Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pillars of Being a Good Student

We graded the quiz today.  They'll be in the grade book shortly.  It's a good idea to check your grades at least once a week to make sure you're keeping up with everything.  This might be a good time to do that.

We're basically finished with the 3 monotheistic religions.  However, some people still don't understand the 5 Pillars of Islam.

So, I had the students come up with "The 5 (or a couple more) Pillars of Being a Good Student."

Here are some they came up with:
  • Attentive
  • Respectful
  • Does the work/ Productive
  • Organized/ Prepared
  • Prompt
If my students want to be "good students" they have to do all these things.  Now, they might be good kids, and have a good heart.  They might be intelligent.  But that doesn't necessarily make them good students.  If a student is constantly disrespectful, he's not a good student.  If he never brings his materials to class, he's not a good student.

We applied this to the "5 Pillars of Islam."  Hopefully it made a little more sense.

We also talked about OPEC today.  We're introducing international organizations.  We didn't deal with this much yet, but we will.  Oh, we will.

If you want the extra credit, read and discuss the blog with an adult.  Then, on a scrap piece of paper write a sentence telling whether or not you are a "good student" as defined by the pillars above.  If you're lacking in any category, tell me which one or ones.  If you think the list is missing something, write it down.

Have the adult you read and discussed the blog with sign the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

3 Monos Quiz

This post will be short.

Obviously, I wasn't at school today.  But, I can now save your life if you have a heart attack.  Also, I'm trained with an Epinephrine Pen.  (Lets hope I never have to use one.)

I had a chance to stop by and talk to the substitute.  He said the day went really well.  We got the January fire drill in just under the wire, huh?

We'll be grading those quizzes tomorrow.  Be prepared.

And then we're moving on.

If you want extra credit for reading the blog today, tell the adult you're reading it with how the day went.  Tell them how you think you did on the quiz.  Were you prepared?

Then, find a scrap of paper and write the three monotheistic religions.  Have the adult you discussed the blog with sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow for extra credit.

See you then.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Human Capital II

First of all, don't forget that we have a quiz over the 3 monotheistic religions tomorrow.  I posted the chart yesterday, so if you forgot it, you can find it there.

Today we tied social studies in to a number of other subjects.  Students wrote about a protagonist from a book they read in LA.  They had to explain how the character had gained human capital through the course of the story.

We also discussed kinetic energy and potential energy.  I compared human capital to potential energy, and financial capital (money) to kinetic energy.  Human capital is the amount of potential financial capital you have.  I showed the students this chart I got from CNN.

(It's embedded in THIS ARTICLE if you want to check it out...)

My students probably want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog.  They can get this by reading it and discussing it with a parent or adult.  To prove that you read today's post, please write the following on a scrap piece of paper: "Never be so focused on what you're looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find."  Then, have the parent/adult sign the scrap piece of paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.  (Parent/adult: by signing that scrap of paper, you are stating that you read and discussed the post with my student.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Human Capital

To start off, I didn't create this graphic - I only created this version of it:

I originally obtained it from hcdexperts and linked back to their webpage.  Unfortunately, that is now defunct, and I have no way of contacting them.  If you work for hcdexperts and have any questions regarding the use of this graphic, please feel free to email, or leave a comment.

We spent a lot of time going over human capital today.  I had the students explain the chart.  Then they thought of a job, and gave examples of human capital that would help them in that job.  The students were supposed to be specific.  If they listed "doctor" they couldn't just say, "A doctor needs knowledge, life experience, skills and abilities, and to be creative."  Students had to explain the types of knowledge a doctor would need.  What life experiences would be beneficial, etc...

I recently went to a 1:1 conference at East Noble School Corporation.  Concord paid my way.  This increased my human capital.  My knowledge, and skills/abilities increased.  I learned creative ways to incorporate 1:1 technology in the classroom.  I asked the students if it was worth it for the school to invest in my human capital.

It's also worth mentioning the quiz Wednesday.  Yes... a quiz.  The quiz will be over the three monotheistic religions.  It'd be a good idea to study the chart.  I had the students write a little bit more information today as well.  You can check it out below:

Study study study...

Remember, to get the extra credit, you're supposed to read and discuss this blog with an adult.  I would suggest talking about the human capital chart, and spending some time studying for Wednesday's quiz.  To prove you did this, write the following quote on a sheet of scrap paper:  "Better for my having been there."  St. Petersburg High School Motto; St. Petersburg, Florida.  Have the adult you discussed the blog with sign the paper.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Time Travel

Ahhhh... The Grandfather Paradox.  If you were to travel back in time and kill your grandfather - you wouldn't be born...  Which means you couldn't travel back in time to kill your grandfather... which means your grandfather lives.  If he lives - you'll be born... which means...  Ugggggg!

I love time travel.

It came up while we finished talking about the monotheistic (believes in 1 God) religions today.

Think about this:
  • Christianity: 2.1 Billion
  • Islam: 1.6 Billion
  • Nonreligious: 1.1 Billion
  • Hindu: 1 Billion
  • Chinese traditional: 394 Million
  • Buddhism: 376 Million
  • Primal-Indigenous: 300 Million
  • African Traditional: 100 Million
  • Sikh: 23 Million
  • Juche: 19 Million
  • Spiritism: 15 Million
  • Judaism: 14 Million
  • Baha'i: 7 Million
  • Jainism: 4.2 Million
  • Shinto: 4 Million
This is all taken from the more and more reliable Wikipedia -  though I don't advise using the site for academic purposes.

Here's the question I asked: I only teach 5 religions during the year.  Judaism is not in the top 5.  Why do I teach about Judaism?

It's the grandfather paradox.  Judaism is taught because of its influence.  Without Judaism, Christianity and Islam would not exist as we know them today.  Furthermore, the influence extends past the religions: Israel (and the teachings of Judaism) influence the Middle East as a region today.

Some students still got caught up in the difference between being the "founder" of a religion, and "tracing roots back to..."  As in, the founder of Christianity is Jesus Christ.  However, Christianity can trace its roots back to Abraham.

I told a story about this.  It involved Papa John in most classes.

You probably read this because you want extra credit.  Well, I hope you discussed the three monotheistic religions.  Write down two sentences telling me how the discussion of the blog went - maybe tell me what you talked about.  Have the adult you read the blog with sign the paper.  Turn it in on Monday.

Have a great weekend.  I can't believe it's already here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Almost No Post

I almost didn't post this because it takes so much extra time and effort.

To the 3 students that read and turned in the extra credit last night:  Kudos to you.  Thanks for putting forth the effort.  And had you not done that, you wouldn't have had the chance for extra credit today, as I wouldn't have had the effort to write.

We watched one of those Crash Course videos today - this one was on Islam.  You can watch it below if you're so inclined.

I'll finish up teaching about Islam tomorrow.

Here are some similarities between the monotheistic religions:

  • They're monotheistic
  • They follow religious rules
  • They trace their roots back to Abraham
  • They originate in the Middle East
  • They believe Moses was a prophet
Here's some other stuff to think about:

  • Muslims and Christians believe Jesus was a prophet.
  • The majority of Christians believe Jesus was/is God
  •  Muslims believe Jesus was not God.
This all came up in class today regarding why Muslims find pictures of the Prophet Mohammed offensive.

So, here's the deal: if you want extra credit read and discuss the blog with an adult.  Then, write two comments, facts, or whatever that came up in your discussion.  Have the adult you discussed with sign the paper.  Put it in the extra credit tray.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2 Hour Delays Won't Get My Praise...

...although, it's nice to have a little extra time to prepare in the morning.

We accomplish a lot less when we have less time.  (That's my brilliant contribution to the day's dialogue.)

We finished up filling out the chart on Judaism and Christianity.  We'll discuss Islam over the next couple days, and we'll probably have a little quiz over the topics next week.

We also read an article on Abraham, and saw why the three major monotheistic religions traced their roots back to him.

Two hour delays shorten everything up.  Yesterday's post... today's post...

I'm off to make new seating charts.

If you want extra credit, read and discuss the blog with an adult.  (I know, there's not much here today...)  Write the date on a scrap piece of paper.  Put your name on it, and have the adult you discussed the blog with it sign it.

Turn it in tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2 of 3

We've pretty much covered 2 of the 3 monotheistic religions.

I had a meeting with the other social studies teachers this morning.  It is crazy how much we still have to cover before ISTEP, so prepare to fly.

