Parent News

new.jpeg2011-2012 September News

It's the start of a new school year! For your students this year there may be many feelings of anxiety and, let's be honest, dread. We fall into a lull during the summer months, so when September rolls around, making that transition can be tough. The first month of school is a time for transition, especially for my 9th graders. They are entering a stage in their lives that can be exciting, but also scary. Working as a team, as parent and teacher, we can help ease that uncertainty with support and flexibility. Now is the time to solidify the routine that can help them throughout the rest of the year.
This parent link is a way for me to communicate with you and in addition to other means, keep dialogue open. Here you can follow what we will be doing in class and offer your students support in the curriculum that they will study throughout this year.

Topics Covered
American History- Progressive Era
You thought we have problems today with our government and society? During the late 1800s, American society was disillusioned with it's leadership and the corruption that plagued every level of government. We see figures emerge from this period that changed how government worked. Make the connections to today by asking your students what they know about government today. Encourage your students to watch the news from ALL outlets and discuss what they see. Foster an environment that encourages your student to become participants in the global world, rather than bystanders.

Child Development- Studying Children
Why do kids do what they do? That might be the question for the ages. We open this first chapter of what is a new class for me to teach. Having a young child of my own, I am intrigued by his behavior and captivated watching this little person grow. The first chapter looks at the different perspectives of various psychologists over the decades and their take on trying to answer the question of all questions. Encourage your student to observe young children in your own home and family.


2010-2011

April News
We made it...almost, to the end of the year! For many students, they believe that it IS the end of the year when we enter the 4th Quarter. Too many times, I've witnessed relatively successful students tank themselves unnecessarily because they became distracted with the prospects of summer, the warmer weather, and what I simply call the '-itis'. Thinking that they've done enough to get them by, they blow off much of this final quarter, only to find themselves in a panic realizing the damage that has been done. Believe me, us teachers can come down with a case of the '-itis', but what we try to convey to our students is to stay the diligent path, keep the focus, and bear through until the official end of the school year. One of the many advantages that cyber students have over their brick and mortar counterparts is that they can take the classroom with them. Even if it is just to sit outside and watch a class or a video for an assignment, it gives us that taste of better things to come, all the while, completing the tasks at hand.

Theme for April: Sacrafice and Freedom
What you can do? This is when you can dialogue with your student about what does is mean to sacrifice. See what they have to say what they think are sacrifices. Giving up time to watch a younger sibling? Getting a job and working over going out with friends? Share with your student about sacrifices that YOU'VE made. Our kids benefit from our own personal history and perhaps it allows them to know you in a different light. Inquire as to what freedoms they think we have. Are there ever instances to sacrifice freedoms for a cause? Are there times when a sacrifice is too great? Hear your student out and what they have to say. I am continually surprised(pleasantly) by the insight that our young people have on the world around us.

Topics Covered
U.S. History- Vietnam War Era
Perhaps one of the most controversial times in our nation's history, the era of the Vietnam War, fractured this country like no other time than besides the Civil War. As I stated earlier, sharing our own history is a great way to go beyond the classroom and textbook. Encourage your student to seek out family and friends who lived and maybe even fought during this time. We will explore the context of how the United States became involved, introduce the major players involved over the course of our involvement, delve into the conflict that the war caused at home, and question how different we treat those that fight in conflicts were treated then versus now. Unfortunately, our students are living in a generation not too different than what the generation during the 1960s and 1970s experienced. We will parallel the similarities and differences to bring in events that they may be more familiar with.

World History- African Genocide: South Africa, Rwanda, and Sudan
We will approach this unit as a survey of the different regions, trying to explain how such tragedies could happen. This will be one of the more heavier, emotional, and graphic units that we study, just because of the nature of the subject matter. Genocide is not pretty. It is not easily glossed over or sugar coated to the realities. For many, studying this area of the world may be unknown to them, so time will be taken on attaining our geographic bearings and spending time establishing the backstory for these horrific events. Parallels will be made with an event that may be more familiar to them: the Holocaust. The genocide in Africa is not that much different, other than location and ethnicity, the outcome is still the same, even in the face of the call that what happened during the Holocaust was 'never to happen again.'

March News
I know a sign of spring is soon here when I see the first robin after trudging our way through the months and months of cold and snow. Hopefully that groundhog won't pull any fast ones on us and sneak another storm on us. This is also the time of the year, regardless if a shadow is seen or not, that we begin the state-mandated PSSA tests. Below this notice is a link about PSSA testing, though by this point your 7th, 8th, or 11th grade student should be scheduled and probably has taken at least the Reading and Math tests. Help your student prepare to do their best on these tests by making sure they get a good night's sleep the night before a scheduled test, a good breakfast the morning of, and pack with them a healthy snack to munch on during a break. If just asking them to do their best isn't a motivator, explain to them, namely your 11th grader, that if they do not pass them as an 11th grader, they will have to retake them as seniors.

Theme for March: Designing Decades of Innovation
What you can do? First ask your student if they know what the word 'innovation' means. It may be a term they are not familiar with. In what context would the word innovation be used in? Using a variation of the word, ask your student to identify what is innovative in their lives. Do they still find the microwave cutting edge? What about the DVD player? Cell phone? Oh if they only knew what we grew up with! You had to dial a number on the phone? You actually talked to people on the phone? They may think we may as well have lived with the dinosaurs. What do you mean you had to flip over the cassette to listen to the rest of the songs? And what's an album?

Topics Covered
U.S. History- Innovations of a Decades- 1950-1969
In this unit(which as of this posting has not been posted yet)we will research, mostly in class, an item of innovation during the period between 1950-1969. They will look at how this item inspired something from the last 20 years years(starting 1991). Using an innovative tool from the web, Glogster, students will compare and contrast the old with the new, answering the question on how the item they chose changed their life. Your support in helping them do this research will help immensely as we will not be following a specific chapter or section in their textbook. Their textbook is merely a resource for them to use to retrieve information. We will most likely lapse into April to finish this unit.

World History- Space Race
In this unit, we will explore the events surrounding the space race between the United States and Russia(then the Soviet Union). Borrowing inspiration from Star Trek, we will travel back in time, working collaboratively in class and independently using Google Docs to complete a webquest. Music is always used to set the mood for the era that we are studying in class, but in this unit I will be using music to encourage some free writing. We will most likely lapse into April to finish this unit.

PSSA.jpgSAT.png

Practice SAT terms


December News

As I write this we are about 2 weeks away from the holidays, with some faiths celebrating already. We've had a busy 2nd Quarter so far, unveiling so many features, namely the student emails and the Pronto instant message service. I feel that I've been better about my communication with my students and parents this year than I have years past. I hope that you feel that I've been in touch with you enough to this point. Just like the spirit of the holidays, I want to convey with my students the point of sharing and participating. The more they put into class or an assignment, just as they would beating the next level in Call of Duty, they will reap the benefits.

Theme for December- iGeneration: Getting Connected
What you can do? Discuss with your student what they think is going to be the lasting or most memorable element from their lives growing up now. Share memories of your own childhood and what is the same between your own generation and your student's. Encourage your student to seek out older members of the family and share their stories. Those stories are some of the best memories I have of my own grandparents and made me get to know them better and the world they grew up.

Topics Covered
US History- iGeneration: 4 Generations: Boomers, Xers, NetGen, and Millenials
In this unit, much of the discovery will be in the hands of the students as they will be comparing and contrasting the four identified generations of the last 70 years. We will be approaching each generation using the same focus categories: technology, political/social, and cultural. This unit probably most closely resembles the direct definition of our monthly theme, but from a historical perspective, much can be gleaned from the evolution of technology and how technology was used in each generation. Many political actions can impact society and influence culture for years afterward. On the flip side, societal issues impact culture and vice versa.

World History- China, Iran, and North Korea
We will study the position and conditions these three countries find themselves in today. As a student on the global stage (or instilling that inquisition) these countries are the most provocative, controversial, and in some instances still an enigma. Some of these countries have been placed in such categories as the 'Axis of Evil', or historically been isolated from the rest of the world. What does the future hold for them?
How does this subject connect with our theme of an iGeneration?

November/December News

We've reached the end of one quarter and starting another. As we enter into a fresh quarter, I approach it as a fresh slate. Let us learn our lessons, good and bad, from the 1st Quarter and move forward. We've rolled out a new email system for the students so communication should prove to be much more open. Pssst...You will be getting your own, too! I will keep my phone calls coming and look forward to speaking with so many of you over the course of this quarter.

Our class schedule has changed for the 2nd Quarter. Both classes will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays. US History will meet at 8:00 and World History will meet at 2:00.

Theme for November(content will fall into December)-Invisibility and Invincibility
What you can do? Brainstorm with your student what they think it means to be invisible...and not in the superhero sense of the word. Invincibility may be a term that is unfamiliar to your student. Break it down to the root word invincible. What characteristics make something or someone invincible?

