Friday, April 3, 2009

The Cellist of the Schoolyard

Meet the Cellist of Sarajevo

Vedran Smailovic inspired the song "The Cellist of Sarajevo."  There is such a powerful story in what this man did.

Thirty seven year old Smailovic, principal cellist of the Sarajevo
Opera, was heartbroken at the bombing and massacre that had occurred in
his precious city in 1992. A city that was now being called the
"capital of hell" and rightly so, for on May 27, a long breadline of
citizens waited in front of one of the last bakeries in town as a
mortar landed, exploding and killing 22 people.

This was outside Smailovic's window.

Instead of white bread for the masses to eat with their red meat,
there were white bones and bloody flesh scattered everywhere.

knew. It was outside his window and he saw it, scarring his mind and
lapping up any naivety left that the horrors of his country could not
come to his neighborhood.

As he stayed up that night, his anguished mind struggled to rescue his
soul from the pit of despair. How could he make a difference in a
living hell? What could he do?

Smailovic did the only thing he could. The only thing he knew.

The next day, he donned black. Not the black of mourning, but the
formal black of a musician of a prestigious opera company. Twenty four
hours after the massacre, at 4 pm in the afternoon, Smailovic settled
his stool beside the still smoking crater.

And he began to play.

He continued to play every day at 4 pm for twenty two days - one for
each person who died. He played through the rockets red glare and bombs
bursting there beside him on the ground.

The citizens in the capital of hell received a heavenly emissary every
day at 4pm. One that reminded them of the good, beautiful things of
life, and that there was hope that again peace would return.

His powerful testimony brought even more attention to the horrors around him. 

This is quoted from a news report.

"Asked by a journalist whether he was not crazy doing what
he was doing, Smailovic replied: “You ask me am I crazy for playing the
cello, why do you not ask if they are not crazy for shelling Sarajevo!"

He played on.

After twenty two days he moved his chair. He moved his chair to other
neighborhoods with freshly charred craters and fragments of humanity
where souls had recently departed this earth. He played in graveyards
amidst the newly buried and muffled mourners.

He played until December 1993.

He had played to hold out hope to those who would listen. He became
the personal embodiment of hope for peace in Bosnia. He dispensed hope
in his music, he became hope to his people.

The next year, in 1994 famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma played a newly composed
piece by English composer David Wilde at the International Cello
Festival in Manchester, England. The piece entitled "The Cellist of
Sarajevo" haunted those who were there.

Pianist Paul Sullivan described it this way in Readers Digest:

"When he had finished, Ma remained bent over his cello, his
bow resting on the strings. No one in the hall moved or made a sound
for a long time. It was as though we had just witnessed that
horrifying massacre ourselves.

Finally, Ma looked out across the audience and stretched out his hand,
beckoning someone to the stage. An indescribable electric shock swept
over us as we realized who it was...

Smailovic rose from his seat and walked down the aisle as Ma left the
stage to meet him. They flung their arms around each other ...
everyone in the hall erupted into a chaotic, emotional frenzy...

We were all strippped down to our starkest, deepest humanity at
encountering this man who shook his cello in the face of bombs, death,
and ruin, defying them all." (Everyday Greatness - see refernces)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baseball and Math

  1. Who began the mathmatics in baseball trend?

  2. What are the moral implacations of using technology and mathmatics to predict the outcome of sporting events. Use 3 facts from the video to support your answer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Project 1 Microsoft Review Project

I entered my new position knowing very little about my students and their knowledge base. However I did know that in 9th grade our students focused their learning skills on typing and MS Office projects. What should I teach them in 10th grade? I had so many questions racing through my head I didn't know where to start.
What had they learned in the previous year?
How much did they remember?
How focused are they?
Do they take pride in their work?
So I began with the obvious - a review project. Little did I know this would be one of my largest projects of the marking period and also take more time then expected.

The MS Review Project

Objective: Using the knowledge you gained last year complete the following task to the best of your ability:
1. MS Publisher - Create a cover for the front, back and spine of a 1 inch binder
- Front, Back, and Spine needs to be created
2. MS Word - Create a informational booklet on the 7 Natural Wonders
- At least 8 pages long 1 page for each wonder each page must include
- 5 pictures for each wonder
- 10 bulleted facts
- 20 sentence summary
3. MS Powerpoint - Presidential Candidate Powerpoint

Presidential Power Point

1. Title Slide

2. Birthday, Place of Birth

3. Family (Parents, Siblings)

4. Education (HS, College)

5. Military Service (if none skip)

6. Occupation held before political positions

7. Political positions before running for president

8. Marriage and family

9. Political Platform

10. Other Interesting Facts

11. Presidential Opponent

12. Works Cited Page

Now you would think that this project wouldn't be that difficult but it was like pulling teeth for them to get them all complete. I had students who never completed the assignment...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

This is what I do

I think I finally found a teaching position where I can really make a difference. My director is an amazing professional and is assisted by an equally impressive right hand man. I teach alongside a team of amazing instructors who would give the shirt off their back for our students. I am actually treated as a fellow teacher and not a "specials or elective" teacher - a first in my 8 year career. My students have the ability to achieve anything, they are extremely bright and extremely willing to learn the newest technologies introduced to them. Not only are they bright and excited to learn they are also extremely under estimated. The district I work in is 90% or more minority and 90% or more of them qualify for free or reduced lunch. They have been overlook as a loss for years and now they are stepping into the light and I have the privilege to watch them grow.