Student: My school district hires too many white teachers – The Washington Post is a really thoughtful first-person piece from a student in the New Orleans school system that was posted in a private teacher discussion group which I’m part of. Since it’s a private group, I’m going to talk pretty generally about that aspect of it. When I first looked at the discussion I thought it looked pretty good. Lot’s of folks talking pretty seriously about the subject. The glass looked half-full, to me. Read the rest of this entry »
Since we’ve finished with our Language Arts text for the year, I’ve been trying to implement a “replacement” unit for Common Core featuring closed readings. The examples modeled centered on short stories or poetry, but I’ve opted to use primary documents. One of the best resources I’ve found is an older compilation of “essential” speeches, and writings edited by Diane Ravitch, called The American Reader. At this point many of you are probably horrified that I’m using a Ravitch text for Common Core. Perhaps even Dr. Ravitch is just as flabergasted. Be that as it may, I here is what happened.
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This week’s share will be YouTube videos. YouTube videos can be a great source of short videos on topics that can help illuminate a larger topic you’re teaching. Here’s how I used them:
Right now we’re finishing up a unit on music (Beyond the Notes in the Open Court reading series). YouTube is a great source of music from almost every style and time period. We’ve studied Beethoven, and Ray Charles as part of this. Here are some videos I’ve used:
two cellos thunderstruck – YouTube This is an anachronism that works. Two guys on a cello in front of a baroque era audience (Vienna, maybe?) playing…AC/DC’s” Thunderstruck”. I works for a couple reasons. It gives a fresh view of “classical” instruments and also how music may changes but some things stay the same.
ray charles – YouTube
boogie woogie – YouTube Students read a story about Ray Charles, playing boogie-woogie, but few know what that means even though they go to piano lab in school once a week, and many take piano lessons after school. These two videos give a good example of Charles’ early sound, and what boogie woogie sounds like in general.
How I Feel About Logarithms – YouTube I’m trying to introduce more general ideas of mathematics and more visual representations of the same. These videos are too fast moving to take in one setting, but we’ll go back to look at it, and pause to discuss. They need a lot more of just exploring ideas, and less “solving” problems with a single answer.
vsauce – YouTube A student asked me to show this, and it was a winner.
For the second year, I played RadioLab’s Speedy Beet episode. This discusses time notations Beethoven added to his symphonies later in life with the advent of the metronome, and as deafness to hold. Since students are doing a weekly keyboard lab class they had some familiarity with the basics of this (time notation, metronomes, etc.). Combining this with two-cellos video was a way to make an old topic (classical music) a little fresher for the kids.
Image Credit: Stage 28 by Kevin Dooley, on Flickr
So way back, in the dim mist of time (before winter break), I finished a unit on human rights loosely based on an idea from a really poorly executed unit that I first heard about here. The unit had students reading the novel Esperanza Rising, while looking at her life through the lens of a legal document, the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. On the whole, the unit worked very well, and the students enjoyed it a lot. Some observations: Read the rest of this entry »