Hi. What an amazing time to be in the American Issues class. There is so much going on inside and outside of class. Students are working on a variety of activities and topics while they choose and prioritize what is most important on a daily basis. We've found that while most students are learning lots and doing great work, some are finding it a challenge to turn in the products they produce by the deadlines in the appropriate places. We're working on explaining and reinforcing that process, and giving students an opportunity to show their learning (because it's all about the learning)! Students have been instructed that if an assignment is already entered into the Infinite Campus grading system, and their assignment is Missing (i.e. it didn't get turned in by the deadline in the appropriate place where I look for it), or is a '0' (i.e. something is turned in, but I don't have access to it because it is "private" or doesn't open, etc.), that they should send me an email from their school email (because I set up the system to filter their emails into a separate folder so I don't miss them), start their message with "Mr. Bretzmann," explain why they are emailing, include a link to whatever they updated so I don't have to go looking for it, and end with their name and hour because they are important! I've gotten over 30 emails about grades already. So that's good, I guess. :)
Student-created meme to show understanding that ideology is different than political party.
Students are finishing up their ideology projects where they apply their knowledge of ideology to themselves by taking three online quizzes that give them results as to where that quiz would put them on the political spectrum according to their answers to two-sided questions. Before this activity we had the opportunity to talk about what ideologies are, why we study them, what the different labels mean, where the labels show up on the spectrum, the suggested problems with the "traditional number line," and possible alternative models of explaining ideology. Students had the opportunity to show what they know by taking a couple vocabulary quizzes and summarizing any part of their understanding of ideology by creating a meme and sharing it on an American Issues padlet (an online communication tool). We'll try to connect ideology to the news, and then bring the study of it to a close (while also continuing to connect it to all that we study).
Student-created meme to show understanding of points on the political spectrum.
Finally, let me mention that we are well on our way to exploring our passions. We ask students to identify what they most care about and want fixed, changed, or kept the same in the world. We are now identifying how to make that into a "problem" that can be solved. Next we'll read and do additional research. We'll start to try to connect with other people (like experts who can help or explain more), and then we'll start to try to do something about what we care about. Students' topics of what they care about are as diverse as they are as individuals. If you're interested in the ongoing, incomplete list of things our students bring up and care about, feel free to click here. I hope you'll care a chance to ask your student about their passion. It's a great conversations!
Enjoy the rest of the week. Remember Daylight Savings Time starting on March 12. Take care, Jason
Thanks for taking the time to look at this newsletter. I look forward to the weeks ahead (especially with added sunshine). Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.