NYE is creeping up on me, and this extended vacation has been predominantly about family. But work has creeped into my mind. I will admit, I spent seven hours walking around D.C. with my mom and kids in tow. I loved it.
So, it has had me thinking about what I am going to do this year. I started out with a list of ten things. I think that may be a bit... overzealous. Maybe I can get it down to three.
1. Read. I have found a couple of books, mostly referred to me by others, that I really want to read.
Gosh, in looking at this, it seems as though this is enough, no?
2.) Finish my Constitution Unit overhaul. I started a major unit overhaul with the Constitution that was introduced previously. I created a copy of the Constitution that the kids could annotate, translate, and interpret. I have been using that in class, that has clauses named and articles identified, but am working on a teacher key. I then intend on doing the same thing with the amendments. Finally, I want to create a final assignment for my kids to be given just before the final. It would be a bracket (much like the March Madness kind) where they have to determine what is the most important clause in the Constitution.
3.) Find more academic conferences and training to attend. I don't know if it is where I live or not, but there are plenty of opportunities for government teachers to have additional, academic training. I particularly enjoy them if they fall on a school day; I have a very supportive principal who has usually helped me find funding for subs. I have been able to do academic research and training with institutions like: C-Span, Bill of Rights Institute, & the National Portrait Gallery. I was recently alerted to one that will take place at the Newseum... and have to decide if I want to devote a Saturday morning to it or not.
I am sure that this list will grow, but here is where I want to start. What are you going to work on this year? Share!
'Twas the moment before dismissal bell, when all thru the halls,
Not a creature was stirring, all dreams of vaca;
The papers were left on my desktop with care,
In hopes that my TAs soon would be there;
The pencils were nestled all snug in their cups
While visions of A+s all danc'd in their heads,
And redpen in her pencap, and I in my coat,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap-
When out on the net there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the seat to see what was the matter.
Away to the windows I flew like a flash,
Clicked open the browsers, and zoomed in my screen.
The flourescents bouncing off the no glare sheen,
Gave the haze of senioritis to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a minature webcast, and eight tiny new Apps,
With a little old host, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be time to stick.
More rapid than excuses his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:
"Now! Cel.ly, now! Edmodo, now! YouTube, and Socrative
On! Google, on! Wordle, on! Glogster and PocketProf;
To the top of the screen! to the top of the wall!
Now learn today! learn today! learn today all!"
As scan-trons before an open door fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the top-ten the courses they flew,
With a slew full of tricks- and my teacher, too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard the bell sound
The dancing and jawing and merriment abound.
As I lifted my head, and was turning around,
Into my gray-matter where inspiration was found:
Twas I, in school colors, from my head to my foot,
And my clothes were all tarnish'd from dry erase soot;
A bundle of ideas was ready to attack,
And I look'd like a pro with new things and a nack:
Mine eyes - how they twinkled! my dimples how merry,
My cheeks were all rosey, my thoughts were a flurry;
My tired little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
The fatigue of countless meetings ceased to show;
My boredom from stale lessons and tests,
Supplanted by hope for fresh twists and zest.
Sure, I'm tired and down, feel the walls closing in,
But it's gone as I laugh'd, rising a-bove the din:
I was excited and leapt, more like my old self,
'Membered why I teach after years num'ered 12th
And I laugh'd when I saw this in spite of myself;
A wink of the eye and some work from my head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And work'd on plans brilliant; then turn'd with a jerk,
And laying my finger aside of my chin
And giving a nod, into the hall I sailed with a grin.
I sprung to the copier, to my peers gave a nod,
And away they all flew, like kids exiting my pod:
But I heard myself exclaim, in the dwindling light
Teaching is GREAT, and I DO IT RIGHT!!!
This little venture... was meant to be able to help me pay for a Disney Trip for my three little kiddos... 'cause you know... pay freezes on teacher's salaries, and all that jazz...
But I have put a lot of heart and soul into this little project, and while it has gotten me not nearly enough by way of that Disney Trip, it has made me a better teacher, faculty member, and I have had fun to boot.
So thanks to those of you who have checked me out...
***'tis the season to be thankful***
-All my peers who have done review and input, who shall remain nameless until I have verified that I am allowed to out your super secret yet superhero identity...
-All my readers... I am currently ranked (I consider that to be an accomplishment in itself) 471/500 on Teach100
-All my students who have been my guinea pigs and hand models
-My hubs and kids for the hours I have spent here instead of with you. I can't wait for our Disney trip (which we're taking anyways, HollA!) in January 2014!
Please! Follow LovGov on FB... Twitter! Check back often! Recommend to educator peers! I would love to break above 100 in a years time! And in return, you get semi golden moments of government warm fuzzies!
Two governments. You. In a relationship at the same time. Their sovereignty is 'seemless,' but it has totally changed over time. However, who is pulling the strings is soooo hard to say.
I start with a pretty simple game. (Do you want a more complex game that is less teacher centered? Try iCivic's Power Play... but you need a computer lab!) I give the kids about 20 cards with a list of agencies at multiple levels of government. (I know, local governments are not sovereign... that whole Dillon's Rule vs Home Rule thing... but my kids don't know that... not yet.) I tell them to sort them into four piles.
After watching five classes do this, the prevailing sentiment is that there are few in the combo pile. We just finished talking about all the pretty parts of the Constitution, and the kids are reading the power structure just like the Constitution dictates.
Aw, yeah. It's 'Murica time. Let's make some stars and stripes around he-yaah..
So. we've done the whole historical background thing. Which brings us to a walking tour of that beautifully short and (mostly, at least for now) unchanged document.
I am torn in opening with a short video. I love crash course, but depending on my mood and desire for crass-ness and a bit of adult (yet not profane) humor... this is a good place to start a summary. It's not on the level of the daily show, but I may not show it to eighth or ninth graders. Preview and know your students.
It's been a while... and I've been up to much. We're smack dab in the middle of Constitution land. Do you have a minute? Do you wanna chat Supreme law of the land?
I tackle the Constitution in three parts. Here is the first of them.
Instead of telling kids about the Constitution through History's eyes, I try to focus on telling history through the eyes of the Constitution. And to truly understand the I gots to start at the beginning. So, we go back.... way back. To the civilizations, historical moments, philosophers, and documents that gave us our Constitution.
I start by assigning my kids a timeline assignment, of which they spend (or will spend in the future) *one* hour and a half researching an assigned topic. The topics can be grouped:
This is important, and I will come back to it later. And, my kids don't know these categories exist.
The kids take their topic from the assignment and are tasked with researching and reporting back to the class:
So. I live right outside of D.C.
I cringe when I ask the question,"y'all ever been to D.C.?"
There are kids in my class who have not. So guess what. We go. Me. 125 students. 12 chaperones. D.C. 9 hours. And it is RIGHTEOUS. We hit up the Newseum, Union Station, the Supreme Court, the Capitol, and the US Botanical Gardens.
I want to start by thanking Mr. Snowden and Mr. Greenwald for their uncompromising dedication to giving the NSA violations air time and transparency. I wanted to share some of the most important things I have learned from this book bef...
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
by Bill Bishop
tagged: nerdcation and to-read
I lovgov. LOVE IT! I love teaching government, learning about it, debating, discussing, asking questions about government. And not the standard boiler plate questions, but the hard ones that are NOT in the books.