Monthly Archives: August 2014

I am not a very good blogger.

Well, here I am trying again to master the blog aspect.  I have a few elements that are going to make me much more effect at this.

This isn’t my first time. I’ve taught this class a few times, so I have a better idea of what I’m doing. Since I won’t be starting from scratch, I should have the time to inform you of our efforts. Also, I’m working on my Master’s, and I’m using this content to help me along the way.  No, I’m really going to finish this time.  

Today was the first day with students, and I’m excited to have a very nice transitional lesson – Accountable Talk.  We’re using this as a school wide strategy, but we have to do some field testing to see how it will work.

I utilized the same introduction to the course, “What does it mean to be American?”  With all of the ISIS stuff on the other side of the globe, the students were a bit more engaged in the concept than previously seen.  

My first step at build in Accountable Talk was to loosely structure it and watch what happened.  I gave the prompt and individual think time (Shout out to Grouping!), then I said, “Okay, so let’s discuss.”  And no one said anything.  I called a few non-volunteers, but no one was really that interested in it.  I restated the question.  “Okay, so I asked a friend of mine who is a Marine.  He said it is being a patriot.  But what does that mean?”  I’m fairly confident we heard crickets.  Bugs smacking into the window.

I changed pace by showing a video of American images, and students were able to come to a stunning conclusion: “At the end of the day, we have nothing to connect to that. None of us know anyone in the military or a big lawyer or anyone that’s a hero on that level. So why would be know what being an American was about?”


Redraft.  I had students start with the letters of the alphabet on the left and write in words that started with that letter on the line.  Once we had words – Voter, United, Democratic – we were able to start thinking about what it means again.

Then I noticed I had only thirty minutes until the bell.

Darn. But this is a great place to introduce our first source of the course: a Buzz Feed article from the Japanese perspective on how to recognize an American.  From here, students read and compared each “trait” of the Americans (from the outsider perspective).


Homework was two-fold:

1.  What is the point of this article? Be prepared to discuss it tomorrow.

2. Watch the news. Find something to stir something patriotic inside of you.