Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Imperialism Debate Project- Prove your side!

“Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and 
debate.”- Hubert Humphrey 

A couple weeks back 11th graders participated in an educated, opinionated debate on the issue of Imperialism and America in the early 20th century. Students were broken into teams, and first wrote persuasive essays on subtopics such as the spanish-american war, yellow journalism/media bias, americanization/nationalism, and economics/politics/ideologies of 20th century America to support their argument for or against Imperialism. Next, students presented a 1-2 minute oral personal platform and lastly students participated in a full class debate against other teams in class. 

Within the project students were asked  to focus particular emphasis on forming an educated opinion, backing that opinion up with facts, stats, examples, scenarios etc. and lastly, connect their 20th century topic to today. The project was an overwhelming success in each class. Students were eager to voice their opinions, found multiple ways to back their arguments up, and connected the major issues of the 20th century to major issues of today. Students presented their arguments with pride, passion and excitement proving they not only understood the content, could think about it critically but they could also form an educated opinion, back it up, and connect that opinion of then to NOW. whewwww. No easy task if, I the creator, do say so myself. :) On more than one occasion I walked up on students in the hall or leaving my class continuing their debates about the topic with other classmates. I wish that I could upload all thirty videos I have but sadly do not have the time, I can however ensure you that the end goal was accomplished. Students not only worked independently and collaboratively but they became connected to the content in a way that even weeks after the debate they can explain with ease their stance on the issue of Imperialism, and when they really want to get me amped up throw in a couple ways America is still pursuing Imperialist goals today.
The videos below are uploaded to my teacher youtube account. (these videos are private and can only be viewed by my posting of the link) The first video is of Evan's personal platform against imperialism and his subtopic yellow journalism and the second is of Joey, Keyahdah, and Taylor's closing argument for imperialism. Enjoy the Great Debaters of Tarrant while we move onto the roaring 20s, all that jazz, and the (not so great) Great Depression. 

(he stops his last statement so he doesn't lose points for going over time, I turned the video off before he said he would save the point for the debate) 

A-B Honor Roll PBS Pizza Party First Semester

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstances” - Bruce Barton

Mr. Smith and Mr. Womack rewarded and celebrated THS Middle and High school students who achieved A-B honor roll first semester with a pizza party and below are pictures documenting the event. Reiteration of the 3 Rs (Responsible, Resourceful, Respectful) and reminders that we are working bell to bell everyday for our futures, along with rewards such as the pizza party are in conjunction with our school-wide positive behavior support system. Enjoy the pictures and hard work of our students! 

What do we lose by another’s good fortune? Let us celebrate with them, or strive to emulate them,That should be our desire and determination.” - Sri Sathya
for more information on PBS click here
-----> http://www.pbis.org/research/default.aspx

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finished Products & Reflection...

“History shows us that the people who end up changing the world – the great political, social, scientific, technological, artistic, even sports revolutionaries – are always nuts, until they are right, and then they are geniuses.” – John Eliot

Utopia Posters: Finished Products 

Over all, one thing I kept noticing in each group as they were creating their utopian societies was that they each seemed to have an "ah-ha" moment or revelation in which they suddenly realized how complex the differences and options in our society and world are, and then how they could possibly fit everything necessary in it. Through frustration, brainstorms, large and small discussions, and a lot of playing the what-if game each group seemed to finalize their plan, put it into action and then begin to reflect on the bigger task of applying the idea of utopia to today . Students discussed and wrote about whether or not a utopian society could exist today or ever. Overall, the majority kept coming back to the idea that the word utopia comes from a word that means "no place" for a reason, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to create it. (beautiful right?) It was so interesting (and really cool) to hear their conversations about what should be included, what should not, what is most important, what can be taken out, etc. I was continually trying to bring them back to today, our world, THEIR WORLD, and how this idea of creating a Utopia can be applied to our government, society and world. Overall, the project set up the themes of growth, confrontation, and most importantly change. It got the students both talking about and applying these big ideas to then, now, and hopefully the future. This idea of change is a constant, whether being applied to Italy in 1519, America in 2008, or Egypt in 2011; and the ultimate purpose of the utopia project which was getting students talking, working with, thinking about, and applying their ideas and connecting them to today. From the above pictures and recall I think it is safe to say they are well on their way...

Block- Renaissance and Reformation i-movie viewings are in full swing this week, will be posting some to view later in the week.
11th Grade- videos/pictures of Imperialism debates to come
9th- Enlightenment to Revolution reflections. Tomorrow we will be comparing and contrasting the Egyptian Revolution and the American Revolution, cannot wait!

Now on to the fun...using the weird weather as a PBS strategy and motivation! Both block, and 6th period were rewarded with a 10 minute snow ball tag game for focusing and working hard throughout the week. I refereed, and will say that 6th period got way more into it than block, (who just wanted to pose for pictures) haha. Thus why there are plenty pictures of block, and none of 6th period's awesome game (because it was way too entertaining, and being a ref is harder than it looks!). How crazy is all this snow anyways?? This Nebraskan isn't complaining! :o)

and now 6th period on picture day :o) and most of the freshman class! Class of 2014! 

and now... Jefferson County Government Day Fieldtrip. 2-14-2011 the American Legion of Jefferson County sponsored a day for students to learn about various aspects of Jefferson County's government. Students heard from several different judges, city commissioners, city planners, and various local government officials, as well as, toured several different government buildings downtown...including the county jail, wowzers! Needless to say we all have plenty of stories! We were jam packed with information, met some very nice, educated, and dedicated Birmingham citizens, had a great lunch, and surely made Tarrant City proud with the representation of our intuitive students!

....and lastly, I am excited to report that i-touches are in full effect! The schoology app has by far been the most beneficial for multiple reasons but mostly by using the discussion feature, formative assessment is highly effective, engaging and quick! The discussion conversations allow for timely feedback and create a conversation between both teacher and student, as well as, student and student! photos and more to come soon...Meeting tomorrow night with parents, 6pm THS media center.

ok, for real.... lastly, if you have not had the time please rent Waiting for Superman. Understanding and involvement are key to creating and maintaining lasting, positive change for our education system. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Freshman, Fresh faces, fresh words...

Snowpocalypse 2k11 tried its best to stop 2nd semester from beginning but I am happy to report that we are back in full effect! Say hello to the spring block class, some new art work, and 6th period's American Dream wordles. (the word collages you see above can be created at wordle.net) In honor of MLK Jr. we decided to focus on one of the best things he left with us that will carry on forever, his words. Each student chose a quote by MLK that connected with them and posted it around the poster you see above, as well as posted a blog on their schoology (pretty much facebook for school, and amazing) what the words meant to them, and our world today. We also got into several great discussions about whether or not Dr. King's dream has been realized, some of the most intriguing responses were but are not limited to: 

                                          "Not everyone wants to see it, but change is happening"

"Maybe, we are living for him, we could be the dream realized" 

                                                          "I think we need to get up and yell come on people, let's do something, let's get this dream moving!" "or, something like that..."

"Yes we can. Yes, we did. Yes, we will keep on doing it."

I can't even really begin to comment on the above statements and how beautiful and raw they each are, because if that is not getting IT then I don't know what getting IT is! And, if you don't get that those words, coming from the youth of today, are the IT then I can't imagine what you think the IT is! (this is what my students would call a Ms. Sanders rant) ("Ms. Sanders you are rantin!")

In other news, block is in between creating Renaissance and Reformation i-movies and building their own Utopian communities. Utopia in greek means "no place" and was used by Thomas More in 1516 to describe his imaginary world/society thus giving the word its more commonly known meaning of a "perfect, ideal place".  After students have  created their Utopian communities they will argue whether or not a utopian society can exist in real life. They have come up with some pretty amazing things so far, I'll let you know what the end results are soon. 

11th grade is currently trudging through Imperialism in the US...you know...that one time in the early 1900s when America tried to take over the world in pursuit of monetary gain and military control. Oh wait, that sounds familiar...eh hem...Anways, students have been defining what exactly words like expansionism, nationalism, militarism, etc. mean and how these ideas effected American society both then, and wait for it, wait for it, now! Tomorrow we will be learning about the buffalo soldiers (African American soldiers who were just as, if not more crucial to the battle at San Jaun hill as ole Teddy Roosevelt's rough riders during the Spanish American war, not to mention their role in the Civil War and Indian Wars) via Bob Marley. We be jammin, and learnin' and quickly moving onto WWI, ohhh the trenches. 

Utopian Communities, WWI trench reenactments, and black history month celebrations coming soon...until then have a great rest of January  and all that jazz...

"If you know your history
Then you would know where you're coming from
Then you wouldn't have to ask me
Who the 'eck do I think I am!"