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.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Neat Revolutionary War Quiz Game

You are Paul Revere and your job is to warn the Colonist that the British are coming. You must answer quiz questions in order to stay ahead of the British. Check out the game at Think Quest

Would We Have A Constitution?

With the news that the French have rejected the EU Constitution it makes me wonder: Would the 13 colonies have been able to ratify the Constitution? With partisan battles, 24 hour slanted news stations, talk radio, daily opinion polls, and a reactionary public that sways on mere tidbits of information or speculation I would imgine getting 9 out of the 13 colonies to agree would be near impossible.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Schools Out For Summer!!!

Year number nine is over! On a scale of 1-10 my teaching was an 7 but only because I spent so much time learning new stuff and trying to integrate it into my class. Next year a lot of the bugs will be fixed out the my students will reap the benefits.

We celebrated after school with great food including me bringing my dad's chocolate sheet cake. It was awesome.

A Nice Teaching Blog

With the end of the school year it is already time to look at ideas for next year. I came across this blog, Outside [The Cave] and it looks like there are some pretty good suggestions for blogging in class and some project ideas that woluld get the students motivated in history. I especially like this one:

  • I want them to create a presentation of some sort based onThe Daily Show. The content of the presentations will be based on places and times we have studied throughout the year (prehistory -> Renaissance in the West, and Ming Dynasty in the East)
  • Each group will have the option of presenting a video or "live" in class. Groups presenting live will be required to submit a script.
  • Each group will have the option of choosing to concentrate on either a certain time, or a certain place, with teacher approval.
  • Each group will be assessed on [at least] Humor/Entertainment Value, Accuracy (and existence) of historical content, Professionalism of presentation (sets, visual aides, costumes, etc). Once we actually get started with putting the projects together, we will discuss and construct a very specific rubric so each group knows what the expectations are.
  • There will be a blogging requirement for each group

I am not a big fan on just coit.ming up with projects because they sound fun, instead I like to come up with projects that fit with the material I want the students learn but I must admit I have a certain weakness for satire. What do you think of it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Great Dinner

My wife had her book club over for dinner a we prepared a wonderful meal for them. Special thanks to Epicurious: for some of the recipes that everyone enjoyed. Here was the menu

Tomato, Bacon and Blue Cheese Salad
Honey Grilled Salmon Steaks
Roasted Vegetable Orzo
Honeydew Lime Popsicles

My Professional Summer Plans

I do believe this will be my busiest summer ever. It is absolutely full of professional development which I am very excited about but at the sametime it is going to leave less time for fun and relaxing which my students know is my primary summer goal (no summer jobs for me). So what am I doing?

1. I am on the teacher advisory committee for the new Five Star Leadership program at the Eisenhower Library. By the way, the pilot program was a great success and my students really enjoyed simulating the D-Day decision.

2. My Masters Program through eHIKES, part of the Teaching American History Grant, is in full swing. This summer it looks like some research on the homefront during military conflicts and the influence of some Supreme Court decisions. I think this work will easily be integrated into my classes next year.

3. I am still a mentor on another Teaching American History grant, The Legacy of Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education. This year we are focusing on the fifty years that preceded the Brown Decision. I should gain some good content knowledge from this program.

4. I am still the head of the Social Studies department at Halstead High School and now a member of the Subject Area Committee in charge of developing a needs assessment for our school.

5. Lastly, I have contract negotiations to deal with. The next meeting in June 15th unless the Kansas Supreme Court render its decision before that point (which I think they will). The negotiations should go smoothly but I do feel bad that we are sending teachers home without a new contract for next year.

6. Basketball camps and clinics through out the summer during the open weeks. These don't take a lot of time and are fun for the most part.

I also hope to spend time with my parents and maybe go to Louisville to see my Brother In Law. From the looks of it I am slightly overbooked, but I think it will be pretty fun plus I am going to move over on the pay scale!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Standard Of Excellence!!!

Today was a fine day for Halstead High School and the entire school district. HHS achieved the Kansas Standard of Excellence in all four areas tested. This means we met standards in Math, Reading, Science and Social Studies. I will point out that we were the only high school in Harvey County to do this (I am not sure how many high schools in the state did this yet). If that wasn't good enough, our district achieved Standard of Excellence in every area tested from 4th grade on up to the 11th grade. Many teachers question the high stakes testing we are under now days and I know that I have my own concerns but I will concede this: The testing we are now facing is forcing teachers and schools to focus on the improvement of all students and I am pretty sure that is a good thing.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Another Conservative / Liberal Quiz

Your Political Profile

Overall: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Greenspan Quote

Here are some words of wisdom fro Fed Chair Alan Greenspan from the commencement speech at Wharton College:

"Material success is possible in this world, and far more satisfying, when it comes without exploiting others. The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake."

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Books I've Been Reading

I am not a huge reader. I know that is probably pretty rotten for a teacher to say but I am not a big reader of books. I do not like novels and I rarely read books through. Instead I read parts of many books a little at a time and slowly meander my way through them in the order that suits me. So what am I reading now?

How to Ruin Your Life by Ben Stein
The Hidden-Hand Presidency: Eisenhower As Leader by Fred Greenstein
Oh, The Things I Know by Al Franken
Feakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Friday, May 13, 2005

From The Onion Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Who Wants To Marry A Founding Father?

Check to see who you best match up with. I'm the new Mrs. George Mason of Virginia! Hope you like the looks of your new husband.

Who Wants To Marry A Founding Father?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Last Economics Question

Seniors it has been fun. Here is one last question for you before you go. What has been one thing that has hppened in your high school creer that has changed your way of thinking?

Students often ask, here is the answer...

I am:
"To you, Fox News really is 'Fair and Balanced'."

Are You A Republican?

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