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.