Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Party Convention: Ann Romney

Here is a video clip that shows excerpts from Ann Romney's address at the GOP Party Convention.

Good questions to ask for current event:

Does a presidential candidate's wife matter?

Ann Romney is considered Mitt Romney's "secret weapon."  What do you think that is?

Should we only look at a candidate's political career or should we evaluate a candidate's family life as well?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inferences Activity

A great activity to get students and able to make inferences is the "Ordeal by Cheque activity."  Students have to look at a series of checks and determine the story behind the checks.

Here are the checks:

And here is a woman's interpretation of the checks.

The students could analyze the checks and write a story in a paragraph about what they think is going on in the checks.  Then they can read others interpretations in the classroom and then read one of the one I've found online.

365 Thought Provoking Questions

Use this website to get students thinking!  Good for Journal Articles.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Olympics: Cameroon's Missing Athletes

This CNN article discusses how many Cameroon athletes are defecting during the London 2012 Olympic games.

The article states that Cameroon is one of the poorest countries and that athletes are defecting because they want to have better training facilities/coaches/ etc (and thus a better environment altogether) than they experience back at home.

The article is good to show:

Movement between countries
Poor conditions in Africa
Still effects of colonialism
Etc. etc.

Egypt Case Studies: Make-Up

I want students to look into different aspects of life in Ancient Egypt.  They could choose the case study that they want (cosmetics, war, funeral practices, ship building, food, etc.), have a handout with questions and then have a couple of different documents to analyze about their topic.  They can complete as a pair.  Then they can draw a picture of that their case study in ancient Egypt with some basic facts.  It would be cool to have them share with each other in some way.  

Here are some questions I brainstormed for them:

1. How is beauty different in other cultures?  How is beauty different in Egypt than from today? How similar?

2. How does Egyptian's use of cosmetics a sign of "civilization" (hint: choose one of the 5 characteristics of a civilization and discuss it in relation to cosmetics)

3. Describe the make-up that ancient Egyptians used.   List 5 different things.

4. What ingredients did they use to make their make-up?

5. Draw a picture of what a typical woman's make-up in Egypt would look like. 

6. Apply to yourself:  Do you like using make-up?  Why or why not?  Do you think make-up enhances beauty or masks it?  Why do you think that woman throughout time have sought out ways to improve their appearance with make-up?  Do you think that Egyptian make-up is beautiful or excessive? 

Potential Articles:

Promises--Isreali/Palestinian Conflict Documentary

Promises is a documentary that shows the perspectives of Israeli and Palestinian children.  They follow seven Israeli and Palestinian children who all live around Jerusalem.

Brad said that he viewed the movie in high school and in a Middle East college class.  He loved it.  I think if Brad could still remember the movie and the issues it looks at AND that it was shown to him in two different class that it is worth looking at.

This link takes you to a website that posts documentaries for free.  It says that the documentary is available to watch on that website but I couldn't get it to work.  Try back later.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Human Rights Watch--Saudi Arabia

I came across the Human Rights Watch website that does research in human rights around the world.

I was interested in this article Perpetual Minors, which looks into how women are treated in Saudi Arabia.  The Human Rights Watch organization considers Saudi Arabia as having one of the worst records in the world today on women's rights. The article is based on interviews with Saudi Arabian women.

I have not read it (just read the opening few lines) but the article looks very revealing.

Marathon and Olympic History

Against all odds, a Greek marathon runner is going to be able to compete in the London Olympics.
This seems particularly touching because Greece is the birthplace of the marathon.

The back story of the marathon comes during the Persian Wars.  The Persian soldiers fought the Athens city-state at Marathon, leaving the actual city-state unprotected (check on how far it is betweens Marathon and Athens).  Athens won the fight and then sent Pheidippides, a fast runner, ahead to run to Athens and deliver the news that they had defeated the Persians.  This was so that Athens would not give up the city to the Persians if attacked before the Athenian soldiers could return.  Pheidippides made the run, announced their victory to the Athenians and then died.

When the first modern Olympics was being prepared for in 1896 in Athens, they wanted a way to popularize the Olympics (get people excited about it).  They decided to include the marathon event (the official marathon distance had been slightly tweaked over time and became 26.2) for men.  The first time the Olympics held a women's marathon was in 1984 in Los Angeles.

Traditionally, the marathon is the last event of the Olympics and it typically ends with the finish line in the Olympic Stadium.

So having a greek woman run in the marathon race is not only appropriate, but important/special.
For more information about the original Olympics, wikipedia has a great page on it. Go here.

Women's Rights and Olympics

1928--When Women Were Allowed to Compete in the Olympics for the First Time.
In the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games, women competed in the Olympics for the first time.  This article discusses the progress of Olympic women athlete in part, and pays tribute to the incredible Betty Robinson who was the first girl to win gold in the 100m Track and Field event. Robinson wore a skirt while she ran her race!

Saudi Arabia includes women for the first time in Olympics.
This great article reveals a lot about gender roles in Saudi Arabia, specifically the limited women's rights. Here would be some good questions to consider along with the article:
1. Why was almost "mission impossible" for Saudi Arabia to find two women athletes to compete in the Olympics?
2. Do all Muslim countries have the similar struggle with women participating in sports? Why or why not?
3. What does the article reveal about why Saudi Arabia is considered to have the worst record on women's rights in the world?
4. Why does Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, feel that Saudi Arabia including women in the Olympics this year is not a sign of increasing women's rights in Saudi Arabia?
5. Personal Reflection: Do you think that Saudi Arabia should allow women to participate in the Olympics?  Why would some Islamic nations allow women to participate and others do not?  Do you think there is progress being made in Saudi Arabia for women's rights?  Is it right for the Olympic Committee to force Saudi Arabia to include women in the Olympics?

The rise of the arab female athlete:
1. How do these Olympics demonstrate possible progress for female athletes in Muslim countries and women's rights in general?
2. Why is there still a long way to go in Qatar for women's rights?

London 2012: The women's Olympics?
Discusses how women are doing extremely well in the Olympics and also how this is the first Olympics were every country has women athletes.

Olympic Clips

Toying with the idea of using clips from the Olympics to show countries around the world.  I could show the clips in class, post them on the blog, etc.

South Africa wins first rowing gold medal. (Questions to go with this: Of the four "rowers" on the South African teams, what are the races of each?  How does this rowing team itself show an end to aparthied?  How could it possibly also show remaining white dominance in Africa?)

Italy vs. Russia in a foil match, Italy wins and considered best team ever.

North Korean soccer players protest when South Korean flag is shown for their team.

Why is this flag mistake especially embarrassing?  Why would confusing the South Korean flag for the North Korean flag more shocking than confusing other countries' flags? (Think of the history of North and South Korea.)  Do you think that the North Korean soccer players were right to protest and delay the game for an hour?  Why or why not?  What do flags symbolize and why are they important to Olympic athletes?

I wish I could find a way for my students to watch the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony.  The commentators gave a little tidbit of information about all the participating countries.  The information revealed a lot about the political status in certain countries, the relationships between countries, the different religions represented, the way women are treated in different countries.  Tidbits I do remember:
-Greece always appears first in the parade of nations to honor the original Olympics held in Greece.  The nation where the Olympics are being held that year (in this case Great Britain) appears at the end of the parade.  The rest of the nations walk in alphabetical order following Greece.
-This is the first year that all of the 204 competing countries have men and women on their Olympic teams.
-They pointed out nations that have been British colonies in the past and even discussed a current debate over who owns an island in South America (I think the South American country that is in the land struggle with Britain is Argentina or Chile or...I can't remember).
-Greece has a smaller number of athletes participating in the London Olympics than usual, which reflects the economic crisis going in Greece now.  They could not afford to send more athletes. This following video shows how a Greek marathon runner made it to the Olympics despite Greece's financial problems:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympics and Judaism

The Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is Jewish and used a Jewish folk song for her floor routine in the Olympics. (Here is the article about her choice of Jewish music)

163 Good Questions {Journal Entries}

Here is a link to a list the New York Times developed of 163 good starter questions for teens.  I think they were meant as an online conversation through the NY times, but I could easily incorporate the questions into lessons as starters for the day.

For example:

When in your life have you been a leader? (can discuss politics/government, etc.)
Do you trust your government? (lead into a discussion on the role of politics/government)
How do you feel about zoos? (human-environment interaction)
When do you become an adult? (lead to discussion on gender roles/family roles/culture/etc.)

Anyways, I don't know how many questions are useful but it could be a good place to brainstorm.