WWII Interview Project Training

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One Wild, Wacky, Awesome Class

This year's seniors are a fun-loving group that knows how to get down to business when the time comes. Currently they're working on hammering out an essay on Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy, but yesterday they took the time to take this picture that will soon be made into a puzzle and put on my wall. It's a special tradition that allows the students to be remembered long after they're gone.

We have the class of 2009's puzzle framed already, need to get a Class of 2010 picture, and will get this class on the wall soon!

Today is the big day for the World War II Interview Project!! Updates sure to come later today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rollin' Along

Can you believe it's November already? Time flies when you're having fun, I guess. Currently, we are rapidly making preparations for the World War II veterans and their arrival on November 18! We plan on using rooms at the Grace Bible Church to interview them. In addition, we may be traveling to the Veterans Home in Quincy to interview more!

US History I is reading Lord of the Flies right now. After 4 chapters, it's apparent that big things are in the works. It's amazing how the writings of Locke and this book are intertwined, and that's what we'll be discussing after we're done with the book.

US History II is making comparisons between the Progressive Era (1900-1916) and today's modern progressive movement. From Teddy Roosevelt to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, this unit is quite the load. World War I starts next week.

World Geography is exploring/debating the usage of ethanol, wind power, and alternative energy in the United States. Along the way, we've toured the United States, learning the states along the way. Tomorrow we design a city!!

Illinois History: We're finishing up the last few weeks of instruction this semester. After that, we are going to get busy with our project in full force! The project will consist of a video, skit, paper, presentation, or model; and will double as a Final Exam grade and History Fair project.

Economics: Stock Market Game update: Both teams are in the top 100 teams out of 365 participating in the state! In addition, we debated the role of government in the economy, just like John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek did. The link is listed below:


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Can $6,000 Buy You?

A whole lot of pizza, a stash of electronic and tech goodies, a day of training for a project, 35 satisfied (and stuffed!) AHS students, and one happy and pumped-up teacher! Yes, this is the World War II Interview Project. Right now!

The World War II Interview Project is a unique opportunity in which very few schools from IL are participating. Astoria is one of about 20 in the state who will be interviewing WWII veterans and home front citizens this year. We have received approximately $6,000 to buy video cameras, wireless microphones, one laptop, a couple scanners, and some external hard drives to store our data.

Using the video cameras, we will try to interview around 40-50 vets and upload their videos onto the Library of Congress website. Students have been arranged into interview teams and received training today on how to interview veterans, types of questions to ask, strategies, etc. We plan on doing the interviews in early November.

But that's not all. Casey, Auston, and Jacob accompanied me to Klide's to grab the grub for lunch. 19 pizzas, 6 cases of soda to be exact. We chowed down like there was no tomorrow and played some Ninja as we waited for the afternoon to start.

All in all, a very productive day with some great students who are truly motivated to make this project golden! Slideshow pictures are available on the right-hand side of the screen, and will be uploaded onto the school website later this week.

Project Home: http://wwii.ltc.k12.il.us/Portal/Default.aspx?alias=wwii.ltc.k12.il.us/portal/wwii

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

August/September Class of the Month

My 8th Hour US History I class won the "Class of the Month" award for August/September. Now just one clarification before explaining the award; the Class of the Month is extremely hard to pick sometimes because all of my classes have special qualities. However, some really stand out...some for a month, two months, maybe the whole year.

This past month, though, one class was above the rest when it came to homework return rates, participation in class, and a high average on tests and quizzes. The 8th hour history class was very well engaged during class, asking a ton of questions during discussion/lecture days and rising to the challenge in creating creative songs, poems, and other curveballs I have thrown their way.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

How Do You Live? Hopefully, Not in a Tenement

US History I: Revolution is in the air! This week, we take a look at the triggers for the Revolutionary War and develop our very own news show later in the week, 1770s style!

US History II: New York was NOT a good place to be in the late 1800s...as many immigrants found out. After hearing that the streets of the USA were paved with gold, many were shocked to find that they would be living in tenements in tight, dirty living conditions. There were 16,000 tenement buildings for 500,000 immigrants in New York in 1900!

So starting tomorrow, we read part of Jacob Riis' "How the Other Half Lives" and then role-play different families in a talk/news-show format in-class! We'll videotape it all and "interview" families that are only making $1,200/month for $1,300 in living expenses...all while living in tight quarters and disease. Later this week, we watch the hit Disney musical "Newsies" that shows the lives of many NYC boys delivering newspapers as they tried hard to make ends meet.

World Geography: Did you leave your heart in San Francisco? This week, we take a look at the Golden State and then follow it up with a study on Washington, Oregon, and the Pacific NW.

Economics: the Stock Market Game officially gets it start this week!! You can read more about the program at www.stockmarketgame.org. We'll be competing with other teams around the state!

IL History: We're finishing a slideshow on the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and then studying more about the Windy City. This includes the Union Stockyards, the Haymarket Tragedy, and many other golden nuggets!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why We're In A Recession...and more

It's tough to believe that it was two years ago that the Great Recession officially struck, as Wall Street plunged and investors took a huge hit on their earnings. Now it has worked its way through every part of the country, causing layoffs, unemployment and the like. Although the government claims unemployment is holding steady at 9.4%, the real data tends to show a different story: http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/learn-how-to-invest/The-real-unemployment-rate.aspx.

My Economics students will be investigating the causes of the current financial crisis. We'll learn about business structures, the stock market, and how they are intertwined. Next week we start the Stock Market Game too, where we'll be competing with other schools all around the state!

World Geography students are in the early stages of planning a road trip from coast to coast through the US. They have to stop at 6 National Parks, document their journey, and figure out hotel/gas costs...should be a good time.

US History I students are starting a new unit after our test last week. We begin examining the causes for Revolution in the United States, as we consider the nature of the colonies and what was driving the colonists' desire for expansion and independence. We'll watch clips from Last of the Mohicans this week as we discuss the French/Indian War.

US History II students are considering the legacy of the American West, complete with the outlaws, Western slang and the like! We also take a look at the forgotten history, that of the Irish and Chinese immigrants that helped write the story as well. Finally, a reflection on the American Indians and the massive land losses they experienced.

IL History- again working on projects and studying the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Should be a great week! Off we go...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cowboys, Indians, Competition, and...Railroads?

Sounds like a good week to me! As we head into Homecoming Week, students are undoubtedly excited about the 11:30 Spirit Day on Friday...so another big plus!

Illinois History: We're going to keep plugging away on our History Fair projects. Students have been researching potential topics, and I've been impressed with what they've got so far! The next step is important though: doing the research, designing the project, and so on. We've got tons of talent to do the job.

US History I: A Colonial Life Simulation is underway Monday, followed by a video on Tuesday and prep for the test on Thursday. We will play "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire- US History Style to review for the test on Wednesday!

US History II: Farmers, ranchers, cowboys, Indian wars, and railroads- one of the most exciting units of the year! We're planning on a spirited Ranchers vs. Farmers Debate, analysis of the Indian wars, and moving on to daily life in the Gilded Age.

World Geography: A video, "America's Heart and Soul," on Monday-Tuesday; followed by an introduction to mind-boggling statistics about the good ol' US of A. We hit the ground running by starting with the Pacific Northwest (California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho) for our first mini-section.

Economics: Competition abounds this week, as we discuss how competition makes a market economy work! We have a test Thursday, so another round of "Millionaire" will definitely be in order!

Looking forward to a great week, as always. A couple things that are in the works and very much in the "planning" stage:

1) IL Youth and Government Day, spring 2011. I'm looking into the program and thinking of how we could make this work. Students would travel to Springfield and be legislators for a day, taking up a number of projects and bills in the House chamber. It sounds like a great time.

2) Extending History Fair opportunities for juniors/seniors. Trying to figure out what would be the best course of action on this front as well.

3) Stock Market Game. Getting ready to kick off this competition soon for Economics!

4) WWII Interview Project with the senior class, interviewing veterans and uploading these interviews onto the Library of Congress website.

Have a GREAT week!!

-Mr. B