Friday, October 30, 2015


We're still tying everything together, and looking at the pros and cons of globalization - and there are a lot of both.  We worked on understanding some of the terms that tie in to globalization:

  • GDP
  • Economics
  • Interdependence
  • Industrialization
  • Standard of Living
...All things we've talked about before.  We added two today: developing nations, and urbanization.

To teach urbanization, I had students draw flowers on their bellwork.  They were in their groups, as they always are.  Each group represented a village, or town.  I told them I'd pay them in construction paper for the flowers they were drawing.  And I did.

But one group was a city.  They drew cars instead of flowers.  ...And I paid that group in Starburst.

At the end of the week, I offered students the opportunity to move to the city, if they wanted to.  Many, MANY students did.

Some students still did not move.  Maybe they liked drawing flowers more than cars.  Maybe they didn't feel like moving their desk.

This is like real life: maybe moving to the city is worth it to get a higher paying job.  ...But it may not be worth it for everybody.

Hopefully this sent home the idea that urbanization = moving to the city.  It usually happens because the person moving is looking for a higher paying job.

If you want the extra credit, tell the adult you're reading and discussing this with what you thought of the activity.  Then, when you're done, write a couple sentences from your discussion on a piece of notebook paper.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it.  Turn it in on Monday.

There are some pictures below the page break:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tying Things Together

So many of these big, BIG concepts that we've been learning about tie in with other big concepts we've been learning about.  The term and idea of globalization encompasses so much.  Economy is the production (making), distribution (selling), and consumption (buying/using) of goods - but we could go off on lessons about standard of living, and human capital, and banks, and economic spillover (externalities), and jobs, and industrialization, and urbanization...  And each one of those terms/concepts/ideas/whatever you want to call them is another lesson or series of lessons.

Yesterday, we discussed the factory collapse in Bangladesh.  We talked about people who lived in countries with low standards of living, where they worked for so much less than the U.S. minimum wage.  And how, consumers possibly share the blame for the deaths of those factory workers.

In a way, globalization has led to the exploitation of those workers.  Our desire to have well-made, inexpensive clothes led to that.

But globalization is also strengthening the economies of these countries.  Their production is getting them money, and getting us the products we want.  This is a case of everybody elevating everybody else.

Today, we showed this with a trading simulation.  We formed groups of countries.  Each country had a main export.  All the other countries wanted that export.  Yarn represented a trade deal between two countries.  If there was talking, the trade deal fell apart, and I cut the string.

Ultimately, by trading, everybody

  • Got better stuff and a variety of stuff
    • because certain goods only come from certain areas
    • i.e. if you could only eat bananas grown in Indiana, you probably wouldn't be eating too many bananas
  • Got cheaper stuff
    • people can focus on producing what they're good at producing and make a lot of it
    • i.e. if I had to make my own telephone, I would have no telephone
    • also... cheap labor is driving globalization

We still haven't really tied all these things together, but we're going to try to.  Maybe tomorrow?  Maybe next week.

Here are some pictures of today's activity.  Instructions on how to get the extra credit points will be below them.

If students want extra credit, they should read and discuss this blog post with an adult.  When they've finished that, they should find a scrap of paper and write 2 sentences telling what they thought of the activity.  Have the adult that they read and discussed the blog with sign the paper.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it.  Then, turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit turn-in tray.

...One more thing, for those who care.  I try to conserve.  You know, reduce, reuse, recycle.  So, I spent a lot of my free time winding up the yarn.  But boy, there were a lot of knots.  Several times, I thought of the Gordian Knot.  Alexander and I... we're two of a kind.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Outsourcing - A Couple Older Posts

I don't generally link back to previous posts, but I thought these were good.

If students want extra credit today, read this post: Globalization: The Good, The Bad, The Guilty.  Do what it says at the end of the post to earn extra credit.

If they want a couple bonus extra credit points tonight, they may read and discuss this one as well:  Outsourcing and Slavery.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We're Back, BABY!

I hope you all had a great 4-day weekend!  I worked straight through it.  It felt good to feel like I was making progress on something, you know?

So, an update: Students should have read through chapter 21 of The Hunger Games.  (They should be ready to go with chapter 22 tomorrow.)  I keep thinking of Rome, and the Colosseum.  I keep thinking about how so many of us love watching football, knowing about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, yet we push it to the  back of our mind, because... football.

Maybe I'll write a post on that (and how The Hunger Games mirrors many other aspects of our culture) later.  For now, I want to give you a term we learned today:

URBANIZATION:  Moving to the city - usually for jobs.  (Also, the growing of cities)

We talked a little bit about why cities grow, why some people might want to move to the city to get a better job, and why others might not want to.

Throw in economy and globalization, and you've got yourself a lesson.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog today, you should have read and discussed this short little post with an adult.  Tell them about Ms. Urias.  Explain why Ms. Urias moved to the city.  Tell them what you would have done if you were her.  Why would Ms. Urias's job not have been ok in the United States.  ...That's the type of stuff I want you to discuss.  Have at it.  If you don't get it all, that's ok.  Thanks for stopping by.

To prove you were here, find a scrap of paper, and write two sentences from your discussion.  Then, have the adult you read with sign the paper.  Make sure your name, date and hour are on it.  Turn it in tomorrow.

Have a great evening, everybody.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


The bellwork today asked students to TKWA a map.

