Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stewart, Colbert preside over lighthearted, star-studded rally - October 30, 2010

Write up concerning the Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. If you haven't had a chance to watch it, I'm sure you can find it on the web. Entertaining to say the least.

American Government 10/29/10

In Class - First and Second Periods - Wrap up the education project. Discuss how this relates to the legislative process. Considering the steps (ideas, topics, research, surveys (teacher and student), group collaboration, policy papers, this was very similar to the actual steps of writing a bill and then presenting it to become law.

Second period - Hand out group member evaluations. Evaluate everyone in your group, except for yourself. Turn in before you leave.

4th Period - This is due on Monday. If you don't turn it in, it will be a zero (out of 100).

Homework - Look for some information regarding the mid-term elections. We will talk about this Monday in class. Come prepared.

World History 10/29/10

In Class - Discuss Standard Check Questions (Chapter 3, Sec. 3). Hand out guided notes. Class notes on the Age of Napoleon.

Homework - Test has been moved to Wednesday, November 3.

End of the grading period.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

American Government 10/28/10

In Class - Complete class presentations, except for period four. Fourth period will finish tomorrow. Hand out group member evaluations. Turn in before you leave (1st period only).

Homework - Continue to update your blog.


World History 10/28/10

In Class - Paris pictures. Discuss the implications of the various places in Paris and its relationship to the French Revolution.

Homework - None.

American Government 10/27/10

In Class - Continue with class presentations.

Homework - Continue to update your blog. Blog check on Friday.

World History 10/27/10

In Class - Review French Revolution until the Age of Napoleon. Short Quiz (12 questions). Hang onto homework from yesterday (Chapter 3, Sec. 3 Standard Check Questions).

Homework - None.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Life: The Ultimate Teacher

I had a free moment, so I thought I would share some thoughts. The last couple of weeks have been rough. I have experienced two tragedies in my life: one I knew was eventually coming, and the other sucker-punched me in the gut.

Queenie has been gone for a little more than two weeks. I still consider myself grieving because little reminders of her bring tears to my eyes. I took her travel kennel out of the car (finally) for the last time. On the handle was her pink bandanna that she used to wear on occasion. I miss my dog. I know I can be a little emotional and sometimes wear my emotions on my sleeve, but that little booger that stole the mail for treats, eat underwear or socks and know she was in trouble by immediately going into her kennel, the three and four am wake-up calls, even the peeing in the house doesn't seem so bad. Truth is, I miss those things. But, I will always have the memories both the good and the bad. Even though her life was cut short, I have known for the past two years that this time would come, and even though my wife and I have had time to prepare for this inevitability, it is still difficult. Life is short, and we owe it to ourselves and our nation to take full advantage of life. Life is tough; in fact, some may consider it another four letter word. But, everybody gets one. Tell them Peter (Family Guy reference). And if you don't learn from life, you just might need a helmet to survive. Point is, especially in times of tragedy, there are life lessons to be learned.

The next tragedy completely through me off track. It truly was like a sucker-punch to the gut. A former student had died at the young age of twenty. With a bright future ahead of him, a well educated young man from a good family has left us. I coached him for two years and spent a lot of time on the baseball field with this young man. What he lacked in baseball ability, he made up for it with an unequal work ethic. He was the first one to the field and usually the last one to leave. He loved the game of baseball, and it showed. He never took things for granted and cherished every minute playing the game he loved. I will always remember this young man for what he did for this program. He was an example of how hard work can payoff. For instance, I remember one game he pitched against King his senior year. King was in our league, and they always seemed to have our number. After our pitching coach was tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes, our head coach gave me the responsibility to call pitches. This was going to be fun. I literally called one pitch all day long. Fastball: with a little run, a little sink, and hitting spots. He was lights out; a bulldog. Truly extraordinary. I will never forget this day. I was just glad to be a part of it.

"You really don't know what you got, til it's gone." This is a lyric from the song by the eighties hair band Cinderella. This lyric has made me realize that we need to understand that life is short. We should never take life for granted because we don't know when it will end. Life is about learning lessons. We will need to know how to overcome tragedies when they occur whether or not we have time to prepare ourselves. We need to remember those moments in life that were good and try to hold onto those for as long as possible. We need to make sure that we take care of one another, comfort those in times of sadness, say a kind word, or simply do a good deed. You never know what kind of an impact you will have on a person or the impact they may have had on you until they are gone. Unfortunately, this is a lesson of life. But we will persevere as human beings as long as we have continue to share the one thing we all have in common: life.

