Finding a Rhyme and a Reason

Embark on a journey of teaching and learning with Ms. Hayes' class at Georgetown K-8, Savannah, Georgia

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi share Nobel Peace Prize -What Can We Do?


Malala Yousafzai a young Pakistani schoolgirl was shot in the head by the Taliban. Surviving the would be fatal shot was in itself miraculous. However, what has transpired since then is just as spectacular. Malala has helped galvanize the world in support of the rights of girls around the world to live, to learn, and to lead.

Kailash Satyarthi, “The Seeker of Truth “ has fought to end child slavery and labor exploitation for decades. His youngest acts of activism may have been inspired on his first day of school as a mere boy who noticed the stark contrast of his life and that of a cobbler’s son begging outside his school’s gates.

What can we do? What can you do to promote the human rights of girls, of children, in your school and in your community? How might you make a difference?

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“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.” President Bush


While many of our Hilsman students were too young or yet to be born on September 11, 2001, thirteen years ago, many of us know exactly where we were. I presented the following ideas to the staff: How can we as a community honor this day in a way that incorporates what is already being learned? How can we lead students to embrace the day through our varied content areas and our IB profiles? Could we examine how the different branches of government responded? Could we look at how the literary community and artist expressed our nation’s angst and agony? What role did science and energy play? What story do the numbers tell? How did man’s courage and humanity take action and create heroes when death and destruction were inevitable? What claims might our students make and support about our nation and our world? Why should our students examine these events? How might it complement our mission as well as our goals as an IB school?

Mr. Pavone invited me into his classroom. To begin the dialogue, he encouraged his students to imagine the horror and anguish of this event and how it continues to impact society. When he showed the video below, I found myself emotionally transported back to the moment. I was also captivated by the words that President Bush spoke around segment 1:05 in the video: “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.” Hence, I ask: What is “the foundation of America”? How is our nation able to be resilient? What threatens our national security today?

Brown’s 7th Grade Students Share “Where I’m From” Poems


Science Fiction or Fantasy: Did the Jetsons and Hanna-Barbera Get It Right?


As a child, I grew up watching “The Jetsons” every Saturday morning. For me, it was an entertaining show about a futuristic world where people’s lives appeared to be simpler and more exciting because of all of the gadgets at their command.

Science fiction is characterized as having events that could one day become reality if mankind develops the technology to make it happen. So, did this family, the Jetsons, and their creators get it right? How much of what they envisioned has become our reality? How much of it is and will remain fantasy? Examine the video and use examples to construct your argument.

For another perspective on where technology is leading us, also consider this: DRONES IN THE U.S.: A SPECIAL STUDENT REPORT



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Truth or Lie?


Can you tell when someone is being honest with you? Is there a way to know when someone is lying?

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Malala Day 2014: #StrongerThan


“Odyssey Moments” – It’s Been the Best Summer!


Take a few minutes to reflect on the Odyssey experience. Tell us what you appreciate and what you would change?

First Public Read of Declaration of Independence 238 Years Ago Today


I enjoyed sharing this bit of history with my Odyssey students after hearing a segment on NPR this morning. It gave me a purposeful reason to share a musical rendition of the historical document that helped me learn the words as a child. However, reading (or singing) the words is an invitation to a close read and more. This complex text was crafted to be a document that would stand the test of time, with the caveat that it would be “the right of the people to alter and abolish it” if it did not whole true.

In spite of the historical context in which it was written, we can still ponder whether or not it was held as a truth from its inception or if it was, at least in part, a lie before the ink dried on the paper. What was its intent and reality for the indigenous and the indentured, the male and female, the black and the white? How is it living up to its creed today for Americans and would-be Americans?

Explore the resources below to examine each word and principal of this founding document of our country?

Declaration of Independence

This Day in History

At Independence Hall, Echoes of a Public Proclamation 238 Years Ago

Making the Declaration of Independence Come Alive

If Only Thomas Jefferson Could Settle the Issue: A Period Is Questioned in the Declaration of Independence

King’s “I Have a Dream” – The Declaration of Independence as a “Promissory Note”

The Declaration of Independence Annotated

Fascinating Facts about the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence – Heritage Foundation

The Declaration of Independence: A Revolutionary Document

iSummit 2014 Conference Attendees Embrace Literacy and Technology Integration


Susan McMillian and I were tempted to act as barkers for our iSummit 2014 session. Two vivacious animated personalities such as ours, we were committed to having fun even if we only had one particpant. As it turned out, we had about seven participants who ventured into the unknown for an hour of “Odyssey City Comes Alive with Technology”. While the title gives a nod to Odyssey Atlanta, the non-profit organization for whom Susan and I have worked the last eight or nine years, it probably didn’t convey what was in store for all of us – presenters and particpants. Using George Ella Lyons’ poem “Where I’m From” and student-writings as models, our participants performed a close read of the text and fully engaged in the process of writing their own poems, emulating Lyons’ style. Hopefully, in addition to leaving with the wonderful poems they created, they also left with some constructive and concrete ideas on how to use technology (in this case Keynote and Garage Band for iPad) to support literacy across the curriculum and community-building in the classroom.

Susan and I invited our participants to post their poems here, and I have also included the link for the conference evaluation form below. Let’s hope they post them here, and that you enjoy sharing them as much as we did.



Photo from our iSummit 2014 session.

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Ms. Hayes, Academic Coach

Georgetown K-8

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