Monday, December 31, 2012

2013: Learn To Lead, Choose To Succeed (NSTC Commander's Video)

As 2013 starts a new year for Brien McMahon High School Navy JROTC program, our new Commander of the Naval Service Training Command reminds the student-cadet that YOU are the "Custodians of America's Future" just like you recite daily in the Cadet Creed. As you watch this video, I want you to think about what our Commander says to you and I want you to reflect what kind of cadet you are now, and what kind of cadet could you become...?  WATCH, THINK, REFLECT, and RAISE THE BAR on your behavior and performance.

RDML (Sel) Dee L. Mewbourne, Commander Naval Service Training Command challenges you to "Learn To Lead and Choose To Succeed"...will you accept the challenge...?

Are YOU going to "raise the bar" in your life (school, family, friends, work) or are you just going to "keep doing what you are doing" and hope for a different result...? 

Think about your individual performance in the recent Area Manager's Inspection held on Dec 19, how much effort and compliance to the standards did YOU put forth...?

Are you going to make this unit better or just remain the same...?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Monday Cadet Knowledge Exam Dec 17

This is a Final Check to make sure you have your Cadet Knowledge repaired for the inspection on Dec 19th. There are 30 write in questions, once directed, take out a piece of paper, take the test and turn it in.  First Year Cadets only have to answer General Orders 1 thru 5. 

  1. President of the United States (POTUS)                
  2. Eleventh General Order
  3. Vice President of the US (VPOTUS)                     
  4. First General Order
  5. Secretary of State (SECSTATE)                            
  6. Tenth General Order
  7. Secretary of Defense  (SECDEF)                          
  8. Second General Order
  9. Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)                         
  10. Ninth General Order
  11. Chairman of the the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS)     
  12. Third General Order
  13. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO)                          
  14. Fourth General Order
  15. Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC)              
  16. Eighth General Order
  17. Chief of Naval Education & Training                      
  18. Fifth General Order
  19. Commander of Naval Service Training Command     
  20. Seventh General Order
  21. Area Four Manager  (A4M)                                   
  22. Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI)                  
  23. Naval Science Instructor (NSI)                              
  24. Cadet Company Commander                                 
  25. Sixth General Order
  26. Cadet Executive Officer                                          
  27. Cadet Company Chief                                           
  28. Cadet First Platoon Commander                           
  29. Cadet Second Platoon Commander                       
  30. Cadet Third Platoon Commander     

Inspection Trends for the Pre-Area Manager's Inspection Dec 13

How this unit looks in uniform, demonstrates it's knowledge and character in and out of school or uniform, and performs in public (flag ceremonies, AMI, etc.) demonstrates who "WE" (Cadets, JROTC Instructors) are. We are a team and

These are my observations from the Dec 12 Uniform Inspection which is the last inspection before the Area Manager's Inspection on Dec 19th when Commander Hankins inspects our unit and program on behalf of the United States Navy.

Period 2: Overall Comment: Our goal has been "raising the bar" but today period 2 lowered the bar. I was not impressed with the lack of preparation for this inspection. As a class you lost considerable ground in your performance from previous weeks. The knowledge has been taught in class, is in your Cadet Reference Manual, and on the Senator's Cadet blog. As a class you didn't make the effort which hurts our unit's credibility and discipline. 

Observed Trends:

  • Knowledge of General Order 1 through 11 and Chain of Command was exceptionally weak. Some people didn't know who their NSI, SNSI, or Area Manager are??? (UNSAT)
  • The majority of cadet's shoes were not shined (UNSAT)
  • Ribbon Measurements are still off, especially from the top of the pocket and the first row of ribbons. The average was 1/3 to 1/2 of an inch vice 1/4 which is the standard. 
  • Most of the stars were skewed (tilted) or upside down. The tip of the star should face straight up. 
  • One cadet lost his shoes, second time he didn't have them and one cadet had white socks on????
  • Pre-Inspection 10 min prep not properly utilized: numerous irish pennants, lint on trousers, crust stain that could have been scrapped off. 
  • We can't wear unit medals (Top Gun Medal) for an AMI inspection.
  • Positive Comment: those who were missing ribbons and stars squared that away. The three most senior cadets looked outstanding and had great bearing - they set the example. 

