History In Halstead

Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

My Day Away From School

While my students enjoy the last two days of homecoming week I am enjoying working on my Brown Vs. Board Of Education Grant. This week I am in Abilene, Kansas at the Eisenhower Library researching the role of Eisenhower in the case. This includes appointing Chief Justice Earl Warren and sending troops to uphold the integration of Little Rock Central High School.

Today I read a lot of letters to Eisenhower from ordinary citizens who were voicing their support and displeasure over segregation. It was insightful and I will bring some to class.

FOR DISCUSSION: If you could spend two days researching any president, who would it be? Tell me why.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I Could Vote . . . Could You?

I am not a Ted Rall fan, but I read his editiorials to make keep me informed about other people's opinions and he had an interesting editorial this past week. He was writng about the lack of knowledge current voters have about current political events. He points out:

Demonstrating that stupefying ignorance can be bipartisan, another Ohioan interviewed for the same article said she is against the war in Iraq because, like 42 percent of her fellow Americans, she thinks Iraq was behind 9/11: "We shouldn't be over there building them back up because they didn't build our towers back up." She is wrong on so many levels that it makes my brain hurt.

60 percent of Americans think we've found Iraq's WMDs, and the 22 percent "believe" that Saddam Hussein used such weapons against U.S. troops during the 2003 invasion.

His solution to the problem is to create POLTICAL LITERACY TESTS. The questions would be:

1. Who is the vice president?

2. What is your state capital?

3. Name one of the following: your governor, congressman or one senator.

4. What is the capital of the United States?

5. Name one federal cabinet-level department.

Personally, I could pass this test (I guess most social science teachers could) but I am absolutly against this idea but I do find it interesting.

FOR DISCUSSION: Could you pass Rall's test? and what is your opinion of his ideas?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

I am not sure these are even games

Pittsburg State continued their winning ways. They beat Missouri Rolla 91-27. That's right 91-27. Pittsburg State broke the MIAA scoring record and amassed 809 yards of offense. This win kept PSU undefeated and they should keep their #3 national ranking. The schedule does get tougher now with a home game next week versus Washburn.

FOR DISCUSSION: How should coaches and teams handle a game when its a clear mismatch and potential for a blowout?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Presidential/Stock Market Game

If you are interested in politics, government, or the stock market then you might want to look at this Presidential Market 2004 simulation. It's a neat game where you trade market futures on the presidential candidates based on current events and other people's actions. The game from PBS describes itself as:
The object of the game is to finish -- on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2004 -- with the highest value portfolio by executing savvy, calculated trades throughout the Democratic primaries and the general election campaign, by betting on the likelihood that a candidate's "share price" will go up or down at any given time as a result of campaign developments or other events or that a state election will be won by the Republican, Democrat or third-party presidential candidate. In other words, Presidential Market 2004 is not a poll or a popularity contest -- this is not the place to pump your favorite candidate -- it is a simulated futures market in which only the shrewdest political analysts, and the shrewdest traders, will come out ahead.

FOR DISCUSSION: Which candidate do you beleive would help the economy the most?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Pitt State Wins Again

It was another good win for PSU. The Gorillas had an easy time versus SW Baptist winning 69-0. I was at the game and was impressed with what I saw. The Gorillas seem to be more focused on playing as good as they can. Against these weaker teams it is easy to get lazy but the players and coaches were constantly talking and trying to improve themselves. We have one more easy game and then it gets tough.

Game note: Starting QB Neil Philpot did not play again. I am a bit worried about this but Andy Majors looked really good.

Interesting Stat: PSU has played 240 minutes of football this year and they have led 227 of those minutes. They also have outscored the opposition 247-20.

EXTRA CREDIT: Student Blog Updates

3 pts. extra credit for any student who posts a comment on a fellow students blog. This must be done by Sep. 24th.

Krista has recently changed here blog's address due to technical difficulty she has an interesting take on current video games:

Casey has not updated in a while but has laid out some interesting reflections about current events:

Corey has just updated with a proposal of the US returning to isolationism:

Taylor has two surveys going on. One dealing with football season and one dealing with cars.

Austin is discussing whether NASCAR is a sport

If I left anyone out please let me know.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Statistics and Work

Most of you know that I love information, government, history and economics. What you might not know is that I also love statistics (I can't imagine why I was not more popular in high school?). My love of stats brought me to the first ever American Time-Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Among the interesting stats:

--Employed adult women (18 years and over) spent about an hour more per day than employed adult men doing household activities and caring for household members.

--On an "average day" in 2003, persons in the U.S. age 15 and over slept
about 8.6 hours, spent 5.1 hours doing leisure and sports activities,
worked for 3.7 hours, and spent 1.8 hours doing household activities. The
remaining 4.8 hours were spent in a variety of other activities, including
eating and drinking, attending school, and shopping.

--Twenty percent of men reported doing housework--such as cleaning or doing laundry--compared with 55 percent of women. About 35 percent of men did food preparation or cleanup versus 66 percent of women.

--Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time, accounting for about half of leisure time on average for both men and women. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for about three-quarters of an hour per day for both sexes.

FOR DISCUSSION: Take a look at the report. How do you match up with the "average American"?

Why do we have to write this stuff?

