Friday, April 29, 2011

Pay it Forward (Personal Responsibility and Relationships)

Spend some time visiting the following links:

Pay it Forward Foundation:
The movie:
Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:

Your task today: Look online for examples of random acts of kindness in the news. Print your article. It is important that you print only one page! You will be docked points if you print multiple pages. Next, read the article. Highlight the article, focusing on important points. Be prepared to share your article with the class on Tuesday.

If time permits, visit these "Helper's High" past blog posts:

Learn more about the "Helper's High"

ABC News story:

Everyone: Take the "Compassion Quiz"

Twitter Explained (Leisure Pursuits)

Follow your interests on twitter:

My twitter account:!/leafhansen
I use my twitter account primarily to catch up on the news. Most of the accounts I "follow" are news sources. If I read a headline that is of particular interest, I click on it and read the entire news story.

I also use twitter to share teaching ideas. I follow quite a few teachers who share ideas as well. I have used many teaching strategies and assessment techniques I have learned about on twitter.

For extra credit: Set up a twitter account. Search for and "follow"the following:
- A favorite author
- A favorite musician
- A favorite charity
- A favorite news source
- A friend
- A relative

To earn extra credit, post your twitter address in the comments section for 10 points.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Leisure Pursuits (Really Cool Sites to Inspire!)

Backyard Paradises (Geography/Art/Gardening)
Take a Tour. Select one backyard paradise from each of these continents: North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Write one comment for each backyard paradise you wish to describe. Who is the person? Where do they live? Briefly describe their creation. After you are finished touring, tell me which one was your favorite and explain why.

Lifelong Learning (Employment/Education)

Lit 2 Go (Collection of free stories and poetry in audiobook format)
Read Print (Free Online Books)
Visual Thesaurus (Online Dictionary and Thesaurus)
Visuwords (Online Graphic Dictionary)
Ted Talks (Online talks from the world's leading thinkers and doers)
How Stuff Works

Extra Credit: Visit each of the sites listed above. Write a brief comment explaining which resource you think would be most useful after you have graduated high school. Explain why.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month (Physical and Emotional Health)

"Exploring Ways to Help Ourselves and Others"

How to you cope when things seem difficult or impossible?
Do you turn to music?
Other people?
What inspires you?
What motivates you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on?

Step I. Reflect on a time you faced adversity. How did you get through it?

Step II. Brainstorm a list of phrases, slogans, images, poems, books, songs, activities, etc. that get you through difficult times.

Step III. Choose items from your list to include in a motivational poster for the Social Studies Hall.

Step IV. Create your poster. (All words must be typed and NO rubber cement!) This assignment is worth 30 points.
Looking for extra credit? Share your favorite quotes, slogans, songs, movies, books, etc. in the comments section here.

Parenting Resources (Home and Family)

Parenting Resources

In response to the disturbing study released by the CDC and the Federal Administration for Children and Families pertaining to infant neglect and abuse, I've compiled a list of resources that may be of interest to those of you wishing to learn more about this issue:

Story on the CDC study:;_ylt=ApUnDXoa4nTvAFV5D16MbtXVJRIF

CESA workshop- Shaken Baby Syndrome (MANY valuable resources found here):

Powerful documentary on the issue:

Resources on Shaken Baby Syndrome:

Extra Credit (Post a comment addressing one or both of the questions below):

What do you think needs to be done to eliminate infant and child abuse and neglect? Do you see any measures taken by your school or community to educate people about child abuse and neglect? If so, what is being done?

The Role of Government/ The Role of Citizens (Community Involvement and Personal Responsibility and Relationships)

The Role of Government/The Role of Citizens

Teaching the Levees Blog:
Time Magazine Article:,9171,1675600,00.html
CNN News Story:
Rethinking Schools Article and Lesson Plans:
Rethinking Schools Editorial: Lessons of Katrina:


In class we brainstormed a list of governmental expectations we have as citizens in a democracy.

Some examples you came up with include: healthcare, clean environment, safety, education

We also discussed our role as citizens in a democracy. We discussed our duties as citizens as well as those actions we view as important but didn't rise to the level of civic "duties." Keep these lists in mind as you watch the documentary.

Some examples of civic duties we discussed in class include: taking care of those in need, voting, reading and talking about political affairs

As you watch, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," record evidence of local, state and federal government both succeeding and failing to meet the expectations you indicated in our brainstorming session. Keep in mind the goals of the Preamble. How well did the government do with regard to achieving the goals listed in the Preamble. Where did the government fall short?

Wikipedia Link (The Preamble)

Refer to the handout, "Types of Citizens."

Do any of the individuals profiled in the documentary meet the criteria of "Personally Responsible," "Participatory," or "Justice Oriented Citizen?" If so, who? What evidence can find to support your claim?

Do any individuals fall outside of these three categories? If so, who are they? What explanations can you site for their behavior?

Assignment: Create a graphic organizer that includes all of the issues addressed in this blog post. Visit the link below for examples of graphic organizers. Your Graphic organizer will actually contain two main components. One will focus on civic responsibility and the other will focus on governmental responsibility.

