The Daily News

As update to a previous post, our MYP 1 Humanities unit on Current Events is in full swing.  Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 17.28.19I’ve been totally amazed by the energy and investment in learning from my students.  Collaborating with my former and future colleague @LanaMLautamus from Bangkok, my unit has unfolded with a daily sharing of news.

Every day of class, my students come ready to share a news story they’ve read.  Four students are chosen at random and they step up to the news desk and report.   I’ve been amazed at the depth of their reporting.  To date, they’ve tackled #bringbackourgirls, the continued conflict in the Ukraine, racism in the US, Shariah laws in Sudan, the Indian elections, and media bias in South Africa.  I ask them to summarize the main idea of the story and the main people/groups/countries involved.   Continue reading


Keeping up with the Neighbors

In a professional development (PD) workshop earlier in the year, several of my fellow teachers and I were given a set of random statements and asked to interpret them and develop a unit around them.   Anything.  Open the box and jump around.   What came out the other end turned out to be so potentially cool that I’ve decided it will be my next unit of the year – tentatively called, ‘Keeping up with the Neighbors’ – a look at current events through the lens of global interactions, power and causality.  Inquiry questions need work, but I like where this is going.   The poster below reflects the six statements from our PD exercise – all related to interactions and the implications surrounding ones action:  the Suarez canal, US support to India for the UN SC, Snowden asylum, missile testing in Iran, lifting sanctions in Myanmar, and the kidnapping of truck drivers in Lebanon.  As always, suggestions and comments are most welcome!   This is a classic example of building the plane as we fly.   Updates to follow on what I expect to be an interesting trip for all!

Unit Poster

Poster for Keeping up with the Neighbors Unit, MYP1 Humanities

A launchpad for Humanities?

I’ve been looking at Symbaloo recently, as a platform to collect and share resources for our Humanities classes.   Have a look at what we have so far.  In this example, color-coding is as follows:

  • Brown = School-related
  • Orange = Production tools
  • Red = Online content
  • Blue = Online database

Suggestions for content are welcome as always!

Approaching Sensitive Content

In researching a recent report, I found a great reference for teachers on the Amnesty International UK site.    Under a fairly specific and focused heading (Terrorism + Security – specifically focussing on September 11th), I found fantastic – generalized – material.  Content includes lesson plans, resources and background notes on:

I would highly recommend having a look from the perspective of professional development.   There is as much here for teachers as students.

Unpacking ‘government’

Here is how one two groups of 10th graders responded to the open ended question:  ‘What is Government?’    Wallwisher worked well to quickly solicit input from the class at the start of our new unit.    And, while we see a not-entirely-unexpected set of cynical responses, there are some gems here.   All responses serve as a good jumping off point for deeper discussions – particularly as students are engaging in inquiry on how individuals and communities are affected by political ideologies and national systems of governance.

While the classes were able to build up these ideas in a few minutes, Wallwisher wasn’t as effective in quickly sorting and analyzing responses live in the classroom.   I decided that was something that needs to be done most effectively after hours.    We will preserve the wall as is for now and refer back to it from time to time in the class for points of discussion and to measure the development of our ideas.