Friday, August 29, 2014

Quiz Today!!!

Of course, if you were here today or yesterday... or any day this week... you already knew this.

Hopefully you aced the latitude and longitude quiz.  It should be in the grade book by the end of the day.  If you put in your email address, you also got your score emailed to you - along with the your answers, and the correct answers.

If you were absent today, be prepared take the quiz on Tuesday.  Tuesday?   HEY!  WE HAVE MONDAY OFF!!!  WOO HOO!!!  GRILLING!!!! Or eating bowl after bowl of cereal.  They're both acceptable in my book.

After the quiz students were allowed to retake their continents and oceans tests - so congratulations to those of you who finally passed it.  If you still need to get an 11/11, you may retake it Tuesday during CAP.

We're starting something new on Monday Tuesday.  Be ready.

Until then, have a great weekend.

If you want extra credit for coming to the blog and reading it with an adult, write a sentence telling me something fun that you're doing this weekend.  Then have the adult sign the paper.  This will prove to me that you were here.

Make sure to include your name, date and hour.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Due to Technical Difficulties...

the blog will return tomorrow.

With video footage...


Thanks for stopping by.

Don't forget about the latitude/longitude quiz tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And now for something completely different.

We're trying something new today.  ...Well... new for me.  Mr. Swanson made an activity last year.  Students were given a map of the school, with a grid super-imposed on the top.  Students labeled the grid by increments of 10.  After that, they start at a base, and use the coordinates to lead them to their next spot.
One of the students today told me she felt like "a secret agent."  Dang... that's exactly what we were going for.

We didn't get to have all the students go today.  Some practiced plotting some more - but not to worry.  Tomorrow the roles will be reversed.

I'll add some pictures to this blog post when there's time.  ...And when I have some pictures.

Don't forget that there's a latitude/longitude quiz on Friday.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing this blog with an adult, write the number 1977 on a scrap of paper.  Have the adult sign it.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it, and turn it in tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lat Long Forest

We practiced L&L today using a forest of trees.  By the end of the hour, I felt really confident that the students would ace the quiz if I gave it tomorrow.

But I'm not giving it tomorrow.  I'm giving it Friday.

One thing to take note of from today - the Prime Meridian and the Equator are not always in the middle of the map.  The maps we used were nice, because the Prime Meridian and Equator were bold.  So, although they weren't found in the middle of the map, they were still easily distinguished.

To get the extra credit today, answer the following question: how can you tell if a line is the Prime Meridian or Equator if it is not bold, and it's not in the middle of the map?

Write your answer on a scrap piece of paper, and then have the adult you read the blog with sign it.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I've Got a Sinking Feeling

I'm keeping the post short today, as I don't have a lot of time.

We started playing Battleship using latitude and longitude.

If you want the extra credit for coming here, remember you're supposed to read and discuss this with an adult.  Take some time and explain how you play latitude and longitude battleship.

You can use the grid below to help your explanation.

Then, write a sentence or two explaining the game to me.  Have the adult sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.  Don't forget to put your name, date and hour on the paper you turn in.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Plotting Latitude and Longitude

We worked on plotting latitude and longitude on a grid today.

After some basics, we moved onto more difficult spots.  Nothing too crazy....  Since we had the students label their grids by fives, 10˚N, 5˚E is easier to plot than 17˚S, 4˚W...  We got to all of that, but we didn't take 0,0 off the grid - so the students still had a middle point to start from.

After a little practice, we had the students take trips.  They would tell us where they wanted to go, or who they wanted to see.  Then, we would have somebody go to the board, locate that place or person, and draw them in the correct spot.

It's difficult to draw with the SMART markers, but they would manage.  However, because we have the internet, I could do a quick google image search and find a picture of the place or person.  I would surreptitiously switch out their hand-drawn picture of Justin Beiber (or whoever) and replace it with one I found online.  When the students noticed, I liked to pretend that it was the one drawn by hand, and that the student was just that good of an artist.

Here are some of the grids we came up with - in case you're interested:

It was a good day.  I feel better about the students' ability to plot latitude and longitude than I have in previous years.  I have to remember what I'm doing differently...  It's probably that I have another qualified teacher in the room with me all the time.  (Mr. Helmuth, my student-teacher...)  It makes everything so much easier.

Have a great weekend.  If you want the extra credit for reading and discussing the blog tonight, find a scrap of paper, and tell me what is found at 20˚N, 5˚W on the first grid.  Write it down, and have the adult you read and discussed the blog with sign the paper.

See you soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Distortion: Maps, Latitude, Longitude

We're still working on some basics of geography: Equator, Prime Meridian, the poles, the hemispheres, and of course, latitude and longitude.  The bellwork reviewed some of those basics.

After the bellwork, we watched a couple videos dealing with maps, and map distortion.  They are very good, as well as short.  If you want to watch them again, or parents... if you want to watch them for the first time, here they are:

It's still strange to think that all of those maps are as accurate as the Mercator Projection...  And I've been teaching this for years.

