Yesterday in advisory we celebrated Gracie's birthday as well as the October, November and December birthdays we were unable to recognize.  While we were enjoying good snacks and drinks, the students also wrapped their presents for the students from James Monroe Elementary School.  

Thanks to the generosity of the Lab School many children will be able to celebrate Christmas this year.  In the letter from James Monroe the principal, Jack Rocklin, share the following sentiments - "Christmas morning for many children will be filled with enthusiasm and eagerness to open their gifts.  Unfortunately, not all children are blessed with this opportunity. Here at Monroe Elementary School, 98% of our students are below poverty level.  Many of our children come from single-family homes or live with relatives that can only provide basic needs.  This is where you, as a Santa Helper, can make a difference this Christmas season.  Let's hope that this Christmas Day will be one to remember for these children!"

I want to share my thanks to those families that contributed this holiday season.  Sometimes we forget that there are people out there that are not as fortunate as we are.  Together we are making a difference.

Here are some photos from our celebration.  Enjoy!
Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), designated by the U.S. House of Representatives as the week of computing pioneer Grace Hopper's birthday, recognizes the transformative role of computing and the need to bolster computer science at all educational levels.

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and its partners promote CSEdWeek in order to:
  • Raise awareness of the critical role of computing for our global information society
  • Promote efforts to expose students—particularly in grades K-12—to robust computer science education
  • Highlight the challenges facing computer science education
  • Engage supporters to prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need for the twenty-first century

To that end, we watched an entertaining video of Grace Hopper's interview with David Letterman. I encourage everyone to watch the video.  Grace Hopper was an amazing woman.   She who would have turned 107 on December 9, 2013. Hopper created COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) a programming language that allowed computers to communicate through language in addition to numbers. She also is credited with coining the term “bug in the system," after a very literal encounter with an insect! Hopper joined the Navy Reserve in 1943, while still a faculty member, eventually reaching the rank of rear admiral.
Additional activities for Computer Science Education Week are available.  Anyone can learn to code!  Now is your time to try.

Today in advisory, the students worked in pairs to solve  a variety of Tangrams. Tangram, an ancient Chinese puzzle, is sometimes called "seven pieces of cleverness." The object of the puzzle is to rearrange the pieces of a square (the puzzle pieces) to form figures (like the ones below) using the tangram pieces.

The students had an amazing time rearranging their puzzle pieces in an attempt to solve the problem.  Here are some of the comments from the students:
  • "When I worked with Henrik, he had done some of these before and he would tell me how to start" 
  • "We worked better if we treat each other the same way, neither one took the lead.. just worked together to figure it out"
  • Trial and error... "Maybe this goes here",  "A lot of YES", & "A lot of NO that won't work"

Check out the website and try them out.  The more you practice, the easier it gets.

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. For its second observance, this year’s Day will focus on “Innovating for Girls’ Education”.

The fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.

While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.

Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child will address the importance of new technology, but also innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves.


In observance of the International Day of the Girl Child, my advisory (along with Mr. Freeman's) shared the courageous story of Malala Yousafzai.  We then watched her speech to the United Nations.

Malala Yousafzai

A year ago Wednesday, Malala Yousafzai was riding the bus home from school when a Taliban gunman climbed aboard and shot her in the head. She nearly died.

Now, the 16-year-old advocate for girls' education is a popular favorite for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded Friday.

To mark the anniversary of the shooting, her memoir, "I am Malala," came out Tuesday. The phrase has become a battle cry for the right to an education around the world.

The memoir follows her odyssey from near-death to global fame in just a year's time. It also gives a vivid account of her everyday life in Pakistan's Swat Valley and how she developed a love for education.

Her public fight to get that education and for the right of girls to get one, too, is what put her at odds with the Pakistani Taliban. (from an article published by CNN on Wednesday October 9, 2013)

On Monday, September 30th the group shared cookies and donuts in celebration of John's 11th birthday (September 29th). Coincidentally, it was my birthday as well.