Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baraka: Documentary showing Culture

A fellow teacher suggested the documentary Baraka for my Geography class.  I haven't been able to watch the documentary yet but I wanted to keep track of this suggestion.

I think I found the movie online at this link:


she said that Baraka is at the Orem Library as well.

I'll have to look in to it soon!

Maps for Map Tests

Here is a great website that has maps designed for map tests!

The maps are just an outline and every country is numbered.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Creating Maps


Since I am teaching Geography this semester, I have been on a search for the perfect map.  I can never seem to find the perfect map.  Sometimes I want the grid system on the map. Sometimes I need a scale. Sometimes I want the countries' names to appear.  Sometimes I don't.  I am never quite satisfied.


National Geographic's Mapmaker!  You can design a map to have the features that you want it to and then download and print.

Life just got a lot easier.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Longitude and Latitude Rap

The same teacher that made this rap of the 5 Themes of Geography, made a rap for Latitude and Longitude.  It is hilarious. (The video may take a while to open.)

If I had tons of time one day, I would like to type up the words to the rap so students could follow along as they watch the video.  They could then refer back to the lyrics later to remember latitude and longitude.

5 Themes of Geography

Maddie, my fellow student teacher at Timpview, found this hilarious teacher that makes raps to help remember geography ideas.

Here is a rap to the 5 Themes of Geography.  The rap is about 2:30 minutes long and is a pretty catchy tune.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Setting up the US Government in your Classroom

I am currently preparing for a day where I will have students set up the U.S. Government System in the classroom by electing Senators, Representatives, the President and then appointing Supreme Court Justices.

Once students are in this system (they are actually in new seats according to their position in govt), students can propose new bills that could alter the Disclosure Statement (aka Syllabus) to what they want it to be.  The President has to approve the bill and the Supreme Court has to try the bill for constitutionality.  (The teacher has the final veto but can help nudge the students in a good direction throughout the activity)

In this process, students learn how the U.S. Government system works and how to participate in a democracy.  Students also like they are feeling a part of creating classroom policies, and as a result, students will take more ownership of their own actions during the class.

Jeremy Stevenson designed this activity and has used it every time he has taught.  He usually uses this simulation on the 3rd (ish) day of his geography class at the beginning of the year.  This simulation fits in with Jeremy's intro unit because he introduces government systems during the first unit.  However, this activity could also be used in any class, especially a US Govt class or a US History class.

This is the link to a more detailed explanation.

While preparing for this activity, I came across this short 2 minute video about campaigning for the White House.  This clip is especially great because it helps students learn about current events (as we are in the middle of the campaigning process for 2012) as well as understand how running for President really does work in the U.S.

Here is the video:

And here is the link:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Photos: Rare look inside Sudan

CNN posted photos of Syria claiming that it is a rare look into the country.

Go check it out here!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cultural Diffusion

In my first geography unit of my student teaching, we are discussing culture and cultural diffusion.  Here are some ideas that I got from my mentor teaching and that I come up with on my own.

Question: How or why do things (ideas, movies, music, religions, etc.)  move from place to place?

They move because of:

-Everyone just wants to be cool and hip

Could address cultural diffusion by focusing on a theme like music (Mr. Stevenson's idea)

So, for example:

-Trade: (Seattle Sound)
-War: (article on how American Soldiers in Iraq left of legacy of Rap)
-Migration: (Anny foreign singer, missionary)
-Everyone wants to be cool and hip (Koreans)

Other examples of Cultural Diffusion besides music:
Religious Conversion (Missionaries): Holidays/Work Week
Technological Necessity: Internet
Trade: Politcal Systems
War or Conquest: Language, food (baguettes are popular in Vietnam because of French colonialism)
Migration: Restaurants (People from Thailand move to Provo and open Thai Restaurants, etc.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Nigerians Strike

Nigeria would be a could case study of the effects of colonialism, of religious conflict, of the effects of oil in Africa.  

