Monday, December 5, 2011

Best kid-teaching method

I found on article on Deseret News claiming to have found the best method for teaching kids...

Case Studies!

I haven't had the chance to read the article yet but I thought I'd put up the link now before I forget to look the article up in the future.  

Here it is:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Breaking News: U.S. Relations with Burma

The United States is beginning opened up to Myanmar (Burma) recently in an effort to encourage Myanmar's movement toward change.

Burma has been in political upheaval since the 1960's between an oppressive government and conflicts with the ethnic minorities.  Burma was renamed Myanmar after a junto took control in the 1960's.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of the famous Burmese nationalist hero Aung San.  Aung San helped Burma achieve independence from Japan but was then killed.  After his victory and death, the country slipped into political unrest and became communist/socialist.  Aung San Suu Kyi spent much of her life abroad and became well versed in democratic ideals.  She returned to Burma around 1988, the time of the second major uprising for independence/freedom.  She became a spoke person for democracy and Burmese people rallied behind Aung San Suu Kyi.  However, she was put on long-term house arrest and was released from her most recent round of house arrest in Nov. 2010.  She is now wanting to run for parliament.

The United States has maintained sanctions against Burma largely because Burma has been under major Chinese influence.  Burma has held many political prisoners and largely limited free speech.  However, Burma has taken great strides recently in standing up to China, releasing political prisoners and moving towards more openness.

To acknowledge and encourage these improvements, the President Obama sent Hillary Clinton, U.S Secretary of State, to Burma to meet with the Burmese President, Thein Sein.  Sein was elected president in March 2011.  Clinton's visit at the end of November 2011 marks the first U.S. Secretary of State visit to Burma in 50 years.

During her visit, Clinton also delivered letters from President Obama to both Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi.  

Here is a link to an article about this visit and a video clip of Hillary Clinton speaking to Burmese leaders:

Here is a copy of President Obama's letter to Aung San Suu Kyi:

Aung San Suu Kyi

Rangoon, Burma

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

It was a pleasure and an honor to speak with you recently. As I said during our conversation, I have long admired your brave and unwavering struggle for democracy, and I consider our conversation a highlight of my recent visit to Asia.

Secretary of State Clinton's visit will explore how the United States can support efforts to foster political opening and respect for universal human rights, as well as demonstrate the seriousness of our commitment to helping the people of Burma achieve their democratic aspirations.

I thank you for your welcome of the Secretary's visit, and look forward to speaking to you again. Thank you for the inspiration you provide all of us around the world who share the values of democracy, human rights, and justice. We stand by you now and always.


Barack Obama

(This is the link to Obama's letter:

I think using these articles, videos and Obama's letter would be great ways for students to connect with this subject.  Students have a hard time connecting with cultures and countries that they are largely unfamiliar with; however, using a video and reading a letter written by the current U.S. President would help students see how real these issues are.

This would be a great tool for both teaching history and geography.

Friday, October 28, 2011



I found this map on Pinterest.

I could use the map in a discussion about STEREOTYPES:

What is the first thing YOU think of when you think of each of the 50 states?
Are stereotypes accurate? If not, are there some truth to them?
Is the stereotype for your state correct?
What do you want your state to be known for?
What happens when we stereotype a state, or a culture, or a person?
Hawaii and Alaska are not shown on this map. What would you describe them as?
What does this map show you about the person who created it?

I could also use this map in GEOGRAPHY for so many different things:

The purpose of different kinds of maps.
Cultural landscape.
Our worldview.

This map would be for a journal entry topic.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another Resource

Check out:

Good links to historical documents and other teaching ideas.



Just found this website called "Top Documentary Films"

They have documentaries that are about an hour long on topics like:
Sept. 11th
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Danish Solution: The Rescue of the Jews of Denmark
and others!

I haven't taken too much time to watch the documentaries and test them out

but this definitely has a lot of potential!

And the best part?

The documentaries are free!

Project Idea


This is just an idea that I came up hasn't been tried or tested.

I would take the kids to the library,

have them find a children's book,

check out and read the children's book,

and then research the book's topic to find out if the author "Got it Right"

They could then write a letter to the author explaining their findings.


This might teach them skills to then research their own historical figure and write their own children's book.

They would get points for research, facts, accuracy, and creativity.

We could hold a reader's corner where we read our books to an elementary school.

They could even try to get their books published!


Daily Journals

So Timpview High School does this great thing where each teacher keeps a blog of their daily activities and student homework assignments.

I came across Mrs. King's Geography blog.

I first met Mrs. King (or Wendy at the time) when we were both American Heritage TA's at BYU.

I then left on my mission and she moved on to being a teacher. We didn't see eachother again until I happened to walk in her Timpview High School classroom to observe for my ScEd 276 class.

She is a fabulous teacher who can make any topic interesting. I was impressed by her use of technology, her classroom management, and her ability to make any subject relevant to students' lives.

So, while I was checking out her blog just now I noticed that she has her geography students make a daily entry into their journal.

She has a new, interesting question every day.


I wanted to share some to get my mind rolling in the future of good journal ideas:

Have you ever experienced a natural disaster? If so, what was it like? If not, write down everything you already know about natural disasters.

What things to YOU think make a country more "advanced"? Why?

Write down EVERYTHING you know related to Latin America.

What are you going to do to study for the test?

What is an example of movement here in Utah? Human-Environment interaction?

If you were a regular citizen in a government, which type of government would you prefer, and why?
(Objective for that day: Describe different types of economic systems; know differences between capitalism, socialism, and communism)

In what ways has America been effected by 9-11? Your own life?

What is the difference between weather and climate? 2. What is your favorite season, and why?

Your friend doesn't know how to find latitude and longitude. Explain, in words, how you will teach your friend to do this.

Create 3 different mnemonics or memory tricks, to help you remember the states and capitals.

Great ideas, huh?

Her classroom blog is:

How to Teach Students about the World!


If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People
by David J Smith

Fantastic way to help students grasp all the different cultures in the world.

This clever author wrote a book about what the world would be like if it was just 100 people in a village.

Each person in the village represent the 62 million people that make up part of the world's actual population.

The book is eye opening to students as they see that only 7 of the 100 villagers would own computers.

Interesting, huh?

I would love to read this to my geography students to introduce populations and cultures.

The book is Grade 3-5 reading level.

Lessons Learned


I love listening to people who LOVE teaching!

There are so many people in the world who ask why anyone would ever go into teaching that it so refreshing to watch people who love it and have devoted there life to it.

These enthusiastic educators make me want to be a great and passionate teacher that can make children love learning.

With that said, Dr. Jacobs was just one of those people who LOVE teaching.

Here are tidbits that I learned from his lecture on Education and Literacy
to my TELL 430 class:

We can make kids smarter if we get them CURIOUS
(idea came from Henry B. Eyring)

You need to find books that students want to read

What do you do as a teacher if you don't know what subjects your students are interested in?
Give them options to choose from,
Expose them to different topics,
Give them books that you think are GOOD. You will be passionate
about that book and they will probably think it's good too!

Make literacy a reward for students
(with just a few extra moments in class, get the students excited to hear a new story)

Make literacy relate to the real world
(news, family relations, etc.)

Use books that touch their heart and interest (their affect) and not books that just deliver information (their cognition)

You don't have to read a whole book to students. Just the part that you think is interesting.

The best thing to help reading, writing, thinking and speaking is READING.

Most importantly?
If people read regularly and widely then they will become educated.

It's as easy as that.

YAY for Literacy

Last night in my TELL 430 class we had the wonderful Dr. Jacobs come in and share his love for literacy.

It was while I was sitting there listening to this cute old man talk about literacy and education that I got the idea for this blog.

So in an effort to remember what he shared with us, I wanted to remember some great books that he showed us.

Drumroll, please....

Great books for U.S. and World History Classes:
We Were There Too
We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History
by Phillip Hoose

Hoose wrote this book to show young people that there are stories about people their age in history too!

This would be a great way to get students to connect with people like them.

I could read a story any time we had free time/left over time in class.

how they croaked
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
by Georgia Bragg

Short Stories of how people like Napoleon Dynamite, Henry VII and others died.

A fun way to mix up history and make these historical people "come to life." haha. bad joke.

Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus?
by Jean Fritz

I didn't spend as much time looking over this book BUT...

As far as I understand it, this book is a simplified telling of historical figures with some illustrations. From the pages I glanced at it seemed like interesting writing for kids.

The great thing?

It's a whole series!
They have other books about Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, King George and others!

Even a book called Shh! We're Writing the Constitution

These books are for grades 2-5 or ages 9-12 but I think my middle and high schoolers could still get a kick out of them.

AND because life doesn't have to be all serious...

Here are some books just for fun:

Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat
by Alvin Schwartz

A fun book with topics like "How will you know who you're going to marry?"

Answer: Take your shoe lace off, get it wet, roll it into a ball and throw it on the ceiling. Whatever shape the shoe lace makes is the first letter of your future husband's name.

There are tons like that that will get kids smiling and even trying it themselves!

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
by Alvin Schwartz

I did not get to look at this book but I think it is the same fun, clever idea as Alvin Schwartz other book.

And other:
Mirror Mirror_Riding Hood
Mirror, Mirror
by Marilyn Singer

This book is incredible!

Definitely a children's picture book but because it is so clever everyone loves it.

The picture I posted is just a page from the book. Read it!

Needless to say, I learned a LOT about incorporating books into my classroom.

Next I will share lessons learned from Dr. Jacobs.

Let the FUN begin!


Hello there.

I am in my final year at BYU and preparing to be a Social Science Teacher.

This blog will help me track teaching ideas and prepare for when I have my own little munchkins.

So let the fun begin!