Monday, January 18, 2010

Geoffrey Canada, Birds, My Kids, and Physics

Lot of things to do in Minneapolis this weekend! On Friday Rachel and I headed out to the basilica in Minneapolis to check out an MLK weekend event put on by MCTC, and the place was packed. While there was some good singing, the main reason that we went tot he event was to listen to Geoffrey Canada. He's a man who basically adopted 24 blocks of Harlem and decreed that every child within that zone would get into college. To do so he partnered with a nonprofit to create the Harlem Children's Zone, which provides everything for their educational development including three charter schools, after school programs, health programs and everything else. If something doesn't work, he gets rid of it and implements something else. For instance, kids not retaining enough information? Abolish summer vacation so that they continue to learn, and you also get rid of summer school to boot!

But his talk was only peripherally about that. It was more a call to arms for everyone to get involved in this issue, because as he said, "No one else is coming!" It really spoke to me and the reasons that I have been still struggling with in my decision to become a high school teacher, and definitely strengthened my resolve that I was making the right decision.

As we walked back across the park to Russell's apartment we saw a very strange sight: huge flocks of crows roosting together in trees, standing out against the dark gray clouds thanks to the light pollution of the city. They were constantly cawing and milling about in the sky, like great swarms of bats or something from out of a Hitchcock movie. It was really something to see in action, but here are some stills:

On Saturday I had my classes again, and then quickly hurried off to catch a screening of the Neighborhood Video Project, which was filmed and edited in large part by the kids that I work with at Skyline Tower. I highly encourage you to check out the site and the videos, as my kids put a lot of hard work into this project!

Finally, on Sunday I helped one of Rachel's students out with physics. I got a lot of compliments from her, and it made me feel really good to help someone else understand physics a bit better. Yay weekend for helping reaffirm my desire to be a physics teacher!

Until next time...

"Civilizations proceed from the heart rather than from the head."
-Mark Twain's Letter to Alvert Sonnichsen, 1901

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