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Mr. Loewen. 2008 Model Legislature Journal. Overall Experience.

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Mr loewen
Mr. Loewen

  • 2008 Model Legislature


Overall experience
Overall Experience

  • I am truly impressed with how well the students performed all on their own, with little hands-on guidance from Mr. Pelowski or us as future educators. Their abilities to run Model Leg as smoothly as they did shows their preparation and determination – Something all of us in TSS331 hope to instill in our future students. The last quick thing I noticed was how expedient technology made the whole process – from the website to the committees.

The website the internet world s best filing cabinet
The WebsiteThe Internet…World’s Best Filing Cabinet???

Intro to tech in classrooms
Intro to Tech in Classrooms

  • I feel the use of this website was vital in making Model Leg available to as many schools and students as possible. It also was my first introduction (and maybe other’s) to a website that was an integral part in a high school classroom. The website for me serves as a model for using technology in a way that is completely beneficial to the class and is available to anyone/anywhere with internet. I can also point out in an job interview that I have experience using technology to help coordinate something as massive as this.

Teacher s role preparation
Teacher’s Role: Preparation

  • I touched before on how well I noticed these students were running Model Leg – it was because they had the training and dedication to make it run as smoothly as it did. Mr. Pelowski trained his high school and college students to the best of their abilities – he knew we would need them when Model Leg started. This experience is going to go far beyond the two days at Tau, it’s going to stick with us and serve as a training session for the rest of our lives.

Establishing state universities gov kostello with others signs hf1 in front of joint session
Establishing State UniversitiesGov. Kostello (with others) signs HF1 in front of joint session

Madame president i took this pic of president ramaley displaying bill hf1
Madame PresidentI took this pic of President Ramaley displaying Bill HF1

Applied skills
Applied Skills

  • Government is just one aspect of social studies used by the students. Their cognitive and social skills allowed them to plan ahead and to understand the viewpoints expressed by their fellow students. Those that knew the true stake in balancing the budget realized that sacrifices had to be made, collaborative adjustments were made to get the sales tax up to 7%. To say that some conspired might be stretching it, rather, I saw that teamwork was being used to a great extent in the House, Senate, Committees, and especially the Governor’s Office.

Biting the BulletJosh Jacobson presents his bill to increase sales tax to 6.875% to the Commerce Committee.

Implementing those ss skills
Implementing Those SS Skills

  • It was soon seen that to balance the budget it would need to be amended to 7%. The house rejected, the senate obliged, the house reconsidered and approved the amendment. They adapted and worked to get this budget balanced, sacrifices were made along the way as well. The skills learned in the classroom were transferred and used in the process, the same can be hoped for their educations and what they will meet along the road ahead.

More Bad NewsThe Governor explains to the House where $2B in cuts will come from, $500M comes from k-12 alone. The Chief Clerk clearly shows her disappointment. More sacrifices are made and more cooperation is needed.

Passion PersonifiedRepresentative Leclair always spoke his mind, something all students are encouraged and welcome to do.

Social skills
Social Skills

  • What I admire most about the students was their abilities and willingness to express their opinions and concerns. Model Leg allows them to participate in a group environment where cooperation is key and social prowess shines bright. Interacting in Model Leg promotes camaraderie and allows the students to use their creative and critical thinking skills. They learned they had fundamental and political differences, but many of them assumed the roles of professionals and leaders and put their differences aside.

A Grandioso SpeechCamille Nicholson gives a speech in the hopes of convincing her fellow legislators to vote for her for Governor.

A working model
A Working Model

  • When I went to National Issues Forum I heard both the students and the Senior Citizens proclaim there needed to be more opportunities for hands-on job training. I saw Model Leg as just that, an apprenticeship program of sorts where the students learned through doing. Not all the students are going into state government, but nonetheless it was a great opportunity for them to come together to put their social, political, cultural, and economical skills to good use. Their practice didn’t make the perfect budget, but it did probably create a better one than will come up in next session, and may serve as a template.

Apparently the model works
“Apparently, The Model Works”

  • The Winona Daily News got it right when they announced “Apparently, the model works.” My response was “Of course it works! Why wouldn’t it?” Behavior and professionalism is being modeled everywhere from the state government to the Model Leg students and vice versa, from Mr. Pelowski to the WSU students and vice versa, and from the WSU students to the Model Leg students and vice versa. There are so many opportunities for learning in this process and they’re virtually everywhere we look.

