your country for disaster risk reduction.
  • Role:  You are the Head of the Office of Disaster Preparedness
  • Audience: Your audience is representatives from the United Nation Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
  • Situation:  As a UN member state located on the Ring of Fire, your country is potentially at risk for an earthquake and/or tsunami. You need to persuade the UNISDR to fund disaster preparedness in your nation.
  • Product:  You will prepare a written proposal to representatives of UNISDR making the case for your country

To build the background knowledge necessary to develop a disaster risk reduction proposal, science classes have had students research plate tectonics and the Ring of Fire – analyzing the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind the natural phenomena resulting from the earth’s shifting plates. In math, students analyzed statistical data of their country’s natural hazards to identify predictive patterns and formulate generalizations about their country’s need for disaster risk reduction.

While in Humanities, students have been researching and synthesizing their understandings of the geographic profile of their country, the impact a historical natural disaster had on their country’s economy, environment and society, and NGOs that provide aide in a disaster as well as disaster risk reduction programs.

This week, students will be culminating all these understandings into a written proposal as well as planning and creating their mode of presentation.

This unit has presented many challenges for the children as they have had to tackle difficult scientific and mathematical concepts as well as formulate their understandings in the abstract form of writing, all while working collaboratively. This is no easy task, as they are learning to listen to, consider, and compromise their ideas collectively. I am proud of their display of flexibility and diligence.

Slice of Life Story Challenge

We continue on with our second week in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Some students are thriving at the opportunity to write every day, some are struggling. The goal is to write about a slice of life every day in the month of March, but if your child is distressed with the pace, encourage them to write 2 or 3 posts a week rather than 7. I will be having this chat with them on Monday.

To offer support and encouragement, I write a slice every day along with the students on our classroom blog, Wonderland. Once I post my daily slice, the students post their slices in the comment section of my post. Please feel free to click on the slices and leave a positive comment on their writing. Everyone loves an audience!

If interested, you can view my two slices, “Dear Students” and “Power of Words” that summarize the wise words of last week’s visiting author, Jack Gantos. What a gift his workshops were!

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Forgive Me

Recently, a reoccurrence of a childhood ritual has been tumbling around in my head.

Having been raised Catholic, and attending a parochial private school, every Wednesday I was expected to squeeze into a wooden confessional, slide the small door open that revealed a mesh screen with a figure on the other side, and confess all my sins to the priest. To say I dreaded Wednesdays as a result, would be a gross understatement.

As I rattled off the introduction of my confession, I scrambled to come up with my list of sins. This block was not a result of purity, rather the fear of telling the truth and revealing my true self to the priest. Truly, I felt it was an act of mortification not confession.

I’m certain, at this point you are wondering what this anecdote has to do with your children, well, I have been feeling the need to confess my sins to you.

“Forgive me parents, for I have sinned, the last time I wrote a blog post was early February…”

All I can say in my defense is that my absence is a result of attending to the needs of your children. I hope you absolve me from my sins.

Today, the class kicked off the Two Writing Teachers‘ “Slice of Life Classroom Challenge“. Your children have set up a personal blog in which they can express their autonomy and creativity as budding writers. As blogs provide a platform in which a writer can engage with an authentic audience, joining the Slice of Life challenge presents an opportunity to reach out to other young authors around the world.

Every day in the month of March, students are required to post a slice of their life. This slice can be from the past or present. The ‘slice’ can be in the form of a memoir, anecdote, journal entry, opinion piece, poem…basically, whatever suits the author’s fancy.

As writing is a form of self-expression, this is a perfect opportunity for students to try on their voice and shout out to the world what they want it to hear. This is an opportunity to change the world with their words.

“You can change your world by changing your words…Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.   ~ Joel Osteen

To support the students, I too am taking part in the Slice of Life , which means I have to write along side the students every day. This is a challenge on many levels. I love to write, but I am a slow writer that agonizes over every word. I will have to learn to write more fluently. Also, I love to conference with students, but in order for me to model myself as a writer, I will have to fit conferencing in at another time. Although not ideal, I feel these bumps and bruises are worth the end result – producing motivated, passionate writers.

If interested in what your child is blogging about, please visit our classroom blog, Wonderland. The home page of the blog, features my blatherings. The sidebar on the right features student blogs. Simply scroll down to find your child’s name and click on the link to read their voice. Everyone loves an audience, so if you have time, please feel free to leave a comment on a post of your child’s blog.

Thank you for your continued support in developing the young minds of the world.