Thursday, February 28, 2013

Our Nation...Glass Half empty or Glass Half Full

When we look at life we often see things that are good and we see things that are bad. Life has its ups and downs...How we react and respond to good things and bad things has everything to do with our attitude and philosophy in life. Our attitude and outlook on life can be very dynamic. We are always being shaped and influenced by events that take place all around us, the activities in our day, the city and country where we live, and even regional and global events have some influence.

Take the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the loss of 26 lives at the school due to a senseless tragic event. It was an event that shook many people to their core. However, it also caused many people in America to take a look at their lives and those of others around them and appreciate those me it is the "Newtown Effect". Not taking life and those around us for granted. Finding something positive out of something is all about attitude. You control YOUR attitude, others may influence it but YOU OWN IT. Your attitude is the key to your success, or the key to your failure.

Let's take recent events such as our national financial crisis and the Sequestration budget cuts we talked about yesterday in class. This is the epitome of the leadership vacuum that exists in our federal government (and some say in our nation), specifically in the executive and legislative branch. The President's job is to lead our government and Congress's job is to mange the process. Their collective responsibility is to manage and control our economy to balance the budget similar to how your parents / guardians do every month.  They have failed and there appears to be no direct consequence...failed responsibility without any accountability. What can you do? You are just a kid...a high school student.

Let's watch a short video that talks about the state of affairs in our nation and the challenge that you are presented with as the next generation of leadership:

NOTE: There are a few expletives (foul language) in this video clip so do not watch if you are offended. 

Is the glass half empty? Or is it half full? ...What do you want to do about sequestration... Will you accept and own the challenge????

Homework Assignment

  1. Conduct some research online before you write the letter. 
  2. Write a letter addressed to "Your Elected Official" about your thoughts on the sequestration and its impact on our lives.  
  3. Try to type the letter if you are able to. The final letter is due in class on Monday. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb 26: The Economy...Boring! Who Cares...?

The Economy...who cares? Well that is the problem, most American citizens have little interest in the economy. People are concerned about how much money them have in their pocket or the bank. Few realize that this is related to the state of the economy, but it is. The politicians we elect, the decisions they make on our behalf that directly affect the economy (wages, jobs, interest rates, mortgage rates, taxes, entitlements, etc.). Let's take a look at the basics of the economy (7:30):

Now lets take a quick (3 min) look at taxes:

What is happening on Friday...Sequestration....What the heck is that...? Let's take a quick (1 min) look:

Why can't our Elected President (Executive Branch) shape and influence the Congress (Legislative Branch)  to make economic decisions that our best for our country vice posturing to make the opposing political party look bad...?

Discussion Point:  Is our elected President a politician or a leader? Think of what Dr. Ben Carson said about lawyers and politicians are taught to "win" and leaders "solve problems". We know that Leaders seek responsibility and accept blame in being accountable...Watch the news, what is the President doing to solve this? House of Representative Majority Leader Representative John Boehner? Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid?

At the legislative and executive branches, who is deflecting blame and who is accepting it? Is anyone leading...?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quote of the week: Are You Making a Living or Making a Life?

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill known for his strong national leadership during World War II said: 

"We make a living by what we GET; 
we make a life by what we GIVE."

Ask yourself how does this pertain to you? 
Do you subscribe to this philosophy...?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feb 25 Debate: Electronic Devices in School

Today's debate will be about changing the school / district policy of having your electronic devices out during school. Specifically for the sake of the debate today you will debate the ability to listening to music in the halls and unrestricted cell phone (calling, texting)  use.

The class will be broken up into two groups, enjoy the debate.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Feb 22, 2013 PT FRIDAY (Upper Body & ABs)

Today is Friday and we are going to PT. The class plan of the day is as follows. SNSI is participating in a school excellence committee today, so the activities will be led by the designated Class Leader. The class will be supervised by the NSI. The NSI will monitor the class and ensure the Class Leaders are executing the plan.

Class Leaders:
Period 2: Tyron  & Odayls
Period 4: Nicole V & Mike
Period 6: Devon
Period 7: Brendan & Libby

Class Leader conduct the following:
1. Form the class around you in a circle and conduct a warm up stretch from head to toe. Pick a different cadet to demonstrate each stretch. At the end let them stretch by themselves for two minutes.
2. Form the class into pairs by gender (guys with guys and girls with girls). If you need to form a group of three then do so.
3. Have them form up in the groupings and spread out in the back of the class room.
4. One cadet will perform the exercise while the other cadet monitors their performance. Once all are done then the class leaders switches the class (now the partners performs the exercise)

Exercises: See Exercise List Below

  • Pushup: Regular, One Leg Raise,
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Abdominal: Crunch, Standing Knee Raise

5. How This Will Work: We will use the pyramid method for the repetitions.The first sequence of the exercise will be one repetition and then switch. Then move on to the next exercise type (Pushup then Mountain Climbers, then Abdominals) with the same number repetition (1 Pushup, then 1 Mountain Climber, then 1 Abdominal Exercise). The next exercise will be two repetitions and so on...

