Category Archives: PBL

Joe Gebbia, Entreprenereal Mastermind #PBL

Joe Gebbia, 2017 VOICE, BoF’s Annual gathering

Joe Gebbia founder and CEO of AirBnB has shown great resilience throughout the entrepreneurial process, his seemingly “crazy” idea was presented to 100s of investors and turned down by all, yet today AirBnB is a common app and system we all use. Joe Gebbia has made an idea into a way of living thorough the world, it is no longer odd to pay to stay in someone’s bedroom in Key West Florida for a few nights. Joe Gebbia has built an entire lifestyle and company of the idea of staying at another person’s house.

A Few Questions….

  1. How and why do investors trust such a “crazy” idea such as AirBnB was?
  2. How do you go against the judgement of people who you know are smarter than you and more established in the world of business and marketing?
  3. How did you know when to succumb to failure and realize when an idea was not working?
  4. What type of strengths do you need to be an entrepreneur?
  5. How do you act out of being uncomfortable in a situation environment?

Can you Decipher the Last Word at the End of the December 23 Entry?

Please click on the comment thread and offer any suggestions or insights on transcribing the December 23rd line entry. Bob Romer’s Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts as well as Joseph Carvalho’s Black Families in Hampden County, Massachusetts 1650-1865, 2nd Edition both capture a moment in Reverend Ballantine’s Journal when he describes in February of 1767 Sylvia’s “bitter aversion” to a possible negotiation for sale from the Gay family. Interestingly, Reverend Ballantine, fellow minister from Westfield, was a rare example of a Connecticut Valley minister who did not own slaves. Nevertheless, he did have Sylvia in his home as Reverend Ebenezer Gay lent her out to the Ballantine family. Sylvia also sought refuge with the Ballantine family on a previous occasion in November 8, 1763.

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We are fortunate to have Reverend Ebenezer Gay’s Almanac for the year 1767. The almanac does not mention Sylvia in the month of February, but the entry for December 23rd does have Sylvia’s name on it. Thus, the two journal entries of Ballantine and Gay do cross-reference for the 23rd of December. Nevertheless, the last word after Sylvia’s name is hard to decipher. Can you read the last word after her name? Please click on the comment thread and offer any suggestions or insights for that word and the whole line. Feel free to comment on the absence of Sylvia from the February entries as well.

Why Face to Face?

The most important issue that faces our generation today is the lack of face to face conversations. It is quite simple yet our generation suffers from screen addiction which leads us to putting our head in our phone while face to face with other people. In today’s world, you can learn so much from one face to face conversation. Personally, I pride myself in taking life lessons from face to face conversations whether it’s with my family or with the man or woman working the front desk at CVS. Although we’ve talked about this issue of screen addiction among adolescence over and over again it is an issue that cannot be addressed enough. Phones are made to be addicting each year when a new phone set to be released it being worked on there are large amounts of developers that do everything they can just so one can be addicted to their screen causing more people to buy Iphones. As the years go on the age we get addicted to cellular devices will become younger and younger. It’s important to know that although you can learn a lot in school the bigger life lessons are learnt in face to face conversation. Charles Dickens once said it best saying, “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.” This idea of how important face to face communication has been around for centuries and will never go away no matter how advanced technology becomes.

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Understanding, Recognizing, and Coping with Mental Illness

What is mental illness? Many of people fail to pose this question and therefore are unable to recognize the significance of mental illness. Mental illness is a disease that changes one’s thoughts or behavior in life’s ordinary routines. 

How can one recognize they need help? It is important to pay attention to one’s sudden changes in thoughts or behaviors. Some symptoms may include: confused thinking, feelings of extreme highs and lows, and suicidal thoughts. 

How to cope day-to-day? If your struggling with mental illness you have to establish a support system, seek counseling, and handle or accept your unusual behavior. 

Why is this so important within today’s generation? Nearly 1 in 7 kids and teens have a mental health condition and often goes untreated. Our generation can make a difference and help aid curing mental health. We can help create a strong support system for those struggling. We can help create an environment where kids feel comfortable talking through their emotions and feelings. I see this as something that’s giving back to our community because there are students at Suffield Academy who are struggling and need support. Suffield Academy offers a strong support system but typically through teachers’ guidance. What if students met with other students to help guide them through their experience at Suffield? I firmly believe this topic is extremely relevant to our community, and we can make an impact by spreading awareness, showing others how to cope with mental illness, and recognizing who needs help!  