I’ll be the Knight, you be the SquirePages were at times running all over the place, passing notes and bills between committees and bodies…but mostly notes.

Page take this to
Page! Take this to…

  • The most important thing for Pages is that they learn as much as they can from the process, and hopefully they’re stimulated enough intellectually and emotionally to want to come back to be a member of the Leg. They performed their tasks very well and alleviated some of the pressures on the students. I did see that some pages were being used for food/drinks, and that most of the time in committee they were sent on personal errands of frantic note passing…many unrelated to Model Leg. I don’t know how this could change, but it could help to keep the students more focused on the tasks at hand.

A Community InvolvedProminent members of the community show up to pledge their support to the Model Legislature Program. Note the PDA and Cell Phone 

Commitment appreciated
Commitment Appreciated

  • All this wouldn’t be possible if not for the generous donations made by members within the community. A project like this isn’t cheap and it’s a testament to the importance of Model Leg when you have people truly committed to seeing this process run as smoothly as possible. The people who donated and the parents who showed up should be commended for their selflessness and their dedication to seeing education thrive.

Schools rule
Schools Rule!

  • The shear number of schools and students that participated was, to me, staggering. The Website was a tremendous help, and without it some of the smaller schools might not have participated. Different schools from around the area ensured there would be no supermajority of ideas or agendas, other than balancing the budget. It was great for me to see that members of other schools were willing to voice their opinions as much, if not more than senior members of Model Leg. Bringing these schools together showed the leadership and willingness of the teachers to work together, something lacking in today’s schools.

Jackie mather s example
Jackie Mather’s Example

  • I went to school with Jackie and seeing her with a job so quickly out of school and so close to home makes me think I could perhaps be in her position someday. I might be presented with the challenge and privilege of having my students participate in an event such as this. I hope I can do as good of a job as she has done with my students, and look forward to the opportunity if it arises. I feel this is just another Model for us WSU students to look towards, her as a guide saying “If I can do it, you can too.” Seeing her there certainly gave me more confidence at approaching a task like this in my classroom.

How was i beneficial
How Was I Beneficial?

  • Other than simply being a recorder for Committee and a take-downer of banners, I believe I did my best to Model as a professional educator to the students and to my teacher. When we first met with the teachers from the other schools at WSU, Camille Nicholson commented that she appreciated me getting her Bill and Essay loaded onto the site so quickly. It doesn’t sound like much, but hearing that satisfaction gave me a renewed sense of purpose in this process, I felt like I had more responsibility to these students than just to load them onto the site.

How else
How else?

  • Another thing I considered valuable in this experience is the knowledge I acquired, there’s no telling how far I can take what I’ve learned and what I’ve done. I’ve gained skills with a website that could prove invaluable in my future teaching. I’ve witnessed and helped run one of the most life-changing experiences in some of these kid’s lives. The students did all the back-breaking work, but my observations of their determination and implementation have given me a renewed vision of just how capable students are when they’re motivated and having fun working.

The key is having fun i can t help but laughing when josh jacobson struggles to reclaim his gavel
The Key is Having FunI can’t help but laughing when Josh Jacobson struggles to reclaim his gavel.

Making learning fun
Making Learning Fun

  • I said before, there’s no telling how far students will go when they’re having fun learning. Something as simple as this last picture shows how much fun can be had while participating in an engaging activity. The social aspect of Model Leg cannot be overshadowed by the politics or the simple need to balance the budget. Fun occurred alongside the seriousness of resolving these issues, and may of served as fuel during the desperate and down times. It’s win-win when students are having fun actively engaging in meaningful and collaborative activities.

In closing
In Closing…

  • I had the opportunity to participate in Model Leg when I was here at high school, now more than ever I wish I had. These students learn so much they may not even realize it, using their social and critical thinking skills to accomplish a task that takes politicians weeks of bickering and indecisiveness. I as well have learned so much from this project and I will continue to take these memories with me to wherever I may teach. I just hope to instill as much want and drive in my students as Mr. Pelowski and the other teachers did in theirs. The students did their tasks and did them well, all within an environment where they were learning and having a great time.