Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Coming Alive With Dead and Gone





Hi.  My name is Alison and I am excited Dr. Pace asked me to be a guest blogger!  When it comes to blogs I am a long time reader, first time blogger.  I am currently in Dr. Pace’s class at UNI in the Ed Leadership program.  I keep plenty busy with two jobs and school; keeps me on my toes!

I lived on the east side of Des Moines when I was younger, but my family moved to a quiet suburb when I was in 2nd grade.  My parents ran out of things to say when my brother and I asked why our bikes kept getting stolen.  The final straw was a man who broke in and was found sleeping in our house.  We landed in suburbia.  Everyone I went to school with looked like me and we all had similar religious beliefs. I was there from third through twelfth grades and was quite happy and comfortable.  If you would have asked me then what I would be doing as an adult, there is NO way I would have every guessed I would be working with alternative high school students and loving it!

Currently, I am finishing up my 6th year at Future Pathways.  I was a Family and Consumer Science teacher for four and a half years, and am now an Academic Advisor at Future Pathways.  Future Pathways at Central Campus is an individual and project-based program with Des Moines Public Schools.  We serve at-risk 17-21 year-old students who have 10+ credits towards graduation.  Many of our students have dropped out or been kicked out of traditional schools for a variety of reasons and are returning to school to earn their diplomas.  We also have students who are administratively placed and others who are court ordered to attend.  Many of our students are pregnant and parenting.  Several live on their own and are supporting themselves financially.  To accommodate their complicated individual timetables, we offer a flexible schedule.  We recommend students attend 4-6 hours a day, four days a week.  Many of these students have had trouble in the past, and we strive to see them as a whole person and give them a fresh start. 

All too often we hear students complaining that school is soooo boring!  Well, the two students who produced this project as a part of Environmental Science thought their project was far from boring!  The purpose of this project was for them to learn more about an ecosystem.  These students chose to learn more about The Congo Rainforest.   The project covered three of the six required skills to earn credit for the semester class.  The skills they mastered with this project are:
  1. Select an ecosystem and develop a plan to understand the relationships in the ecosystem.
  2. Design a correction to a perceived imbalance within an ecosystem.
  3. Compare a variety of disturbances to an ecosystem.
As with each project, the teacher and student sit down together and create the project plan.  The science teacher, Jason Fantz, planned this project with Sharane and DJ.  The students picked an ecosystem, researched it and chose to make a music video as their product.  They wrote the lyrics, preformed the song, and picked fitting photos to go along. 

To me, the best part is how proud these students were of themselves and how this project lit their fire for school once again!  Sharane said she was so excited about this project and she felt she would not have had the opportunity to do something this fun if she were in a traditional school.  They were smiling ear to ear as staff let them know what a great job they had done!  It’s amazing what students can do when they have a say in their education and are eager to learn!  Please watch and feel free to comment!  J



I can be contacted if you have any questions or comments! 

Alison Arnold Alison.
arnold@dmschools.org 

The lyrics appear below.

dead and gone
                                                                                verse 1
you can see the pain their eyes you can see it behind the disguise but we must rise no more crying the congo rainforest is one of the threatened ecosystems and that’s because no one will really listen to what they have to say things shouldn’t be that way the day to day life of the forest people loosing their homes it should be illegal no food to eat nothing to drink kids getting hungry and they getting angry no place to live no place to sleep they feel inside like they got defeated but we must rise no more cries
                                                                                hook
there's a problem over there there's a problem over here there's problems everywhere like deforestaTion and that’s the big complication but i’m here to lay down some inspiration and give you the right information to make this pLace a better world for every boy and girl because it’s dead and gone
                                                                                verse 2
African rainforest is a beautiful place but to destroy it is such a disgrace over 8,000 species have been discovered if we DON’T DO ANYTHING about it it will be undercover no more animals like elephants they gone just like their elements and to do something about it is a definite so take a stand and forget about the rest of it because this right here is left and if they take it away it will just be dead and gone so come on we need the trees to breath i hope you can see this rainforest is everything we need so don’t back down we can turn this around

hook
theres a problem over there theres a problem overe here theres problems everywhere like deforestaion and that’s the big complication but I'm here to lay down some inspiration and give you the right information to make this pLAce a better world for every boy and girl because it's dead and gone