Friday, September 27, 2013

Banananovia Finale

There are new twists on the Banananovia story every year.

Last year I added in our home country: Industralia.  The year before, I added in the ladies walking down the street in the customary Banananovian attire.

This year, I accidentally left a kid behind - who later served as a translator when we met back up with the Banananovians to trade.  ...I'll have to remember that for next year.

It's another short post - and today, you don't even have to go clicking on some other old post to get the credit.

I would like you to recount (retell) the story to the adult you're reading the blog with.  Be as detailed as possible, but you don't have to share the full 45 minute story.  :)  You also don't have to wear the wig.

When you're done, tell me whether your parents think what happened to the Banananovians was mostly good, or mostly bad.  (Make sure you share with them some of the positive and negative impacts of globalization on Banananovia.  -Some of the good and bad things that happened because of our trip...)

Write down what they think, and tell me why they think it.  Have them sign the paper, and turn it in on Monday.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banananovia Revisited

Due to volleyball, I can't post a new link about Banananovia.  So, I'm asking you to look at this one for extra credit.  Do whatever it tells you to do.

If you were absent, and missed the story, read the blog - maybe you'll be able to understand part of it.  You should probably talk to someone who was in the class.

Have a great evening.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

HG Day

Today was a Hunger Games day, and will therefore be a short post day.

If you were in class today, tell the adult you're reading this with what's been happening in The Hunger Games.  Tell them who the main characters are, and tell them who your favorite is.

If you weren't at school today, you'll want to find out how far your class read, then borrow a book tomorrow during CAP, and catch up.

If you want the points for reading and discussing the blog, find a scrap of paper and write your favorite character and why they're your favorite.

Then, have the adult you discussed with sign the paper.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Outsourcing and Slavery

First of all, I'm here with a ROWDY, ROWDY group of volleyball girls.  They're all singing and being loud and what not - so if this post seems a bit distracted, that's probably the reason.  They say hi.  Well, specifically Jenica says hi.

This was the last day we discussed the reasons and effects of outsourcing.  We compared how much workers in the United States are paid with workers in Bangladesh.  We also revisited the factory collapse.

One thing that came out of this was the issue of slavery.  A student asked if they were related.  In both instances you have workers who are being treated unfairly.  In both instances there are others who benefit from their labor.  In both instances they are faced with poor choices: slaves can run away - but what kind of choice is that?  It would be much better if slavery didn't exist.  A woman working in Bangladesh could choose to be unemployed - or run away to another country that treats its workers better - but what kind of choice is that?

I asked students how they would feel if slavery was reinstated.  It was unanimous - we were all against this happening, of course.

Then I asked them if they would consider buying something made by slave labor.  Some didn't initially realize the problem others had with it.

Is buying clothing made in Bangladesh the same as buying clothing made by slaves?  No.  It's not.  And it's even more complicated when you consider 98% of our clothing is imported.

But the factory collapse opened our eyes.  And, while I don't have the answers - maybe you could figure some out in your student/parent or student/adult discussions.

Some things to discuss:

  • Is it fair to compare sweatshops to slavery?
  • Should Americans continue to support clothing made in sweatshops?
  • If yes, explain why it's not a problem.
  • If no, what's the alternative?
If you've read and discussed the blog with an adult, write two sentences telling about the discussion, then have the parent or adult you discussed with sign the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow.

See you then.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


We're continuing on with globalization, and soon we'll be moving into economics.

Yesterday in class (I'm writing this on Saturday) we watched a 5 minute clip of the Simpsons.  In it, we find out that Mr. Burns, the boss of Springfield's nuclear power plant is going to move the factory to India.  He says no one should worry - the jobs are still there - they're just being done by someone else in a foreign country.

We look at the causes of globalization, and I also ask the students to refer back to previous lessons as well - for instance we note ingredients of culture in the clip.

Monday we'll be reading about and discussing the factory that collapsed in Bangladesh.  Soon we'll tie it all together - looking at the positive and negative implications of globalization as a whole.

Students, I hope you have time to discuss some of this with a parent or other adult.

Adults, please feel free to ask them what outsourcing is, why it happens, and how it is an example of globalization.

When you're done, write this phrase on a scrap of paper: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."  Then have the adult you read and discussed with sign the paper.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Globalization and Apologies

I was surprised by the number of comments I received today mentioning the fact that I missed posting last night. Sorry, I was swamped. Several people who don't turn it in for extra credit brought it up as well. If you're here, you may as well get the points, right?

Either way, thanks for reading, and don't give up on me. I'm just a little behind on my grading.

Today we read and discussed globalization - and cheap labor. I didn't use the term "outsourcing." That will come up tomorrow.

Hopefully, students understand that cheap labor is the driving force behind globalization. I also hope they understand the term "interdependent." (Although I don't think we defined it until 2nd hour.)

If you want the extra credit for reading and discussing the blog tonight, tell the adult you're reading it with why an American business my be interested in moving its factories to another country. Also, tell them what "interdependent" means - if you remember.

When you're done, write the words "dependence, independence, and interdependence" on a scrap of paper, and turn it in tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Huh... Technology Shrinking the World and Plagiarism

So, we're talking about technology shrinking the world in here and I thought about getting an image to spice the blog up, so I searched it.  And here's something fun, the top image when you google image search "technology shrinking the world" is student work from this blog...  Fun, huh?  Try it out.

The problem was that there were two images later in the search that were identical and side-by-side.  One was from this blog, the other wasn't.  The one that wasn't was older.

I guess I can't catch every instance of plagiarism.  Technology definitely has it's ups and downs.  Either way, I took down the picture the kid drew.  And I watched the video about technology shrinking the world.  So, I guess it's not all bad, right?

Size is measured by both distance and space, right?  So often when someone says "how far is it to ________________" the answer is given in minutes rather than miles.

When people talk about technology shrinking the world, this is why.  We no longer have to travel 5 months to get to China.  We can fly, Skype, Facetime, etc...  The distance is the same, but we can access what was once inaccessible.

Technology is shrinking the world via transportation, media, and communication.

To get the extra credit for reading and discussing today's blog, come up with and example of each one.  How is technology shrinking the world via transportation?  Media?  Communication?  Discuss it with an adult.  Write down what you came up with and have the adult sign it.

Make sure your name date and hour are on it and turn it in tomorrow.

Here's the video if you're interested.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Sorry.  No time to post today, so there's no extra credit.  Feel free to play the geography games.

We're working on globalization in class - in case you were absent today.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Disneylandia Globalization and The Hunger Games

We listened to (and discussed) Jorge Drexler's  "Disneylandia" in class.  The students read a translated version, and I had them point out examples of globalization in the song - examples like:

"Armenians naturalized in Chile are looking for their relatives in Ethiopia."


"Greek literature adapted for Chinese children in a European Community."


"African zebras and Australian Kangaroos at the London Zoo."

...The song is one example of globalization after another.  And it's beautiful, and moving, and there's a lot more going on in it that we don't have time to talk about - like... what IS Disneylandia, for example?

We also read The Hunger Games.  We're moving along.

Here's a video of Drexler's song.  It's not the video of his song, but it's good - and the images depict globalization - although many are biased one way or another.

If you want the extra credit, watch the video and discuss it with the adult you read the blog with.  On a piece of paper, write down a few thoughts, and have them sign it.  Turn it in on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


We went over the 9/11 stations today, but we also got back into what we were talking about before: cultures.

For bellwork, I had the students define the four terms that they defined days ago.  I wanted to see if they still remembered them.

The terms are all related:

Globalization, ethnocentrism, cultural borrowing, cultural diffusion.  They all tie in with globalization.  We spent quite a bit of time discussing them.  Spend some time discussing them now.  What do they each mean?  How are they related?  Etc...

Don't forget, students can bring in a tag and get extra credit for that as well.

If you want extra credit today, write the following phrase: "Weezer was covering The Pixies when they played the b-side Velouria."

Then, have the adult you discussed this with sign the paper and turn it in tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Editorial Cartoons

We walked around the room today looking at editorial cartoons that came out shortly after 9/11/01. Students had to use some of those "critical thinking" skills that people are always talking about. As you know, the cartoons aren't straight forward. They're symbolic. As has been the case of late, I don't have a lot of time to write, so I'm going to put a cartoon up here. To get the credit, read and discuss the questions below it with an adult. Write the answers on a scrap of paper, and have the adult sign it. (You might also consider telling them some of the other pictures we had in the room today.)

1.  Who are the people in this picture?
2.  Where are they?
3  What is above their heads?
4. What does that mean?
5.  Why is the comment "We've reached the top" ambiguous?  (Ambiguous means it can mean more than one thing - in this case, the word "top" is referring to two things...)
6.  What is the cartoonist trying to say?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Another 9/11

It's probably my most emotional draining day as a teacher.  We watch the events of 9/11 as the morning unfolds.  A few years ago, I scoured videos looking for ones that captured the events, but were still age appropriate.

But watching them 6 classes in a row is still draining.  So, please understand I'm not trying to brush you off when I say I don't feel like writing about it at present.

