Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Back? Back? Are We Back?

This is not the best undead blog on the internet.  But... there are far, FAR worse undead blogs.

But this is my undead blog.

It died somewhere around the second quarter when I realized very few students were reading it, and taking advantage of the extra credit opportunities I was offering.

But I didn't realize how much I used it to remind me of things that I've taught.  And how many people around the world were stumbling across it.  I had a couple thousand page views last month, and I haven't posted anything since December.

So, I'm going to let my classes know tomorrow that I'm bringing it back.

We'll see if it lives this time, or if it dies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On Censorship: China's Firewall

We here in These United States enjoy a great deal of freedom of press.  We're one of the freest countries in the world.  When it comes to freedom of press, Reporters Without Borders ranks us 41st - up from 49th a year ago.  (When you get towards the top of the list, the countries are so close together, it's difficult to jump.  ...That's not to say there isn't room for improvement.)

To see the full list and map, click here.

You'll notice that China ranks 176 out of 180 countries.  (If you're wondering what country comes in dead last, it's Eritrea.)

If you haven't yet clicked on the full list and map, click on them now.  Remember to TKWA the map - but do this on your own, in your head.  Explore it for yourself.  See what happens when you click on a country.  See what happens when you scroll through the list.  (Here's the link again.)

As you're looking through the list, remember that we've been studying governments.  Ask yourself this question as you're processing all this: do the countries with less press freedom probably have limited, or unlimited governments?

And then, here's another thing I want you to check out: The Great China Firewall.  (But let me talk about it for a minute, first.)

You guys know how  SOOOooooo much stuff at school is blocked, right?  And maybe you can find ways around it - but if you get caught, you'll get in trouble, so it's probably not worth it.  Did you know that the country of China does that for the ENTIRE country?  It's true.  (That's one of the reasons they're ranked 176 out of 180...)

Well, there is a website that's been tracking whether or not certain other websites have been blocked in China during that day.  And the website has been doing this every day since Nov. 21, 2015.

Go to that website, and just look around for a while.  Check it out HERE.

Then, answer a couple questions: 1. Why might the school block certain websites?  2. Why might China (or Eritrea) block certain websites?  The Reporters Without Borders Website says, "As well as building a Great Firewall to monitor and control blogs and social networks, the Communist Party exercises total control over China's many media outlets..."  The Communist Party is a group of unelected leaders that runs the country.  ...Meaning 3. China has what type of government?

If you show this blog post to your parents tonight, and discuss it with them, you can get 5 extra credit points if you write a paragraph about your discussion and have them sign it.  Make sure your name, date, and hour is on the paper, then turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit tray.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Election is Here

Welcome back to the blog.  Thanks for checking it out.

Perhaps you've heard that it's a presidential election year.

We haven't discussed the topic much in class, as it's not exactly part of our standards.  We've been focusing on latitude and longitude, culture, globalization, industrialization, and most recently, the economy.

Still, as a social studies teacher, I couldn't let today pass without saying SOMETHING.

One of the things we discussed today were political ads.  I said that there are basically two types: "Vote for me, I'm good."  And, "My opposition is bad, so vote for me."

Most people who have studied above 7th grade know that it's more complex than that, but I didn't have time to get into appeals to authority, glittering generalities, etc...

But I did show students four political ads for presidential candidates, four for governor, and two for senate.  

For president, I tried to show an example of each kind for each candidate:  I'm good: vote for me.  They're bad: vote for me.

I'm posting them here, so you can see what we watched.  If students want extra credit, they're supposed to read and discuss the blog post with an adult.  If they did that, they should write at least 2 sentences from the discussion, and have the adult sign it.  Turn the paper in tomorrow.

Maybe talk about whether or not you voted, and why...

Clinton: Anti-Trump Ad

Trump:  Anti-Clinton Ad

Clinton:  Pro-Clinton Ad

Trump:  Pro-Trump Ad

Holcomb ad:

Gregg ad:

Holcomb ad:

Gregg ad:

Bayh ad:

Young ad:

Monday, October 24, 2016

No Post in 20 Days?!?!?!

I've become horrible at posting the extra credit blog.  I get that.  And I apologize.  There are a number of reasons for it, but I'm not going to go into it here.

Instead, I'm going to give you a bunch of opportunities to get extra credit.  The rules have changed a little bit with this post.

You still need to read and discuss these posts with an adult.  But you may only do one of these a day.  (And you may only do one for the entirety of Fall Break.)  Sure, you may read more, but you'll only get credit for one.

Some of the things will have changed, since the posts are from previous years, but overall the content is the same.

In order to get credit, you need to write the current date, the date of the post, do whatever the post tells you to do, and have the adult you read it with sign signifying that you read and discussed that post with them.

Here are the posts:  Dealing with Economics:

Dealing with Human Capital:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Globalization and Technology

This has been our progression:

The world (latitude, longitude, geography...) → cultures → cultural borrowing/cultural diffusion → globalization → technology's influence on globalization.

There have been other topics interspersed.  We've introduced industrialization (with Industralia) and some negative consequences of globalization (the loss of culture).

We learned about standard of living, and the September 11th attacks.  But in general, the progression holds.

The past couple days I've tried to hit home how much smaller the world is - or at least seems.  When we say that technology is shrinking the world, we mean that the world seems smaller.  Various classes have had google hangouts with people from all over the country and world.  In order to get the extra credit today, watch 5 minutes of one of the following videos.  When you're done, write at least 3 sentences about what you watched, and how it shows technology shrinking the world.

Technology has, and continues to shrink the world.  I think we should do some more of these.