Signs and Feelings



Self Esteem and Body Image

Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and social media apps that are based around pictures has created a problem within our society. Everyday people post pictures to share what they choose. Teens in our world struggle to find confidence in themselves if they are insecure about their body or if they just think they are not up to average compared to everyone else. This problem is historically seen in girls involved in social media than guys. Technology has made teens put their life on social media and want to “show off” their best qualities. Having low self esteem can lead to depression, eating disorders, or trauma. This problem is not heard about so often due to the fact people do not want to share what they don’t like about themselves. As our society continues to develop around technology and social media this problem is guaranteed to become relevant. Social media almost “evaluates” people who make accounts and it gives them a virtual first impression of a person, even if you have not met them before. This is a difficulty children go through when continuously looking at themselves and everyone else within the social media app. When reading an article on, a study had found that kids around age 13, kids with higher posts, tend to look more negatively about themselves. Young kids see unrealistic images over social media which creates unrealistic standards in their heads. This problem is partially due to what people see online, everyday. I hope this problem can become to the attention of parents/adults before it is one we cannot fix.

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#Screenagers: Hosting a Community #PBL Event

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This project-based learning class began their journey with the challenge to identify and understand the most pressing issues for their generation. This is a truly student-centered approach, and I have not found many other examples of this type of ground zero for #PBL. So if you know of classroom online, please let us know. After researching and writing upon these topics, some of which are teen mental health issues, ocean pollution, e-waste, hidden poverty, and automation, the students curated their learning on our classroom blog. Then the group was challenged to create a community project where they would be able to share their learning and show how they learned it. With this #PBL mantra in mind, the class navigated towards the compelling documentary Screenagers. We then researched the movie and conference called the office before we brainstormed the idea to partner with our freshmen leadership colleagues. The students are now in the exciting and challenging stages of preparing curriculum for this community program. Follow our progress on Twitter: and Instagram:

Comparing Suffield’s Woman Groups to Other.

I have learned a large amount about the history of the Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Movement and the actions and agendas they pushed. In an article by Jessica D. Jenkins, written in 2016, she gives the history and actions of the CWSA. Connecticut’s start for pushing for woman’s rights began in the late 1860s. Frances Ellen Burr of Hartford collected signatures for a petition for the support of woman’s rights. She was described as the leader of the suffrage movement in Connecticut. Though through her efforts a bill pertaining woman’s suffrage was presented to Connecticut’s General Assembly. The bill was turned down but this caused a stir within the people of Connecticut. A result the Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Association was formed in Hartford in 1869. The group argued for their cause to legislators and pressed to consider suffrage bills to be addressed at their hearings. Though the group was mostly dominated by woman, the movement contained some important male figures as well. A lawyer named George A. Hickox signed the CWSA constitution and became a member. In 1870, Hickox became the vice president of the group and regularly published stories on the topic of universal suffrage. The CWSA had very few victories and was lagging behind most of the other suffrage movements who have already achieved the adoption of full woman’s suffrage. These states were the Wyoming territory in 1869, Utah in 1870, Colorado in 1893, and Idaho in 1896. This slow development would quickly blossom into a large suffrage movement in the 20th Century.

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In 1910, Hartford’s Katharine Houghton Hepburn became the president of the CWSA and used different tactics to lead the group to success. She focused on advertising and spreading the words of the movement. They got in a car and stopped in 32 different communities handing out flyers and giving speeches. In May 1914, suffrage clubs for men and woman stretched from Putnam to Stanford. Also in 1914, the first suffrage parade was held in Connecticut with over 2000 participants. By 1917, the group reached over 32,000 members.

This article leaves three main driving questions.

  1. What articles did George A. Hickox write?
  2. Did Katharine Houghton Hepburn stop at Suffield during her promotion spree in her car?
  3. Did people from Suffield attend the suffrage parade in 1914?