Friday, September 28, 2007

Thank You Nicole!

Thank you Nicole for sharing your experiences working for the United Nations with us. Your stories and photographs will forever be imprinted in my memory (and I'm sure the memories of all the students). Your work with refugees is inspiration to all of us that we can indeed make a mark - and work toward making the world a better place!

2nd Period Civics: Don't forget to comment on one of two websites I asked you to visit. In your comment, relate what you've learned from the website to what you learned from our guest speaker, Nicole Brudos. You may post your comment here or on the Sierra Leone post.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Political Ideology Quiz

Here are two good on-line quizzes identifying where you are with regard to political ideology. The image above does not represent where I stand ideologically. I found this image on flicker. I posted the image so you could get a better idea about what the test measures. Feel free to post comments on either of these "quizzes."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Making a Difference - UN

Missing Points? Visit the website below, watch four PSA's (public service announcements)created by Middle School students at Harmony Middle School in Kansas City. Let me know which PSA's you watched. What new information did you learn from the PSA's you watched?

I'd also recommend reading the stories and watching the clips detailing these issues from the perspectives of the aid workers.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Darfur Resources

Children's Drawings of the conflict in Darfur. (ABC News)

AOL Video/Children's Drawings of the Darfur crisis.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site. Information about Darfur and other genocides here. Very extensive coverage.

Online simulation - Refugee Camp

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Sierra Leone

I've provided some supplemental information here if you are interested in learning more about the issue of conflict diamonds. Warning, some of the links contain material that may be disturbing to some viewers. Exploring all of these links therefore, is not mandatory. We will, as a class, discuss the questions listed below. If time permits, we will examine the wikipedia link and the official movie site in class.

Watch the following videos on the topic of conflict diamonds:
Story: Movie Sparks Debate over Diamond Trade, 12/04/06

Reading Comprehension Questions:

1.What is a conflict diamond?

2. What is the movie Blood Diamond about?

3. According to human rights groups, are conflict diamonds still a problem today?

4. What actions did the World Diamond Council take before the movie's release?

5. Which country purchases the greatest amount of diamonds and which continent produces the most?

6. What is the Kimberley Process?

7. Why is it hard to determine how successful the Kimberley Process is?

8. What does the director of Blood Diamond hope the movie will do?

Discussion Activity (more research might be needed):

1. Do you think the movie will change the way consumers think about diamonds? Will it make some people stop buying diamond jewelry? Why or why not?
2. Who do you think is responsible for keeping conflict diamonds off the world market? Is it the industry, world organizations or governments? Why?
3. Do you think movie makers have a responsibility to be historically accurate, or are they just making entertainment? How might a director's concerns about plot, characters and dialogue conflict with complicated political and historical issues?
Learn about the Kimberley Process:
Movie Sparks Debate:

Not in Our Town (Reacting to a Video)

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. Martin Luther King, Jr.

After watching the video, comment on how the people of Billings, Montana embraced the meaning of King's words. What did they do? Do you think their actions were courageous? Why?

How to be a Wise Consumer of Psychology

Read the tips listed in this brief essay provided by the American Psychological Association. What two criteria do they deem most important when evaluating the validity of good psychological research?

Select an article from the links provided below. Using what you learned from the American Psychological Association essay, briefly discuss questions, concerns or comments you have about a particular psychological study.

More recent studies:
(Caring for Pets - Good for Mental Health?)
(Doing Good - Feel Better? "The Helpers High")
Older studies:
(Why Women Read More Than Men)
(Stress and New Motherhood)
(Women and Body Image)
Birth Order and IQ:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Role of Government in Times of Crisis

We've already discussed your perspectives on the proper role of government. Many people suggested that at minimum, the government should provide a sort of "safety net" for people in need.

View the following stories dealing with communities in crisis. Do you think the government is serving the needs of the people? If so, what is the government doing to help people? If not, what should the government do to help people?

If addressed in the clip, how do the people experiencing crisis view the government's reaction to their situation? Are they satisfied or dissatisfied with government reaction? Explain.