Friday, January 19, 2018

The Week in Rap - Academic Conversations

After watching the "Week in Rap" today be prepared
to engage in academic conversations with your teammates. 

Academic Conversation # 1: How do you think the Winter Olympics could change in the planet continues to heat up? 

Academic Conversation #2: Do you think Facebook's new change to its news feed will encourage more meaningful interactions? Why or why not?  

Academic Conversation #3: How do you think this technology could change the way we use our phones to interact with the world?  Is this for the better? Why or why not?  

To help you dig deeper in your academic conversation refer to the poster below:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ancient India: The Geography of South Asia

The Indian Subcontinent 

 Today's Focus Question  How did the geography affect life in India?

Introduction to the Geography of South Asia: Writing Warm-Up  Study the image above. What do you see? What do you notice about the geography of this part of the world? What geologic features are apparent? What do imagine the climate  to be like there? Share your observations on the Google Form here

The Geography of South Asia: Vocabulary Study  Today we start a new unit on the early civilizations of India. We will begin by learning about the geography of this part of the world, and today we will specifically study some of the key vocabulary related is geography, using the document The Geography of South Asia - Cognitive Content Dictionary, which can be found in your Social Studies Google ClassroomWe will be using an excerpt from our Social Studies textbook, which has been placed in your Social Studies Google Classroom as well (and which you can also find here), to help us understand the lesson's key words and concepts. Some images have also been posted below to help you conceptualize these new terms.
The Indian subcontinent is very large.
The Himalaya mountains are a natural barrier separating India from China.
The blue lines represent the Indus river system.
Watsonville is home to a lot of fertile land.
Monsoons bring wet winds in the summer and dry winds in the winter. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nonviolence Advocates: Mahatma Gandhi & Martin Luther King Jr.

Mahatma Gandhi & Martin Luther King Jr.: An Overview  Today seems like an ideal day to talk about two of the most important advocates for civil rights and nonviolence our world has ever seen: Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. In light of our upcoming unit on India, Gandhi is a fitting historical figure to discuss. Gandhi led a nonviolent movement to free his people from British oppression. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday and national holiday we are celebrating, was profoundly influenced by Gandhi. 

Today as we examine the lives of these two remarkable men, make note of the parallels in their lives, actions, and words, as well as some of the differences. Use the Gandhi and King - Venn Diagram, which can be found in your Social Studies Google Classroom, to record important similarities and differences that you discover. 

To begin, we will watch a brief presentation of Gandhi's life through the video "The Gandhi Rap" below.

Now let's examine Martin Luther King Jr.'s life though the video reproduction of the book Martin's Big Words. While watching, do you notice any similarities in the lives of Gandhi and Dr. King? Similarities in the struggles they endured? In the messages they promoted?

Looking to learn more about the lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.? Explore the Gandhi Presentation and the King Presentation from the website Gandhi and King, which honors the life and work of both men. A brief summation from the site of their similarities and differences can be found below. 

Gandhi and King: Speaking Up for Nonviolence  There are also parallels in the messages of nonviolence that both Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. advocated. Let's begin by listening to a rerecording of a famous speech given by Gandhi in which he speaks about the need for non-violent protest in order to gain equality.  

Watch below as Martin Luther King Jr. makes clear the influence of Gandhi on his own philosophy of nonviolence.  

Now let's read an excerpt from Dr. King's famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" which he wrote while imprisoned for organizing a protest march. As you read the text, do you notice similarities to Gandhi's message? How is King's belief in "creative tension" somewhat different than Gandhi's tactic of non-cooperation?

Are Gandhi and King's Messages of Nonviolence Still Relevant Today?  What can we still learn from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.? Are their messages of nonviolence and peaceful protest relevant in our world today? How can we apply their goals of tolerance, love, peace, and equality to the times we live in now? Before you answer these questions, examine the photographs with captions below. 

Gandhi's "March to the Sea" in protest against the British tax on salt (1930).
Martin Luther King leading march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery, to protest
the lack of voting rights for Africa Americans (1965).

A peaceful 'Black Lives Matter' rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2015).
The Women's March, 2017.

