1. The Quiet Professionals (Green Berets)
2. Sean White (snowboarding -- woo hoo!)
Have fun! This is due by 11pm on Monday night. Remember that you should also be reading "1984" -- through page 179.
This looks like a fun show!
1. The Quiet Professionals (Green Berets)
2. Sean White (snowboarding -- woo hoo!)
Have fun! This is due by 11pm on Monday night. Remember that you should also be reading "1984" -- through page 179.
I imagine that you all know who Alicia Keys is, but I don't know if you know who Steven Colbert is. Steven Colbert is a man who has a half hour show on Comedy Central (on around 7:30pm or so) called "The Colbert Report." It's hard to describe exactly what he does, but he plays a fictional anchorman character, described (by himself) as a "well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot." He basically mocks all of those political pundits (look it up) that are on those 24-hour news stations and talk about politics all of the time. Although the show is a spoof (look it up) of sorts, he interviews real people and has quite a following. Personally, I think he's hysterical. Recently, he had Alicia Keys as a guest on his show to sing her now-famous song "Empire State of Mind." This is not a posting that you need to do some serious commentary on -- it's a posting that you can just watch and enjoy and if you'd like to comment, feel free!
There is a really fun website called "Wordle"... The idea is that you can cut and paste any text into the website and it will make this fun visual map of the words that were mentioned the most in any given text/speech. The words that were said the most will be the largest in this picture. So here's what I'd like you to do:
1. Think about the 3 words you think President Obama said the most. Write them down. Now go find the text of the State of the Union Address (figure out how to do it!), cut and paste the text into wordle, http://www.wordle.net/create, look at the wordle you've created, and comment on the difference between what you thought would be the words that would end up being the largest and what actually ended up being the largest. Were you right in what you thought? Did you pick the right words?
2. Pick another speech or writing. This can be ANYTHING, political or not. Examples would be MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech, Lou Gehrig's Farewell Speech, the Gettysburgh Address, or whatever other speech or written piece that you'd like. Take it and WORDLE IT! Make a wordle of the speech and then blog here what about which speech/address you picked and what you found were the most popular words. Was it what you were expecting? Why or why not?
This assignment is due by 11pm on Thursday night -- the same due date as your comments on the State of the Union (I believe I neglected to mention the 11pm deadline on the last post). One quick yet VERY IMPORTANT note: from now on, we're going to treat this as a college-level class (it's how I've actually been thinking about it all along, since I believe you all have the capability of doing this level of work). Therefore, assignments will from now on be graded as such. It's time to get serious. This means that I am going to treat assignments, and the due dates for these assignments, as a college professor would. In other words, if you don't do the assignment by the date and time it's due, you get a zero. No makeups. Do it and do it on time. The only exception will be if I get a note from your parents (the next day) explaining why you weren't able to do it -- i.e. the computer was broken, your signal was out). You need to plan and use your time wisely, as you will have to do during college. Lastly, as another reminder, keep in mind that this class will now be a grade on your reportcard (you know, the one colleges will see).
Don't just sit there! WORDLE!
Now that you’re all done with your Summer Search interviews (a.k.a. “crying your eyes out”), it’s time to get back to our Historical Forum work.
Article II, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution requires that “The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The Constitution gives no specific time on the date for the speech, but Presidents typically deliver it in late January of each year. Well folks, it’s late January, so President Obama is going to give his State of the Union Address tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 9pm. Guess who’s going to be watching? You are! You are! You are!
A brief history of the State of the Union Address (you know how I love history!). The first State of the Union was delivered by George Washington (in person) on January 8, 1790. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson, finding the process of giving a speech too “Kingly” for his taste (in other words, seemed a bit too much like something a King would do, and obviously, as the writer of the Declaration of Independence, he wasn’t a big fan of monarchy), wrote the State of the Union and had the letters delivered to Congress, to be read aloud by them (I’ve also heard that Thomas Jefferson was afraid of public speaking, which is why so many things that he did were written, but we’ll never really know). In 1913, Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of giving it in person. Other significant moments in State of the Union history:
· 1823 – President James Monroe explains the “Monroe Doctrine.” (if you don’t remember what it is, look it up)
· 1862 – President Lincoln tells the nation he wants to end slavery
· 1923 – President Calvin Coolidge became the first President to deliver the State of the Union on the radio
· 1941 – FDR talks of the “Four Freedoms.” (look it up, both the “Four Freedoms” and if you don’t know who “FDR” refers to)
· 1947 – President Truman delivered the first televised State of the Union Address
· 2002 – President George Bush Jr. shares his plans for a “War on Terror,” just 4 months after the 9/11 attacks
I know what you’re thinking – that was a “brief” history? Yes, to me, that was a “brief” history. Basically, the State of the Union Address is a reportcard of sorts, where the President tells the nation how he thinks we’re doing as a country (very similar to your reportcards, in which teachers are telling you how they think you’re doing as a student). The State of the Union is held in the House of Representatives chamber, in front of a joint session of Congress (both the members of the House of Representatives and the Senators are present). Also in attendance are the members of the President’s Cabinet (Hillary Clinton will be there), all of the Justices of the Supreme Court (Justice Sotomayor will be there for the first time), and other assorted guests.