6. With 10 minutes left in class, conduct a cool down

Friday Upper Body & ABS Exercise List

UPPER BODY: Repetitions (2,4,[Rest] 6,8 )
Regular Push Ups (Hands Shoulder Width)
Drill Rifle Curls (Palms Up)
Push Ups (Cross ankle)
Rifle Curls (Palms down)
Sun worshiper (w/ Books Palms Up)

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS: Repetitions (2.4.[Rest] 6.8)

ABDOMINALS: Repetitions  (2,4,[Rest]6,8)
Crunches (Unassisted Crossed Feet)
Standing Knee Raises (Elboes to Knees)
Crunches (Assisted, feet held)
Cherry Pickers (Legs Wide, 3 Reaches)
Partner Book Pass (Feet Locked, pass Book)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feb 21 (Thursday) Leading Your Peers: Drill Practice with Practice Drill Rifle

Based on student feedback many of you asked to practice more drill with drill rifles in class, besides our after-school drill activities. Today that is exactly what we will do in class combined with the opportunity to have cadets lead their peers as a unit commander during this evolution.


  1. The Class Leaders will have everyone get a drill rifle from the Chief's Room.
  2. Form the class into a platoon formation, standard Fall In & forming up procedures.
  3. Class Leaders will start with static manual of arms and then transition into platoon drill with rifles in class within the confines of the space available. (We are indoors due to inclement weather).
  4. Then then the Class Leader will select different students to take turns being the Platoon Commander. This gives everyone an opportunity to go from the follower position to being placed in the Leader position. the Class Leader will mentor these cadets as they perform to the degree they need it. The transitioning Leaders will experience "being in the spotlight" now responsible among their peers for verbally giving proper commands, being technically proficient in drill (knowledge & skill they should possess), and setting the example (bearing, attitude, etc.) for their peers.  
  5. This has the added benefit of generating or re-generating increased emphasis on cadet drill. 

Anytime a student-cadet has an opportunity to stand in front of their peers and lead them (drill) or present a concept (class discussion or public speaking day) it is a great learning experience and ultimately a confidence boosting and team building event.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feedback to Improve The Teacher's Performance

I reviewed your feedback from the End of the Second Marking Period Feedback. I specifically asked you the students to focus on my shortcomings and provide me critical professional advice on how I can improve myself as a teacher. I appreciate your candor and efforts you made in satisfying this requirement. It is important for leaders to solicit feedback from their followers. These were the major areas of your comments:

  • Curriculum Topics Recommendations
  • Teaching Critiques
  • Group Activities
  • Discipline
I will review these specifically with you in class. Your feedback and comments were greatly appreciated.

I will also complete the individual cadet performance reviews this week. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Someone Else Speaking For A Change...Tuesday Feb 11, 2013

Every Monday you have had to participate in some public speaking activity, this week I am going to give you a break. This week you just need to listen and take notes. The speaker is Doctor Benjamin Carson, who is the head of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is one of the world's most accomplished surgeons and was born into poverty and raised by a single mother. The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event held in Washington, DC at the National Cathedral. It is attended by the President of the US and the First Lady. Specifically listen to what he says about the importance and value of education. Think of these questions in relation to your report card you received today:

  1. How seriously do you take your education? 
  2. Do you understand the value your education has on your future success and the quality of your life? 
  3. Do you believe your grades (and associated G.P.A.: Grade Point Average) are a reflection of how much or how little you value your education?   

Homework Activity: I want you to post (first name & class period) your answers to those three questions after watching Dr. Carson speak in the comment section of this blog. The quality of your answer will be reflected in your grade. This homework is due by your next class period on Wednesday.

NOTE: Only about 6 of my students responded to the homework posting assignment for the Stress Management blog which means those that didn't will receive an "F" for that homework assignment given on last Friday and due by this Monday. That is UNSAT folks. If we are going to bring you into the 21st century, you have to learn to incorporate technology into your learning process. Remember the video SHIFT HAPPENS...With the snowday you have until Wednesday to make that Stress Management posting as well or you keep the grade of "F".

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Does Your Attire Affect Your Behaviour?

Being fashionable and stylish (in vogue) is something that all young adults think about in trying figure out who they are...often times they imitate someone else (people they think are cool or they think they might want to be like) in trying to figure out who they are.

