The Purpose of Civics

Keynote: Civics Day 10
Apathy_thumb-adj-300x199

Ontario Secondary School Diploma graduates must earn a 0.5 credit in Civics. This course is often taught by teachers who see it as a chore and it becomes repetitive lessons in memorizing party leaders, riding statistics and municipal responsibilities.

Does any of this help us to produce more active, engaged global citizens? Probably not. Also,  Social media does not voters make. This study also argues the course has not increased the number of youth voters in Ontario.

The Toronto Sun addressed this in a recent article, concluding the youngest voters are Spectators. According to the author, “They don’t believe in status buying. Or consuming for the sake of consuming. They also don’t believe in many of the touchstones of Canadian society — like democracy. And Parliament.”

Thanks, Tom Conklin, for reminding me this course deserves more study.

Nuclear Shelter Simulation

Building Miniature Houses of Inequality

Here’s Hans Rosling, creator of Gapminder, using statistics to demonstrate some clear changes in regional wealth, health and life expectancy over the last 200 years.

Some great online resources for Civics:

Bite-size, Young Person Friendly ‘Types of Government’ from CBBC

TVO’s Singing and Dancing Approach to Ontario Government (You tube channel)

‘Teacher Support.ca – ‘just add a classroom’ resources for studying citizenship, human rights, government workings etc

Political Cartoons in the classroom – why read when you can interpret?

Antz-English Version – Chart and worksheet to work with film, “Antz”

Think about what we need to do to encourage ‘Active Engagement.”

 

**reposted from December 2013

Lesson – Oct 7

Keynotes – Oct 7

Ass & Eval keynote

Literacy in History – keynote

More Quick Literacy Strategies are found here.

Strange and Wonderful Resources

For use with Observations and Inferences

Print Ontario Curriculum

Service Ontario wants to send you PRINT curriculum documents. You just have to tell them.

Click here:  https://www.publications.serviceontario.ca/pubont/servlet/ecom/MainServlet?selectedLocale=en

My source about this little nugget said,

Using the search bar on the page, use general terms to search, eg. science curriculum. I tried searching using the specific title of the curriculum and no matches were found so I found the more general the search term, the better.
 
Some of them are no longer available in hard copy as they are out of print but I think the majority of them are there.
They are free to order and free to ship.

Make sure you get 2013 versions!

 

The Internet is Awesome

I love the internet.

It’s true. Sure, just like everything else touched by humanity, the internet has awesome places and very, very dark places. Here are my picks for the best places for personal or educational growth.

Life and Education Inspirations

Planet Money podcast

I can’t get enough of this fantastic podcast. When I first started listening, my knowledge of economics was shakey at best. After listening for 4 years, I can understand conversations about quantitative easing, discuss the global impact of cotton subsidies and can identify the “new” ways to hit the top of the pop music charts. The bite-size 20 minute segments twice a week make listening manageable.

This year I asked my grade 12 Challenge and Change students to use analyze an episode and apply a socio-/psycho-/anthro- logical lens. They ate it up like candy. Many have become obsessive listeners. (assignment here: Plant Money podcast analysis.)

This American Life podcast

This show from NPR is representative of all that is good in public radio. Clever reporting, heartbreaking and heartwarming storytelling and the delightful charm of Ira Glass makes this the best hour on radio ever week. Don’t let the name of this show turn you off, Canadians. These stories are stories of humanity, not just Americans.

bonus: sometimes they have David Sedaris read his stories. *squee!*

The Story Globe is an awesome resource for a geographer like myself. I use it for my Challenge and Change class.

Here are two of my favourite episodes.

TAL500_illustration_by_steve_dressler2_lg_0

#1: Nummi (Episode 403) – if someone had said, “Here’s a really great podcast about a car manufacturing plant, it’s awesome!” I would have laughed in their face. I believe I did (sorry, @gduncanclark). This episode is a testament to the outstanding journalism and storytelling I’ve come to know and love with This American Life. It is a fascinating (and awesome) episode.