Here's the other one.  I think that Hank Green drinks 5 Red Bulls and 5 Monsters before he makes these videos.  Dude... ... ...  Slow down.  You're speaking too fast.  The frames can't catch you when you're moving like that.    It's very, very good - albeit fast:

The students also had a chance to retake their continents and oceans tests.  Many improved their scores.  Don't forget that you can always go online and see their grades.

I don't know how long it took you guys to read the blog... but to get the extra credit today, it'll take you another... I don't know... 5 minutes...  Have the adult you read the blog with watch one of the two video clips.  (Or both, if you're so inclined...)  When you've finished watching it, ask them what they thought.  Then, find a scrap of paper, and write down 2 things they found interesting.  (The student has to write down the two things.)  Have the adult that read and watched sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

Until then, have a great day!

P.S. If any of you have social media, would you remind your fellow students that they can get extra credit by going here?  If you share the link, maybe they'll share in the points.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Latitude and Longitude

Latitude and longitude can be a difficult subject for a lot of middle school students.  Latitude lines run east and west, but they're measured north and south of the equator.  Longitude lines run north and south, but are measured east and west of the Prime Meridian.  

East and west... north and south...  Which goes with which?

One of the ways I get students to learn the difference between latitude and longitude is to hold their hands up to their mouths.  When you say latitude, your mouth moves the same direction of the lines.  Likewise when you say longitude.

It looks a little like this...  


And Longitude:

We'll work on plotting these on a map tomorrow and Friday... and then we may do a treasure hunt on Monday and Tuesday.  Don't tell anybody.

If you want extra credit, you were supposed to read and discuss the blog with an adult.  If you've done that, show the adult the latitude and longitude trick.  Then, write a sentence telling me that you actually did show them that memory trick.  Have them sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow for extra credit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Extra Credit Opportunities

Welcome back to the blog! This is Mr. Helmuth again, providing a recap of our day.

Today we learned all about this blog, and how we are able to gain extra credit in Mr. Habecker's class.
One of the easiet (and most fun) ways to recieve extra credit is by completing map games.

Those games can be found by going to the CJHS website, and following these directions:
Click on: Grade Level Resources > Geography Games > and a game of your choice.

You can also follow THIS LINK to the games.

In order to receive credit for the map games, you must do one of the following:

-Print your score, either printing the page or just a screen shot of your score.

-Screen shot your score, and email it to Mr. Habecker. His email can always be found the Junior High Website.
-If you cannot print or email, write down your scores and times, and have an adult sign it.

You must have an adult sign the completed assignment to receive the extra credit.

Mr. Habecker also allows extra credit with the class blog. The route to the blog is:
CJHS website > Staff Directory > Social Studies > Philip Habecker > and click on the world icon

Extra credit for the blog is earned by discussing the blog with an adult, having them sign a piece of scrap paper with your NAME, DATE, and HOUR on it.  Today, you also have to challenge an adult to a couple map games, record your scores (using one of the methods above), and have the adult sign the paper. Turn it in tomorrow.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beginning With Maps

Mr. Helmuth here, signing on as today's guest blogger.

Today in class we managed to touch on some basic map skills, focusing mostly on Cardinal Directions. The Bell work asked us to look at a map and practice locating countries.

So far, we seem like we are understanding the directions, despite some minor setbacks with the intermediate directions, which we all know lie in between the Cardinal Directions.

As a side note, we still need to remember to follow the first rule of Social Studies:
To write down our NAMEs, the DATE, and the HOUR on the top of ALL of our assignments. This will keep Mr. Habecker in high spirits for the duration of the semester.

We will spend some time tomorrow working again with the Cardinal Directions, so come prepared to rotate yourself accordingly.

If you want extra credit, you need to read and discuss the blog with an adult.  If you've done that, find a scrap of paper.  Then, write your name - FIRST AND LAST, the date, and the hour you have social studies.  Have the adult you read the blog with sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Getting Things Together

It's a new year - and it feels new.  There have been big changes around the junior high.  We are no longer grouped by common students or teachers.  I have a new prep period.  A student teacher, Mr. Helmuth, has agreed to help us out.

And of course, we have all new students.

We've both been very impressed so far.  The students have been following the procedures we've laid out.  They're on time.  They're polite.  I have no complaints.

I don't have to many rules for my class.  Respect yourself.  Respect others.  That's what it boils down to.

We have focused on procedures, though.

If students want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog with an adult, they should write down the procedures for the following:

Bellwork: where do you get it?  When do you start it?
Turning in papers:  Where do they go?  How do they face?
What color pens or pencils?  Why?
What happens when we start grading?  Why?

If you write that down, and turn it into the extra credit tray, guess what?!?!  You get extra credit.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Wow!  You made it!  You're here!

So, this is the blog.  Tomorrow is the first day of school - weird, right?

I keep this blog to keep you up to date with what's going on in the classroom.

You can get extra credit by reading it with an adult.  So, go for it.

If you DID read this - lets say you had a brother or sister in my class, knew about this site and wanted to get a head start - write a sentence telling me the coolest thing about your parent or guardian.

Then, have them sign it.

Turn it in tomorrow.

See you then!!!