Steps Taken
  • Inspection is a test and those not performing received a grade accordingly.
  • This period will have a detailed Knowledge Test on Monday. 
  • Cadet Chain of Command needs to address these shortcomings.  

Need Parent Support at Dec 19th Daytime Ceremony at BMHS Gym

Invitation for Parents for Dec 19th Daytime Ceremony

Click on the Link above for the Invitation Letter to your Parents and Guardians asking them to support our program by attending the Dec 19th Daytime Ceremony at the BMHS Gym from 10 am to 11 am. Please have your parents by arrive by 0945 so we can sit your parents by 0955 because the ceremony starts AT 1000 promptly.

Remember part of raising the bar this year is through parental engagement and support. This is a homework assignment: Take home Monday, get signed and return on Tuesday in class.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Area Manager's Inspection (AMI) Overview

The once every two years Area Manager's Inspection (or AMI) is a test of an NJROTC unit's readiness to perform and compliance with the CNET NJROTC instructions. It is an opportunity for the US Navy that funds the program to evaluate the school district, school, JROTC instructors, cadets, and community support of this program they fund.

Lets take a look a video of a photo presentation video of the unit marching on and conducting a pass in review from the daytime ceremony.

The Area Four Manager COMMANDER HANKINS will inspect our readiness and compliance on Wednesday Dec 19, 2012 at BMHS.

The JROTC Instructor will conduct an overview of the AMI today and on Monday, and on Tuesday there will be an ALL HANDS rehearsal periods 6,7,8 in the GYM. The AMI will be conducted on Wednesday from periods 1 through period 5. The inspection starts off with a company inspection, followed by a short break, followed by a daytime ceremony where the entire unit participates. We will review the details in this class and on Monday. Remember to remind your parents to come to the AMI ceremony on Wednesday and to be at BMHS at 0945 to be seated in the Gym by 0955 so the ceremony can start at 1000 and finish by 1100. The AMI is a great opportunity to "show off the unit" and to demonstrate how hard you have been looking.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Allowing Woman in the Infantry in the US Military or Not...?

Description and Definition of Infantry

On Monday we discussed differing perspectives on merging male and female sports at all levels to provide equal opportunity to everyone. The discussion topic met with differing views and is a precursor to this posts topic, allowing women into the infantry of the US Army, the US Marine Corps, and special operations.

Four Female Military Officers Supported by the ACLU are suing the Department of Defense over the combat exclusion clause prohibiting women from serving in direct combat arms roles. The military does not currently allow women to serve in ground combat units, such as infantry, artillery, armor or as special operations commandos. Recent wars without clear front lines have frequently pushed women assigned to support roles directly into the fighting. Read the below articles to hear their perspectives :

ACLU Lawsuit by female military officers

Before you form opinions, remember the issue is not whether or not woman face and experience combat in today's non-linear where the enemy operates among the populace. Of course military woman face combat situations and in many cases excel in serving and sacrificing for their country.

The issue is should they serve in armor, artillery, infantry, and special operations assigned to direct combat???

Here is one father's opinion:

Not Time Yet For Women To Serve In The Infantry

Here is an update on what the USMC is doing about this topic:

Marines Test Woman in the Infantry Course for the First Time

Lastly Read the Opinion of One Female Marine Officer Who Has Combat Experience

Get Over It We Are Not All Created Equally

1. Read the post and the attached articles and determine if you are for or against allowing females in some or all of the combat arms specialties.
2. You will be formed into groups to informally debate your team's opinion as a public speaking endeavor. Try to use some specific facts and arguments from the attached readings.
3. Post your personal opinion to this blog as your homework for this week.