American Government 10/26/10

In Class - Begin education presentations. Groups will present their ideas and answer questions from Mr. Palo.

Homework - Prepare for presentations. Continue to update your blog: you may continue to focus on education or, which I would prefer, choose current events dealing with the 2010 Midterm Elections.

Town Hall meeting regarding education. This is an opportunity for students from all three of my classes to meet and discuss your projects. This will take place on Friday, October 29 at 6:45 am. That's right. Before school. Show up, discuss, learn, and earn extra credit.

World History 10/26/10

In Class - Continue class discussion/lecture concerning the FR Picturegram assignment. Take down any notes and continue to write a three to four sentence summary of the pictures and their significance towards the French Revolution.

Homework - Read Chapter 3, Section 3. Complete the Standards Check Questions (4) by writing the question and then answer using complete sentences. Short quiz tomorrow over Chapter 3, Sections 1-3.

American Government 10/25/10

In Class - Presentations have been postponed, beginning tomorrow. Your presentation date has simply moved back one day (Monday to Tuesday). Continue to work on your presentation, PowerPoint, and anything else that may need revising.

Homework - Prepare for presentations. Be prepared to answer any questions asked by Mr. Palo. Prepare.

World History 10/25/10

In Class - With a partner, or by yourself, work on the French Revolution Picturegram assignment. You are to use your class notes, textbook, and any other handout. Follow the directions from the assignment and turn in your work before you leave.

Homework - None.

NOTE - Test for Chapter 3 will be on Tuesday, November 2.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

American Government Students: Please Read

The funeral services for Chris Fielding are tomorrow morning. I will be attending and due to this, I am postponing the presentations by one day. So, instead of beginning tomorrow, they will begin on Tuesday-Thursday. Thanks for being flexible. If you have any questions, feel free to talk to me tomorrow. I will be in class for periods 1 and 2 and throughout the afternoon. Sorry for the late notice.

Friday, October 22, 2010

American Government 10/22/10

In Class - Discuss presentations (beginning on Monday). Select presentation dates. Discuss PowerPoints (this is due on the day of your presentation).

Homework - Final draft of project due by Sunday, October 24 by 11:59 pm via email ( Anything emailed to me past the due date will receive an automatic two letter grade deduction (see syllabus).

World History 10/22/10

In Class - Complete documentary over French Revolution. Discuss questions and answers to video. Turn in handout (Video questions/answers and Chapter 3, Sections 1 and 2 Quiz).

Homework - None.

American Government 10/21/10

In Class - Continue to work and collaborate in your groups.

Homework - Final draft due on Sunday, October 24 by 11:59 via email (

Board of Education meeting tonight @ 7 pm.

World History 10/21/10

In Class - Continue with documentary concerning the French Revolution. Continue to answer video questions.

Homework - Chapter 3, Sections 1 and 2 Quiz (on the back of the video questions) is due tomorrow.

American Government 10/201/10

In Class - Hand back first drafts of projects. Continue to discuss and revise your school. This is due by Sunday, October 24 by 11:59 pm via email (

Homework - Continue to work on your project. Final draft due by Sunday, October 24 by 11:59 pm via email (

World History 10/20/10

In Class - Continue documentary on French Revolution. Continue to answer questions as you watch.

Homework - Complete Chapter 3, Section 1 and 2 Quiz (on the back of the video questions). I would like for you to have this done on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

American Government 10/19/10

In Class - Mental Health Day.

Homework - Update your blog. Blog check this week.

World History 10/19/10

In Class - Begin watching History Channel documentary covering the French Revolution. Complete video questions as you follow along. On the back are quizzes for Chapter 3, Sections 1 and 2. Complete these by Thursday.

Homework - Chapter 3, Sections 1 and 2 Quizzes due on Thursday.

Get Schooled

Good comprehensive website. The video clips from class came from this site.

American Government 10/18/10

In Class - Discuss new due dates for final project. I will get these back to you tomorrow. Short video clips. Continue to work in groups discussing project.

