Monday, November 30, 2015

Governments: Big Questions, Easy Questions, Video Quiz

I hope you all found some time to relax during our time off.

For bellwork today, I gave the students some questions that were pretty easy.  But, they were questions that made the students think - not just factual recall.

I asked them to answer in paragraph form.  Here are the questions:

"Which government do you think would be the most likely to have a command economy?  Why?"

"Which do you think is the government where the people are freest?  Why?"

After that, students took a video quiz.  I made it a couple years ago, and you can find it HERE.

Students may earn extra credit by reading and discussing the blog with an adult.  Perhaps you could ask the adult those two questions.  Maybe give them some hints.  Maybe let them check out the chart:

When you're done, write down a couple sentences about the conversation.  Did they answer the questions correctly or not?  What'd they say?  Have them sign the paper.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it and turn it in tomorrow.

Oh hey!  I gave students ATATU last week.  Here it is in case you've forgotten:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Government Picture Quizzes

We've been looking at the different types of government.  We filled out a chart with the types of governments we want the students to know.  Make sure you have a copy:

(That might actually be an older version, but the one we're using today will be very, very similar.)

Today students made quizzes for each other by drawing pictures of each government.

In order to get the extra credit, you need to take one of these quizzes.  Discuss the pictures with an adult.  Tell them why you think it's the type of government you think it is.  You may use the chart (above if you left yours at school) if you want.  I've posted 3 today.  You can choose which one you want to take.  You only have to take one, but I won't stop you from taking them all. Here they are:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Unlimited Governments

The questions at the beginning of class were "Is the government of Panem limited or unlimited?  How do you know?  What would life be like under the authority of President Snow?"

I also asked what students had heard about Friday's attacks.

We spent the day looking at the birth of ISIS.  We compared Syria's "President" Assad to Panem's "President" Snow.  We looked at the similarities and differences between the rebel groups.

We watched a 5 minute video on the Syrian Civil War, but in truth, the video took a lot longer than that, because I paused it and talked every 5 seconds.

If students want extra credit tonight, they need to watch and discuss the video with an adult.  Hopefully there's an adult around that has 5-10 minutes to watch and discuss.  If not, maybe an older brother or sister will do.

Here's the video:

After you're done watching and discussing, write me a paragraph about your discussion.  Make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper, then turn it in to me tomorrow.

If you have any questions, be sure to include those as well

Friday, November 13, 2015

Test Today

If you weren't here, you missed out.  We took the test today.  :)

If you didn't take the test, make sure to remind me of this fact.  You'll need to make it up when you get back.

I'm hoping to have grades entered over the weekend.

If you want to earn extra credit tonight, write me a letter telling me what you think it would be like to live in a country run by President Snow.  Or maybe, imagine that you live in that country.

Turn it in on Monday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Studying for the Test

Make sure you are studying for Friday's test.

Today we spent the majority of class coming up with questions from the review guide.

When you study for the test, don't simply re-read the review guide.  Ask yourself questions as you go.  Try to make connections between what's on the review guide, and your life.  Make connections between parts of the review guide.

Here's a very good, fairly short article on how to study.  It's worth checking out.

Here's the review guide.  Make sure you're studying it.  Don't just re-read it.  If you want extra credit today, write 4 good questions from the review guide.

(Here's another review guide.  It has some of the definitions and things on it, in case you've lost your notes.)

Then, have the adult you read and discussed the blog with sign the paper.  (Maybe have them ask you the questions to see if you know the answers or not.)

Monday, November 9, 2015


We introduced government today.  It would be worth checking out this blog post.  ...Or maybe this post.

I'm not going to write about that though, because I want to make sure that you realize we have a test on Friday.  It will cover everything we've learned so far this school year, but especially focus on culture, economics, and globalization.


If you want the extra credit today, you need to study for at least 10 minutes - preferably with an adult, but you may also study on your own.

If there's anything on the review guide you feel like you cannot adequately explain, look at your notes, or search through this blog.  Type whatever it is you need help with into this blog's search engine (upper left hand corner of a desktop) and it should give you all the help you'll need.

When you're done studying, find a scrap of paper and write 5 things you brushed up on.  Have the adult you studied with sign the paper.

Turn it in tomorrow for extra credit.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Juxtapositions: The Hunger Games and Banksy

Juxtaposition:  The fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

Throughout The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins has juxtaposed the life of the Capitol with that of Katniss and District 12.  We see it in the clothes, the food, the dress, the customs, the arts; every aspect or ingredient of their culture seems to be placed side-by-side for our comparison.

It should be obvious to readers that she is doing it intentionally.  And, she does it whether Katniss is living at home in District 12, or not.

Here is a paragraph from the chapter we just read today: chapter 26.

     "I slump down on the floor, my face against the door, staring uncomprehendingly at the crystal glass in my hand.  Icy cold, filled with orange juice, a straw with a frilly white collar.  How wrong it looks in my bloody, filthy hand with its dirt-caked nails and scars.  My mouth waters at the smell, but I place it carefully on the floor, not trusting anything so clean and pretty." (p. 347)

The difference between these two worlds is intentionally jarring, meant to illustrate the "let them eat cake" attitude of the Capitol.  (For the record, Marie Antoinette is supposed to have said this, but there's little evidence to support that.)

Of course, after having read the article, "The Real Cost of Clothes" or watching "The Deadly Cost of Fashion" or reading the article "21st Century Slaves" this juxtaposition hits a little harder.  It is impossible to read The Hunger Games after that and not put our own culture into it.

I'm here in my fancy classroom, with clothes, and shoes, and posters on the wall.  Coffee I can have at essentially the push of a button.  A computer in front of me that connects to a SMARTboard on the wall.  Both of which are connected to the internet that connects to computers all over the world.  I don't have to worry about the electricity going out, or not having clean water.

Juxtapose that against the life of a 7 year old child working 17 hour shifts 7 days a week.  (As mentioned in the Junior Scholastic Article on slavery.)

It's evident that The Hunger Games is a warning for all of us.

Art (an ingredient of culture) reflects the culture.   The message we find here in this book, we find in other pieces of art as well.  Banksy is one of the kings of unexpected contrast, and he (or she... or they) is giving the same message:

Collins also does this to show us the horrors of the Capitol, and perhaps what we could become if we're not careful.

     "When I manage to pull my eyes away from the flickering fabric, I'm in for something of a shock.  My hair's loose, held back by a simple hairband.  The makeup rounds and fills out the sharp angles of my face.  A clear polish coats my nails.  The sleeveless dress is gathered at my ribs, not my waist, largely eliminating any help the padding would have given my figure.  The hem falls just to my knees.  Without heels, you can see my true stature.  I look, very simply, like a girl.  A young one.  Fourteen at the most.  Innocent.  Harmless.  Yes, it is shocking that Cinna has pulled this off when you remember I've just won the games."  (p. 355)

In case you didn't catch it, Cinna is using a juxtaposition here as well.  He is showing the Capitol what Katniss really is: a young girl.  The Capitol, for entertainment, sees her as a Tribute; a killer.  Cinna, by dressing her this way shows that she's no monster, or rather it draws attention to the fact that now she is - because the Capitol made her so.  That being the case, those living in the Capitol must ask themselves who the true monsters are.

And as a reader of the book, and viewer of the arts, we must ask ourselves, who do we represent, and what should our reaction be?

If you're a student and you read and discussed this with an adult, write a couple sentences in response to the post.  What did you think?  Did you agree with it or not?  What did the adult think?  What parts did you agree with?  What parts didn't you agree with? 

Have the adult sign the paper when you're done.

Turn it in tomorrow.  (Make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper.  For real... double check this.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Malala and Kailash and Externalities

In class, we've been really focused in on globalization and its consequences.  Consumers pay less for goods, but cheap labor is exploited.  We have exposure to more cultures, but many cultures are dying out.

Every action has positive and negative consequences.  Economic development is no different.  Today we learned the term "externality."  It used to be called "economic spillover."

An economic spillover (externality) refers to the unintended positive and negative outcomes of economic development.

You can see why we have to teach what the economy is before we can begin teaching about externalities.

Countries (and states, and cities) want economic development.  They want people in their area to have jobs making and selling goods.  They want to have money to buy.  Often, they'll come up with incentives to bring companies or factories in.

When those factories come in, they're coming in because they want to make money.  THAT is what they care about.  Money.

The economic spillover would be the positives and negatives other than that money.

Does the factory take up space that used to be a park?  Negative economic spillover.
Did building the factory encourage others to check out the town?  Positive economic spillover.
Does the factory pollute?  Negative economic spillover.
Did the factory increase the standard of living for the town?  Positive economic spillover.

This idea of unintended consequences touches many areas of our lives.  Students wrote me a paragraph about it this morning.  Many were quite interesting: holding the door to be nice resulting in a piece of candy; play-fighting resulting in getting in trouble; forgetting to close the gate leading to the dog getting out of the yard and getting hurt.

Yesterday we read about Kailash Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his efforts to end modern slavery.  This was an unintended consequence of his actions.

He shared the award with Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the face for speaking out in favor of education.  Being shot; winning the award - these were both unintended consequences of Malala's actions.

Their paring for the Nobel Peace Prize makes sense.  They were both fighting for children to have the opportunities they deserve.  No child should be forced to work 17 hour shifts 7 days a week.  All children should have the right to an education.  

Perhaps an unintended consequence of globalization is that children are being forced to work long hours so first-world nations can have cheap clothes.  But another unintended consequence of globalization is that we all have the opportunity to speak up and speak out - and our words have the potential to be heard all over the world.

If you are interested in how you can raise money for education - and specifically girls education - worldwide, check out The Malala Fund.  They've got some really interesting ideas.

If you are interested in Kailash Satyarthi's organization BBA, check this out.

As always, students in my class may earn extra credit if they read and discuss this post with an adult.  To prove you did this, write a paragraph about your discussion and have the adult you read it with sign the paper.

Here's the trailer to He Named Me Malala.  We watched the trailer in class today.