Current Affairs & Public Speaking Topic: Desegregating Sports


It is 2012, so what other barriers need to be broken down for equal opportunity for people? When we were younger many of us played on the same team until we got older. Then the teams were segregated. What about sports? Why are some sports integrated by mixing genders (wrestling, golf) while others remain segregated by gender or by developing gender focused teams such as basketball, football, soccer? 

TOPIC: The topic we will discuss in class today is to merge male and female sports teams at every level: elementary & middle school; high school and college, and professional. 

Wrestling at our school is mixed gender? 

Task Today in class:  
  1. Discuss the topic in open forum. (15 mins)
  2. Form two groups (with a team leader) each focusing on a different side of the topic above: FOR integrating the genders for sports or AGAINST sports gender integration. (5 mins)
  3. Take 15 minutes and develop initial talking points and discuss in open forum (10 mins) before the end of class.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Wilmer's Lesson: Remembering Pearl Harbor

Click on this LINK: Remembering Pearl Harbor

Sometimes the student is the teacher, this came apparent when Wilmer asked me "Are we going to do something to remeber Pearl Harbor...?"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Peer Assessment for Group Project & Group Activity Business Rules

Learning to Work together in small groups is important for student centered learning and the ability to learn from your peers. The ability to work in small groups effectively as either a follower or as a leader are greatly sought after.

The maturity level and professionalism of the group members has a strong impact on how effective and efficient the group behaves and performs to complete their task. In comparison with an individual assignment, there is a tendency for students to relax, slack, and not take group activities or projects as an adolescent educational form of "playtime". Learning to deconflict or merge the varying personalities of a group cause some people to prefer to work alone. Learning to WORK with others is not the same as SOCIALIZING...or is it? You will be asked to assess yourself, your group peers, and to recommend some group project business rules or protocols to set a group activity/ project standard for the class. What is the best way for us to maximize the value of group activities

Tuesday TASK:

1. Post your self assessed grade (A,B, C, D or F) and the rationale for your grade in the comments section of the blog (Name, and period need to be concluded). Also post your recommended business rules for future class group activities and projects in the comment section as well.

2.  You will assess your group peers on a separate piece of paper to be turned into SNSI.

Presidents Physical Fitness Test Challenge

President's Physical Fitness Test Challenge Activities

Click on the Above Link to find out more.

The Physical Fitness Test* includes five activities that measure muscular strength/endurance, cardio-respiratory endurance, speed, agility, and flexibility:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Student Wordle To Success Speeches

Aristotle Quote
Student Feedback to Student Success

Click on the Above Link to see the Student "Wordle" graphic taken from the student speeches about what decisions and associated actions did they need to make to be successful....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Orders To The Sentry Applications In Real Life

On March 21st, 2003, Maj. Jay T. Aubin, 36, a prior enlisted Marine aviator was killed in a helicopter crash in Kuwait during combat preparations for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He and his crew were transporting and training with eight British Royal Marine Commandos at the time of the crash. He was survived by his wife and two children, a son and a daughter. In 1993, I met him when he was an Officer Candidate at USMC Officer Candidate School at Quantico, Va as he was going through the PLC Combined program. Put in a peer leadership position as the Candidate Platoon Commander, he stepped up when he saw something wrong (To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce) and displayed great moral courage in reporting it and looking out for his fellow candidates.

Your task today is to (A) organize into two teams, one team covering the first five (1 thru 5) general orders, and the second group covering the next six (6 thru 11) general orders. (B) Each team will develop real life civilian examples of how the spirit of those orders to the sentry apply to everyday life situations ans scenarios. (C) Each team will present those real life examples in a small group presentation on Monday December 3 during class. (D) A designated individual from each team will post your teams work (your examples) on this blog (over the weekend) in the Comment Section listing your name, members of your team, and what class period you are in. (E) You will be conducting a group self assessment after the assignment on Dec 4 (Tuesday) in class. 


