Archive for March, 2008

A Spring Break Musical Interlude!

March 29, 2008 Leave a comment

Many LJHS students participate in one of the bands or choir or play an instrument outside of school. Given the high level of interest in things musical, I thought I would share something unusual: a Japanese orchestra playing traditional Japanese and Western instruments doing a rendition of Deep Purple’s classic hit ” Smoke on the Water

Banzai !

Categories: creativity, Culture, Fun

Study Guide for WWI Unit Test

March 20, 2008 Leave a comment

There will be a WWI Unit Test at the end of the week we return after Spring Break ( Th or F):

 Study Guide -The First World War

LIST: The Three Reasons the U.S. Declared War on Germany:

Alliance System   

Balance of Power  

Triple Alliance   

Triple Entente  

The Allies

The Central Powers


Assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand

 Schlieffen Plan






Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front

Trench Warfare

Changes in Warfare/Weaponry

Eastern Front

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare (U-Boats)

Zimmerman Telegram

Russian Revolution/Bolshevik

14 Points

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

AEF / Doughboys


Versailles Conference/Treaty of Versailles

League of Nations

National Self-Determination



Kaiser Wilhelm II      Gavrillo Princip   Woodrow Wilson     General John Pershing       Field Marshal Foch

Field Marshal von Hindenburg     Vladimir Lenin     Henry Cabot Lodge 

Lecture Slides – America and WWI

March 18, 2008 Leave a comment

A two-part lecture on WWI from the perspective of American history.

America’s Last Soldier Who Went “Over There”

March 5, 2008 Leave a comment

In a timely Chicago Tribune op-ed, the last surviving American veteran of  The First World War, Frank Buckles ( age 107) is the focus in an essay on the need for our students to learn about and honor the sacrifices  made in our behalf by veterans in our nation’s wars.

The long forgotten heroes of WW I

“Now there is only one. When Harry Richard Lucas died recently, Frank Buckles was left as the only American soldier who can recount his personal experience in World War I. He is the last surviving American World War I veteran. The Great War, as it was once known, is receding into ancient history, an era as distant from us today as the Civil War or the American Revolution.

But every war lingers, long after the last soldier has died. Generations hence, the ghosts still speak to us, even if we no longer acknowledge the voices. Look no further than our current travails in the Middle East, in large measure a result of the political consequences of World War I, which created the political boundaries of those tribal regions. And in an echo of the current presidential debate, Americans in 1917 were passionately divided about being drawn into a European conflict we had little direct stake in, arguably less than we have in Iraq today.

Without our intervention, when our doughboys went marching off to Europe to fulfill President Wilson‘s promise to make the world safe for democracy, the European allies probably would have been defeated.”

Read the rest here.

The Virtue of Recess:Play is Good for the Brain

March 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Recess is a historical staple of elementary education in America and it is not uncommon to see children granted small amounts of time for “free play” or educational games in the primary grades. Some critics of public education or politicians would prefer to see that time devoted to increased amounts of formal, skill-drill exercises; but aside from the fact that test-prep activities quickly hit the point of diminishing returns in terms raising a school district’s aggregate mean test scores, the so-called ” wasted free time” is actually neurologically vital for the optimum cognitive development of children’s brains ( and it’s good for us older folks too!).

 A report from the excellent Eide Neurolearning Blog, run by a pair of medcal doctors and research neuroscientists:

Remembering to Play

“Several recent articles remind us of the importance of play. From NPR, Old-fashioned play builds serious skills, and NYT, Taking Play Seriously.Also from the American Academy of Pediatrics (The Importance of Play for Health Child Development pdf : “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to health brain development…Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, an to learn self-advocacy skills.” An increased in hurried lifestyles and school-based academic performance may leave a child with little unstructured time. In one survey by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, 30% of kindergarten classes no longer had recess periods

….An additional point made in the NYT article, was the importance of play for the development of the cerebellum. For kids with sensory processing disorders, this is a big one. Sometimes the earliest indication that something isn’t “quite right” is when a child avoids the normal rough-and-tumble play on the playground. That’s why without intervention, a child may accumulate even fewer play experiences and fall even farther behind their classmates with time.”

Read the rest and find additional brain-learning resources here.

While older students do not have “recess”, time for creative, exploratory and imaginative learning activities should be a regular aspect of core academic classses. Furthermore, music, the arts, sports and drama play a critical role in brain growth and do not represent “frills” but a central modality for integration of concepts, application of learning and generation of insight. As subjects, they are the brain’s “Right” side exercises  to the ” Left” side’s analytical-logical reasoning provided by mathematics and science classes.

Our students need both, not either-or.

All Quiet on the Western Front

March 4, 2008 Leave a comment

Unlike the clip from the 1930 version, the students are watching the 1979 remake of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel All Quiet on the Western Front.

WWI Unit Vocabulary

March 4, 2008 Leave a comment


Alliance System    Balance of Power   Triple Alliance    Triple Entente   The Allies

The Central Powers     Neutrality    Schlieffen Plan    Plan XVII    Nationalism   Militarism

Imperialism    Protectionism    Kaiser    Western Front    Eastern Front   Trench Warfare

War of Attrition     U-Boat   Unrestricted Submarine Warfare    Sussex Pledge    Bolshevik

Zimmerman Telegram     Treaty of Brest-Litovsk    Doughboy    14 Points    Armistice

Treaty of Versailles    League of Nations   National Self-Determination   Collective Security

Reparations   All Quiet on the Western Front

Historical Figures to Know:

Archduke Franz-Ferdinand     Gavrillo Princip    Kaiser Wilhelm II    Woodrow Wilson

Marshal Ferdinand Foch    General John Pershing   Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg

Vladimir Lenin   Tsar Nicholas II   Erich Maria Remarque