Friday, August 28, 2009

peer mediation and new music

So our internet is out again. It only works if we directly connect the modem to each computer….which we can deal with for now, but soon there will come a time when we all need to be on the internet. It’s just one of those frustrating situations. We tried two different routers and neither one worked, so it’s the modem, except not because the modem works when you hardwire it into a computer. It just won’t connect to a dang router. Hopefully we’ll figure something out soon because it could potentially be a huge tension problem.

Anyways, today was a wonderful day. I spent some time reflecting on how happy have been and am these past few weeks and honestly I can’t remember the last time I was this content with life. Sure there may be struggles and sacrifices but at the end of each day I feel so fulfilled with love and support not only from others but the love that I have gained for myself.

Cristo Rey is becoming more and more my home. I feel it when I walk in the front doors every morning right up until I leave. Today I spent the morning working on my peer mediation binder and setting up for snack. In the afternoon I was able to teach two classes on peer mediation. One of our presenters had to back down so I stepped up and created a 40 minute curriculum within very short notice. I talked a little bit about the basics of peer mediation, including types of conflict that arise in school, characteristics of a peer mediator, and the importance of positive communication skills. Then I had the kids do a listening exercise. I sent two volunteers out into the hall and told them each to prepare a one minute presentation on their favorite TV show. While they were preparing I told the class that when the first volunteer came back they should demonstrate positive listening skills (looking them in the eye, nodding along, sitting up straight) and with the second one they should be poor listeners (doodle, head down, look at the clock, whisper to their neighbor). With each class, the volunteer who tried to tell their report to the bad listeners got so frustrated VERY quickly. We discussed the importance of being able to listen well and absorb information so that conflict does not get out of control sooner that it should.

Next I asked for four volunteers for role play. Two were the part of peer mediators; two were acting out a conflict. In both classes the groups did really well for never having seen or involved in peer mediation. The ones acting out the conflict got really into it, the ones acting as peer mediators would sometimes laugh instead of mediating, but for the most part, they did really well.

Finally, I closed the classes by having everyone in the class write their name on the top of a paper. Then they passed the papers around the classroom and their classmates wrote positive words about that person. The first class was a little more difficult to quiet down and they didn’t get to as many people. The second class, though, was late for the end of the day assembly because they wanted to write on so many. They even asked me to make one so they could write positive words about me. I got: cool, (lots of those…I guess that’s good, right?) funny, smart, nice, amazing, great teacher, inspiring.

I have some little minions picked out to be my peer mediators. I want six from each grade, three girls and three boys. I’m writing a letter to all the faculty and staff of the school explaining my peer mediation ideas and asking for them to keep referral forms in their classrooms. Basically, when there is a conflict between students that does not need immediate attention, I would like them to fill out a form with basic information so I can properly match two peer mediators to assist in the situation.

I also made it quite clear to these kiddos that I, along with all other members of the staff, care about the students and are here for them through everything we do.
Did anyone download any new music on Tuesday? I think Tuesday may be my favorite day of the week because it’s new release day. Shut up, I know that’s lame. There were actually four albums that I was really looking forward to and not one of them disappointed me.

Collective Soul released their first new album in years. I haven’t had a chance to really listen to it but they are such a talented group and make beautiful music. Lots of great soft rock songs. It’s hard to pin them down into a genre, they actually kind of remind me of the Back Alley Saints. Download “Understanding”.

Colbie Caillat is best known for her hit summer single “Bubbly”. She is in tough competition with all the other female singer-songwriters that have emerged in the music industry, but I love her voice and style. Her 17 song album is packed full of beautiful, heartfelt songs. I can’t decide which one is my favorite, but I’d suggest downloading “I Never Told You”.

I first heard about MuteMath when Chris Sligh talked about them often during Season 6 of American Idol. They are super creative and talented, actually a lot like Collective Soul. Download “Lost Year”.

Of the four, Phil Stacey’s is my favorite. I am so ecstatic that he went the Christian music route. Phil is a very talented vocalist, one of those idol contestants that is forgotten to easily. I didn’t think his first country album showcased his strong, beautiful voice but this one connects the listener to the music. It’s inspiring, it’s strong, and it’s beautiful. I am so proud of him and hope he will continue to succeed! Download “Into the Light”, “You’re Not Shaken”, or “Old Glory”.

No comments: