Monday, December 30, 2013

It's the end of the world: a project

The first semester had two projects.  Both of them were thesis papers based on specific SOLs.  I am not sure the students enjoyed it but I think most honed their research and writing skills.  

Second semester will offer a new project.  I got the idea from another teacher, who I found online, that gave a similar assignment.  

So here it is: I will give the students a scenario that the world's population has dropped by 98% as a result of an influenza outbreak.   That means there are a little over 100 million people in the world and only 6.5 million people in the United States.  Currently, Virginia has a bit over 8 million people.  In the scenario, the influenza outbreak has been stabilized but the government, economy, and society have failed and need to be restructured.  The new government has put a search committee together to locate students of World History to help advise the new government on how to proceed.  What worked well in the past and what should our new government, economy, and society.  

I would like to offer a few options for the product the student is producing.  Obviously, they could  do a written report: like on you would turn into a boss for a proposal (not a research paper).  I am also thinking power point.  I would like to come up with a few more products.  I guess I'll keep my thinking cap on.

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Semester One: Post Mortem I am...on Christmas break and semester one is OVER! Exams have been given, final comments for report cards (except two classes) are finished and two weeks of lessons in January are done.

Today's post is going to be a post-mortem of sorts.  If you are not familiar with a post-mortem it is when you look at something after it has happened to figure out what went well and what didn't go well.  Medically, it's like an autopsy.  So, what went well in semester one and what didn't go well in semester one.  If something went well, can I duplicate it in semester two?  If something did not go well, can I avoid it in semester 2?  So here goes....

What didn't go well:

1. I lost TWO flash drives.  This was a major stressor for me.  The first one was lost during teacher work week and the other was lost sometime later in the second nine-weeks.  My husband tried to fix the problem by giving me a flash drive attached to my lanyard.  This did not work as I lost that flash drive.  My fix: use google docs or dropbox.

2. Missing one week of school due to family deaths.  Yes, I said deaths.  My dear grandmother passed after an illness in October.  The morning of her funeral we found out that my husband's grandfather had passed.  As fellow teachers can attest, you can leave the most fabulous plans but get a cruddy sub and nothing goes as planned.  I had five different subs for those five different days.  My fix: hope no one dies until summer break ( a long time from now).

What could have gone better (okay- adding another category):

1. My Ancient Greece and Rome knowledge.  What? You may ask: you don't know anything about Ancient Greece or Rome?  And I would say: I do now!  During my time at Roanoke College I took Western Civ I & II but then focused my history classes on three areas: Africa, Medieval/Renaissance Italy and Modern Asia.  So....I would like to expand my knowledge for both of these areas.

What went well:

1. Pass rates.  I have 98 students who are passing World History I. However, I have one student that is totally failing.  I have offered tutoring, help with test corrections and contacted howe with little change.  As for the my quarterly assessments and exams: both of those have pass rates in the 90s.

2. Lessons.  I think, for the most part, my lessons are well developed and varied.  I am hoping to keep this momentum up and keep it through the end of the school year.  

I hope I've inspired you to conduct your own post-mortem.

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Romulus and Remus Mythology Comic

We are quickly approaching the end of our Rome unit!  We have been discussing Roman mythology and the beginnings of Christianity this week.  On Monday, I read the students two myths.  Both of them are about Romulus and Remus.  We talked about how mythology offers explanations of life events or natural phenomena.  Romulus and Remus are brothers and Romulus was the first king of Rome.

The cover of the book I read
to my students.  

This is the myth that explains how Romulus and Remus were born.  

The story about the founding of Rome.  
Students were encouraged to take notes as I read.  After I finished reading the students created a comic strip that contains a minimum of six story cells.  I also required that students include dialogue and color in each of the cells.  

Student's work 

One comic

I think most of the students enjoyed "story time".  They did a good job with their comic creations.  

Happy Teaching!