Sunday, October 22, 2017

Service Learning Domestic Violence Awareness Mini-Unit (Day 1)

Tomorrow is my first day with the Service Learning students. I will have them for one week. I have a PowerPoint presentation with a guided notes sheet planned for Monday and Tuesday. I plan to share some PSAs and a couple TED Talks later this week. Throughout the week I have some activities planned and a guest speaker on Friday. We are also organizing and implementing a week-long drive for Passages, a domestic violence shelter in Richland Center, Wisconsin. This year, students will be collecting paper goods (diapers, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, feminine products, and computer paper- both white and colored).

Tomorrow I will start my first session with this bell-ringer:


My Current Events and Life Skills students have been working on bulletin boards this month to raise awareness of domestic violence.



Civil Rights History- "12 Years a Slave"

On Monday, we begin Unit 2. I am going to introduce the film "12 Years a Slave" and we will begin watching the film. I spent the morning updating my viewing guide for the film.



This week in U.S. History...


I am really excited about our next project in United States History. We spent the last two days discussing the Declaration of Independence. I introduced the topic with a fake breakup letter, similar in format to the Declaration of Independence. We discussed the parts of the letter and compared it to the real Declaration of Independence. On Monday, my students are going to create their own version of a "breakup letter" to King George III.

My lesson was inspired by these similar lessons I found online:
"Breakup" Letter Assignment

Breakup Letter Instructions

Some videos I share with students on the topic:

A Reading of The Declaration of Independence

TED-ED: What You Might Not Know About the Declaration of Independence

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Ally Week, Homecoming and More!

This year we plan to celebrate ALLY WEEK the first week of October rather than September 25-29. Homecoming week at RVHS begins tomorrow. Our GSA felt it would be better to reschedule our Ally week activities until after Homecoming, concerned that with all that is going on for Homecoming, Ally Week would get ignored/forgotten/overshadowed.

So far our GSA members have planned a daily "scavenger hunt" activity, (we are still working on riddles which have turned out to be more challenging to write than anticipated) and daily announcements.  Last week several GSA members visited all of the "homerooms" to share information about the GSA and Ally Week activities. So far, all of the feedback I have received from students and staff  has been positive!

Our first "public" event of the year is planned for this Thursday night's Volleyball game. We will be selling concessions to raise money for much needed baby-changing stations for the restrooms. We will also be raising money for hurricane victims.

Friday our members will be marching in the homecoming parade!

Hoping to post some photos soon!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Unsung Heroes Mock Interview Project (Howard Zinn Interview)

Assignment # 1- Unsung Heroes
Part I (20 points):

1. Find one person who stood up against slavery.
2. Find one person who resisted the unequal treatment of women and African Americans.
3. Find one person who used nonviolent civil disobedience as a form of resistance.
4. Find one person who was willing to use force if necessary to achieve the goals of their cause.
5. Find one person who thought the best method of bringing about change was to change laws.
6. Find one person who thought the most effective way of bringing about change was to organize people at the grassroots level.
7. Find one female civil rights activist.
8. Find one person who fought to expand voting rights.
9. Find one person who played a pivotal role in the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
10. Find one person who has held important leadership positions in civil rights organizations.

Once you have located all of these people and your handout is completely filled out, return to your desk.

We will conclude with a brief discussion of the activity and all of the individuals we learned about.

Unsung Heroes:
Elaine Brown, Constance Baker Motley, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Maxine Waters, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ida b. Wells, Melba Patilla Beals, Thurgood Marshall, Howard Zinn, Henry David Thoreau, William Lloyd Garrison, John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bernice Reagon, Angela Davis, Frederick Douglass, Kenneth Clark, Sojourner Truth, Archibald Cox, Charles Sherrod

Use the "Eyes on the Prize Profiles" link and the "African American Profiles" links to find information about most of the people listed above.

Part 2: Mock Interview
Working in groups of three or four, prepare and conduct  a mock interview with your unsung hero. Interviews must be videotaped.