Nigerians are taking to the streets to protest the Nigerian government on January 9, 2012.  The government, under the direction of President Jonathan, removed the fuel subsidies for the country.  This was considered to be one of the few benefits of living in Nigeria.

On average, Nigerians make $2 a day.  The price of fuel has now doubled as a result of ending fuel subsidies--the price of fuel was 40 cents a day but now its 80 cents a day.

Nigeria is the world's 10th largest oil producer (according to the CIA) but very little of the money that oil brings in is felt by/given back to the Nigerian residents.  They actually have to import their oil because they don't have the equipment to convert crude oil to usable fuel.

Nigeria is dominated by the Muslim religion.  Nigeria has a history of religious tensions between Christians and Muslims.

The country had a civil war in the late 1960's where 3 million died.

History of Nigeria (leading up until the civil war):

Britain colonized Nigeria and carved out a very heterogeneous groups of ethnicities in West Africa to form Nigeria.  Britain left Nigeria in 1960.

While the British were ruling, the British allowed the Northern Emirs to have greater independence (as the British only ruled indirectly through the Emirs).  Christian missionaries were not allowed into Northern Nigeria.  As a result, Northern Nigeria became an underdeveloped region, strongly Muslim and with low literacy rates.

Conversely, the British ruled directly in the South.  The South became more westernized and Christianized.

It was the South in the end that greatly wanted independence.  The North feared that if Britain left, the South would dominate the North.

There were a series of coups and counter coups.

Oil was discovered in the southeastern part of Nigeria.  While the North was not super eager before to hold on to the South, the North now wanted to hold a firm grip on the South.

And so on and so forth!  (Look up the rest leading up to the civil war on Wikipedia)

I found the info on fuel subsidies from this CNN article.  The article also has a video clip of the striking.

All the history info was from Wikipedia.

Teaching North Korea and Kim Jong Il

Here is a link from the New York Times Lesson Plans

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Africa Resource

University of Pennsylvania put together this great resource page for Africa.

I've only looked at it a little bit but the site already looks helpful.

oh goody goody.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interactive Map

This map is great!

They asked people throughout the U.S. the same topics about their living standard.  Questions were on their level of happiness, stress, food, etc.

The map is interactive so you just drag your arrow over a certain part of the map and you can learn how happy that particular area considers itself.

This is great for looking at trends throughout the U.S.  

NY Times put together a lesson plan to help students analyze the interactive map.

Population Growth

NY Times Lesson Plan on Comparing Projections for Population Growth.

Video Clips

The NY Times posts videos about issues throughout the world here.

There are great for geography, from the drought in Somalia to the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake.

Famine in Somalia

Africa is full of case studies of famine, disease, poverty, etc.

Here is a more in depth look into the famine in Somalia.

This link to the lesson plan also has pictures of Somalia.

NY Times put together this video of Somalia's severe drought.

What I Eat and Where I Sleep

Photographers traveled throughout the world to document differences throughout the world.

One photographer took a series of photos titled "What I Eat."

Another photographer took a series of photos called "Where Children Sleep."

The differences are astonishing.

I found these sites from the NY Times lesson plan Documenting Daily Life to Tell Stories.

This would collaborate well with the pictures that Jeremy Stevenson already has up in his room of the all the items that people have in their homes throughout the world.

The pictures are excellent and have a great impact.

This would be great for introduction geography, for doing stations on standard of living, for practicing analyzing pictures, etc.

Hispanic Documentaries

The New York Times compiled five hispanic documentaries for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The documentaries vary in length from 12 minutes to 147 minutes.

The great thing about this lesson plan is that the NY Times has included questions to go along with the documentaries!

check it out.

Addressing Hunger Around the Globe

Every year there is a World Food Day, an effort to end hunger in the world.

This lesson plan on Addressing Hunger Around the Globe provides students with important information about hunger as well as ways to try and stop hunger.

I think the hunger map is fascinating and would be great for students to analyze.

There is also a link to an article about hunger in Kenya.  I haven't read it yet but it looks good.

This would be a good study of hunger in Africa during an Africa Unit.

