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This week the three small groups met to discuss their book reviews, the teacher’s guides and the workshops they are each planning.

Group one had an interesting discussion about the differences in classrooms in different education systems (primarily US vs Malaysia). We talked about the disadvantage US students face not learning a second language early on. We talked about the setbacks most teachers face in the classroom and what we can do to overcome them. They are almost finished with the teachers guide, and have a workshop plan. They have been reading “Welcome to the Aquarium,” by Julie Diamond.

Group 2 met on Wednesday and discussed the book, “Developing More Curious Minds.” By John Barell. The discussion was also stimulating. I outlined the book reviews into several parts.

  • Chapter Summary
  • Interesting points
  • Opinions and extensions
  • Key Words

When we got to the key words for the chapters we were discussing (those are words they want defined or explained further), we discussed: smithy and patricide. Smithy was in the context of a very metaphorical phrase quoted from Joyce. It was a great discussion because we got to pick apart the metaphor. Patricide led to a discussion about the roots”patra” and “cide.” They were able to come up with other words using these like, “patriarchal” and “homicide.” Eventually the explanation of patricide led to a discussion of the Greek play, “Oedipus Rex.” All that from just two words!

Group 3 is a bit behind due to scheduling, and not all members being present for all meetings. On top of that, the book they are reading is more practical than theoretical, so the discussion was then more practical than in depth. The book is, “See me After Class,” by Roxanna Elden.

They discussed her frank language in the book, and her very practical advice for common problems teachers face. They mostly agreed with her points. We need to work on getting the teachers guide complete, and review unit planning (which is the topic of their workshop). Confusion led to a better discussion on what it means to unit plan, as well as inciting additional research.

And onward we march!