Your interview must include a minimum of six open-ended questions.  Questions and answers must be historically accurate and "believable."

You may want to do a bit of research before you develop your questions and practice your mock interview. Watch a few episodes of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Watch some interviews on the cable news channels or morning news programs. "60 Minutes," and similar programs are also good sources of inspiration and ideas.

Before you videotape your interviews, I need to see a list of interview questions. Once I give you the go-ahead, you may begin taping your interviews. When you are finished and are satisfied with your final product, upload to YouTube (if possible).

As a class, we will view some of the "Unsung Hero" interviews (I will ask for volunteers). If you choose to not share your video with the class, make sure you share it with me electronically so I can grade it.

One last thing...please feel free to be creative with this project. In the past, I’ve had students dress up (be respectful and appropriate when doing so) and I’ve had students create a “puppet show-style” interview. Another suggestion is to create an animated video using an app!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

English Syllabus

Once I revamped my U.S. History syllabus, I figured I might as well revamp my English 400 syllabus  (and all of my other syllabi)  as well. After three different versions, I think I am satisfied with my final product! I am sharing all of my syllabi in my Google classrooms this year so my students will never have the excuse, "I lost my syllabus!" I include various classroom codes and other important info in my syllabus that kids will need to refer to throughout the year. For example, in my courses, we use Khan Academy, TED Ed, Quizlet, Kahoot, NoRedInk, and a number of other online tools. Kids always seem to forget class codes and passwords. Hopefully this will no longer be an issue!






Like my syllabus? It's for sale in my TpT store!

The Age of Exploration Infographic

The Age of Exploration: Life on the Open Seas

From Visually.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

United States History Syllabus 2017-2018

I am excited to be teaching U.S. History again this year! Last year was the first year I didn't teach U.S. History in my 17 years of teaching. I am grateful I was able to teach my Civil Rights History course last year which SAVED me! I've been spending a lot of time this summer revamping my curriculum, including my syllabus! I am pretty happy with my latest version!



Do you like my U.S. History syllabus? I am selling syllabus templates for U.S. History, American Government, Civics, and Social Studies in my TpT store! Click the link below.
Alt-Ed Toolbox

Monday, May 8, 2017

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

This month I plan to spend quite a bit of time in my Social Studies course covering mental health issues. I've compiled some of my best TED Talk lessons focusing on mental health into a workbook for my students to work through over the course of the next couple weeks. I plan to share a new TED Talk with my students every-other-day.

Some TED Talks merit more time than others based on a number of factors including the complexity of the topic, the length of the talk, etc. For these talks, I assign "before-viewing" activities which could include reviewing vocabulary. Sometimes I assign a writing prompt before we watch. Regardless of the length of the talk or the complexity of the topic, I ALWAYS review the lesson before we view the talk which includes reading the questions beforehand. This helps prepare students for what they need to listen for as they watch the video in addition to alleviating any confusion over questions (for example the wording of a question, unfamiliar vocabulary, etc.)

Most of my TED lessons also include "after-viewing" questions and/or activities. One of my favorite TED Talk 'after viewing"activities is a collaborative bulletin board activity I sometimes assign after watching Nancy Lublin's Talk, "Texting that Saves Lives."

I uploaded my TED Talk Mental Health workbook to my store. Check it out here:
Mental Health TED Talk Unit



Monday, April 24, 2017

TED Talk Units (How and why I created TED Talk units for my Alt-Ed students)

This school year I have been using workbooks and interactive notebooks more than I ever have before. I can't believe it took me so long to utilize these types of resources in my classroom. As an Alt-Ed teacher, I often have eight or more courses I am either teaching or monitoring throughout the day.  Keeping everything organized can sometimes be a challenge. Workbooks and interactive notebooks are a prefect remedy to organizational "issues."