This is actually the second time President Obama has addressed a joint session of Congress (remind me to tell you what happened the first time – it was quite controversial). The speech should be interesting, given everything that’s going on in the country at the moment, politically and otherwise, to see what President Obama has to say.
After the speech is over, there will be a rebuttal (look it up) by the newly-elected Republican Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell. You need to watch this as well. This will be the Republicans saying what they think about the issues that President Obama brought up, and of course, probably disagreeing with it. It is politics, after all -- if they agreed, life would be very boring. You need to watch both sides of the argument because this is what educated/open-minded people do -- they watch/listen to both sides of the argument and then make up their own mind.
One last thing… I would suggest that you watch the debate on PBS (usually channel 13). The reason I say that is this: most television stations show the speech and the rebuttal and then a bunch of reporters talk about what they think. Here is my question – why should you or I care about what a bunch of reporters think? I mean, they’re just people like you and me. PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) tends to have Presidential Historians as their people who sit around and talk about the speech and rebuttal afterwards. It’s just my personal opinion, but they tend to make the most interesting comments because they have knowledge of past presidents and past events in our country. Again, this is only my opinion, so you are, of course, free to watch whichever station you like.
After the speech is over, I want you to answer a few questions:
1. What one thing that President Obama said stood out to you?
2. What one thing that was said in the Republican rebuttal stood out to you?
3. Do you think President Obama is going to get everything done that he wants?
3. What did you think of the speech in general? Good? Boring? Why?
4. Add any other comments that you have...
Since you all have nothing else to do this week, this is due by Thursday evening. I would prefer that you do it right after the speech, but if you have big important plans tomorrow night, I want to give you a chance to watch it the next day.
As you know, I was taking notes during today's socratic seminar (that's a picture of me on the right). I had a feeling that there were going to be some really great questions and I wasn't disappointed. As I said afterwards, some of the things you were talking about were the same kinds of things that they talk about in college classes. Your questions were discerning and your comments were insightful. Ms. Martin, who was in the room for the last 15 minutes of the seminar, commented to me about how blown away she was by the level of discourse (look it up if you don't know the meaning) that was going on. And in case you didn't notice by my demeanor, I was impressed.
Because you're involved in the seminar, and because memory can sometimes be a fleeting thing (especially at my age), I wanted to share with you my transcript of the seminar and the different things that you said that stood out to me. Sometimes, because there was so much said (and there were a great deal of themes touched upon), you forget some of the things that were said and some of the topics that were covered.
After the endless discussion around Shelly's lunch, Regina kicked it off...
Regina -- "Is being dead the same as being vaporized?" You then proceeded to talk about people and their legacies and if everyone who knows you is dead, and you've left nothing behind, it's the same thing as being vaporized. An interesting concept.
Katherine -- Talking about Winston's job of rewriting the past -- "Do you think that there are things in our history that were written to make certain people look good? Things that really weren't true?" You then proceeded to have a discussion on perspective in history, whether or not you know books to be true, such as the Bible.
Justin -- Asked about 2 + 2 = 5... Wanted to know if a government could rise like this today... You then had a protracted (look it up) conversation about the idea of 2 + 2 equaling 5, Angie and Regina really going at it... Regina said that we needed the basics such as that so we could communicate. Very astute observation.
Katherine -- wanted to know what year you thought this could all be possible in? Was it the past? 1984? Now? The future? And if the future, how long into the future? This led to a conversation about cutting down the language (IM/text-speak) and what that would mean to society and your lives...
Justin -- "Use one word to describe Winston." I thought this was a very clever question, although I do wish that we'd gone around the table and everyone had thought of a word. But a couple of the words that came up were "confused" (Angie) and "restricted" (Randy). Both good terms for Winston. You had a bit of a discussion over that.
Regina -- "Is government control easier than freedom?" and went on to explain that if they're telling you what to do, it might be easier and asking if the difficulty of freedom was worth it. A discussion ensued. Honestly, some people go through their whole lives not even thinking about the concept of control vs. freedom. At this point, I was so happy at the level of discourse going on that my head nearly exploded. :) You generally agreed that we need some control, Justin thinking that we need "some, but not too much"... Afterwards, I left you with the term "slippery slope" and the question of "how much government control is too much?"
Katherine -- "Do you think that Winston is the only one with these flashbacks?" This led to Angie's comment, "If you know you're going to get in trouble by saying something, why would you say it?" In the summation, I asked at what point you would say something, if it wasn't happening to you. For example, many asked of the average person in Nazi Germany how they let things get so far out of control and how did they just go along with all of the evil going on... To which the people usually said that it was so gradual that by the time they realized what was going on, they couldn't do anything about it without risking their own lives.
Justin -- "What do you think will happen?"