I find that most students do not enjoy writing. There is some biological evidence that states the mind does not like to write once it feels that it has the ability to write well. Sadly, the mind's definition of 'well' rarely meets society's definition of 'well'. So, why do teachers care if students write well? Mainly, because it is needed in most occupations, but many workers currently do not have these writing skills. This is from the College Board's National Commission on Writing:

A majority of U.S. employers say about one-third of workers do not meet the writing requirements of their positions. While writing has always held a spot in American education as one of the three Rs, many say writing clearly and accurately is more important than ever and not all workers are up to the task.
In a fast-paced workplace, precision and brevity are essential. For e-mails, reports and presentations, the commission found that accuracy, clarity, spelling, punctuation, grammar and conciseness ranked among the most sought-after skills.

FOR DISCUSSION: Do you think improved writing skills can increase you marketability for jobs?

Monday, September 13, 2004

A Great Way To Relieve Stress

It's getting to be that time of the school year. My grades are due, papers I haven't graded are piling up, my college class is getting tough and the Chiefs lost last night. The stress level is high and I have got to relieve it somehow. Luckily there is a site that allows me to take out my frustration on cats (an animal that I do not like). Warp-A-Kitty allows you to manipulate photos of cats in all sorts of fun ways. Personally, I like taking my frustrations out on Jellybean. Have fun!!!


This is an area where you may place any comments about the current project on the Causes of the Civil War. Feel free to help one another out by listing your causes, links to resources or any questions. I will also provide any help possible. Good Luck.

Mr. Warsnak

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Pittsburg State Update

The Gorillas beat Truman State this past Saturday. The final score was 77-7 which I believe qualifies as a solid trouncing. The Gorilla's best player, QB Niel Philpot, did not play so it was a great win. PSU is ranked 4th in the nation and currently 3-0. I'm going to the game next week so let's hope the good play continues.

Also, KU looked good in a 63-14 thrashing of Toledo. They have a big game next week at Northwestern.

As for K-State. I'm not a big Wildcat fan so I got to be honest with you, I enjoyed watching K-State get outplayed by Fresno State at home.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Perception Is Not Reality

TV, Radio, and Stores cloud our view of reality all of the time. After watching MTV SpringBreak one would believe that all college students go to Cancun and break every law imaginable. They would also believe that if they did not go somewhere for SpringBreak, that they are somehow outside the norm. A recent study by National College Health Assessment interviewd over 16,000 college students and here is some of what they found:

23.6% reported never using alcohol, but respondents perceived that only 2.9% never drank;

0.8% reported daily use of alcohol, but the perception was that 35.0% did;

60.0% never used cigarettes, but the perception was that only 6.8% never smoked;

8.6% smoked cigarettes daily, but 46.3% were perceived to smoke daily;

65.1% never used marijuana, while the perception was that only 17.0% never did;

1.9% reported daily use of marijuana, but it was perceived that 20.8% used every day.

Obviously, the perceptions shaped by media have scewed kids views of reality.

FOR DISCUSSION: What are some of your perceptions of reality that might not be true?

Monday, September 06, 2004

Pittsburg State Is 2-0!

The Gorillas jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and went on to win 45-7 over Ft. Hays State. It was an easier win than I thought it wsa going to be since it is an in state rival. Next week, we play at home in the Hall of Game vs. Truman State. I think the that it will be an easy victory. Also, major congrats to KU for an impressive 21-3 win over Tulsa.

Looking Better = Working Better??

When I was in college my dad once got upset about how I was dressing for wok at the golf course. I thought I looked all right in my jean shorts, collared shirt (untucked) and tennis shoes but he thought I looked terrible. He said that I was telling people by my dress that my work was unimportant and that I should not be respected. I thought he was silly but it was a conversation I will always remember.
That brings me to an article about formal dress coming back into vogue in the workplace. It appears in the Washington Times and says

The business suit is regaining popularity in corporations nationwide reversing the trend set by the casually clad dot-com era. And some workers particularly men are even buttoning up their look voluntarily. Suits are "preferred" for both men and women. Men must wear a sports coat and/or tie if they leave their usual work area. They must wear a pressed-collar shirt and tie with any sweater.

Personally, I believe that formal dress shows self-confidence and leads to a better work environment. Others, believe that it leads to stifled creativity.

FOR DISCUSSION: What would be the result if Halstead High School adopted a business casual dress code? What would be the good and bad results?

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Are You Happy With Your Job

I am often times amazed at how many people speak of their job as if its the worst thing in the world. Personly, I think people should work at a place they enjoy. This means that they need to gain the skills to do whatever it is they want. Often times that means going to college or grad school. Still, isn't it worth it when you consider that you are talking about the rest of your life? Anyway Yahoo Finance recently reported that most people enjoy their jobs saying:
A poll on the public's attitudes about work found that most workers in the United States were at least fairly satisfied with their jobs. A sizable number say they were unhappy with the stress level, health care and retirement benefits of their jobs. Seven in 10 surveyed said they are paid fairly. Men were more likely than women to feel this way.

FOR DISCUSSION: What would be your realistic dream job AND what do you need to do to attain this goal?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

This One Amazed Me . . .

We all have heard about the recent problems with America getting fatter and fatter. Obesity has gotten worse in the last 20 years and childhood obesity is a sign that things will probably get worse before it gets better.

The question is what has caused this potential health disaster. There are many reasons but one novel reason comes from the journal: The Public Interest. It states:

After analyzing the strengths of the various factors that could explain the current obesity 'epidemic,' is roted in two causes: First, and most importantly, the growth in the number of fast food and full service restaurants since 1980. Second, they found that the decrease in the number of people smoking also had a significant effect

I disagree with their statement. I believe people make their own decisions about what they eat and that is the root. I disagree with them blaming it on an outside factor.

For Discussion: What do you believe is the cause for obesity.

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