Notes from the Virtual Ms B

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SAMPLE - Excellent/ NO Credit


Question: Should punishment for a capital offense (executions) be televised on cable to the viewing public?


Read this CNN article/ see the slideshow of the San Bruno Fire, here. What are the social, economic, and environmental costs of such a disaster?


Read this article about the conflict arising from a proposal to build a mosque blocks from the World Trade Center buildings once stood and the conflict from a church's (once) proposed public burning of the Qu'ran (article here).

View this video: In the Shadow of 9/11

Question: Should our (the US) focus be on rebuilding or revenge? Please defend your answers.


Many of you may be or are too young to appreciate what happened on September 11, 2001.

1. Detail where you were and what you remember about the day.

2. Discuss why you believe we were attacked.

3. Watch Falling People, What the Firemen Heard, and Call from Inside. I warn you, these videos are not for the faint of heart but they shed light on parts of the Tragedy generally withheld from children.

4.What can we learn from this?

Additional Resource: CNN video on the new memorial

Friday, September 10, 2010



You are to post discussion topics or questions relevant to this class. If your question or topic is related to the world - then it is relevant...

Here are some example questions (that no one else can use later)...

Globalization & Trade - how do Nikes get from China to Famous Footwear?

Drugs - How do drug wars in Mexico affect US border security? or this incident?: Read this CNN article on the prison break in Mexico where 85 prisoners escaped.

Culture - Are Mexican-Americans "allowed" to use the N-word???

Government - Do you think the Birthers REALLY don't believe President Obama is a US Citizen? Is the problem really about his skin tone?

Government/ Politics - Is MSNBC just as biased as FOX News? Should the news be objective or cater to certain groups of people based on political beliefs?

Culture - What does "ghetto" mean now? How has the connotation changed over time?

NOTE: you are allowed to respond to others' questions...


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Discussion Credit

This is a reminder that we blog for class not text or use Facebook-speak to relay messages. Here is the discussion credit directions/ scoring guide:

No credit will be given for students that do not follow stated (or written) directives.


If you completed a digital project, copy & paste the link here with a description of your project.

First Name, Hour

This is "36 Hours in My Kansas City" based on the New York Times article read in class.

Monday, September 6, 2010

UNITS 1 & 2 - The Fall of the Nacirema

Unit 1 (You Are Here) and Unit 2 (The Origins of Man) Connections

Is the Nacirema society destined to "collapse"? Connect the reading to Jared Diamond's clip (TED video). Write a 1 page summary of events and discuss your personal views.

Click on the links to view the article and the video

The Origins of Man - Confucius Says...

Choose one of the following quotes - explain its meaning and find an African proverb, old fable, Greek mythology, Native American story, or Japanese haiku with a similar meaning. Post your response and your story (with the author and web address) here:

1. Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.

2. Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

3. Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

4. Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.

5. He who will not economize will have to agonize.

6. I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

The Origins of Man - World Religions, Part Deux

Go to this site: and choose one religion listed. Post a 1-2 paragraph summary about that religion's main tenets.

The Origins of Man - Sumerians

A. How did geography affect the cultural development of the Fertile Crescent?
B. How did the Sumerians overcome their lack of resources?
C. Create a simple hierarchical chart to show the class structure created by the Sumerians.
D. What are the characteristics of a city-state? How did monarchs gain power in the early city-states of Mesopotamia?
E. How does an empire differ from a city-state?
F. How did Hammurabi’s legal code advance civilization?

The Origins of Man - World Religions

Create a chart in Google Docs that compares and contrasts the major tenets of the 5 world religions studied.

Review -

1. Hinduism -

2. Buddhism -

3. Judaism -

4. Judeo-Christian beliefs – Genesis 1-3 -

5. Islam -

Post the link to your chart here:

The Origins of Man - Syncretism

Explain how Carnival or Mardi Gras are examples of syncretism.

Offer three more examples of syncretism between a tribal or animistic religion and a major/dominant world religion. Please list the name and the web addresses to your sources.