Regina -- commented that the proles are the future and it would have to be that group that would protest en masse (look it up). She spoke of your generation and how if you didn't get involved and speak up, nothing would change. Justin, Regina and Katherine talking about how Big Brother and the government didn't want anyone to remember things. Regina said that if you remembered the lottery numbers, you'd connect it to what you were doing that day, and then you'd have other memories and they didn't want that. Angie then made the most memorable comment, saying that no one ever wins the lottery except old people -- and here's my favorite part -- she then turned to me and said, "No offense." HAHAHA! The highlight of my day!
Shelly then asked "What if you don't believe in what your dictator is doing?" A GREAT question and one asked by dissidents (look it up) in countries all the time.
Angie -- would do what the dictator wanted because that way, she wouldn't be miserable.
Justin -- made an astute comment about how people would "just get used to it."
Katherine -- if you're just one of 5 people and the government's against you, you're dead."
To which Angie replied how 5 people may not make the difference themselves, but they may start a movement that might then be powerful against the government. This made me think of a woman who sat down in the "wrong" section of a bus in a one-woman protest against her government policies, risking arrest or worse, and the young priest who stood with her, facing arrest, his own government plotting ways to disgrace him, and death threats. Whether or not you realized it, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. are two of those 5 people Katherine and Angie were talking about.
Regina -- stated that in most books, she can clearly see the characters, but in this book, she can't see it clearly. The world is so foreign to her that she can't get a grasp on the look of it. Very interesting.
Katherine -- once we discussed how people are always being watched, she now notices that people are always watching her and that maybe we're going through what the book talks about right now. Most agreed and felt that it made them "uncomfortable."
So, my job is done. I've managed to get into everyone's head and freak you all out. I can now retire happy. :)
In regards to Angie's comment about "doing what the dictator wanted because that way, she wouldn't be miserable" and Katherine making a comment about how if it wasn't happening to her, she might not do anything (which I totally understand), I wanted to include a very famous poem written by Pastor Martin Niemoller, a German priest who lived in Nazi Germany during the rise of Adolph Hitler. At first, he supported Hitler, but when he realized what Hitler was doing, he protested and was sent to a concentration camp. After a horrible ordeal, he was freed by Allied forces at the end of the war. He wrote this of his experience:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak out.
Please let me know what you think of this poem and of the socratic seminar in general. Also, please let me know if you think of things that you'd like to talk about on Monday so that I could prepare materials that might help/explain the topics.
What Is Your Life's Blueprint?
Six months before he was assassinated, King spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967.
I want to ask you a question, and that is: What is your life's blueprint?
Now each of you is in the process of building the structure of your lives, and the question is whether you have a proper, a solid and a sound blueprint.
I want to suggest some of the things that should begin your life's blueprint. Number one in your life's blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don't allow anybody to make you fell that you're nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.
Secondly, in your life's blueprint you must have as the basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You're going to be deciding as the days, as the years unfold what you will do in life — what your life's work will be. Set out to do it well.
And I say to you, my young friends, doors are opening to you--doors of opportunities that were not open to your mothers and your fathers — and the great challenge facing you is to be ready to face these doors as they open....
And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. don't just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn't do it any better
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can't be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.
— From the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I believe that this speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. is important because it talks about your life's blueprint. It makes you think about your future plans and the different opportunities that we now have.
1. After reading the speech "What's your life's blueprint?" by Martin Luther King Jr. What is your life blueprint??
2. How has this speech affected you or your future plans?
3. What are your final thoughts about these speech?
For those of you watching, it's starting a bit late, but at least the Jets won! Here are the 3 segments:
1. U.S. Doctors in Haiti
2. American Samoa - Football Island
3. Penelope Cruz
The first video is just downright cute, so I put it up here... It really has nothing to do with what we have been talking about, but it's an interesting story...
This second one is a brain teaser. We'll have a little contest with it and see on Wednesday which one of you got the most right! Good luck with this one! Have a great long weekend!!!
The picture to the left was put up in honor of all of you who have discovered your Green Party leanings... :) When thinking about my explanation of the differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, I wasn't sure if I explained the differences well/properly, so I thought I'd post this comparison here. Ms. Em (for her U.S. class), wrote up a good summation of the differences in philosophy between the Republican and Democratic parties (I would include the Green Party philosophy, but since it most likely won't ever be a major political party, I thought I'd just include the 2 biggies).
Democratic Party Philosophy
1. The Government should tax the rich at higher rates to even the divide and help the poor.
2. Government should NOT interfere with personal decisions (like abortion or gay marriage).
3. Government has an obligation/responsibility to help those in need.
4. Government should regulate (control) business. Example: make sure workers get paid a minimum wage.
Republican Party Philosophy
1. Taxes should be cut or eliminated because each person should keep most of their own money.
2. Religion should influence laws about personal decisions.
3. Individuals should, for the most part, be responsible for helping themselves.
4. Government should, for the most part, not interfere with business or the free-market.
The other day, we were having a conversation about political parties and what they mean. I thought I'd give you all a link (below) to a little quiz to see what political party you might be. Let us all know the results!
1. Answer any and all blog posts to the left by their due dates (which can be found on SnapGrades)
100 Most Common SAT Words
* Ms. Cohen's Contact Information *