Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Yesterday I asked my students if they had heard of World War I before.  Almost universally, students told me that they had.

I asked them to tell me about it.  Anything.  Who was it fought between, why it was fought, when, major battles, sides, places... anything.

I think 2 students out of 150 or so could list a single accurate aspect of this, The "Great" War.

So, here's what happened:

I asked students if they knew the term, "I got your back" means.  Yes, of course they did.  They even taught me some new, hip ways of saying it.  I won't repeat them here, because I prefer to use terms like, "hip."

They went around the classroom building alliances:

Then I offered something small: a candy bar.  I offered it to a petite lady in the class.  It was hers, but if somebody could beat her in arm-wrestling, they could have it.

I then chose the strongest looking guy with his hand up.

Obviously, that wasn't fair - so she called up member of her alliance.  Maybe all of them.

Then, the guy didn't think that was fair, so he called up all the members of HIS alliance.

Then alliance members called other people they were allied with, until the whole classroom was up at the front fighting over something very few actually cared about, or were invested in.

We discussed how the catalyst for WWI was something relatively small - Gavrilo Princip assassinating Franz Ferdinand.  (Of course, assassinations are a big deal, but ultimately millions and millions of people ended up dying in WWI.)  Then, the system of alliances took off - and that's where we got the war.

Today, we've already moved into WWII.  You can check out things I've posted about it HERE, or HERE.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog, write two paragraphs about the discussion you had.  Have the adult you read with sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.  (Make sure your name is on it.)

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