     Dressing like a Preppie, Goth, Skaterboy / Girl, Gangsta / Thug, Jock, Valley Girl...just to name a few are all labels associated with being someone else. The entertainment industry and the availability of non-age appropriate TV, music videos, and Internet content have exposed kids in 2013 to things adults couldn't see even in R rated movie in the 1980s.  Many feel the glamorization of sports figures and entertainers and the over-sexualization of videos, TV, and movies have exposed younger children and teenagers to adult related topics well before they should have been. 
     There is nothing wrong with having style, but it should be appropriate for public and professional settings if you are going outside, especially school. Wearing slippers, shower shoes, having undergarments visible, having symbols or sayings that are about drugs, criminal activity, sexually oriented is inappropriate for being out in public. 

The question to ask yourself in regards to what is appropriate for a young man and a young woman, why do some kids dress inappropriately? Remember as future adult parents, you will have sons and daughters who will push the limits of style, fashion, and appropriateness. 

Discussion Question: Form into three groups and discuss: 

  • Does the way a teenager dresses affect how they behave? 
  • Do they take on the persona of the character they are emulating in dressing style? 
  • On uniform day or when in uniform do you act differently then when you are not? Is there a different expectation?
Homework: Before Friday, make a blog entry on what advice you would give a female cadet and a male cadet who are is dressed inappropriately which is in violation of school policy and NJROTC program objectives. 

Stress Management & the benefits of Meditation

You may be wondering what the heck does stress management and mediation have to do with JROTC...? It has a lot to do with our curriculum. especially Unit V (Wellness, Fitness, and First Aid) section of the Introduction To The Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Curriculum book.Unit V, Chapter 7 is about Taking Care of Yourself, and withing that chapter there is a section called Learn To Reduce Stress on page 263 and 264. Chapter 8 is titled Understanding and Controlling Stress (pages 269 to 281).

After the class on Stress Management (near the end of the second marking period) and your feedback from the End of the Marking Period 2 assignment; many of you were interested in this topic. Many of you wrote  about meditation and the desire to learn how meditation can help you to relax and manage your stress. Anticipating some change in the schedule due to pending snowstorm, we will focus on this topic today instead of Friday. Some people feel that meditating can even help the learning process. Lets watch this short video and follow along and mediate in your seats.

Classroom Activity:  Meditation

1. Place the mats out on the floor and sit down or lay down (space dependent) facing outboard, away from others.
2. Teacher will play some meditative music to enhance the meditation.
Music to Mediate By...
3. Use this time to get in tune with yourself and clear or order your mind and thoughts. This should have an impact on the rest of your day.
4. Think about how (what type, location, setting) and how often (frequency) do you specifically try to relax and manage your own stress. If you don't you might want to consider finding a way that works for you.

1. Using First name only & class period (Ex. Luke Period 1) Make a blog entry by monday and state how you meditate or relax to manage your stress and what it does for you. If you don't have a relaxation technique or form of stress management, then post what you can develop that you can use and work for you.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Peer & Teacher Feedback from MP 2

It is one thing to give feedback to others, but it is another thing to receive feedback on your performance from your peers or even people junior to you. It is critical that the feedback is collected professionally and presented professionally. A professional needs to have a secure ego to be able to hear negative, but constructive criticism. Take a look at this short video on peer evaluations on work and performance. 

As your teacher, I have included myself in the process where I solicited your feedback on my performance. 

What will take place in class

  1. You will be given a group activity such as in class manual of arms or drill practice.
  2. I will pull you into the staff room individually and give you a synopsis of your peers comments & advice for you.
  3. I will also include my own impressions of your performance and conduct.

Tuesday Night Homework

Post a blog response on what value this experience was for you to hear what your peers and teacher thought about you.  Put initials and class period in your response.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Public Speaking Monday: Group Story Telling with a Twist

We all know how important public speaking is. The ability to present information to a group of others is an essential professional, and personal skill. So lets watch this short video, before we start the group activity:  It is 5 Basic Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking.

Today's public speaking activity is:

1. Form three groups and review your groups word list (6 words).
2. Make up an impromptu story with your group using the words provided. The group story has to be three minutes long. You are not limited to those words but you need to use them in your story.
3. Come up with a hasty story ans rehearse & time it.

Group One Word List:
Oak Chair, Bikini, Sled, Penetrating Gaze, Biking, Frustrated                                                                                              

Group Two Word List:
Lemonade, Explosives, Humorous, Handicapped, Artwork, Green

Group Three Word List:
Porsche, Tubing, Exhausted, Pencil, Flatulence, Marriage

Good Luck in the drill.

HOMEWORK:  Post your first name & class period and post what is your public speaking strength and your public speaking weakness by tomorrow in the comment section of this blog.