The "Tree Chart" might work well for the purpose of this assignment. The trunk could be labeled "Role of the Government," branches could be examples we discussed in class (including the goals in the Preamble) and the leaves could be examples of how the government achieved or failed to achieve the goals. You could color-code the leaves to indicate success or failure on the part of citizens and government. Green leaves could represent success and brown leaves could represent failure. A second tree could illustrate the role of the citizen in a democracy.

"Cluster" concept maps would also work well for this assignment.

I also have examples of graphic organizers on my classroom walls. (Flower pots, an American Flag, a pointilism design, etc.)
As you work, post any questions or concerns you have in the comments section on the blog. I will try to address your questions and concerns promptly.

Do something:

CNN Impact Your World:
Make it Right "The Pink Project"

Extra Credit: Visit one or both of the links above. Which charitable organization did you learn more about? What do they do? How can you help? Post your response in the comments section.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 18- 21

United States History:
The Century America's Time: Happy Days (1953-1960)

Discussion questions and vocabulary:
Draw numbers to determine which questions students will answer. Write the questions on the white board. Students write the answers to the questions they were assigned. As a large group, discuss answers.
Time Magazine and Blog Articles.
Reading Comprehension Activities
Vocabulary flashcards

World Studies:
Child Labor Assignment: Online Scavenger Hunt and Map
Child Labor Poster Project


Child Labor Project

Child Labor Poster Project:
Create a poster informing the public about the issue of child labor.
Your poster must contain at least three images and at least five facts or statistics.
You must also include information about what the public can do to address the issue of child labor.

Posters are worth 50 points.
Images: 10 points
Facts/Statistics: 20 points
Information about addressing the issue: 10 points
Appearance: 10 points

Free the Children:
Stop the Exploitation of Children Toolkit:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lessons about Poverty

Free the Children Lessons on Poverty

Child Labor Lesson Plans and Resources List

Time for Kids article and activities:
What's Going On:
Child Labor Facts and Resources:
Child Labor Resources:
Child Labor Worldwide (Map)

World Studies Assignment:
Part I:
Read and complete activities from the Time for Kids article:
Part II:
Online internet scavenger hunt. Fill in the blanks on the worksheet provided. All answers can be found here:
Part III:
Using the map from the link below, chose 15 locations from around the world where child labor exists. Locate and label those places on your blank world maps. In the space provided on your worksheet, list countries/cities and the type of abuse reported.

Ted Talks....Escaping the Khmer Rouge

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 13-17

United States History
Read from A People's History of the American Empire
Word Search/Vocabulary Worksheet

Fake Facebook Page Project: Joseph McCarthy
Review packets (everyone will need a highlighter)
Project: Create a "Fake Facebook Page" for Joseph McCarthy. You must include the following information:
1. What was McCarthy's background? (When and where was he born? Where did he go to college? What state did he represent in the Senate?)
2. How and why did he become involved in politics?
3. "Friends/Allies"
4. What led to his success and failure with the House Un-American Activities Committee?

This information may be included in the "Information Page, " "Friends List," "Status Updates/wall posts," or Photos.

Joseph McCarthy (History Channel)

House Un-American Activities Committee (History Channel)



Review questions from Tuesdays with Morrie final assignment. Select questions for exam. Review.  Exam on Tuesday.


Nonfiction (David Sedaris) Reading and Lesson:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tuesdays with Morrie (final assignment)

Read the Conclusion and Afterword from Tuesdays with Morrie.

Write one "what" question and answer from each chapter.

Write one "who" question and answer from each chapter.

Write one "why" question and answer from each chapter.

Write either one "where" or "when" question and answer from each chapter.

Each question and answer is worth 2 points.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Cold War

Knowledge is no guarantee of good behavior, but ignorance is a virtual guarantee of bad behavior.

- Martha Nussbaum

United States History:

Read from A People's History of the American Empire, "Questioning War."
Read chapter 16, "World War II and the Cold War" from A Young People's History of the United States.

General Discussion Questions (taken from Voices and A People's History)

Do you find it troubling that the United States fought for the freedom of the Europeans during World War II at the same time that it denied many Americans of color their own freedoms? How and why?

Was World War II an example of what Howard Zinn has called a war that benefited the wealthy elite?

What credence do you give the belief that the United States was eager to drop the atomic bomb in order to prevent the Russians from entering the war with Japan? Why was it important to Harry Truman that Stalin not be allowed to enter the war?

Why do you think the Korean War is often called "the forgotten war"?

Project: Create a "Fake Facebook Page" for Joseph McCarthy. You must include the following information:
1. What was McCarthy's background? (When and where was he born? Where did he go to college? What state did he represent in the Senate?)
2. How and why did he become involved in politics?
3. "Friends/Allies"
4. What led to his success and failure with the House Un-American Activities Committee?

This information may be included in the "Information Page, " "Friends List," "Status Updates/wall posts," or Photos.

Joseph McCarthy (History Channel)
House Un-American Activities Committee (History Channel)

Disarmament Game: