Thinking about friends…

So my daughter had a friend over this weekend for a sleepover, and I was reading some biography assignments from new students in several of my classes, and it got me thinking about the concept of friendship. In the human language, the label of ‘friend’ can be placed on other humans in a variety of different ways. We can do it casually to complete strangers when we need help “hey friend,can you help me lift this?” and we can do it with our oldest relatives and life partners “my wife is my best friend” as well as everything in between. The math/science/logical side of me started analyzing friendship as a formula, and I believe that friendship has a direct correlation with proximity. What I mean by this is that in order to acquire  maintain and use the label of friend, proximity is needed. By proximity, I feel this has three different components: proximity of physical distance, proximity of personalities, and proximity of skills and abilities. The proximity of physical distance is the easiest to explain, as we often develop friendships with people in our families, our neighbors,  co-workers, classmates, and anyone else we are in close proximity to on a regular basis. The proximity of personalities refers to developing friendships with people who share our values and beliefs, who simply are “like us”, and most importantly “like us back”. The proximity of skills and abilities means we develop friendships with people who are ‘complimentary’ to our own skills and abilities. Not necessarily having the same skills and abilities, but compatible and mutually beneficial skills for the two in the same proximity. For the kids in my classes who enjoy and value their friends, or for the kids who struggle to make and maintain friendships (and I count myself amounst the later) – study this friendship paradigm and develop your own. This paper, and this one continue this discussion, but maybe Dr. Sheldon Cooper had it right and it’s just a matter of following the flowchart. Wachs out!

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Thinking about next year’s Computer Science I.B.

Well, I have a I.B. faculty meeting tomorrow (Monday) and my thoughts turn to the changes in the I.B. Computer Science course. This is the last year that I.B. Computer Science students will have the course fall under the Mathematics group, and next year it moves to the Experimental Sciences group. As well, it now becomes a full science (no longer an option) and will be part of the group 4 project. On the I.B. website is states: Computer science – The International Baccalaureate (IB) computer science course will be taught as an option in group 4, experimental sciences, from August 2012. The IB LogoComputer science previously formed an option in group 5 of the Diploma Programme curriculum but now lies within group 4. As such, it is regarded as an experimental science, alongside biology, chemistry, design technology, physics and environmental systems and societies. This group change is significant as it means DP students can now select computer science as their group 4 subject rather than having to select it in addition to mathematics as was previously the case. The IB computer science course is a rigorous and practical problem-solving discipline. Via Computer Science.

Making Llama sounds…

When I asked one of my new classes to make the sound of a llama, I was expecting the question to be rhetorical – but to my surprise, a moment later, the sounds of a llama came out of one of my grade 12 TOK IB students (at least I assume those are the sounds, I have no way to confirm this). However, the surprises continued when a moment later another student spoke out and said “I have a photo of a llama on my phone!” – to which I replied that this was one of those times I would add to my collection of ‘sentences rarely spoken by humans’ Over my 13 years of teaching I have an informal, unwritten, and mostly imaginary collection of these sentences spoken by my students. The I.B. Theory of Knowledge course is described as a course that uses a process of discovering and sharing students’ views on ‘knowledge issues’ (an umbrella term for “everything that can be approached from a TOK point of view”) – see more here. These students are some of the academic elite in the school who are completing an internationally recognized diploma and receiving university credits for these courses – but at the same time, they can have fun and make sounds like a llama in the middle of class. As much as possible I often need to remind myself and my students to reflect on the class and the journey we are in – and look for ‘sentences rarely spoken by humans’ to enjoy! P.S. as of the time of this writing, I am still waiting on the photo of the llama that was promised to be sent to me by the TOK student who showed me in class – but I have yet to receive it, stay tuned for an update to this post…