Homework - Update your blogs. Many of you haven't done anything since September. Get on it!

World History 10/18/10

In Class - Continue with class notes: Causes of the French Revolution. The learner will be able to identify and explain the five key causes of the French Revolution. On a separate sheet of paper, write a short summary incorporating the major causes. This is due before you leave.

Homework - Standards Check and Primary Sources (2) handout. Be sure to highlight/underline evidence and then answer the questions in complete sentences. This is due at the beginning of class.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why wait for Superman?

Doug Valentine - The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Education Nation Scorecard For Schools

From the Education Nation (NBC) website. This website gives the user the ability to analyze data about any school in the United States. The stats may surprise you about La Sierra High School. Check this out.

How to Recruit Better Teachers

Time Magazine - September 20, 2010

What Makes a School Great?

Time Magazine - September 20, 2010

Again, discusses the "Waiting for Superman" documentary.

It Must Be Getting Close to Mid-Terms

It's unknown who commissioned this billboard in Grand Junction, Colorado — which portrays President Obama as a bomb-strapped Islamic terrorist, a cigar-chomping gangster, a Mexican bandit, and a gay person, sitting around a table covered with No. 6 playing cards in groups of three.

American Government 10/15/10

In Class - Continue to work on group project.

Homework - Survey analysis and first draft of project due via email by 11:59 tonight. Teacher interview is due on Sunday, October 17. Post this on your blog.

World History 10/15/10

In Class - Mental Health Day.

Homework - Watch the news. Enjoy your weekend.

American Government 10/14/10

In Class - Continue to work on group project.

Homework - Survey analysis and first draft of project due via email by Friday, October 15. Teacher interview due posted on your blog by 11:59 on Sunday, October 17.

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY - Parent Teacher Conferences tonight from 4:30-8.

World History 10/14/10

In Class - Finish benchmark exams. Hand back Chapter 2 Tests. Use this time to get caught up on your work.

Homework - Watch the news.

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY - Parent Teacher Conferences tonight from 4:30-8.

American Government 10/13/10

In Class - You and your group should be complete with all of the student surveys. You are to use class time today to work on your analysis.

Homework - New Due Dates: Survey Analysis - submitted by email by Friday, October 15. First draft of project - submitted by email by Friday, October 15. Teacher interview - post this on your blog.

World History 10/13/10

In Class - Guided notes: Causes of the French Revolution. Complete the handout throughout the lecture. Hang onto the primary source from yesterday.

Homework - Watch the news.

American Government 10/12/10

In Class - Continue group work/discussion/collaboration for your education reform project. All student surveys are due by tomorrow. Bring these to class, so you can work on your survey analysis (see step #5 on the project handout).

Homework - Student surveys (100) due by tomorrow.

World History 10/12/10

In Class - Using your notes, complete the quiz over Chapter 3, Section 1. When complete, staple your notes to the back of the quiz and turn in. Take the handout (primary source: The Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens), read, underline/highlight, answer the questions. This is due tomorrow.

Homework - Primary source analysis.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Living the Dash

As I am sitting on my couch, I find myself alone. It's true what they say: a dog is man's best friend. Since my wife does travel on occasion, it was always nice to come home to a dog with a wagging tail simply estatic to see you. I will take some time and write a few memories about Queenie because it is only fitting that I do so for such a beloved and compassionate dog.

Queenie came into my life in December of 2002. My wife tells the story of going to a small farm in Missouri to pick out the new addition to the family. What actually happened, Queenie picked us. While only a few weeks old, my wife is sitting among a litter of beautiful beagle puppies, and Queenie walked up to Carmen. It was love at first sight. For a mere $150, Queenie was our new baby. I had not grown up with dogs, so this was a new adventure for me. She came to us when she was six weeks old, and even though my wife had grown up with beagles, getting a new dog in December while living in the Midwest has its challenges. Nevermind the fact there was snow on the ground with a puppy that required to go outside quite frequently. Furthermore, my wife was planning a trip to California to spend Christmas with her parents. I had to work my stellar job at K-Mart over the holidays and care for a young puppy. I took three straight days off of work, had lots of sleepless nights, and almost lost my job. It was worth every second of it.

I titled this post "Living the dash." This is a popular saying referring to the dash in between the dates of someone's birth and death. Queenie, had a good life. She truly embraced the dash and touched the lives of many people. She was definitely a people dog. No matter where we took her, whenever she saw people, she always assumed they were there to see her. I've never seen such a happy dog. No matter what the occasion, she was the center of attention and truly lived up to her name. She was royalty, and she knew it. Whether it was stealing and eating frozen hot pockets, barking at the mailman every time it was delivered, eating used kleenex from the trash, stealing mail and tearing it up in front of us, or sometimes getting emotional and yelling at me, she was always living life to the fullest.

"Everyone dies, not everyone truly lives." This is a quote from William Wallace from the movie Braveheart. People are measured by what they do in life. "Living the dash" is making an impact in someone's life no matter how insignificant it may seem, challenging yourself to better educate yourself and make a difference in the world, giving selflessly to benefit our fellow humankind, and finding something you're passionate about. "Living the dash" refers to anything in your life that defines you as a person. We are all talented people, and people sometimes find and develop that talent at different times in their life. But we owe it to ourselves and to this world to utilize the talents we are given. We owe it to ourselves and to this world to live life to the fullest.

In close, Queenie truly lived the dash. We can all learn a lesson from her: take things one day at a time and "dream as if you'll live forever; life as if you'll die today" - James Dean. Queenie will truly live on forever. Will you?

American Government 10/11/10

In Class - Continue group work on education reform project. By 11:59 tonight, I need your group resources (15) in MLA format. Also, continue working on your student surveys. Bring these to class tomorrow. Your group analysis from your student responses is due on Wednesday, October 13 by 11:59 via email.

Homework - 15 resources due by email to me by 11:59 tonight. Also, continue to submit your surveys to students. I would like for you to bring these to class on Tuesday. Your analysis is due on Wednesday.

World History 10/11/10

In Class - Benchmark Exam. When complete, grab a book and begin reading Chapter 3, Section 1. As you read, take notes. Expect a quiz tomorrow at the beginning of class. I will have your tests from Chapter 2 on Wednesday.

Homework - Finish notes from Chapter 3, Section 1. Study for the quiz tomorrow.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

Sir Ken Robinson

Interesting take on education reform and the use of diverse talent in this world.

American Government 10/8/10

In Class - WHIP presentation. Continue to work in your groups discussing your new school. 15 source works cited page is due on Monday, October 11. Someone from your group needs to email this to me. Finalize your survey questions. Try to have these completed (100) by Tuesday for class. The surveys and the analysis are due on Wednesday, October 13.

Homework - Research, research, research. Works cited is due on Monday. Start handing out your student surveys (use social networking to make it easier for you). Keep updating your blog.

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY - Tonight at 7 pm on CNN, Anderson Cooper is hosting a town hall meeting concerning the issue of bullying. Simply watch this meeting and write a two or three paragraph response. This is due on Tuesday, October 12. This is worth up to 25 points extra credit, depending on the quality of the work.

World History 10/8/10

In Class - Test over Chapter 2. Staple review sheet to the back of your answer sheet when you turn in.

Homework - Benchmark on Monday. Review Chapters 1 and 2.

EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY: You have all heard of the historic poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." However, you may have not heard of Israel Bissell. Who is Israel Bissell and why is he not as famous as Paul Revere? Do some research and turn in by Monday.

American Government 10/7/10

In Class - WHIP presentation. Short discussion on the education "opportunity." Group work: your goal for today is to brainstorm topics for possible survey questions. Teacher interview (one per person) is to be submitted to your own personal blog by Sunday, October 17 by 11:59 pm.

Homework - Research articles for your works cited (due on Monday). Keep updating your blog.

Board of Education Meeting Tonight @ 7 pm.

World History 10/7/10

In Class - Hand back papers from chapter 2. Hand out review sheet for tomorrow's test. You may use this review sheet on tomorrow's test.

Homework - Complete review sheet for tomorrow's test


Thursday, October 7, 2010

No D Policy Gains Wider Acceptance

By Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer - Los Angeles Times
June 23, 2003

A growing number of schools and districts are requiring a C average as the minimum to pass. Not all educators think it's a good idea.