Make sure you bring back that bellwork/chart from today.

That's all I'm posting for the blog today.  Yep.  That's it.

If you want the extra credit, discuss social studies (maybe a comparison of Judaism and Christianity) with the adult you read this with.

Then, on a sheet of paper, write the following quote: "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone."  Then, have the adult you read/discussed it with sign the scrap of paper.

Friday, January 18, 2013

One Last Chance

If you want extra credit to go on this marking period's grades - this is your last chance.  For real.  The marking period ends today.

Class today went pretty well.  We're discussing the religions, and I wanted to point out that - yes, there are a lot of different religions out there, but even inside religions they are very diverse.  I used a bellwork created by a colleague, and we discussed it - bringing up some controversial topics as we went.

Again, I was impressed by how respectful the classes were.  I felt good about the future of our nation.

That said, again today there were some students who felt awkward talking about some of the topics we brought up today.

I mentioned Dr. King - as Monday is a celebration of the man's life.

Photo credit: HERE.

I asked if any of them had heard any of his speeches, and a number said they had.  Dr. King was an effective communicator.  The topics he discussed were often awkward or taboo - yet he knew what he believed, and how to articulate it.

It's true, there will never be another Martin Luther King, Jr.  But perhaps we can keep ourselves informed and articulate, so that when the time to speak comes, we'll be adequately prepared.

If you want the extra credit, for reading and discussing the blog with an adult: great.  In honor of Dr. King, write a couple sentences telling me what you know about the man, and have the adult sign the paper.  Turn it in on Tuesday.

*Side Note* We don't actually teach about Dr. King in the 7th grade curriculum.  I'm holding on to the idea that students know something about him from previous years.  They certainly seemed to.  If not, hopefully next year in U.S. History.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


For my birthday, I got to wake up extra early and go to East Noble School Corporation to see how they've implemented their 1:1 initiative.

It was pretty exciting stuff.  Someday... someday soon, one would hope.

So, I wasn't at school today.  And I almost didn't post a blog entry - what with my crazy birthday party and all.

But, I thought:'s the end of the semester.  There are some students who are like...   .04% away from a letter grade bump.  They may end up disheartened if I don't post something.

So here it is - and an easy one at that.

You're supposed to be reading this with an adult.  Discuss how the day went.  Tell them about Judaism.  What do you remember from that video?  What is monotheism?  Polytheism?

Then, on a sheet of notebook paper write down a phrase.  Any phrase or quote... Whatever you want.  I'll take the best one and use it as my code phrase for tomorrow's post.

Don't forget to have the adult you had your discussion with sign the paper.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Little Bit Awkward

I brought up God today in class.  Unabashedly.  Ok, maybe a little bit abashedly.

Before we go any further into the separation of church and state discussion, I'd like to point everyone to our Indiana Standards: SS 7.1.4: "Describe the historical origins, central beliefs and spread of major religions."

And we all know that learning is so much better when it's relevant to the lives of students.  When it applies.

So, I asked students to write a response to the following questions: Do you believe in a god?  Why or why not?  What causes you to believe this?  Do you believe in Heaven or Hell?  If so, what do you think they'll be like?

Then we discussed it.  We talked about respect, and to the students' credit - every class was respectful and attentive when their peers were talking.

But it was also a little bit awkward.  Students aren't used to talking about faith in the classroom - they're not used to espousing their views.  Some told me they felt like they weren't supposed to share what they believed.  I reminded them that this was the reason for the 1st amendment - that they could have the freedom to believe whatever they wanted, and share it if they'd like - or keep it to themselves if they chose.  (I'll add here that I didn't force anybody to talk.)

Of course it's also a little bit awkward because there's no getting around the fact that some students believe there's a chance other students are going to end up in Hell given their current religious beliefs.  And for the students and their families who believe this - it's very troubling to be on either side.  If you genuinely believe it - you don't want to see your friend on a path to Hell.  And if you're on the other side, you don't want to be reminded all the time that you're bound for Hell.

It was generally a good conversation if the students participated - but they didn't always participate, so sometimes it was lacking.  I encouraged them all to talk to you about their beliefs, rather than talk to me about them.

We also traced the roots of the three monotheistic religions back to Abraham using an interactive flow chart I made.  Check it out, I'm still working on it though:

If you want the extra credit for reading and discussing the blog with an adult, tell them about our discussion today.  How do you think it went?  Could it have gone any better?  What would have had to happen?  When you're done, write two sentences from the conversation on a piece of scrap paper.  Have the adult sign it, and turn it in tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Graded PPTs

Students had the chance to look at the comments I left them on their powerpoints today. I encourage you to check them out: this goes for students and adults. (True, students have already gone on and responded to the comments I left, but most students didn't have time to look at all of the comments.) So, funny story: first hour I had students respond to the comments I made. *In a whiny student voice:* "But do I have to respond to aul of dem?"

Me:  Yes.

Student: But... but... but there's so MANY of them.

(Keeping in mind there are about 5-10 comments per presentation.)

Me:  I know...  I wrote them.

Student: But... you like doing this stuff...

Me:  (I'm probably getting visibly annoyed by this point, looking slightly incredulous):  You think I want to be grading power point presentations for 20+ hours of my weekend rather than hanging out with my family?  Reading a book of choice?  Watching mindless television?  No no no no no no NOooo..  True, I'm doing this to help you, and because I like you.  Seriously, if I can write comments on a hundred and however many (20? 30? 40?) presentations, you can take the time to respond to the comments I left specifically for YOU.

Student huffily goes to work.

*End of Act 1*

To those of you who understand and appreciate what goes into the grading process: thanks.

All that to say, parents and adults - you can see the finished/graded presentation your kid created.  You can access it by going to THIS POST and following the instructions.

If you want the extra credit for reading and discussing today's blog post, ask your parent (or the adult you're reading this with) what they think of religion.

Write two sentences telling me how the conversation went and have the adult sign it.  Then put it in the extra credit tray tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Indus River and Punishment

First - and this is VERY important.  If you did not complete your Hammurabi Power Point Presentation, this is the time to complete it.

You may be wondering how to access your files from home.  CLICK ON THIS LINK, AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.

Next, you need the link to get to the Power Point instructions.  YOU CAN FIND THE HAMMURABI WEBQUEST BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK.

That brings me to my next point: if you have a facebook account, it might help your friends to remind them that they can earn some extra credit by coming to this blog and reading it and discussing it with an adult.  Trust me, some of your friends need the extra credit.

To all the parents, and adults reading this: Thank you.  (Really, students - you should have said that yourself.)  Thanks for taking the time to find out what we're doing in social studies.

We just finished up the Hammurabi ppt.  (Well, if you read the instructions above, you'll see that not EVERYONE finished it, but most of us did...)

We discussed the reasons for the law (or more appropriately, the reasons for punishment) today.  I gave 4 reasons - students: can you tell the adult one of those reasons, and give an example of it?

Hammurabi punished people for many of the same reasons we punish people today: he stopped them from committing the crime again (often because he had them executed), he deterred others from committing crimes (because they saw people being executed), people could take revenge on those who wronged them (through execution...).

Ok... I'm being a little tough on Hammurabi here, after all, a lot of his laws did not include execution.  For instance, if a kid hit a parent, the kid only had his hands chopped off.

At any rate, we talked about this a lot in class today.  I don't want you to have to spend 45 minutes reading though, so I'll allow your kid to sum up.

We also watched a quick little video (and I do mean quick - John Green talks faster than most of the adolescent girls in my class...) about the Indus River Valley Civilization.  If you missed any of it, you can watch it again below.

If you want the extra credit for reading and discussing this blog with an adult, write down one thing you remember from the video.  Then, have the adult you discussed the blog with sign the paper that you wrote it on.  Turn it in tomorrow.

Here's the video again:

Friday, January 11, 2013


First of all, to those of you with facebook: consider reminding your friends that they can earn extra credit by visiting this blog and discussing it with an adult.

I know I'm getting a lot of extra credit turned in from people who don't have facebook accounts - either they're too young, or they don't have time for it.  That's fine.  If you DO have one though, it's always nice to help friends out.  And this extra credit is easy, as always.

I'm saying this because next week is the last week of the marking period.  So time is running out if you want it on this quarter.  And I had that great feeling today, when I put some extra credit in the grade book, and I saw a students score go from a C+ to a B-.

Speaking of grades, the quiz was today.  Not bad.  A lot of Cs.  They are all entered, so unless you were absent today, it should be in there.  I'm planning on having all the power point presentations graded by the end of this weekend.  1st and 2nd hour will be in by 3:30 PM today.

So, to get the extra credit, you had to read and discuss this post with an adult.  There's not too much social studies content on here, so adults, here are some questions you can ask your kid:
  • How'd you do on the quiz?
  • How are your grades?
  • Really?  Do you mind if we go on STI and check them?
  • Oh... Ok... We can check them later, I know your favorite TV show is on right now.  (Parents/adults: you can still force them to go to STI and check their grades if you want... I leave this entirely up to you.  But don't feel like you have to do it to get credit for reading and discussing the blog... it's your life, you know?)
  • What was that quiz about?
  • The first section, you either picked Egypt, Mesopotamia, or Both.  Can you tell me anything that was in the Both category?
  • Theocracy?  Polytheism?  Great!  Looks like you're really learning something in there.
  • Although, it's been a while since I've been in social studies.  What's a theocracy again?
There you have it.  On a scrap piece of paper, the student should write down a sentence or two telling how the conversation went.  Then, parent or adult, sign that paper.

Turn it in on Monday and BAM! extra credit!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Quiz Tom Or Row

In case you suffer from short term memory loss, we're having a quiz tomorrow.  Please be ready for it.

I'm not posting a long blog entry.  Instead, take out your review guide and study with the adult that you usually read the blog posts with.

If you forgot it, you can get it from Monday's post.

When you've studied for at least 5-10 minutes, write the following quote on scrap piece of paper and have the adult that you studied with sign the paper: "They're smart cause they like it."  Indeed, a subject is much easier to study if you like the subject.

Good luck tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ancient Egypt

We graded the maps today.  They should be in the grade book by the end of the day.

While the students finished working on their maps, I played a song.  It's a loose tie-in to Ancient Egypt, but I figure it's nice to have some background music.  And I already like the song.  Here's the music video if you want to check it out:

Once the maps were graded, we read from the text book.  I interrupted the reading a couple times to show some other clips.  Ancient Egypt was polytheistic, so I showed a clip from The Prince of Egypt.  It's a scene where they go through the different gods.  ...Ok... I realize that it's in Bulgarian.  Apparently, youtube took the English version down.  It didn't really matter though, because we didn't make it that far into the clip.  Here it is:

We also read about theocracy, mummies, and their view of the afterlife, so I showed another little clip too.  If someone's going to interrupt their reading, it might as well be a guy with a Ph.D.

Some of you probably want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog.  If you're one of those people, you have to discuss this with an adult.  Talk about Ancient Egypt.  Maybe you could compare it to Ancient Mesopotamia.  You could watch the videos.  If you find any other short videos that you think are pretty good, you could put them in the comments section, or email them to me...  At any rate, once you're done discussing this post with an adult, find a scrap piece of paper.  On that paper, write the following quote: "Think of them as an immense invitation." - Josh Ritter.  Have your parent (or whatever adult you discussed the blog with) sign the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit tray.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Big Grades Coming Up

Well, well, welcome back.

We finished up the Hammurabi Power Point today.  Students who did not finish, are cordially invited to finish on their own - at lunch, CAP, after school, whenever.  There may be a couple notable exceptions, come see me if you think I'm talking about you.

We've got some big grades coming up.  Get ready:

  • Hammurabi ppt. 64 pts.
  • Ancient Egypt Map 25 pts.
  • Egypt Mesopotamia Venn Diagram 15 pts.
  • Ancient Civilizations Quiz 40 pts.

There you have it.  We probably won't talk about Egypt so much since you already know about it.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing this blog post with an adult, click on THIS LINK RIGHT HERE!!!!  That takes you to the review guide.  Have the parent or adult you read the blog with quiz you over some of the material that's going to be on the quiz.

Then, write two things you studied on a piece of scrap paper.  Write the following sentence: I studied __________ and __________ with ___________________.  On the final blank, have the parent or adult that read the blog and studied with you sign their name.

Put it in the extra credit turn in tray.

Have a great evening.

Hey: here's a picture of a ziggurat, in case you wanted to see one.  And a pyramid from Egypt.

Image Credit:
Image Credit: