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The week before my 22nd year of teaching brings a lot of emotions.  I feel so blessed to teach in a building that I love, working for a great principal, and team with my teaching partner of the last 22 years.   Summer being over is fine with me; I am ready to go back to work.

The summer did offer me a lot of time for reflection.  My 7th grade classes kept most of my attention as my end of year reflection demanded.  Here are the results:

  • First and foremost my teaching is going to focus on six domains:
    1. Analytical skills.  Specifically the ability to deconstruct, identify components, connect the pieces, and see the piece’s part of a larger community.
    2. Separating and connecting facts, opinion and inference.  This is closely tied to my Rule #19, “Saying a thing does not make a thing”, and my Rule #18, “I don’t care about your opinion, I only care about the opinion you can support.”.
    3. Non-fiction reading.  The importance of being able to read non-fiction, separate main points from supporting information; assign importance and be able to CONNECT the main points to an existing sub-schema is critical.
    4. Writing with clarity.  The natural outcome of non-fiction reading.  Students need to be able express supported arguments with clarity.
    5. Sharpening 21st Century Soft-Skills.  Showing up on-time, organization, working hard, meeting deadlines, giving your best, reflection, and improvement.
    6. Empathy for the past. History/HerStory are collections of stories.  Stories of courage, suffering, triumph, cruelty, loss, and legacy. It is through these stories that we can be cautioned, encouraged, and inspired.
  • These six domains need and will drive my formative assessments.

My We the People class is in its 5th year.  Meeting with the kids last Thursday brought hope that if I can inspire and push that them they will reach the heights that they deserve.

krista-hartung.jpgThis is Krista’s 7th grade picture.  Krista was Tony and my student in our very first year of teaching back in August 1997.  We were over at Hamilton Southeastern Junior High with classes across the hall from each other.   This year we are teaching her daughter.  This is a first for us.  And it makes me feel old.  I am not sure where all the time went.


Articles I read in past week:

A right to literacy as the “Pathway from Slavery to Freedom”?  A terrific bathroom read from the National Constitution Center’s Constitution Daily written by Jeffrey Shulman.

Democrats Are Wrong About Republicans. Republicans Are Wrong About Democrats.  A good read from FiveThirtyEight about the difference between impressions and reality.  A good short read.

Opinion: Calling the Press The Enemy of The People Is a Menacing Move Short listen from NPR’s Simon Scott.  A little history, a little reflection, a little current events.

How History Classes Helped Create a ‘Post-Truth’ America James W. Loewen who wrote the influential book “Lies My Teacher Told Me” was interviewed in the Atlantic Magazine.  I was deeply influenced by his books and led me to adopted Stanford’s Reading Like an Historian.

What if there were no states?   A 9-minute video from America from Scratch that is gives the history.  I like this video from an introduction to Federalism.

How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State An interesting read from yes! magazine.  I like history so the headline caused me to read it.  The best part for me was to explore the word “Quisling” which I have used, but did not have all the background.

A Census Question That Could Change How Power Is Divided in America The article has lots of maps; and I like maps.  Good analysis for my Units 3 and 6.  I like to analyze positive and negative externalities of governmental actions.

The Maps That Show That City vs. Country Is Not Our Political Fault Line The key difference is among regional cultures tracing back to the nation’s colonization.  First the author wrote from Freeport, Maine and I know where that is in my beloved home state.  I have never looked at the US as “rival regional cultures”.  Very interesting article.  Did I mention it has a lot of maps.

Merriam-Webster – Federal Judge: ‘Emoluments’ Case May Proceed A little history to word emoluments; I loved the 1675 reference.

The Supreme Court Doesn’t Need 9 Justices. It Needs 27 An opinion article from Time Magazine that raises the questions about the size of the Supreme Court.  Raises some interesting questions for Units 3, 4 and 5.

Hidden Herstory: The Leesburg Stockade Girls A great reading from National Museum of African-American History and Culture.  I love the civil rights ear and I love it when I find more stories of courage.

How the 14th Amendment’s Promise of Birthright Citizenship Redefined America A Unit 1 and 6 article for my class.