Topics Covered
US History- Cuban Missile Crisis and 9/11
In this unit I am tying two monumental events in American history together. One in the not so distant past and another that students may be able to access someone in the immediate family that has memories of the environment in the early 1960s. Simple intellectual questioning to see what your student knows about this subject is enough to help the conversation along. September 11, 2001 is probably a more tangible event that they can reference since it is the most recent event that we've discussed. What are their recollections of this day?
Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. Make the learning space they do their work a conducive one that will make them comfortable and able to learn and complete their work. Ask your student what was discussed in class.
How does this subject connect with our theme of Invisibility and Invincibility?

World History- Revolutions of Russia
This unit is probably the most distant and foreign to students. We will discuss the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 in Russia, both which impacted not only Russia itself, but Europe as a whole. Ask your students what they may know about Russia in general? Any background knowledge is useful to tie into topics that may be unfamiliar to students.
Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. Make the learning space they do their work a conducive one that will make them comfortable and able to learn and complete their work.
How does this subject connect with our theme of Invisibility and Invincibility?




October/November News

We're more than half way through the 1st quarter. Hopefully by now, you and your student have settled into a groove. I will admit it even takes us teachers a while to find our rhythm. I've enjoyed speaking with many of you over the last several weeks. I want to keep the lines of communication open so that we can share our questions and concerns.


Theme for October(and content will fall into November)- Unity and Division
What can you do? Discuss with your student what elements divide us? What areas divide us? Can we overcome what divides us? Are all elements that unify us necessarily for a positive purpose?

Topics Covered
US History- Propaganda and Japanese Internment during World War II
Make sure your student accesses the notes available in my course news or in the lesson block. Ask your student what they know(or think they know) about this subject. Has your student heard of this event in US History before. Many times historical events can get lost in the shuffle. Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. Make the learning space they do their work a conducive one that will make them comfortable and able to learn and complete their work. Ask your student what was discussed in class.
How does this subject connect with our theme of Unity and Division?

World History- Germany and Korea After World War II
Make sure your student accesses the note available in my course news or in the lesson block. Ask your student what they know(or think they know) about this subject. Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. We have class Tuesdays and Thursdays. To process the information and make what could be very foreign knowledge more real to them, ask them what was discussed in class. Studies have shown that if you can relay new information to another person, that information has processed to a deeper level, thus, understanding the material can become learned, rather than memorized. Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. Make the learning space they do their work a conducive one that will make them comfortable and able to learn and complete their work.
How does this subject connect with our theme of Unity and Division?


September News

Welcome to the start of a new year. So many new changes to get used to: new site, new faces, new schedules, perhaps new format for learning. It can take a bit to get used to.

I am here to assist you to make your experience a positive one, at least as far as my classes go, and even to assist outside of class to facilitate some connections with mentors or other teachers. This will be a link in my course news for YOU. Check in every month for a update on content, themes, and subjects that will be discussed in my classes. I will add in suggestions on what you can do to help your student.

Please check out the Parent Resource Room for FAQ's and links and resources that can help you help your student.

Theme for September(and a little bit into October for my classes until finish the content)

Recipe for Success- What can you do? What does this mean to your student? Discuss this concept of having a plan to see a positive outcome or at least a plan- the outcome may or may not be successful.

Topics Covered

US History- Great Depression and the New Deal

Make sure your student accesses the notes available in my course news or in the lesson block. Ask your student what they know(or think they know) about this subject. Do you have anyone in your family alive that lived through this time period? Oral history is the best way to learn about a time period. When you have a real person(especially one they know) talking about a period of history they actually lived through and experienced, it does much more than a textbook ever could. Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. Make the learning space they do their work a conducive one that will make them comfortable and able to learn and complete their work.
How does this subject connect with our theme of a Recipe of Success?

World History- French Revolution and Napoleon

Make sure your student accesses the note available in my course news or in the lesson block. Ask your student what they know(or think they know) about this subject. Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. We have class Tuesdays and Thursdays. To process the information and make what could be very foreign knowledge more real to them, ask them what was discussed in class. Studies have shown that if you can relay new information to another person, that information has processed to a deeper level, thus, understanding the material can become learned, rather than memorized. Use the assignment list in my course news to help them get organized with their assignments. Make the learning space they do their work a conducive one that will make them comfortable and able to learn and complete their work.
How does this subject connect with our theme of a Recipe of Success?

Contact Info

I am here to answer any questions your may have. My contact info is found in my courses and in my course news. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you have.