#2: I now hesitate to eat calamari at restaurants. Episode 484: Doppelgangers

Sociological Images

I can’t say enough about my favourite website, Sociological Images. This site is curated by Lisa Wade, a professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Numerous other academics contribute to the ever-growing bank of social scientific reflections on the world around us.

#1: Course Guide to Sociology of Gender

#2: Pointlessly Gendered Products (with a contribution from yours truly!)

perceptions

#3: Rebranding the Prune (because nothing escapes the sociological lens)

#4: Heightism Most of us know about racism, ageism and sexism. @SocImages does a fantastic series of posts about Heightism – when people are judged as a result of their height.

Youtube for Learning

My favourite channels:

1) Crash Course: The Brothers Green have outdone themselves with this fantastic series of videos covering World History, world religions, American History, Science, Psychology and Literature.

2) PBS Idea Channel Check out “Bronies Redefining masculinity” and “There’s no Such thing as offline”

#3 Vihart – A beautiful union of math and art.

Great Places on Twitter

Personal Interests

spaceballs

I didn’t know I like astronomy. I have @Failedprotostar to remind me daily that space is cool.

Love Ottawa? Love Local History? Love Art? Love local Ottawa artist and amateur historian, Andrew King.

Education:

Russell Tarr @russelltarr – This British Ex-Pat in Toulouse, France exemplifies the marriage of History and Technology in the classroom. He loves “sharing creative ideas on Twitter & offending Mr. Gove [British British Conservative Party politician, the Secretary of State for Education].” He can also be found on Tweets as @activehistory and @classtools.

Megan Valois, @msvalois, is a local Ottawa teacher extraordinaire. She considers herself a “21st century teacher/learner.” Check out her Twitter feed or her website at meganvalois.com for great ideas for History and English as well as differentiated instruction, assessment for learning & #edtech!

The Good Doctors:

I’m pretty lucky to know some very intelligent people who have the degrees (and peer reviewed journals) to prove it! Beyond their talents in their respective fields, these Drs are also fascinating and humourous folk. Check out @thejennye (Canadian History, Women and Sport), @postWarHist (Canadian Cold War Military History) and @mittenstrings (Canadian Literature) for musings and links to amazing places and discussion about historical and contemporary issues.

The Purpose of Civics

Civics Day 10

Ontario Secondary School Diploma graduates must earn a 0.5 credit in Civics. This course is often taught by teachers who see it as a chore and it becomes repetitive lessons in memorizing party leaders, riding statistics and municipal responsibilities.

Does any of this help us to produce more active, engaged global citizens? Probably not. Also,  Social media does not voters make.

The Toronto Sun addressed this in a recent article, concluding the youngest voters are Spectators. According to the author, “They don’t believe in status buying. Or consuming for the sake of consuming. They also don’t believe in many of the touchstones of Canadian society — like democracy. And Parliament.”

Thanks, Tom Conklin, for reminding me this course deserves more study.

Here’s Hans Rosling, creator of Gapminder, using statistics to demonstrate some clear changes in regional wealth, health and life expectancy over the last 200 years.

Some great online resources for Civics:

Bit-size, Young Person Friendly ‘Types of Government’ from CBBC

TVO’s Singing and Dancing Approach to Ontario Government (You tube channel)

‘Teacher Support.ca – ‘just add a classroom’ resources for studying citizenship, human rights, government workings etc

Political Cartoons in the classroom – why read when you can interpret?

Antz-EnglishVersion – Chart and worksheet to work with film, “Antz”

Think about what we need to do to encourage ‘Active Engagement.”

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions The Lab.

In this post by Ewan McIntosh at @NoTosh, teachers and students are challenged to determine low and high order questions. The latter than becomes the focus for the duration of the lesson.

Why?  McIntosh states:

Every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled, and we don’t want teachers wasting precious enquiry time lecturing that content. We want students, instead, to be using class time to collaborate and debate around the questions that are Not Googleable, the rich higher order thinking to which neither the textbook nor the teacher know the answers.