Teaching Digital Citizenship in Schools

Nancy Solon - NPR
October 6, 2010

In the wake of the recent tragedy surrounding a Rutgers University freshman, should colleges and universities teach online ethics. Cyberbullying laws may not be enough.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Testing, Testing

Neil Demause - Village Voice, New York
January 13-19, 2010

Interesting article discussing NCLB.

A Nation at Risk

The National Commission on Excellence in Education
April 1983

A report from 1983 presented to the United States Department of Education. 27 years since this report, yet some things never change.

Are standardized tests the best way to measure how well a school is doing? September 28, 2008

Video takes a closer look at the NCLB Act of 2002. Is all of this testing helping our students achieve?

American Government 10/6/10

In Class - Discuss the Education Reform Project (aka The Opportunity). Select your groups and begin brainstorming ideas.

Homework - Begin researching for your project. 15 source MLA group works cited is due on Monday, October 11.

World History 10/6/10

In Class - Video "The History of the Boston Massacre." Video recreates the so-called massacre from eye witness testimonies and other primary sources. Was this really a massacre or were British soldiers simply acting in self-defense?

Homework - Start reviewing for the test over Chapter 2 on Friday.

American Government 10/5/10

In Class - Complete documentary "Stupid in America." Discuss as a class. Hand out Education Reform Project.

Homework - Continue to update your blog concerning education. Read the handout for the upcoming project.

World History 10/5/10

In Class - Turn in homework from yesterday (writing prompt from movie "Amazing Grace" and notes from the movie). Review for Friday's test over Chapter 2.

Homework - Watch the news. Test on Friday over Chapter 2.

Monday, October 4, 2010

No Child Left Behind

Department of Education official website

Unfamiliar with the NCLB Act? Check out this website, which should answer all of your questions.

Don't Mess With Textbooks

The Daily Show - Jon Stewart
March 17, 2010

Since no one knows who Oscar Romero is, the Texas school board decides not to include him in the curriculum. Interesting take on education.

Educators Take Issue With 'Waiting for Superman'

Chappaqua-Mount Kisco Patch - Joann Brady

Report states that teachers take issue with the new documentary "Waiting for Superman," concerning the state of public education in the United States. The documentary portrays the fault to poor teachers that hide behind the strength of teacher unions.

Merit Pay Isn't Serious Reform

The Herald Bulletin - Anderson, Indiana
October 4, 2010

In this editorial, the author speaks to the downfalls of merit based pay as a reasonable reform for education. Studies show that merit pay does not work, but what other way is there to get rid of poor teachers?

American Government 10/4/10

In Class - WHIP presentations (2nd Period). 1st and 4th - Select for the rest of the week. Begin/continue watching documentary "Stupid in America," a look at the public education system of the United States. While watching, be sure to take notice of how the US ranks internationally in education. Also, take a close look at the system itself including the federal law of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Is closing a failing school acceptable? How should we evaluate our students?

Homework - Start doing some research on the following questions including the questions that you may already have concerning education reform. Take a look at the following articles/links. Be sure to update your blog.

EXTRA CREDIT - Tonight at the Riverside Convention Center (3443 Orange St.) from 5-8 pm, there is a college/career fair. I highly recommend that you attend. Simply take a photo of yourself while you are there, and you will receive the extra credit. While you are there, take advantage of the information available to you.

World History 10/4/10

In Class - Continue and complete movie "Amazing Grace." Keep writing down examples from the movie depicting ideas of the Enlightenment.

Homework - From your notes over the movie, respond to the following prompt: How did the Enlightenment influence William Wilberforce to abolish the slave trade in Great Britain? Provide specific examples from the movie to support your answer. This is due at the beginning of class tomorrow.

NOTE - Test over Chapter 2 is this Thursday.

American Government 10/1/10

In Class - WHIP presentations. Continue to discuss education reform. Video clips concerning the status of the elections for the Republicans and Democrats.

Homework - Question of the Week response due by 11:59 tonight. Keep updating your blog concerning education reform.

World History 10/1/10

In Class - Continue watching movie "Amazing Grace." Keep writing down examples from the movie that suggest ideas of the Enlightenment.

Homework - Watch the news.