The Origins of Man - Gilgamesh & Sun Tzu

Study Gilgamesh here: and Sun Tzu (History Channel aired a documentary in 2009; it can be found in 10 parts on YouTube. Here is part 1: Write a 2-3 paged summary on the similarities and differences of each leader.

The Origins of Man - Civilizations

Define civilization and discuss what components are necessary for creating and sustaining a civilization. Do not just list terms/items - explain why each point made is relevant to our discussion.

The Origins of Man - SPRITE


I introduced the SPRITE categorizing technique to help you organize & study terms/concepts learned in class.

Is this a helpful strategy, one that you will use throughout our class and in others? And... what other categories would you add and why?

Example - G-SPRITE (Geography - to explore how people/ concepts are shaped by their physical environment)

CURRENT EVENTS - News About the News

Watch this video from TED: Discuss: how much do you know about world events? Why don't students know more or are connected more to what happens in the world around them?

Assignment: Find 3 reputable news sources from other countries. Answer the discussion questions and post the name and web addresses to the three sites you found. What are the top stories discussed around the world right now? - List 5.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

CURRENT EVENTS - Racism Changes School & Student

Read the MSNBC article: about a high school in the midst racially charged problems. After reading discuss:

1. The majority of the instigators were black, the victims were Asian. Does the ethnic background of the perpetrator or victim diminish or enhance the problems in the story? Would your response be the same if the "perps" were white and the victims were black? - or vice versa???

2. Is this a racial or economic issue? Are the two issue confused or intertwined?

3. Why is racial bias still an issue?

CURRENT EVENTS - Landslides. Flooding, & Quakes

Read the articles on the recent natural disasters in Guatemala:, Pakistan:, and New Zealand:

Do you think Global Warming is to blame for the recent and severe natural disasters around the world or is this just "nature as usual"? Please defend your answer.

Discussion Credit

This is a reminder that we blog for class not text or use Facebook-speak to relay messages. Here is the discussion credit directions/ scoring guide:

No credit will be given for students that do not follow stated (or written) directives.


Read this Wikipedia article: and this article from USA Today: What are the possible ecological and economic consequences we will see for the next 20 years?

This is not the first oil spill on or near US shores. Research 3 others - list the websites used in your research and give a 2-3 sentence summary of what happened (oil spill) and how wildlife and industries were affected.

CURRENT EVENTS - Hurricane Katrina - 5 Years Later

These articles from the Wall Street Journal: and Associated Content: discuss the ebb and flow of rebuilding. Reflect on your thoughts regarding the US efforts to rebuild New Orleans (the city that sustained the most damage).

I highly recommend watching Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke and the follow up: If God is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise (

CURRENT EVENTS - Women's Rights Elsewhere in the World

In Iran (and other countries), women can be sentenced to death for adultery, political activism, drug use and abuse, homosexuality, among other crimes. Read this article from CNN:

and this article from Amnesty International:

Discuss your feelings regarding these cases AND
find another case involving a woman and a controversial death sentence (any country - Atefah Sahaaleh, Iran; Aileen Wuornos, US; Wang Ziqi and Tao Minggu, China; Mata Hari, etc) to compare/ contrast major themes and issues.

Include the links to articles or videos found/ used for your explanations.

CURRENT EVENTS - A Tale of Survival

Plane crash survivors that ate the flesh of dead comrades to live relays a message of hope and fight to the trapped miners in Chile. Read the CNN article here:

What would you be willing to do to survive? Find another tale of desperate times calling for desperate measures to live for comparison.

CURRENT EVENTS - Hurricane Earl

Read this article about Hurricane Earl:

What can the response (the US Government, the public, or the international response) to Hurricane Katrina teach use about how to prepare for or rebuild after Hurricane Earl?

CURRENT EVENTS - Chilean Miners

Read this BBC article about the trapped Chilean miners: and watch this video from CBS News:

Imagine you are trapped for several days and unable to continue life as normal. What would be the things you miss the most and why?