Update:

I tried this with my gr 11 Anthropology Class.

Remembrance Day: Cultivate Peace

A friend got me thinking about the poppy campaign. He said,

As long as you’re working towards LESS war, i don’t care what colour your poppy is.

— Simon (@stillwellgray) November 10, 2013

I agree.

We’re all familiar with the red flower which adorns the breast of Canadians, Americans and Brits as they pay tribute to veterans of these countries’ wars. The movement emerged in the 1920s as part of Armistice Day as people gathered to commemorate those lives lost during The Great War.

The White Poppy Campaign also emerged around the same time. In 1926, Pacificts created these white flowers as part of the No More War Movement.

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino thinks the White Poppy needlessly politicizes Remembrance Day.  He said, “Remembrance Day is about paying tribute to the valour and courage of those who set the very foundation of the freedoms that makes our country great (White Poppy Under Fire).” Isn’t remembering their sacrifices for the FREEDOM without WAR part of that?

Australians wear sprigs of rosemary as part of ANZAC Day. This plant leaves a potent scent on the fingers and was believed to improve memory. Rosemary also grows wild in Gallipoli, the site of ANZAC’s heart-wrenching defeat by the Turkish forces in April of 1915. Like the Red and White Poppies, this adornment suggests “remember” as opposed to “be political.”

Teaching a Culture of Peace

I try to use Remembrance Day as a day to “Cultivate Peace.” I remind students that The Great War was also called the “War to End all Wars.”

Here are some fantastic resources to do this in your own classroom.

1) Read Sadako and the Paper Cranes and fold peace cranes from origami. Hang them in the classroom as a reminder of Peace.

paper cranes

2) There is an entire month’s worth of lessons at the website, Cultivating Peace. 

here is a downloadable  cultivating Peace #1 (.PDF lesson plans)

peace matches tops and tails peaces quotes (talking about peace)

3) Discuss the following short films.

Neighbours by Norman McLaren, National Film Board of Canada

And Balablok:

Assessment and Evaluation

presentation: Assessment and Evaluation Oct 2

Assessment in education is essential. Most parents (and yes, some teachers) focus on the end goal: the report mark or the levels the students get on individual assignment. Unfortunately, this only part of the picture.

The Ontario Ministry of Education, in its latest document, Growing Success, outlines the policy for which assessment and evaluation can “improve student learning.”

There are tons of online Professional Development resources and web modules available on the Edugains website. 

I found THIS ONE on assessment for and as learning cheesy, but helpful.

Formative Assessment Ideas

(image created with wordle.net)

Ass for as of

There are some interesting ways to integrate these types of assessments into your classroom.

Four More!   Assessment FOR/AS

Four More is an example of a formative assessment. It “integrates collaboration, movement, and individual accountability.”

fourmore – template

Students are able to “check in” with their peers about the lesson topic.  The activity allows students to get up and walk around and gather additional information about what is being learned.

The Frayer Model: Assessment FOR

The Frayer Model is a graphic organizer to help students grasp a concept or term more fully.

The Ontario Ministry of Education released a great strategy with their “Think Literacy” Documents. Here is their interpretation of the Frayer Model.  Another great .pdf version of the graphic organizer can be found here.

This example is from a geography unit.

frayer example

Assessment OF Learning

Many teachers assume tests are the only way to assess student curricular mastery. Many students find these stakes too high, suffer from anxiety and are unsuccessful. A quick “search” of the 9/10 Canada and World Studies Curriculum document quickly reveals there are two mentions of the word “test.” (note: of the 33 results for ‘exam,’ NONE address the major final assessment!) Therefore, the Ministry of Education has no specific requirement to set formal tests in our courses (ironically, they love testing in Math and English.)  Other options include research assignments, inquiry questions and varied formats for demonstration of learning.

testing_cartoon