I especially like this idea because the lesson is authentic.  Students aren't just learning facts about Africa but are learning how the can participate in these big life questions.  I want students to feel like they can make a difference.

Egyptian Revolution: Elections

The New York Times has Lesson Plans!  Who knew?

Here is a great lesson plan for explaining elections in Egypt.  This would be a great insight into the Arab world.

Even if you didn't follow the lesson plan exactly, you could still draw on the resources.

There are several links within the lesson plans to PDFs that explain the Egyptian Revolution as well as provide videos about the elections.

Gordon Hirabayashi: Japanese-American Civil Rights Hero

During WWII, when FDR signed an executive order that discriminated against Japanese-Americans, Gordon Hirabayashi took a stand.  In his Supreme Court case--Hirabayashi v. United States--the Supreme Court ruled "that military necessity justified imposing an ethnicity-specific curfew" and Hirabayashi was sentenced to prison.  It wasn't until the 1980's that his curfew conviction was overturned.  

On January 2nd, 2012, Gordon Hirabayashi passed away in Canada at the age of 93.  CNN wrote an article titled "Remembering Gordon Hirabayashi, Japanese-American civil rights hero." 

The article goes in to more detail on Hirabayashi's life story, but I especially like the last paragraph:

"When my case was before the Supreme Court in 1943, I fully expected that as a citizen the Constitution would protect me," Hirabayashi said. "Surprisingly, even though I lost, I did not abandon my beliefs and values. And I never look at my case as just my own, or just as a Japanese American case. It is an American case, with principles that affect the fundamental human rights of all Americans."

This article would be a great way to help students identify with a Japanese-American during WWII.  Hirabayashi's story is also a good way to analyze civil rights, the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

Student Teaching and Collaborating

Man, did anyone ever know that being a teacher is SO crazy?

This past week as I started my student teaching, I have been exposed to how all consuming teaching can become.  People have been preparing me about the hours of planning and the lack of sleep that comes with student teaching, so I don't feel TOO shocked by all of that.  I actually think that the most shocking thing to me is how EXCITED I really am to teach, to have my own class.

I'm loving it!

Loving it so much that I need to tell my brain to turn off when I go to sleep at night or else I will keep brainstorming new ideas.

Granted, I am just in the planning and observing part of my student teaching right now and all of this uber enthusiasm may change when I really get to the reality of having to have a lesson planned, prepped and ready to go every day.  Hopefully, I can maintain the enthusiasm though when the droopy eyes, road blocked mind and tired voice come.

We started attending the high school yesterday, January 5th, but don't start officially teaching until January 17th.  Because my mentor teacher teaches semester long classes, he is allowing us to start out the new semester on January 17th with the class being entirely ours.  That means that on January 17th I will stand in front of my very own 9th grade Honors Geography class and pretend to know what I am doing.  I will hand out my syllabus, introduce myself with pictures of me traveling to foreign places, and proceed to give my students an introduction to what geography is really all about.  Do I know what geography is really all about?  No.  In fact, I feel like I know very little about anything.  But will I learn it?  Yes.  Will I study the textbook, search the Internet and pick other teachers' brains like no other brother?  Absolutely.  This is going to be fun.

In my effort to prep, I have come across some good resources that might save me as I student teach and teach in the future.

(I'm not teaching AP World, but this would be a great for the future AND a good reference for designing my own blog)


hopefully my very own new blog will help me and future Geography teachers:

So here's to collaboration and surviving my future teaching career!

Psychology Website

I started my student teaching this week!

I am working at Timpview High School with Jeremy Stevenson.  Jeremy is an excellent teacher and well respected among faculty and students.  I am grateful that he is my mentor teacher and have already learned a lot from him. 

While preparing materials for teaching Jeremy's Honors Geography and Intro Psychology courses, I was directed to the following blog by Wendy King, another great Timpview teacher.  

The blog is called Teaching High School Psychology and has TONS of resources for Psychology classes.  Wendy said that she used this blog multiple times a week to plan her Psychology lessons.  

So here it is: