Monday, December 19, 2011

A Country Designed by Charter

A bit of holiday reading and writing:

UPDATED 2.Jan.12

One of the tenets (some say conceits) of our democracy is that our freedoms are outlined in documents and charters, as opposed to heritage, privilege, or at the end of a gun.

This website demonstrates and explains the origins of these documents. The link sends you to a page called "From Loyal Subjects to Traitorous Rebels." Near the bottom is an image of 1776 Americans pulling down the statue of King George III. Click on it to learn a bit more. Next, click here and watch a short video from early in the Iraq War. Read this brief LA Times article about the latter image.

For Tuesday:

read this longer article from the NYer that outlines the power of mass media to emblazon an image on the minds of its audience. After reading this article comment below on the images' purposes and power.

For Wednesday:

click on the square buttons at the top(ish) of the "Charters of Freedom" page from left to right. The information is concise, factual and well written. When you get to the Declaration of Independence, read it and make a three paragraph comment below about a few things that surprise or interest you about either the Declaration itself or list of harms done by the King. Comment on and/or argue others' work as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Constitutional Reporting

Imagine you are three reporters working for a newspaper or news magazine covering the newly created Constitution. Your job is to present the document in a digestible form; you want to help a modern audience understand it, all of it, including the Bill of Rights.

The three of you are to cooperate and accomplish this task using both class time and technology for communication and presentation. Together you will choose a news bureau head and editor, create your format and parts of your rubric. This rubric must measure accuracy, sourcing, cooperation, clarity of language and thought. Beyond that you have a great deal of autonomy, especially in creative directions. (I'll help if you want.)

Depending on how much class time you want to use, this project is due either the 14th or 19th of December. You'll decide this together, too.

Use this document to communicate.

Monday, December 5, 2011

WikiLeaks, Privacy, and SCOTUS, Oh My!

In the interest of keeping the current events/Knowledge Fair plate spinning we'll watch the last 45 minutes of the Frontline WikiLeaks Tuesday. Leta, if you go to the mainland, you'll have to watch it at another time. In class, we'll look at some of the comments and investigate some of the writers' points, adding our comments here.

You have two nights to do the following work: by Wednesday's class read Chapter Five in our text, and answer any four "Critical Thinking" questions in any four of the five summary (review) sections.
By Thursday, find an interesting section of the Q & A between Brian Lamb and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and ask five or six questions about that section. Listen to the whole thing or use the transcript. Look for Dred Scott, Nissai, Hamilton, for instance.
On Thursday, we will look at how money corrupts the judicial system in lower regional courts. Between now and Thursday, click through and see if you can curry some curiosity about this strange manner of justice in America.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Court news

Tonight listen to this radio piece and watch this video about United States v. Jones, a case the Supremes just heard, and write five questions or comments on the Supreme Court Chat page. Riley, would you post a copy of the Fourth Amendment there, too, please?

See you later tonight at Open House.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John Adams

To get a flavor of the times Adams lived, we watched a couple segments of HBO's John Adams, based on David McCullough's book of the same name.

Next comes the Constitution, Bill of Rights and some usable civics, or as my old history teacher used to call it: Problems of Democracy.

Leta has her handy Constitution.

For Wednesday, everyone should do some news scanning and find three current issues or events that bump up against the Constitution. One place to look is today's online news. I got this story by Googling "constitution" and selecting for "News." Be careful. You want news, not opinion, from reputable sources.

Monday, November 21, 2011

For fun homework...

watch Sarah Vowell, author of "Wordy Shipmates," on the Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart.

Be prepared to discuss the differences between a holiday like Thanksgiving and one like Evacuation Day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Revolutionary War Hero Maine Place Names

Washington, town and county; Knox County; Hancock; Franklin; York.
Any more?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Craig's Timeline

Riley's Timeline

Leta's Timline

Years to American Revolution

  • Christopher Columbus lands in the Bahamas
  • First permanent colony is established: Jamestown, VA
  • Puritans traveled to New England- Mass Bay Colony
  • Anne Hutch. exiled from Mass and starts new town in RI
  • Navigation Acts are pass in attempt to control colonies

  • Massachusetts begins printing paper money

  • Albany Congress plans to unite 13 colonies

  • First gun shot of the American Revolution in Lexington

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Monday, November 14, 2011

End of Trimester Crush

For tomorrow: read chapter 4, pp. 76-100, in your text. Answer questions 1, 3, 4 on page 84; 1, 2, 6 on page 90; 2, 3, 6 on page 100.

For Wednesday: using the digital history timeline tool and the time line maker, create a timeline of nine events you think especially pivotal to the US between 1491 and 1776.

You all should have received an email prompting you to participate in the Trimester Review mash-up GoogleDoc. The rubric for this document is participation. The more usable information you post, the higher your grade, pure and simple. The deadline is this Friday at noon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Colonial Pamphleteers

Students are studying commodities of the 18th century and economics of colonial life. They will compose a pamphlet regarding some aspect of their resource by Wednesday. Students may want to get an early start as I will be unavailable Monday and Tuesday. I'll keep checking my e-mail over the weekend for any questions.

Franklin is an excellent model for the tone of a pamphlet. His discourse on the wisdom of paper currency may have some connections to students' research, also.

Here are the first political cartoons ever published in the U.S., by Franklin, of course.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jetting to the 20th Century...

for a visit, we nearly finished Howard Zinn's final chapter of "A People's History..." Students continue to draft their papers and, in response to Zinn's attention to the military-industrial complex, we listened to the first half of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell speech.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eeek! How is it Thursday?

Wednesday, we worked a bit on the last presentation changes.

I assigned a 1000-word essay with the first draft due on a shared GoogleDoc Saturday at 5 p.m. My plan is to read and respond Saturday evening (assuming my son's football games don't go on forever) or Sunday morning.

Look for updates on your own GoogleDoc page by Sunday afternoon.

In today's class we're going to avoid being "trapped by history," as Peter Carey says, and read chapter 23 of Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." In this chapter, 'The Coming Revolt of the Guards,' Zinn all but predicts the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Students, post your thesis questions/statements in the comments section below.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

With One Student...

Leta's at violin and Riley is ill.

Craig will take time to work on his paper, having stated: [thesis (mostly) of his choice].

Riley and Leta should state theirs and begin their work also. This paper is a 1,000 word demonstration of their understanding of some specific American historic, cultural aspect of the period between 1491 and the mid-18th century. We narrowed topics last week and the first finished draft is due in shared GoogleDocs form Saturday evening, 21.Oct.11, at 6 p.m. [19.Oct.11 edit: Note updated day and time.]

I posted links to the three students' blogs. Though, I'm not requiring that you use them as repositories for your resources and writing (yet), you might consider having one central place--outside of your computer--for such work. You can link GoogleDocs work, images, articles, etc.

If we have time, Craig and I will look at some well-composed, well-written blogs in hopes of raising your interest and awareness of this form of publishing, and Craig and/or I will post links of those we like or those that look useful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

12.Oct.2011, J Edwards, Theses, and Docs

Played w/ Google Docs.

Discussed Rugged Individualism as part of Riley's thesis about new opportunities. For some "beyond expectations" credit, anyone who likes can write a few paragraphs about what was happening in 1984 that would prompt Roger Rosenblatt to write such a piece.

Students took collective notes on Google Docs.
You can find an edited version and the original of Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" there.

For homework, and yes, I realized it's a less than imaginative assignment, read the rest of Chapter 3 in your text and answer the review questions.

On Monday you will declare your thesis statement and begin to draft your paper. We'll discuss process and work-shopping Monday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thesis Statements

Values that remain from the days of exploration and colonization of the Americas:

Abundant money
Laws ***
Christian religion
Work ethic***
American Exceptionalism (City on a Hill idea)

Those that appeared not to be part of the picture:

***Puritans notwithstanding

For homework read the first section of Chapter 3 in your text and answer all the review questions. Keep in mind any ancestors and their occupations you discovered last week as you read.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Genealogy Day

Leta in w/ Mr. Cantor for much of the class.
Craig is at the dentist.
Riley found the first person in his family to come to America, Felix Wenger of France.

We talked about what was happening in France when his ancestor was born around 1819.

Leta's family, the Maddocks (Maddoks, Braddox etc.) may have come to New England and been here for the 1790 census.