I'll tell you what though, go to this website: TIME'S BEYOND 9/11 SITE.  If you want extra credit tonight, watch any one of the interviews on here with an adult.  Obviously, I haven't watched them all, but the ones I have seen were very well done.  Discuss what you saw with the adult.

To get the extra credit, write down the name of the person (or people) you watched and two things you took from what they said.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cultural Borrowing and Diffusion

My volleyball manager and I have been scanning in the homework from Friday.  I was hoping to have pictures up and ready to go today, but it didn't happen.  (If you didn't do the pictures, it'd probably be a good idea to get them done.)

We still don't have the website set up for you to download documents, but that will be coming soon.

We've been discussing culture the past several days.  Today we introduced the terms "cultural borrowing" which is when something from one culture makes its way to another culture.  (Even though, I don't plan on returning any of the pizza I "borrowed" from Italy, it's still considered cultural borrowing...)

And "cultural diffusion" is how all that cultural borrowing happens.  Word of mouth, travelling to other cultures, TV, movies, internet, etc...

I'll try to have some pictures up tomorrow, but I may write about 9/11 instead, as that's what we'll be discussing.

If you want credit for reading and discussing the blog, discuss cultural borrowing and cultural diffusion.  Can you give me any examples of phrases that have made their way into the English language?  Write a couple down on a piece of paper, and have the adult you discussed with sign it.

Here's my example of cultural borrowing:  Hasta la vista, baby.  (Method of cultural diffusion?  The movies.)

Friday, September 6, 2013


I don't have time to post right now.  I'm planning on posting later this weekend.

Actually, if you want extra credit for Monday, go play the Middle East Geography Games.  Play countries - the middle column.  Print out your scores, take a picture of them, or take a screen shot of them and email it to me.

See you Monday.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Culture and the Games

Many students have homework tonight.

If they didn't finish their ingredients of culture pictures, they were to take them home and complete them for homework.  True enough, a lot of students DID finish them, so chances are they're not lying to you if they say they got it done.

We read The Hunger Games during class today.  We're at the point where I can start to tie some social studies content in with it.  For instance, Katniss has never ridden in a car before.  She's never taken a shower - let alone a warm one.  She's never ridden in a train.  So, that gave us a chance to discuss the standard of living in the seam.

We also discussed dictatorships a bit, and the propaganda they put out, as well as issues dealing with human rights - like the freedom to travel.

If you want the extra credit for reading and discussing tonight's blog, discuss The Hunger Games.  Tell the adult you read the blog with what's happened so far.

Then, find a scrap of paper and write "I would have helped Katniss if she was digging through my trash looking for food."  Have the adult sign it.  (You see, even in the extra-credit code sentence I'm trying to instill cultural values in you.)

Photo credit: The Hiking Artist.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More Difficult Ingredients

We've been discussing culture, and the ingredients of culture.  I tried to order them by difficulty, going from the easier to the more complex.  For instance, food is a part of our culture.  Most students already understand food.  In fact, sometimes I think it's all they think about.  ...Especially 5th hour...

And they understand language, and dress.  Most have a general concept of religion, government, customs and the arts.

But ethnicity?  Standard of living?  Values?  These are a little bit more difficult.  In fact, even academics bicker about their exact meanings?  Are ethnicity and race the same thing?  How does nationality fit in?  Is there a choice component?

And how do we gauge standard of living?  Is it just GDP, or is it more than that?

And, as a colleague always says, "We may value our valuables, but they are not our values."

So, we discussed some of the more difficult concepts today.  I did give students a paper, but it is NOT homework.  I don't care if you work ahead, but make sure you bring an AR book along with you if you're an over-achiever.  Don't distract the rest of the class.

If you read consider discussing the ingredients of culture - giving an example for each.  If you do this, find a scrap of paper and write down the ingredient, and its example.  Then have the adult sign the paper.  Put in the extra credit tray tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


We introduced culture today, and went over some of the ingredients that go into making a culture.  Ethnicity, dress, language, customs, etc...

We came up with definitions and examples for each, and we discussed stereotyping.

I hope everyone got the concept that when viewing a culture, you have to stereotype.  You have to generalize.  And just because we all break the stereotypes in some way, that doesn't mean we're "un-American."

For instance, we may list hot dogs and popcorn as American foods, but we should still recognize that there are people in America who do not like hot dogs or popcorn.

At any rate, there's no homework for tonight.  However, students should bring their colored pencils tomorrow.  (Along with what they generally bring...)

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog today, you should read and discuss the blog with an adult.  Then, on a sheet of scrap paper write the phrase: "I'll take something to believe: something with long sleeves because it's unpredictable."  Then have the adult you read the blog with sign the paper.