Showing posts from November, 2010

Lexington & Concord: Blood Spilled Between Brothers/Enemies

The Revolutionary War was a bloody conflict between men who had once been loyal to the same government. Over time, they had grown apart until it seemed as if they were not even speaking the same language. The truth is that they did speak the same language. But while they used the same words, those words started to have different meanings to the men and women on either side of the wide Atlantic Ocean. If I were to teach based on passages from Robert A. Gross's The Minutemen and Their World , I might choose the following passages and propose prompts that required the following analysis: The search-and-destroy operation was largely conducted with restraint – perhaps because British officers, appalled by the break-down of discipline and by the bloodshed at Lexington common, were determined to avoid further incidents. In the town center an officer demanded admission to Timothy Wheeler’s storehouse, where numerous casks of provincial flour lay. Wheeler readily let them in. Playing the ev

Wordle One-Upped: I Tagxedo-ed My Blog

Upon the suggestion of a friend and colleague who commented on a previous post , I went beyond Wordle and "Tagxedo-ed" my blog! Thanks Danja (a.k.a. @MagistraM on Twitter or read her blog, Magistra's Musings ) I like the newest large word: LEARNING! Now that one makes me happy. What makes Tagxedo better than Wordle? You can decide design the word cloud color scheme, word font, cloud shape, file size, and more! You don't have to create an account and you can add a bunch of words or put in the URL of a blog or website. There is a cool part of the website called " 101 " that has 101 ways to use Tagxedo. I can think of at least 20 off the top of my head, but even if you aren't a teacher it is a great tool! Enjoy!

I Wordled my Blog!

Wordle is an easy-to-use tool that can help teachers and students analyze primary source documents, poems, blogs, or anything else that contains text. I have used it with my students before, but a video blog that Howie DiBlasi tweeted this morning reminded me to check it out again. This is how Wordle works: Once you enter the text, Wordle creates a word cloud that makes the words used most often appear more prominently. I thought I would Wordle this blog, to see if I am truly addressing the topics I set out to address when I started it: history, politics, and technology in the high school classroom. I have to admit that I was pretty happy with the results: Click here for a larger view . The Results that Made Me Happy students : The fact that "students" is the largest word means that I use that word the most. It also means that it seems to be the primary focus of most of my posts. This thrilled me because it means that I truly have followed through on my goal of putting stu

Great Questions

Teachers often complain that students are only driven by physical needs and their shallow desire to bring their GPA to the highest number possible. We want our students to have their physical needs met before they enter our classroom, so they are ready to embark on the 1 hour adventure we have planned for them. We want our students to be excited to learn the content, because we are passionate about teaching it. As a result, we sometimes tire of calling on a student who has raised his/her hand only to hear questions like: Can I go to the bathroom? Can I get a drink? Does this count? How much is this worth? I left my binder/homework/book/calculator/sweatshirt/fill-in-appropriate-item-here in my locker. Can I go get it? I was out yesterday. Did I miss anything? In an effort to lift my own spirits and remind myself of the natural curiosity my students have, I decided to sit down and write some of the great questions I have heard lately. Here are some examples of great questions my student

Restoring Sanity... in the Public School Classroom

I have been reading some of the bloggers' reactions to John Stewart's rally in Washington D.C. this past weekend. Stewart always adds quite a bit of humor to his liberal-leaning presentation of the news. He was joined at the rally by his dubious conservative counterpart on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert. Here is a short clip of the opening festivities: While the introduction is comical, it is delivered with intelligence and sharpness that have made Stewart a success. This is exactly what young Americans who are still interested in politics, despite the anger and mediocrity with which the talking heads deliver it to us on network news, are searching for. Despite the stereotyping, young Americans do not require everything to be entertaining (well, maybe some of them do). The larger point is that the political parties that run the elections and government have become farther and farther apart, leaving most young Americans standing in the middle trying to decide between two