Flipping your classroom is all the rage these days.
Creating interesting, informative, concise, and accurate videos about all things gov. I wouldn't have time for a thing else!
I have been watching the boards on Edmodo (see below)... and a consistent contributor is Keith Hughes.
I am already a big fan of his newest jam on the <<Debt Ceiling>>. So, do you want him to jump into your class and explain the 10th Amendment? the Preamble? Electoral College? SCOTUS? Looking for a little video assignment so you can
FLIP FLIP FLIP your classroom? (painlessly?)
My man, HHH, is to the rescue.
Warning. This is a PTA Purchase.
These little bad boys are a ready-to-rock lesson plan, complete with student debate, pre-selected readings, and a written response. And about a billion teacher support documents on how to teach DBQs.
Our district is all about writing these days (which they should be... cuz the kids can't write.) and this is how we are accomplishing these goals.
I tend to dip into one of these a quarter, as they fit with my curriculum. They are a time sucker, but you get what you put into it.
You do have to teach the kids how to sort documents (they cutely call it "bucketing"), how to write a strong thesis (aka the chicken foot), and even how to debate. Some great ideas that I picked up from the DBQ gurus when they came out to visit FCPS include handing out poker chips to kids, requiring them to cash them in for each point they audibilize. (Thus keeping the conversation monopolizers in check) Another great idea is requiring the kids to reference a document for each point that they make, because they have to do it when they write, too.
Anyways, it is a great resource; well worth the cost to your SCHOOL.
It must be great to have the Congressional record. If C-Span doesn't catch a member of Congress's carefully crafted and expertly delivered speech, they can go back and amend it before it is official entered into the annals of U.S. legislative history. Certainly, C-Span has made things difficult for members to shy away from unflattering comments, but even there... Congress owns the cameras and therefore the camera angles... and so you only see what they want you to see when they want you see it. (That's why you never see the wide-angle shots of the all the seats in the House... folks asleep, tweeting, gabbing... doing crossword...) Even recent attempts for more candid camera angles resulted in, well, nothing.
Anyways, that tweeting. They all do it. I love to follow McCain's twitter feed... especially during omnibus bills. He loves to itemize all the earmarks...
But there are some folks out there who love watching the tweets. And CATALOGING them. You can read up on what your member of Congress tweeted and then regretted. Politwoops. Defender of the Universe.
... I shuffle over to my FCPS peer, Ken Halla's catchall website. He runs a blog for all of the VA state required Social Studies website... in his spare time. When he is taking a break, the other FCPS Gov rock star, Frank Franz, moonlights for him. (Another god among G-O-V men and (some) women... cause we're so few in number).
Ken is a **rock star** in the social studies community. I don't know if he knows that or not, but I didn't know that until last year. We had a fresh crop of student teachers in our building for a while, and I overheard one of them gushing over how he was going to meet Ken at some event, and he was sooo excited because he was going to talk tech shop with Ken.
So, Rock Star Ken... here is why you have so many fans. (As if you didn't know.) He collects TONS of multi-media material to use in the classroom. My favorites that I saw this morning were video tutorials on the concept of Obamacare for use in the classroom. Brilliant!
He also peppers in best practice tech apps for use in the classroom... like flipping your classroom, Quizlet, QR codes, etc. It does make class a lot of fun. I am down with it.
Today's buzzword is <<Brinkmanship>>. Look around, you hear it everywhere these days. History teachers, rejoice... you can dust off your lesson plans that connect to Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. So, here is a little ditty about brinkmanship and compromise.
Brinkmanship: also brinks·man·ship n.The practice, especially in international politics, of seeking advantage by creating the impression that one is willing and able to push a highly dangerous situation to the limit rather than concede.
There is, without a doubt, evidence of brinkmanship in domestic policy today in D.C. (Unfortunately, the perilous events are impacting everyone but Congress... unless you count yesterday's sad events between the White House and the Capitol.)
I decided that it was time to do some light reading about a time in which brinkmanship was not the standard practice between the Speaker (and the Dirty Thirty) and the POTUS.
I got my hands on a new book, Tip and the Gipper, by Chris Matthews, after listening to an extended interview of Mr. Matthews on my way home on Tuesday.
Partisan politics and the liberal leaning of Matthews aside, I have throughly enjoyed the easy cadence and prospective that he brings to the discussion of how things work in D.C. Matthews does a great job at offering a tutorial on how to compromise and negotiate against the odds... and states that what was an underpinning commonality for O'Neill and Reagan is that they both wanted to work for the common good... that inaction was unacceptable. (Wait, what are you implying today?) We don't see that today. In fact, the media has even brought in experts in negotiation to offer pointers.
Specifically, I have really found Matthews' explanation of the relationship between the President and the second most powerful person in the government... The Speaker. He spins the tale so that it is easy to see how the Founding Fathers intentionally put these two roles (and their egos) at odds with each other... The President's expansive powers in the execution of law and the final check on the legislative process juxtaposed with the Speaker's hands on the purse strings of the Federal government.
This is a great resource for educators who want to add complexity and depth in their discussion of checks and balances, Congress, the President, the power of the purse, and even Presidential Signing Statements and Executive Orders.
Perhaps we can purchase a copy for Boehner & Obama to thaw their all to frosty relationship. I think it needs to "after six o'clock" for the next few months.
Photo via Flickr/Ted Eytan