  1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
  2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
  3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
  4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse (or the Quarterdeck) than my own.
  5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
  6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding OfficerCommand Duty OfficerOfficer of the DayOfficer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the watch only..
  7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
  8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
  9. To call the Corporal of the Guard or Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
  10. To salute all officers and all colors and all standards not cased.
  11. To be especially watchful at night and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

These "General Orders To The Sentry" are a good template by which to apply to everyday situations and scenarios. Hopefully by reviewing these General Orders this week it will give you some increased awareness while you THINK, DECIDE, ACT. 


Orders to Sentry is the official title of a set of rules governing sentry (guard or watch) duty in the United States armed forces. While any guard posting has rules that may go without saying ("Stay awake," for instance), these orders are carefully detailed and particularly stressed in the United States NavyUnited States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard. Also known as the 11 General Orders, the list is meant to cover any possible scenario a sentry might encounter on duty. All recruits learn these orders verbatim while at recruit training and are expected to retain the knowledge to use for the remainder of their military careers. It is very common for a drill instructor or (after boot camp) an inspecting officer to ask a question such as, "What is your sixth general order?" and expect an immediate (and correct) reply.

In Navy JROTC, a first year cadet is required to know at a minimum the first five of the eleven Orders To The Sentry. Second year cadets and above are required to know all eleven orders to the sentry. 

The General Orders for Navy and Marines are as follows:

1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
When you are a sentry, you are "in charge." This means that no one—no matter what their rank or position—may overrule your authority in carrying out your orders. The only way that you may be exempted from carrying out your orders is if your orders are changed by your superior. For example, if your orders are to allow no one to enter a fenced-in compound, you must prevent everyone from entering, even if an admiral tells you it is all right for him or her to enter. The petty officer of the watch (or whoever is your immediate superior) may modify your orders to allow the admiral to enter, but without that authorization you must keep the admiral out. Situations such as this will not often, if ever, occur, but it is important that you understand the principles involved. It is also your responsibility to know the limits of your post. This information will be conveyed to you among your special orders. You must also treat all government property that you can see as though it were your own, even if it is not technically part of your assigned post.[1]
2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
"Keep your eyes peeled", as the expression goes. Be vigilant by looking around at all times. Do not be tempted to hide from the rain or cold in poor weather. If you see or hear anything unusual, investigate it.[1]
3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
If, for example, someone is climbing a fence near your post, you must report it, even if the offender stops climbing and runs away after your challenge. In this case, even though it appears that the threat to security is over, there is no way for you to know whether this violator is the only one involved. And even though the climber may have just been seeking a shortcut back to her or his ship, you cannot be certain that there is not something more sinister involved. Let your superiors make the judgment calls; your job is to report what happens on or near your post.[1]