In the name of making sure we keep in touch with the history that is happening right here, right now, read Joe Stiglitz's Vanity Fair article, Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.

And here's the Economist's take on Steve Jobs' death and the American economic decline.

If you're still interested in current economic news--an interesting vantage point just now, if nothing else--former Labor Secretary Robert Reich worries with Ben Bernanke about Europe.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

About 10 percent...

of the school year has passed already and we're still talking about the effects of Europeans in the New World. Oy!

All I can say is, Beginnings Matter.

For tomorrow, look at our list of American Values and write down three thesis statements about what qualities were evident from the days of exploration and colonization, or what qualities were missing. Include in your statement a guess about the why or how of your observations from the readings.

Since you will choose from among these for an upcoming1000 word essay, think and write carefully. Keep in mind scaffolding techniques from English that help you include your own experience/heritage etc.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Other Early Colonies

We went over the highlights of the Popham article and most of the second chapter in your text. We thought about the paternalistic British inheritance laws and their influence on New England's history, whether in relation to Raleigh Gilbert's choice to return to England or the Salem Witch Trials era land disputes.

Students should take notes on the remainder of the chapter, be ready for a quiz, and think about repeating themes that interest them for an essay in coming days.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Popham Colony, Explorers

Discussed the early days of "Virginia" and the failed Popham Colony.

We compared the motivation of the eventual Puritan/Pilgrim colonists to those in the South, listing the slave economy and Puritan ethics as major differences.

One theme that continues today is the ability of New England to feed itself and the South's reliance on outside sources for daily sustenance.

We brainstormed what might have been economic success had the Popham Colony taken hold and discussed Elizabeth 1's "Armada Portrait," from the text.

For homework read the Athena Review piece on the Hunt map and Jeffrey Brain's (re)discovery of the Popham Colony. Please note citations at the end.

Also read from page 26 to 44 in your excellent text and re-do any quiz questions to add points to your quiz grades.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weekend Homework

1. Send me links to your blogs.

2. Read Chapter 1 of your text.

3. Answer two questions from "Your Region in History," and question number 2 from "Taking a Critical Look," on page 25.

4. Have some fun.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quiz and Keynotes

Riley and Craig completed their "1491" Excerpt Quiz. Leta was out sick.

For tomorrow Craig will bring in a total of eight facts and eight images about the Waldeesmuller Map of the World; Riley will bring in eight facts and eight images about the Magna Carta.

Leta, should she check the blog, wants to come in prepared for the quiz and with eight images and eight facts about the English puritans and the discomfort they felt that would eventually lead them to found colonies in Holland and the New World.

I'll give a quick sketch of Elizabethan England if you need reminding.

Age of Enlightenment as a logical result of Copernicus' removal of earth as center of the universe, and some textbook work is on the horizon, as well as a composition comparing the text's version of the America's pre-1492 with Charles Mann's research.

Quick update: 1522 Wednesday, given the role of disease in the Europeans dominance of the Americas, here's a graphic of new and current vaccines.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

First Full Day...

American Values revisited:

Abundant Money
Christian Religion
Work Ethic

Edit: 6.Oct.11 to include Exceptionality, America as the exception. City on a Hill

Expect a quick quiz over the "1491" excerpt, Wednesday.  Part of it will include "scaffolding" questions that you create--similar to the "Maldive Shark" scaffolding we did in English.

Be ready to talk about the Age of Enlightment and Magna Carta.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Expedition Readings

Click here to link to the Fall Expedition readings.

1491 Excerpt

Click here. Read the first half by Monday.

Update, Wednesday 14.Sept.11: On second thought, let's finish it this weekend find at least two sections you think speak to our fall expedition rationale. I'll bring a copy along on the trip.

Leave comments here about the sections you chose and the reasons you want the whole group to hear them. Take the opportunity to practice using the Blogger tools and hotlink to any other readings you would like us all to think about and respond to in our journals.

Brainstorm of American Ideals

Money + +
Religion +
Work ethic
New ideas
Equality + +

Freedom +
Media +
Laws +
Democracy +

Consumerism (Big Car Notion)
Free Speech
Unrestricted Travel
Pop Culture
Information Access
Sports (competition)
Home Ownership