i'm in dallas this week

i'm in dallas this week @ avid summer institute. learning some great stuff.

08-09 Reflections on the School Year

I asked my World History classes to reflect on their school year. Here is what they answered to the first question:

Mr. Duez's World History Pre-AP Class - End of the Year Reflection
What were the best activities or assignments of the year? Why? (Things you enjoyed doing)
[examples: projects - rock art, religion pstrs, castles, human rights posters, video project, career project; or cnn student news, philosophical chairs, socratic seminar, trench warfare.]

Video Project = 40
Castle Project = 33
Philosophical Chairs = 15
Rock Art Project = 13
CNN Student News = 12
Trench Warfare = 12
Human Rights Poster = 8

It's very interesting looking at these numbers. Obviously our Video Project ( see the Video Project Blog here ) had a huge impact. It is great to see that the kids enjoyed it.

The Castle Project was a pretty close second. This can be a massive project. But, the students put a lot of creativity into it. Many students commented negatively about this project as well (I'll run those numbers later). And I may continue to tweak it to make it better and a situation where students might be able to learn more.

I only used Philosophical Chairs during the fall semester and Socratic Seminar during the spring. I am going to change that up next year and mix them up more. And I am going to use both more. I think the numbers would have been higher if we would have done them more often. It is just hard to turn things over to the class sometimes as a teacher. The benefit is that they learn from each other in their own language and it is a powerful way to get ideas across. I just have to plan and work harder to get these activities into the class better.

Trench Warfare was fun (as it always is). We take two sheets of notebook paper, make balls out of them, divide the class into two teams - East and West (Germans and French) and have them fight it out in trenches. The trenches are created by using the rows in the classroom. It is fun and it does give the students a bit of a feeling of what it must have been like to hide, attack and maneuver through the trenches.

Here is the form I used for the survey (adapted from one that MissTeacha inspired me to use):
Year End Reflection-WH

100 Portraits of Iconic People of All-Time

Interesting website here: 100 Portraits of Iconic People of All-Time

Tons of very famous people that we covered in World History are in this list. Very cool images. Iconic indeed.

My favorite?

Maybe Kurt Cobain. It is certainly Iconic. Same with the photos of Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln. But, Cobain's portrait really captures his soul. As does many others. Worth checking out.

Houston Man Honored at D-Day Ceremony

KHOU: Houston Veteran Remembers D-Day

Combs is now 84 and was just 18 years-old on D-Day. He said when told he would be driving a PT boat, "So then they asked for volunteers for PT boats. Well, what in the world is a PT boat? I volunteered for that," said Combs. He quickly learned that it stood for patrol torpedo. He was a part of a line of PT boats that protected the western waters above the invasion.

Mr. Combs has created maps, paintings, and models of his time during this invasion. He has helped this, very difficult to imagine, day come to life for many.

Thank you Mr. Combs for the service you have done for our country. And thank you for keeping the memories of this day alive for all of us.

ABC KTRK: Local veteran to be honored at D-Day Celebration

Remembering D-Day

Remember those who died on the sacred ground of the beaches of France 65 years ago today. D-Day should never be forgotten. It was the beginning of a new world. May we never forget their sacrifices for our hopes to live free on June 6, 1944.

To learn more about D-Day, visit this link: D-Day from Army.mil

Revisiting the 08-09 School Year

I was sitting tonight and thinking about my school year. I came across the video I created for the first day of class this year. It is amazing how little Aidan was! Crazy. I am looking forward to doing this video again. There are some things I am definitely going to change. I may add some of the comments from the student surveys that I handed out - like "words of warning" for next year's students.

I love doing this video because on the first day I don't even talk "Rules" with the kids. I just show the video. We discuss it a little and I ask if there are questions, but we move right along to getting to know each other.

Next year I'll probably make it a lot quicker and faster paced. And I will add more information. Maybe a preview of topics we'll talk about during the year and maybe some clips from students from the year before.

Aidan is so cute in this though. He will definitely be making another acting engagement next year!

Welcome to 2605 - Mr. D - 2008-2009 from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.

This is Mr. D's Rules and Expectations Video for 2008-2009. Starring Aidan!