Thursday, May 23, 2013

New City School in St. Louis is a treasure: Look at this insightful newsletter (Geography contest for all students)

ONe of the great schools in the USA is New City School.   I vivisted the school in April 2006 and interviewed the principal, Thomas Hoerr.  He writes a column for one of ASCD's journals.

Here's an item that I found in a recent newsletter that the school sends home each week.

From LaurieFor the sixth consecutive year, all 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students participated in the New City Geography Bee. The students compete in teams, first in their classrooms and then in a school-wide bee. The teams work together to answer a series of questions that progressively become more difficult. This year's winning team was from Linda's sixth grade block 2 class and included Emily Hirshman, Eyvind Hovmand-Warner, Allison Ryan, and Corbin Runge. Congratulations to all the students who competed!

I wrote the following note to the principal:
As a high school teacher, I applaud students who can tell me 
1.  the second and third cities of France, India, Germany, China and Australia.   
2.  Name five cities in Brazil.  
3.   Name four rivers in Europe
4.  What languages are spoken officially in Switzerland, Brazil and Canada?  
5.  Name a large city near Rheinfall.
6.  How many countries share Mont Blanc?
7.  Name the countries that share the largest waterfall in South America?
8.  What countries border on Afghanistan?
9.  Name at least three languages that are spoken in Kenya and India.   (That is a vaguely worded question).

How about laterai thinking puzzles?
  1. Brain Food: Realistic Lateral Thinking Puzzles - RinkWorks
  2. Lateral Thinking Puzzles, unlike most puzzles, are inexact. In a sense, they are a hybrid between puzzles and storytelling. In each puzzle, some clues to a ...
  3. Lateral Thinking Puzzles - Preconceptions
  5. Lateral thinking puzzles that challenge your preconceptions. 1. You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop ..

I'm not worried about spelling -- that's what spellcheckers are for, but when my international students meet my high school students (I teach ESOL to kids form Europe in summer school and then invite my high school students to interact with the international students), my high school students shine...  "We thought that U.S. students didn't know geography!" (say the students from Italy).  

Bravo to your school for a focus on geography.

Can you send some Geography questions in your next letter home?

A service connecting teens across cultures

I hope you have an opportunity to visit or at least visit virtually

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