Another challenge I face is providing engaging, meaningful, and interesting lessons for students for multiple courses (sometimes going on simultaneously) in my classroom. The past few years I've infused TED-Ed, TED Talks, Khan Academy, podcasts (especially NPR and WPR) and Crash Course videos (in multiple content areas) in virtually all subject areas. My students love them. They are engaging, high-quality resources that my Alt-Ed students both enjoy and learn a tremendous amount from! (I've had former students write me years after graduation to "confess" their addiction to TED Talks and National Public Radio/Wisconsin Public Radio- and "blame" me for it!)

Although Khan Academy and TED-Ed already have high-quality courses, units, and individual lessons ready to go for students, Crash Courses and TED do not. I've been developing lessons for both the past few years. I've developed quite a few TED lessons focusing on the topics of race, gender, mental health, and education and have recently started putting them together in "units." This month I finished two TED Talk Units (one focusing on Education and the other on Mental Health). I anticipate using these units with my Independent Study students as well incorporating them into my Life Skills and English courses.






Thursday, April 13, 2017

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This month our high school GSA is planning several events the last week of April to raise awareness of the issue of sexual assault. In addition, the GSA will be selling teal ribbons over both lunch periods the last week of April to raise money for Hope House.

One event the GSA is planning is Denim Day on April 26th. We are working on posters for the event and our members plan to participate in the nation-wide event on the 26th. We also plan to sell ribbons that day to raise money for Hope House.

We just finished two bulletin boards (one for the math wing and the other for my classroom). The purpose of both bulletin boards is to raise awareness of the issue and encourage involvement (speaking out, supporting victims, etc.) among staff and students. Both bulletin boards are interactive. The bulletin board in the math wing has 27 cards which open up to display additional information for those interested in learning more about the topic. The front of each card is different. Some cards are quiz questions about sexual assault. Other cards contain information about resources for individuals in need of help. Some organizations included in some of our cards are RAINN, Crisis Text Line, No More, and National Sexual Assault Resource Center. Many of the cards have QR codes which link to websites listed above.

Our members are also compiling a list of facts, statistics, and quotes pertaining to sexual assault that we plan to include in the morning announcements this month.  We're in the process of sharing information and ideas via google docs.







Friday, March 31, 2017

Using TED Talks to Introduce a Novel

I often use TED Talks to introduce new units in my Social Studies and English courses. I wanted to find a good one to introduce our next novel, 1984. I found two powerful talks about North Korea that I shared with my English students last week. Both talks elicited a lot of questions and discussion among my students. Many concepts and themes we will be encountering in the novel were dealt with in the talks including dehumanization, isolation, repression, and abuse of power. Many of my students were eager to learn more about North Korea and read the novel after viewing and discussing these talks in class.

These are the  TED Talks I shared with my students:




I created a more formal lesson for the second talk. I used this lesson with my 6th period English 400 students last week.

 https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/TED-Talk-Lesson-This-is-What-its-Like-to-Go-Undercover-in-North-Korea-3081599



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Problem-Based Learning in Social Studies

This month my Social Studies students are undertaking perhaps their biggest challenge to-date. I posed a "Big Question" to them last week. The question was, "What do you think are the biggest problems facing humanity today and what can be done to solve those problems?"

We brainstormed lists. Each student had to come up with a minimum of five problems. None of my students had any problem coming up with five examples. Many recalled examples we discussed in their World Studies class as freshmen. (Proud teacher moment.)

Here is a sampling of what they came up with:
hate, poverty, hunger, disease, violence, war, genocide, terrorism, refugee crisis, sexism, racism, homophobia, intolerance, ignorance, unequal access/lack of access to health care, gender-based violence, homelessness, greed, slavery, sex trafficking, slavery, pollution, climate change, apathy, fear, unequal access to education, substance abuse, sustainable energy

We also discussed solutions. We discussed documentaries we've watched and books we've read about people working to make a difference. Many of my students recalled the film and book "Half the Sky" from their freshmen year. Many remembered TED Talks we've watched together in World Studies, United States History, and English courses including "Billions in Change" and 60 Minute segments about Darfur and child hunger. Some of my students who've taken Civil Rights History with me shared ideas they learned in class with regard to the work done by abolitionists and civil rights activists.

To inspire more ideas, we watched one of my favorite TED Talks, Sugata Mitra's, Build a School in a Cloud. We spent two days watching and discussing the talk. In addition, I created a lesson based on the talk. We visited his School in the Cloud page and reviewed some of the "Big Questions" students have posted there. 

https://www.theschoolinthecloud.org/




My lesson:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/TED-Talk-Lesson-Build-a-School-in-a-Cloud-3073852



I'm excited to get back to school and continue with the unit. (We are currently on Spring Break). When we return, we plan to spend some more time exploring how others are working on solving the world's most challenging problem's facing humanity. We will spend some time in the library and some time exploring online. By the end of next week I hope to start the next phase of the unit- the essay writing phase. I am going to set up pre-writing stations to help facilitate the process. Each student is going to narrow their focus to one problem and write an essay describing the problem and what steps they think should be taken to alleviate that problem.

I'm excited to see what my students come up with!


Friday, March 10, 2017

LGBTQ Awareness Bulletin Board

I am an advisor to my high school's GSA. We've stepped it up a notch this month with our school/community education and awareness campaign. Members are planning an assembly for next year, organizing movie/discussion nights, inviting guest speakers to present to classes and the GSA and most importantly, researching the issues so we can be better informed ourselves! One idea we came up with at a recent meeting was a LGBT Awareness bulletin board inspired by several bulletin boards we found on Pinterest. We wanted our bulletin board to be informative and empowering. We also wanted it to be visually appealing. We wanted people to notice it and engage with it! This is what we came up with.





Thursday, March 9, 2017

Black-out Poetry

Today my English classes had a lot of fun creating black-out poems inspired by the book, Room by Emma Donoghue. I was really impressed with their poems. Some of my students enjoyed the activity so much they created several poems!



Thursday, March 2, 2017

Legos for High Schoolers

Wisconsin weather is back this week and my students (and I) are really struggling to stay motivated (and positive). Today I am using a modified lesson I used with my students a week ago. Last week we had a blast working our way through an outdoor obstacle course in our 6th period English class. Since temps have dropped below 30 again, we're back indoors all day. So, I created a short indoor course for my 7th period Social Studies class. My favorite station is the "Lego Station." I can't wait to see what my students create!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

How I get my English kids ACTIVE...

This past week we've enjoyed unseasonably warm weather (mid 60 degree temps). That doesn't happen very often in Wisconsin in February! I wanted to take advantage of the warm temps and get my kids outside. Yesterday I created a quasi-obstacle course on the high school track for my 6th period English class. I created 16 stations and at each station kids completed a physical task and answered a question about the book we've been reading in class. I also included a couple "sit down and read" stations. The activity was a huge success! Definitely doing this again!





Another important benefit of getting kids outside and active:
https://www.edutopia.org/blog/brains-in-pain-cannot-learn-lori-desautels

You can find my Outdoor Literature Obstacle Course Activity here:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Outdoor-Literature-Obstacle-Course-Activity-3031202

Friday, February 17, 2017

Women's History Month Task Cards

Women's History Month is fast approaching. This year, in addition to the Women's History Month bulletin board project I usually do with my kids, I thought I would make some task cards to use in conjunction with the bulletin board. Once I got started, I decided to not only assign "tasks" incorporating the bulletin board, but I thought it would be beneficial to assign tasks incorporating our school library's Women's History Month display, community events planned to honor women's history and other tasks which would get the kids out of the classroom (and out of their "comfort-zone").

Here is a sampling of some of the cards I created:



All 32 task cards can be found in my store:


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Womens-History-Month-Quote-Analysis-Task-Cards-3012597

My Independent Study student and I also made a Women's History Month QR code bulletin board! Madeline helped with the "cutting" and assembly of the bulletin board. I love her! She helps with these sorts of "tasks" all the time, often without me even asking! We did run into a problem with the QR codes not working (apparently our school's internet filter blocked them). With the help of IT, the problem was quickly resolved. Whew!

Here is the finished product: