Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week in Review: April 19-23

American Studies: The Mindmeister mind maps are built and the research questions are confirmed. It is a good time to begin the conversation with your child about his/her learning that is coming from doing the research on his/her topic. Ask about how your son/daughter is using search techniques while determining which Web resources are valid and which are not. This use of information literacy is a very important skill in our social studies curriculum. The students will be providing analysis to explain their findings while working to synthesize the content and their conclusions to answer their research questions. 

Our studies now take us to the end of WWI. We are discussing Wilson's 14 Points while connecting to the Essential Question of "How to prevent conflict and keep the peace?". 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week in Review: April 6-9

American Studies: The week before the holiday ended with students sharing their research on how new forms of technology influenced the soldiers during the war. The students then worked to put themselves into the position of the soldiers by writing a letter as a blog post explaining to their families what life was like on the western front in France. Look for this post at your child's blog.

We begin this coming week with a visit by our wonderful librarian, Ms. Breard. She will be giving her second lesson on the research process. You can follow the steps and tasks your child is experiencing by reviewing with him/her the Research Learning Pursuit site. By the end of this week, each student will determine his/her research question.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week in Review: March 29 - April 2

American Studies: We are concluding the unit on imperialism and the progressive age. The students are working in teams to write up their study guides. We will start the next unit on WWI this coming week.

IB History: This will be my last post for IB History as our remaining weeks will be going through the revision process. The seniors created their assigned study guides and will review them in the coming weeks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week in Review: March 15-19

American Studies: The students continued reflecting and writing this past week. As we complete this unit on imperialism, the students are answering the Essential Questions working individually and with partners. They used mind maps to brainstorm their responses to then make connections between their ideas. The next step was to write an outline answer that they then wrote into essays.

IB History: We completed the unit on 20th century China by having the students create possible questions for the exam and then write rubrics for them. See below for examples of the student developed questions. Looking at the coming week, we have the Paper 1 Mock exam on Monday and Tuesday. The remainder of our time together before the IB exams will be reviewing using the student created study guides on all the topics from the past two years of study.

China Unit Questions:

How did Mao rise to power? What were his methods? What was his skill set?

In what ways was the CCP a single party, totalitarian state?

To what extent was Mao  successful in advancing the nation socially, economically and politically?

What were the factors leading to the Communist victory of the Chinese Civil War?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week in Review: March 8-12

American Studies: We continue to learn about American imperialism during the latter part of the 1800s and the start of the 20th century. The Spanish-American War was a case study that involved a look at the media and its power to influence public opinion. Continuing on the theme of newspapers, the students are now writing an OP-ED article for their blogs on the following question. Do take some time to read their posts and make comments.

Looking back at the start of American Imperialism in the latter 1800s and into the 20th century, in your opinion, did the positives outweigh the negatives for American expansionism? Look at this question from an American & from an outside of the US perspective.

One of the important tools teachers use is when we provide the structure or scaffolding as we say to guide students through the learning process. In the case of the OP-ED piece, the students had reading and notes from a previous lesson to draw upon. They then had to build out the following chart with responses as they prepared their article.

Causes of Imperialism in US in latter 1800s>>>>

Examples of Imperialism in US in latter 1800s>>>>

Effects of Imperialism in US & other territories in latter 1800s>>>>

Arguments for imperialism>>>>

Arguments against imperialism>>>>

Write your op-ed outline>>>>

Write your op-ed article>>>>

IB History: Mock exams are over and we now move into reviewing mode for the exams in May. You can view the topics and assigned study guides at the Revision Learning Pursuit site.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Week in Review: February 22-26

American Studies: With the completion of the unit on the Industrial Revolution, we began our study of the next unit entitled “Expansionism, Imperialism and Progressivism”. With all these “isms”, the students are already working to build their understanding of these concepts by seeing how they are in also in place in our world today. 
Our time frame of study is the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. The content for the unit centers on American efforts to compete with European powers for territory and influence. 
Here are the Essential Questions for this unit:
  • Why do nations expand? 
  • How can nationalism go too far? 
  • How to control excesses?
IB History: We completed our study of 20th century China up through 1977. With mock exams starting Monday, the students will do some review work for the China exam during the following week. The full review for the IB exams in May will then begin in earnest. 
To assist the students in their review work, I created the Revision Learning Pursuit site. The site is divided into one page for each of the exams. One can find a listing of the IB main themes and subtopics for each exam listed on each page. You will also find the names of all the seniors assigned to specific topics. Each student will be responsible to prepare a study guide for his/her fellow learners on the assigned topic. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Week in Review: February 8-12

American Studies: We made connections this week with globalization and its ESPRAT+G effects. As we are reviewing the chapter and the students are creating their study guides, they are seeing how change is a constant in our "flat" world. There will be a test this week followed by an lesson on using documents and questions to learn more about why Americans in the latter part of the 1800s were moving to cities in much larger numbers than before.

IB History: We now moving into the single political party phase of our study of China. Students will hopefully be making comparisons on their own to Stalin and Hitler as they read further about Mao Zedong. With a few project grades coming up, it is imperative that the seniors are doing their reading for each class while also putting in time for their projects.