Blogs on High (9-12)

Blogs on High (9-12)RSS
Joshua BlockFebruary 21, 2014

This post represents the work of a group of educators and education activists who wanted to help educators help students process the verdict in the Jordan Davis murder trial. Many of us wrote from our experiences both in and out of the classroom, and as such, many of us used "I" statements in talking about these ideas. The writers are Melinda Anderson, Joshua Block, Zac Chase, Alexa Dunn, Bill Fitzgerald, Matt Kay, Diana Laufenberg, Chris Lehmann, Luz Maria Rojas, John Spencer, Mike Thayer, Jose Vilson and Audrey Watters. You can also link to the Google Doc or download the whole thing as a PDF. Everything written below is collaborative. This document is Creative Commons -- Share Alike.

As educators, we believe that we have a responsibility to use our classrooms to help young people grapple with and address the messiness of the world around them. In collaborating on this, what we know to be true is that there is more than a single lesson plan here. The issues raised by the Jordan Davis murder trial touch deeply on issues of race, law, and social justice, and any and all of these issues could be a course of study. What we hope to do is offer a number of ways for teachers and students to think about the case while knowing that no one way, no one day can possibly speak to all of the challenges this case represents.

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Suzie BossFebruary 21, 2014

At the end of a project-based learning (PBL) experience, students typically share what they have learned or discovered with an audience. Depending on the project, students might publish their work online, make presentations at a public event, or pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

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Heather CalabroFebruary 20, 2014

There are many, many, many things that are more exciting to a teenager than history class. That's why I wanted to create a lesson plan that would generate interest -- and therefore encourage engagement -- in history among my high school sophomores.

When I begin to plan out a project-­based learning opportunity for my students, I usually follow the same brainstorm path. Of course, this path could be followed by your students as well, in order to give them voice and choice in their curriculum.

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Todd FinleyFebruary 19, 2014

Do you wish your students could better understand and critique the images that saturate their waking life? That's the purpose of visual literacy (VL), to explicitly teach a collection of competencies that will help students think through, think about and think with pictures.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronFebruary 18, 2014

In an earlier post, I wrote about both the Common Core Standards and what I call the "common sense" standards. Teaching ethical academic behavior online seems to hit both. When I talk about ethical academic behavior, I'm not talking about manners so much as giving credit where credit is due. After all, just because the kids can access information within two clicks doesn't give them the right to claim information as their own.

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Josh WorkFebruary 17, 2014

One of my students recently asked me about something he saw on the news regarding the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. His question was not about a certain sporting event but instead about the increased security because of the possible terrorist attacks, particularly against athletes from the West. I attempted to explain how some individuals do not agree with the American culture and related the situation back to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Unfortunately, the connection I was trying to establish between these events wasn't as clear as I'd hoped because my ninth grade student, born in the year 2000, was unaware of what happened on 9/11. Of course he'd heard of the attacks, but he didn't understand the background behind the event.

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Joshua BlockFebruary 10, 2014

When collaboration goes wrong, it can be toxic for learning and classroom culture. We are all familiar with the scene: a group of students that is supposed to be completing a collaborative project has splintered off into dysfunctional factions. Maybe it's one student who has sullenly separated her- or himself from the rest of the group, or maybe the group has become two non-communicative teams with separate visions. Sometimes these conflicts lead to resentments that have the potential for long-term damage to the classroom community.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronFebruary 7, 2014

In Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury writes that the grandma's kitchen was warm, exciting, and full of "organized chaos." I like to think that my classroom environment is also like that. Well, at least it's a positive spin on the piles of books, the stacks of papers and the uneven bulletin boards that define my middle school classroom.

But when teaching study skills and organization, it's vital that I model a more perfect world. One of the ways that I help my students -- and myself -- to organize our assignments is to create checklists.

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David CutlerFebruary 6, 2014

When I was a student, nothing helped me become more skilled at writing history than learning about journalism -- news reporting, in particular. I don't mean to undervalue my fabulous teachers in high school or college, many of whom spurred my intellectual growth and curiosity. Still, learning about reporting played a pivotal role in my success as a history major at one of America's most revered academic institutions, Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Each year, then, I teach my high school history students some news-reporting basics. You might consider doing the same.

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Sarah Wike LoyolaFebruary 5, 2014

Feeling outdated, not connected, or even totally lost in the digital age? Well, let me assure you, droning on and on about grammatical structures is a surefire way to quickly lose student interest in the world language classroom. Instead, embrace something which truly interests the millennial student: social media. Utilizing it in the classroom will give your students practical, engaging ways to communicate in the language you teach. The 21st century learner is not wired to memorize; instead, her or she is inclined to create, connect and collaborate. Social media is the perfect medium for us, their teachers, to reach them.

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