The Coming Months

After what has seemed to be a very long four days of speeches and pandering to a very specific demographic in this nation, the RNC is finally over. To be honest, I simply don’t remember the conventions of the past, but this one, in sharp contrast to the DNC, just made me feel uncomfortable. I know in the days to come both sides will be coming out swinging, but to do it on such a personal level and to outright manipulate the facts seems inexcusable.

According to W and the RNC, not supporting American policies in Iraq (which of course is different from supporting the troops) and the man himself is unAmerican. These positions are insulting and probably the reason why I could never associate myself with a party that spreads this sort of propaganda.

Enjoy this video from the Daily Show:
Bush Campaign Film

Student Simulation

What happens when you throw 38 high school sophomores into a room, tell them to create a democratic government, then sit down do nothing for two days. Well, a variety of things. After day one, three of my four classes quickly picked leaders and divided into committees to begin working. The last one spent almost 40 minutes trying to decide who the leaders were and how to divide into groups. Then the “creative” ideas begin to surface – like banning the drinking of water, requiring nudity, and coming with names for the country like Gumbiville or Mikeville. They believe that there is a significant grade attached to the completion of the assignment – however, they are actually being graded on the effort they show. This incentive has the motivated kids even more motivated and encouraging the less motivated students along.

We’ll see by the end of the tomorrow if the promising start today translates into a good final product and if the other class can recover. If interested, you can download the one page simulation discription here.

The First Day…

For some reason I always seem to dread this day. Perhaps, it is having to start all over after having spent a year building up a rapport with my students. Or maybe it is the two months off (or at least two months of doing different work). As with every year, the day was fine. The students mostly responded positively. We’ll see where they are at in a couple months.


Two nights ago my 3 year-old son woke up in the middle of the night with a “bad dream.” My wife and I were eventually able to get him back to sleep, but the next morning when I asked him about the dream, he began sobbing as he re-lived it. Apparently, while at the zoo we were looking at the rhinoceros exhibit, and when we turned around to look at the elephants (which happen to be his favorite animal), they were gone. Somehow, there were no more elephants at the San Diego Zoo.

I wish my bad dreams were that simple. It reminds me of an old Indigo Girls song, Kid Fears.


Over the next couple months, a major focus of this blog will be to reflect on the process of creating a Wiki-based project on the Industrial Revolution for my World Histroy class. With inspiration and support from Bernie Dodge (SDSU Prof who invented WebQuests) and Karl Ricther (an Ed Tech student I met in ED690 and fast becoming the “Wiki Guy”), I hope to use this technology in a way that eventually will allow other teachers to easily use it.

Once I have gotten further along in the process of thinking about it, I will post some specifics.

The Week Before

The week before the kids come has always been interesting. In the past it has been littered with team building exercises and attempts to institute the “latest” educational trends – usually with little success. This year’s process has seemed even more mind-numbing then usual. As we get ready to go through WASC again, we must reflect upon what we have been doing, should be doing, and what to do. Perhaps this is good, but it seems to be a repeat of our last WASC experience six years ago. Overall, I would say that the school has evolved, changed, digressed, or progressed very little. After eight years, the staff is still circling in the same pattern. That is not to say we are doing things poorly, lest some be offended. We do a lot of things great – better then most really, but no system is perfect.

For one who would like to see large-scale change, it is difficult. However, I know that is the culture of the school and don’t see any major changes in the near future. I guess I will continue to do what I can, then close my door and teach.

I do have to say that I have never been so prepared for the first day of school. My room is clean and organized and my lessons planned for the first month. All I have to do is input the students into my grade program.

Hello, my name is…

Over the last year or so I have contemplated starting a blog. I mean really, they are somewhat self indulgent, and if done properly they can be time consuming. Will I have enough to share, add, reflect on to actually make it interesting, etc.? Plus, I seem to be the typo king. However, in the end, here I am.

Instead of opening this blog up to the full spectrum of personal, political, and professional entries – which in some ways probably stalled this process, I have decided to use this blog to mostly reflect upon the things that happen within my professional life – a high school history teacher and educational technology grad student. That is not to say that I won’t occassionally throw in a story about my 3.5 and 1 year old boys, because man they’re cute. (In the last month or so the 3 year old not only high-fived a grieving widow immediately after a church memorial service, but also asked what museum I would put his bones in after he died).

The reflections here will focus around having almost 40 kids in each of my world and United States history classes, the process of integrating technology into the curriculum (WebQuests, digital video projects, Wikis, and Blogs), and experiences from my final year and a half (of five total) in the SDSU Educational Technology Department.