4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse (or the Quarterdeck) than my own.
"In these days of modern communications, sentries will probably have telephones or radios at their disposal with which to make their reports. But if they do not, or if there is a power failure or some other reason that the modern equipment fails, the age-old practice of relaying the word is very important. The term "guardhouse" in this general order refers to the command post or point of control for the watches. It might be the quarterdeck on board ship or a tent in the field.[1]
5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
It should be fairly obvious that you should not leave your post until someone has come to take your place or until the petty officer of the guard has told you that the watch is no longer necessary. If the person relieving you is late, report it to the petty officer of the watch but do not quit your post. If you become ill and can no longer stand your watch, notify the petty officer of the watch and he or she will provide you a proper relief.[1]
6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me, all orders from the Commanding OfficerCommand Duty OfficerOfficer of the DayOfficer of the Deck, and Officers and Petty Officers of the watch only..
It is essential that you receive and obey all of the special orders that apply to your watch. It is also essential that you pass these orders on to your relief.[1]
For the Marine Corps it reads 'Commanding Officer, Officer of the Day, Officers, and Non-Commissioned Officers of the guard only.'
7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
"Having conversations about matters not pertaining to your duty is distracting and must be avoided. If someone tries to engage you in casual conversation while you are standing your watch, it is your responsibility to inform them courteously that you are on duty and cannot talk with them.[1]
8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
"While this is rather straightforward and obvious, keep in mind that a fire or disorder of some kind might be a deliberate distraction to keep you from observing some other disorderly or subversive activity. If you are certain that a fire is not meant to be a distraction, you should fight the fire if you have the means to do so. Remember, however, that your first responsibility is to report whatever is amiss.[1]
9. To call the Corporal of the Guard or Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
The rule here is "When in doubt, ask." If you are not sure what you are supposed to do in a particular situation, it is better to ask for clarification than to make an assumption or to guess.[1]
10. To salute all officers and all colors and all standards not cased.
Even though you are in charge of your post and everyone, including officers, must obey your instructions insofar as they pertain to your duties, you must still extend the appropriate military courtesies. Both terms, "colors" and "standards", refer to the national ensign. The national ensign may be referred to as "the colors" when it is fixed to a staff, mast, or pike (e.g., when flown from a flagstaff or carried in a parade). When it is fixed to a vehicle it is often called "the national standard." A flag is considered "cased" when it is furled and placed in a protective covering. If your duties allow, you should take part in morning or evening colors ceremonies, but do not sacrifice your vigilance by doing so. For example, if your assignment requires that you watch a certain area and the national ensign is being hoisted in a different direction, you should stand at attention and salute but do not face the colors; keep looking in the direction you are supposed to be watching.[1]
A "standard" to be saluted would be someone or something that military personnel are required or encouraged to salute. Two examples of a "Standard" would be the Medal of Honor or a Medal of Honor recipient. Some commands require a salute to the family of fallen soldiers during a funeral or memorial service - this could also be considered a "Standard."
11. To be especially watchful at night and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.
Challenging persons while you are on sentry duty is accomplished by a mix of custom and common sense. When a person or party approaches your post, you should challenge them at a distance that is sufficient for you to react if they turn out to have hostile intentions. You should say in a firm voice, loud enough to be easily heard, "Halt! Who goes there?" (or "Who is there?"). Once the person answers, you should then say "Advance to be recognized." If you are challenging a group of people, you should say, "Advance one to be recognized." If you have identified the person or persons approaching, permit them to pass. If you are not satisfied with that person's identification, you must detain the person and call the petty officer of the watch. When two or more individuals approach from different directions at the same time, challenge each in turn and require each to halt until told to proceed.[1]

Reference:  Thomas J. Cutler (1902-2002). The Bluejacket's Manual. US Naval Institute Press. p. 153. ISBN 1-55750-208-0.The Bluejacket's ManualThomas J. Cutler

2012 Chain of Command for Cadet Knowledge

QUICK OVERVIEW:  In a military context, the chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed within a military unit and between different units. Orders are transmitted down the chain of command, from a higher-ranked individual, such as a commissioned officer, to lower-ranked personnel who either execute the order personally or transmit it down the chain as appropriate, until it is received by those expected to execute it. In general, military personnel give orders only to those directly below them in the chain of command and receive orders only from those directly above them. A service member who has difficulty executing a duty or order and appeals for relief directly to an officer above his immediate commander in the chain of command is likely to be disciplined for not observing the chain of command. Similarly, an officer is usually expected to give orders only to his or her direct subordinate, even if it is just to pass an order down to another service member lower in the chain of command than said subordinate.

  1. President of the United States (POTUS)                 President Barack Obama
  2. Vice President of the US (VPOTUS)                      Vice President Joe Biden
  3. Secretary of State (SECSTATE)                            Honorable Hillary Clinton
  4. Secretary of Defense  (SECDEF)                           Honorable Leon Panetta
  5. Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)                          Honorable Ray Mabus
  6. Chairman of the the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS)      General Dempsey, USA
  7. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO)                          Admiral Greenert
  8. Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC)              General Amos, USMC
  9. Chief of Naval Education & Training                       Rear Admiral Quinn
  10. Commander of Naval Service Training Command    Rear Admiral Steindl 
  11. Area Four Manager  (A4M)                                   Commander Hankins
  12. Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI)                  LtCol Killackey, USMC
  13. Naval Science Instructor (NSI)                               Chief Pascoe
  14. Cadet Company Commander                                 Cadet Lieutenant Commander Bayles
  15. Cadet Executive Officer                                          Cadet Lieutenant Lenard
  16. Cadet Company Chief                                             Cadet Senior Chief Cardenas
  17. Cadet First Platoon Commander                            Cadet Ensign Gaines
  18. Cadet Second Platoon Commander                        Cadet Ensign Del Cid
  19. Cadet Third Platoon Commander                            Cadet Ensign Ronco

Pictures of Chain of Command: 

1. POTUS  President Obama

 2.  VPOTUS: Vice President Biden

 3. Secretary of State: Honorable Hillary Clinton

 4. SECDEF: Honorable Leon Panetta

5. SECNAV: Honorable Ray Mabus

 6. CJCS: General Dempsey
7. CNO Admiral Greenert
8. CMC  General Amos
9. Chief of NET Command: Rear Admiral Quinn

10. CDR, NSTC: RDML Mewbourne
 (pictured as a Navy Captain)

11. Area 4 Manager   Commander Hankins
12. SNSI   LtCol Killackey, USMC Retired
13. NSI  Chief Pascoe, USN Retired

Dec 5 (6:30pm) NJROTC Parents Meeting in CGS Community Room

Click on this Link for Parent's Meeting Homework Assignment

TASK: Click on the Above LINK and Print out the sheet and get parental information.

RETURNING THIS COMPLETED AND SIGNED DOCUMENT IS HOMEWORK FOR WEDNESDAY , NOV 28, 2012.  This does not commit your parents or guardians to volunteering for anything, it merely lets us communicate with them to keep them informed about what you are doing and how they can get involved if desired.


So you "say" you want to be Successful...?


Watch this six minute video, take notes, and draft a written one minute (1:30 min max) speech on what specific DECISIONS and ACTIONS you need to make for YOU to be SUCCESSFUL....

Do not just write the stereotypical comments: " I need to apply attention in my homework....etc." BE SPECIFIC on the DECISIONS and ACTIONS ...

You will give the short speech in class (participation) today and your homework is to post your short speech in the Comments section of this blog, include your name and period (for example: Cadet Smith, Period 2) in the beginning of your comment (written short speech).

If you have any questions ask me in class.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Debate: Should A Leader Lose Their Job Over An Ethics Violation?

Should Retired General Petraeus Lose his job as CIA Director over infidelity?

Read the CNN Article and Prepare a Class Debate on the Questions: Should an Organizational Leader Lose their Job Over An Ethics Violation?  Use former CIA Director David Petreaus as the example for the Debate.

1. Pick Two Teams (1/2 male & 1/2 female). One Team that Agrees with Firing A Leader for infidelity and One Team that Disagrees with firing someone for Infidelity. Each Team will have three debaters with speaking roles to present your three main ideas for agreement or disagreement in the debate. Pick one person in the group to sign onto the blog to provide your talking points.

2. Draft Your Debate Talking Points and be ready to provide a copy. Submit those debate talking points as comments in this blog.

3. The Debate will occur on Wednesday during our shortened day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

End of First Marking Period Reflection

Purpose of Reflection: As the teacher I feel it is importance for you, the student, to assess yourself, your peers, and yes even the teacher.The ability to analyze yourself and others is critical to any team (class, sports team, business, family) if it seeks to learn and improve its performance. "Looking in the mirror" is important, as is showing others your perspective and being open to their perspective.

Here was the class assignment for Thursday and if needed to complete Friday.