This map, actually:

Barack H. Obama (D) 
Electoral 365
Popular 69,456,897
John S. McCain (R)
Electoral 173
Popular 59,934,814
D (Democratic)
R (Republican)

TKWA is all about order.  When students are answering questions about a map (or a chart, or graph, or newspaper article, or whatever...) they often jump right into the questions.  I tell them they should always look at the title first.  Always.  Read the title.

If the map they're looking at doesn't have a title, move to the key.  Look at the key second.

Third, ask yourself: What is the point?  What is the purpose of this map?

Only after a you do these simple things should you go on to answer the questions.

If students want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog with an adult, they should find a map online and TKWA it.  Maybe google image search "world map interesting" or something.  Have the adult you TKWAed the map with sign the paper.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it.  Turn it in in the extra credit tray tomorrow.  See you then.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Human Capital: People With Skills

Mr. Gingerich, from Goshen College, came up with a great lesson that we used today in class.  He introduced the concept of "human capital."

First off, he had students write down five unique skills.  They went around the room sharing them.

Then, he shared a unique skill: saying the alphabet backwards, while hopping on one leg, rubbing his tummy and patting his head.

We agreed that skill probably isn't going to land him a teaching job...  at least, not that skill alone.  It was a nice transition into talking about human capital, however.  Here's the definition he gave:

We may or may not have watched a 22 second clip from Napoleon Dynamite at this point...:

Then, the students worked at various stations around the room where they wrote examples of the human capital different jobs would require.  After 2 minutes, the groups rotated to the next occupation.  At the end of class, the papers were full of examples of human capital:

Essentially, human capital is your value to an employer.  All the skills, knowledge, creativity, life experiences, etc... that will make you good at your job.  And it's at your job that you convert that human capital into financial capital.  And we could all use a little more of that.

Students may get extra credit by reading and discussing this blog post with an adult.  Once they've done that, they should write a couple sentences about how their discussion went.  Have the adult sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow in the extra credit tray.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Death of Language, Death of Culture

At the end of our fictional Banananovia Story, there are a couple ladies who are walking down the street clinging to their culture even as it is disappearing around them.

They are mocked by young Banananovians, but they do their best to maintain their dignity.  Heads held high, they continue down the street.

Even though they continued wearing the traditional clothes, and speaking the old language, there was nothing they could do to stop the onslaught of globalization.

It reminds me of a scene from The Matrix.  "You hear that, Mr. Anderson?  That is the sound of inevitability."

Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do.  (Granted, the Matrix analogy doesn't completely pan out if you've seen the movie... but you get my point.)

While Banananovia was fictional, we are becoming a world culture (or monoculture.)  Yesterday we discussed the Columbian Exchange.  Globalization was already happening before Columbus, but boy did he speed things up.

We read an article from 2012 which states, "There are some 6,000 to 7,000 languages in the world and it is estimated that they are disappearing at a rate of one every two weeks..."

Here's the article.  If you were absent today, make sure you read it.

We also watched this short video.  If you were absent, watch it:

If you were absent and want the points, or if you want extra credit, write a short summary of the article and the video, "Marie's Dictionary."  Discuss them with an adult.  (If the adult doesn't have time to read/watch with you, explain to the adult what the stories were about once you've finished.)

Then, have the adult sign your summary.  Turn it in tomorrow for extra credit.  The end of the marking period is going to be here soon.  Make sure you're keeping up.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Banananovia 2015

Well, that just happened.

I don't have time to type up the Banananovia story today.  Maybe I'll get this year's iteration down sometime.  There are always some notable changes between the years.  To get the extra credit this weekend, read these two posts from last year:

Going Bananas and Banananovia Part II.

At least, if you read those, you'll get the gist of the story.

To earn the extra credit points, either complete the extra credit from one of those two posts, or tell me some differences between what happened last year, and what happened this year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ingredients of Culture Pictures (2015)

It's been a little while since students submitted their ingredients of culture pictures, but I wanted to put a couple up.  If you remember, culture is everything that makes a society unique.  It's their way of life.

I gave students 10 ingredients of culture.  Certainly there are more.  Some people might argue that a few of the ones I have listed don't belong.  Here they are again:

  • government
  • language
  • values
  • ethnicity
  • food
  • dress
  • the arts
  • customs
  • standard of living
  • religion
I'm going to post 10 pictures students drew.  Each picture represents a different ingredient of culture.  All of my classes are represented in the pictures.

In order to get credit for reading and discussing the blog today, you have to look through the pictures with an adult, and write down what you think each one stands for.  Have the adult sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Busy, Busy Days

It's been pretty busy around here.  Grades continue to be updated.  If I were you, I would double-check them to make sure they're accurate.  If there's anything you need to turn in, well...  Get it turned in.

I'm hoping to post some of the ingredients of culture pictures here on the blog, but I might not get that done for a day or two.  We're still studying culture, but we're mixing it with economics.  We're working our way toward globalization.

Today students reviewed the ingredients of culture by writing a short story which included each ingredient.

After that, we got new seats.

Then, they looked in The Hunger Games and found examples of some of the things we've been studying.

They had to find:

    • standard of living (3 examples)
    • economies
      • traditional (1)
      • market(1)
      • command(1)
    • ethnocentrism (1)
    • ingredients of culture
      • food (1)
      • dress (1)
      • religion (1)
      • customs (1)
      • ethnicity (1)
      • values (1)
      • the arts (1)
      • government (1)
      • language (1)
      • standard of living (already listed above)

I think it went pretty well.

Students can get extra credit by reading and discussing this blog with an adult.  After you've read and discussed it, write a sentence about your discussion.  Have the adult you read with sign the paper.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it.  Turn it in tomorrow.