Saturday, December 28, 2013

To respond or ignore; dealing with "jokes" about domestic violence.

I discuss the issue of violence against women as part of a mental health unit I teach. I also incorporate lessons on the issue throughout the month of October in an effort to raise awareness of domestic violence.

My students are often shocked to learn how common the problem of domestic violence is. We discuss reasons why violence against women and children is so prevalent in the United States. Part of the reason relates to our society's failure to take the issue seriously. We can easily find examples in the news of perpetrators getting nothing more than a token punishment for violent crimes against women and children.

It isn't just the criminal justice system that doesn't seem to take the issue seriously. We see and hear examples all the time, often on social media sites where domestic violence is treated like a big joke.

The photos I posted below are recent examples I found on Facebook. Some of the comments were appalling. I reported the thread to Facebook. Facebook's response was the thread didn't meet its criteria of offensive or hateful speech. I wonder if they would have reached that same conclusion had the "joke" been about abusing/terrorising/killing an ethnic/racial/religious minority? My guess is the post would have been deleted.

Monday, December 9, 2013

West Wing Documentary Special: Discussion Questions

Part I:

President Bill Clinton states that if you asked a former  employee of the White House what they miss most about working for the White House, what would they likely say?

How does Marlin Fitzwater, former White House Press Secretary, describe working at the White House?

How does President Jimmy Carter describe the reaction many people have when they enter the Oval Office?

Several people described the work as exciting and sometimes glamorous. What were some examples given in the documentary of "exciting, glorious, magical, interesting, etc." days on the job?
Part II:

What are the "three phases" Peggy Noonan believes most employees of the White House go through?

How does Marlin Fitzwater describe the White House Press Corps?

Dee Dee Meyers discussed mistakes Press Secretaries sometimes make. What did she say was her most common mistake?

What is the "Blood Sport of Washington"?

World Studies: Africa Grid

Use the following website to complete the grid:

Life Expectancy Men
Life Expectancy Women



Sierra Leone






The Democratic Republic of Congo

Ivory Coast






South Africa

Sherman Alexie Interview

Online Quiz- How well do you know Africa?

fingerprints on Africa

1. Which African country is the newest country in the world?

2. How many official languages does South Africa have?

3. True or False? The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the  most populous country where French is an official language.

4. True or False? Christians make up 84 percent of Uganda's population.

5. True or False? Côte d'Ivoire was originally known by its English name – the Ivory Coast – but it was officially changed it to the French name in 1985.

6. True or False? Sierra Leone is one of the top 10 diamond producing nations in the world.

7. Niger is one of the hottest countries in the world and is knicknamed  _________________________.

8. Name the African country completely surrounded by South Africa.

9. Which mountain range extends across a stretch of northern Africa through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia?

10. What massive African lake is the world's largest tropical lake?

Extra Credit:

Which is the only country in Africa that has not joined the African Union?

Poverty Simulation Activity

The goal is to make it to the end of the month living on about a dollar a day. Play the game as "realistically' as possible. Make decisions in the game as close to what you would do in "real life" if you were forced to make similar decisions.

After completing the simulation, answer the following questions:

1. Did you choose to live in a village or city slum?

2. What was your job(s)?

3. Did you have children? If so, how many?

4. Did your children attend school or did they work?

5. Were you able to feed your children every day?

6. Were you or your children ever sick? If so, how did you deal with you or your child's illness?

7. What was the most difficult decision you had to make in the "game"?

8. How would you play the game differently if you were to play it again?

9. Did you make it to the end of the month, or did you run out of money?

10. If you had any money left, how much did you have?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Close Reading Exercise-Latin America in the News

Find a story from the "World" section of the Wisconsin States Journal about a Latin American country we've discussed in class. Cut the story out of the news paper. As you read the story, highlight or underline the five W's according to the instructions below.

You will need five different color markers.

Underline or highlight:

Red= Who