1. What Did You Learn this Marking Period In This Class?

2. Self Grading and Peer Grading (A, B, C, D, F)

A. What Grade Would You Give Yourself in NJROTC this marking period? Why?

B. What Grade Would You Give Your Classmates and Why? (Also include any advice you would give them.)

Cadets Overall Grade Political Commercial Grade

List of Peers to Evaluate.....

Example:    Albert Smuckatelli           B / F :  He turns in his homework, but he doesn’t contribute in class much. He didn’t do any research for the commercial and someone else did his work for him..... He needs to take school more seriously, because he is always goofing around.

3. What Could Your SNSI Have Done Better This Marking Period To Make the Class Better? (Be candid = Be Negative. I am looking for ways to improve so if you think I can or should do something better tell me.)  

I will collect the results and brief the individuals and the class. I am interested in your thoughts associated with the picture inserted, do you agree with that comment or not, please comment.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Importance of the Debates for 2012 Elections

Article About the Three Debates Impact on 2012 Election

We spent considerable time and effort watching, analyzing, and synthesizing your impressions of each of the Presidential candidates performances on the three Presidential Debates. The above attached article (Click on it and READ IT)  provides some interesting behind the scenes information and insights that will deepen your understanding of the political process and the significant impact that these debates had on this election. Because of the work you have done you will appreciate this article more than most.

PS. Side note: The individual (Kevin Madden mentioned in the article) was a former player I used to coach in basketball when he was in grade school in Yonkers, NY. He is with the Romney campaign.  

Remember your "knowledge build" on what you have learned in our class is what you will carry into adulthood when you vote for the first time in the NEXT Presidential Election in 2016.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Benefits of Using a Blog for Student (and Teacher) Learning

This post is extracted from Ms. Pernille Ripp's blog : Blogging through the Fourth Dimension (Educator Musings / Technology / and Lessons ) My Life as a Teacher by Pernille Rapp.

What Does Student Blogging Exactly Do?        (This Link will take you to her blog) 

As a proponent of student blogging I am often asked what it "does" for my students.  The thing is, it does quite a bit. 
  • Provides them with a voice.  Education cannot be done to students anymore, they have to have a voice since it is their lives it effects the most; blogging gives them that.
  • Gives them an authentic writing audience.  The product doesn't end with me and a grade, it is out for the world to see and to continue to be developed.  
  • Puts their place in the world in context.  We think our students know how much in common they have with kids their age around the world, but they don't usually.  Blogging with those kids and connecting through projects such as the Global Read Aloud brings the world in.
  • Increases their global knowledge.  Again, when you connect with others through your work and words, friendships develop and as does a mutual interest in the lives of one another   This is the modern version of penpals.
  • Instills them with tech saviness and confidence.  Blogging teaches my students yet another tool to use and we also use it to showcase other tools we have played around with.  They feel confident in their skills as bloggers and it carries into their overall tech approach.
  • Instills safety rules and measures to be taken whilst online.  We drill safety all year and the kids know the lessons by heart.  It is our job to teach them how to be safe and the best way to do that is to work with them in situations that could be unsafe if treated the wrong way.
  • Teaches them how to give constructive feedback.  We comment on each others posts but they have to be constructive comments.  Blogging is a natural extension of the peer edit.
  • Teaches them how to have a meaningful written dialogue.  When students don't get comments on their posts, we often go back to see why not.  Usually they realize it was not written in a manner that invited others to participate in their writing.  Revision and reformulating follows.
  • Cements proofreading and spell check.  We don't want the world to see us as a poor spellers or grammatical buffoons.
  • Expands their geographical knowledge.  We pushpin maps with the location of our connections, this sparks more questions, which lead to a deeper relationship between the students and those we connect with.  
  • Furthers their empathy, as well as interest in others.  Blogging should not be a solitary experience, but rather one that invites discussion.  To have meaningful discussions one must care about others, which is shown through their questions.
  • Encourages them to view their own writing through a more critical lens.  Because we have a portfolio of their writing from the beginning of the year to now, we can go back and see their development.  Are they developing as a writer or what do they need to focus on?  The stakes are raised because it is not just the teacher that sees their work.
  • Creates reflective students.  Because students are given a mouthpiece to the world, I see them take more chances to reflect on themselves and their choices.  It is remarkable to see a student reflect on what grades has taught them  or what it means to be a student.
  • It creates opportunities for us to have fun.


RAISING THE BAR on Our BMHS Cadet Program


We started the school year off with reviewing our strengths and weaknesses from academic school year 2011 to 2012. The JROTC Instructors continually assess and re-assess the status of our program (from last year, over the summer, and during the beginning of this new school year) with the goal of continually improving WHAT we are doing and HOW we are doing it.

Observations of Last Year: Our Shortcomings
  • Questionable Upperclassmen performers & weak senior class (32)
  • Lack of Participation in Community Service (20 % vs 80%)
  • Inconsistent Drill Performance (Lack of Commitment in Practice)
  • Substandard Personal Behavior & Professional Conduct
  • Poor attendance at Memorial Day Parade (58 out of 120)
  • Lack of Parental & Cadet Participation and Support
  • Fundraising: Captains of Comedy Night. We barely broke even, minimal tickets sold.
Raising The Bar This Year: Fixing Our Shortcomings
  • Increased Academic Rigor
    • Improved Homework, Research, Writing Assignments
    • Balance of Individual Assignments and Group Activities
    • Improved Uniform Compliance & Inspection Program
  • Increased Community Service and Unit Participation
    • 2.5 community service hours a Marking Period to attain a grade of A
    • Instructor promoted but Parent Supported & Supervised Events
  • Cadets & Parents Are The Key To Fundraising
    • Band Parents approach to Cadet Parents Group. Quarterly Meetings of Higher Quality.
    • Parent & Cadet Centric Fundraising
  • Improve Health and Physical Fitness
    • Use President's Physical Fitness Challenge

We need to revisit these efforts listed above throughout the year every marking period to ensure we are improving in a focused manner. Let me know what you think about how we are doing...?

What is Your Future Going To Be Like...?

We started the year off with the video, SHIFT HAPPENS, to take a look into our present and future globalized world which is very dynamic and fluid. The BMHS teachers were shown this video to start our 2012 school year. So I naturally thought we should show to the other part of the Learning Team, you the student.

Student Reactions Were Varied ranging from defeatist attitudes to engaged "let's take up the challenge" attitudes. Some of the responses were: Wow, this is kind of scary?....I didn't know our country was so far behind....We can do better than that...we have a lot of work to do. 

Purpose of Showing the Video: I wanted you to take a look into the possible future in the context of figuring out where you ARE as a student-learner, where you WANT TO BE as a student-learner, to develop a philosophy and plan on HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET THERE (Future Destination).

While the video can be somewhat intimidating as far as how fast and how far the global world is changing, if you want to be able to function effectively in that "shift happens world" with relevant skills and knowledge then YOU need to EDUCATE and TRAIN yourself to be able to do so. This is a team effort, Parents / Guardians, Teachers / Administrators, and Students. We all teach and learn from each other, but that only occurs if we collaborate to work together.

Question: HOW DO WE "RAMP UP" OUR GAME FOR THE FUTURE (to function in the Shift Happens World):

Answer: Develop 21st Century Learning Skills (taken from Tony Wagners's book, The Global Achievement Gap). He called them his Seven Survival Skills:

  1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  2. Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
  3. Agility and Adaptability
  4. Initiative and Entrepreneurship
  5. Accessing and Analyzing Information
  6. Effective Oral and Written Communication
  7. Curiosity and Imagination
If you develop these learning skills you will be ready and relevant for the challenges of the 21st century, if you don't then others will determine your future for you. Will you try to predict your future or will you make your future...?