Now go to your class's Padlet wall (Period 3 and Period 5) and share your ideas about whether Gandhi and King's ideas are relevant today.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"Children of Heaven" and Challenging Muslim Stereotypes

Zahra and Ali from "Children of Heaven" 

Building Background: Iran and Muslim Stereotypes  This school year we have closely examined current events taking place in parts of the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq, and Iran. What we haven't explored enough is our own stereotypes about people from this part of the world. A stereotype is preconceived idea often used to categorize large groups of people. Often when people don't understand certain people they try to classify them, often mistakenly, one way or another. Stereotypes can be dangerous. Today we will begin examining our own stereotypes, while learning about people of the Middle East and the religion of Islam. 

Our focus today is on the people of Iran. Iran is  an important country in the center of the Middle East, and its people have a rich history dating back to ancient times.  

Iran also has a complicated relationship and history with the United States of America. Due to disagreements between the governments of our two countries, tensions exist. The image of the Iranian people that is often portrayed in the media is of a violent people that hate America and wish to do us harm. Images like the one below have been broadcasted on the news for years. If this is the only picture your see of Iranians, it could certainly shape the way you see them. 

Is this image representative of who the people of Iran are and how they feel about Americans?

And to be fair, the Iranian government and media is also guilty of pushing propaganda about America and Americans. As a result, the view of Americans for some Iranians is also likely skewed. How do we overcome these misrepresentations, stereotypes, and propaganda? I believe it starts with understanding our shared humanity. 

Below I have included some images from Humans of Tehran, which is a Facebook page dedicated to capturing the humanity of the people of Tehran, the capital city of Iran. Do the people in these pictures seem that much different from us? Do they change the way you see Muslims and people from the Middle East? 

Finally, watch the short video "Discover Iran in 2 Minutes" and see if you see Iran and its people in a new light.  

Movie: "Children of Heaven"  Now we will watch the film Children of Heaven which tells the heartwarming story of the relationship between a brother and sister from Iran. As you watch, pay attention to both the similarities and differences between your culture compared to that of the people of Iran depicted in the film. Also make note of the central characters' character traits. What human qualities do they exhibit? Finally, consider your own stereotypes you may have had about Muslims and/or people from the Middle East? Has this movie and today's lesson challenged or changed they way you see people who follow the religion of Islam and/or who live in this part of the world? If so, how? You will use the Children of Heaven - Study Guide, which can be found in your Social Studies Google Classroom, to keep track of your notes and ideas. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Judaism and Chanukah

The Story of Chanukah  As our unit on Judaism and the ancient Hebrews nearing an end, and with the celebration of Chanukah (or Hanukkah) happening now, I thought it would be fitting to learn more about the history and customs related to this important Jewish holiday. To learn more about the story of Chanukah, check out the video below. 

Why do Jewish people celebrate an event that happened so very long ago? Listen as these talented young men explain why through song. 

And in light of our recent poetry unit, what better way to understand the meaning of this important holiday than through a couple of poems. 

Video Treat: "Rugrats Chanukah"  The Rugrats learn about the "The Meaning of Chanukah" in this holiday special.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Ancient Hebrews: The Spread of Judaism (Day 2)

The Diaspora of Jews followed the laws and rituals of Judaism wherever they were.

 Today's Focus Question  How did the influence of Judaism spread across time and place? 

The Spread of Judaism: Reading and Notetaking  Today we will continue to learn about the spread of Judaism, with a special focus on the time of judges and kings, the Diaspora, and the legacy of Judaism. You will be taking notes on these important ideas using the Spread of Judaism - Notetaking Study Guide, which can be found in your Social Studies Google Classroom. You have two different sources available to locate pertinent information. You may utilize the relevant section of your Social Studies textbook here, and/or you may reference the excerpt from your Social Studies workbook below. 

Judges could inspire an army of volunteers.

The time of judges came to an end when a warrior named Saul become king. 
After King Solomon's Death, the kingdom of Israel split into two parts.
After being conquered, many Jews were sent into exile

The synagogue allowed Jews to practice their religion wherever they were in the world. 
Yohann ben Zaccai was important for helping to preserve Jewish teaching and learning. 
Judaism introduced the idea of one God to the world.