Sunday, December 31, 2017

Creating a LinkedIn Profile for a Historical Figure

I'm feeling productive (after suffering with migraines three days in a row). Ugh. I spent yesterday afternoon and most of today working on a new activity I plan to use with my U.S. History students. Many of my current History students are also taking a Life Skills class with me this semester. We just finished working on resumes and next week I am going to have my seniors create their own LinkedIn profile pages. So, LinkedIn has been on my mind! I thought it might be fun to create a LinkedIn page for George Washington as a culminating activity as we wrap up our current unit in U.S. History!

I created two versions of the activity (some of my students prefer working with Google Docs and some prefer traditional worksheets.)

This is what I came up with:

I believe most of my students will appreciate this activity/alternative assessment. Considering mid-terms are coming up, I am sure most of my students will welcome a break from traditional paper/pencil exams!

I uploaded this activity to my TpT store. Check it out!

Of course I had to create a Ruth Bader Ginsburg version too! Here it is:

Friday, December 29, 2017

Washington and Adams' Presidencies

I spent the last couple days of winter break re-vamping some of my resources for my next unit in U.S. History. I am especially excited to introduce a brand-new activity I created for my students based on Washington's concerns about his role as the nation's first President. In this activity, students will examine five specific areas of concern and research Washington's correspondence with his most trusted advisors regarding how he should handle each area of concern. The five areas students will examine are:

How to Act Like a President
Developing a Presidential Style
The Institutional Workings of the President
Polling Public Opinion Before Polls
Managing a Quarrelsome Cabinet

I created an interactive notebook page for my students to glue into their notebooks. Included are the links necessary to complete the activity. This link below includes everything students need to complete the activity. In addition, supplementary videos, links to primary sources can be found here!

When we finish, I plan to facilitate a class discussion in which we can compare and contrast Washington's concerns and how he addressed these concerns with how President Obama and President Trump have handled these issues.

This worksheet is included in a resource bundle I just added to my TpT store for $1.49! (I plan to offer this product for 50% off through the end of January). This resource includes 8 pages of interactive notes and a visually appealing PowerPoint on the Adams' Presidency. My PowerPoint includes one bell-ringer as well!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Civil Rights History Unit 3

This week my Civil Rights History students will begin watching the first episode of what I consider the best documentary on the Civil Rights Movement, "The Eyes on the Prize." We spent the last week learning about the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v Board of Education, the Emmett Till Murder, and The Montgomery Bus Boycott.

On Monday I plan to implement a modified version of a Teaching for Change lesson I've been using with my Civil Rights History students the past couple years about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The lesson allows students to practice social/civic engagement skills in the classroom.

The Role-Play Activity Link and Handouts can be found here:

This year I have been using more guided notes sheets and interactive notes pages/workbooks with my Civil Rights History and United States History students. My students are performing better on unit exams after I started utilizing these resources. I know some of my students struggled keeping up with notes AND listening to the lectures. Some of my students also struggled with the organization of their notes. Guided notes and interactive notes pages work for my students so I will continue to develop new sheets to correspond with my lectures. I've put a lot of TLC into these resources so I've decided to put them in my TpT store. They are tailored for my courses, however, others might find them useful.

My Civil Rights History Guided Notes and Interactive Notes Bundle can be found here:

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.

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.

My lesson:

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!