Total Pageviews

Thursday, September 29, 2011

US HISTORY: Friday September 30, 2011

Tomorrow, Friday, we will have our BINDER CHECK, WARM UP CHECK (the FINAL 2 GRADES of the 1st 6-Weeks) and you will have your LAST CHANCE FOR MAKE UPS AND TO TURN IN ANY MISSING WORK. After 3:30 PM TOMORROW, no more late work will be accepted for the 1st 6-Weeks. The goal for tomorrow is to be all set up for the next 6-Weeks. Please come prepared and have a great Thursday Holiday!

GOV: Tomorrow's Test

Class, make sure that you study your vocabulary for the TEST tomorrow (Friday September 30, 2011). Also make sure that you have your BINDER, for the BINDER CHECK, and a PENCIL as well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

US HISTORY: Projects

I have completed grading every project that I have received and the grades are posted on GradeSpeed. Overall, the projects were fantastic! Everyone clearly put a lot of effort in and I'm very pleased. My only comment is that too many forgot to include a bibliography. I will let this slide this time, but from now on make sure that if you use something that you did not create, make sure that credit is given to your source(s). Plagiarism rules are always in effect and if proper credit is not given there will be big issues. Always make sure that you include some level of Bibliography or Works Cited (Title and Author), even if it is not specifically asked for. If you do not have a grade posted, I have not yet received your project. Please get them to me ASAP! We have lots to do, so please do not fall behind. Otherwise, all good! I'm so happy to see my student's creativity and hard work! You all did great!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

GOVERNMENT: Final Week of the 1st 6-Weeks!

The last week of the 1st 6-weeks is upon us! This past week we debated Red Light Cameras and learned some new vocabulary. This week we will be learning about the Constitution, Federalism, and the vocabulary. On Friday we will have the Final Test (which will also be the final grade) for the 1st 6-weeks which will be covering the everything from last week and what is discussed Monday (Constitution), Tuesday (Federalism), and Wednesday (Federalism). We will be making sure our binders are good to go and get ready for our next unit as well. Be prepared, you will need your Binder, a Pen, and a Pencil on Friday. Lots of great work has been done so far! I'm very happy with everyone's work and I know we will do even more in the coming weeks.

US HIST: Final Week of the 1st 6-Weeks!

The end of the 1st 6-weeks is upon us. Wow, the school year is moving quickly! Last week in class we continued to learn about the Gilded Age and turned in the Civil War Projects. Many students stepped up their games this week and it was great to see! I'm still grading the projects, the grades will be posted in GradeSpeed shortly.

This week (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) we are going to continue with the Gilded Age and focus on the Plains Indians, Immigration, Populism, and Urbanization and look at their Economic, Social/Cultural, and Political impacts. Test #2 covering Gilded Age Vocabulary and what we have learned so far will be Wednesday. Do not forget that Thursday school is off. 

By this weeks close, we need to make sure that everything is turned in, our binders are put together, and we are all good to go for the next 6-weeks. Many handouts will be given throughout the week, so make sure that you have your binder with you every day this week. Every week seems to get better and I'm extremely pleased with the overall progress that everyone has made so far. Four more days of this 6-weeks, let's do great work!


The Red Light Camera Debates went fantastic!!! Everyone did a great job and really showed off a lot of talent! The grades have been posted in GradeSpeed and I am truly proud of my class! We will have another debate next 6-weeks and do it even bigger and better. Be proud of yourselves my GOV class, you did great work!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Week in US HISTORY: September 19-23, 2011

Last week we were introduced to our new unit on The Gilded Age (1877-1900) and worked on our projects. This week we are finishing up the projects, which are due on Friday September 23, 2011, and really getting into the unit. Overall the work that I receive from my students has been great!!! Except that late work, and studying the material, continues to be an issue for some. Please keep up the hard work and make sure that you are staying on top of everything! There has been a slightly alarming rate of procrastination and not keeping up with the material. Make sure that you study your notes, vocabulary, and anything else that we have gone over in class (that is why I give this stuff to you)! Please also make sure that if you are having any issues or questions that you can always meet with me. I am around at almost every lunch and after school. I offered the chance for every single student to improve on their test grades and only 8 students (out of nearly 150) took me up on my offer. Grades are overall good, but there are too many individuals who have had countless opportunities to improve and have not taken advantage. I hope that this does not continue to be an issue.
This week we will be focusing on the ESP (Economic, Social, and Political) factors of the Gilded Age. We will learn new vocabulary, people, and issues of this time period. Monday, Tuesday, and at least part of Wednesday we will look at the economic issues. Thursday and Friday we will dissect the social issues. Next Monday and Tuesday we will focus on the political issues and then take our test. Students will need their binders, pen/pencil, and their textbooks every day. If you still have not gotten your textbook (this is just a few, but enough for me to have to say this) you are going to start to run into some issues. Please get your textbook ASAP! We will also be arranging our binders, working on writing for Social Studies, learning about research, and note-taking skills. There will be a warm up every day and some homework as well. Our classes will be packed full, so please come to each class prepared and ready to work!
There will be a quiz (on Tuesday) this week over the vocabulary from this past week. Next week there will be a test over the vocabulary next week and the material we will cover this week. The Gilded Age will close out our first 6-weeks. The next unit will be the Age of Imperialism and Reform.

This Week in GOVERNMENT: September 19-23, 2011

Last week we prepared for our debates, and learned a little about nomination processes for elected officials and passing legislation. This week, and next, we will hold our Debates (Monday-Wednesday), learn about the Constitution (Chapter 3), Federalism (Chapter 4), and Political Parties (Chapter 5), as well as a couple of important Supreme Court cases. These subjects will close our first 6-weeks and start the next. There will be a quiz at the end of this week and a test next week. Be prepared to take some notes, read some articles and the textbook, learn some new vocabulary, write your thoughts on several items that we will discuss, and start on our next class project at the end of next week. I would like to state that overall I am quite impressed with my 5th Period GOV class! I have seen lots of great work and my students are wonderful to work with. Now, some are procrastinating and talking to their friends in class way too much. It is time to ensure that we are all good to go because we have many busy days ahead (and not just in this class). Make sure that you have your textbook Monday, Thursday, and Friday, as well as a pen and paper every day. We will also make sure all of our binders are arranged and that we are all prepared to end this 6-weeks and start the next 6-weeks. Do not forget that if you ever need any help, or are having issues, please come and see me. I'm available at most every lunch and after school. Do not let your grade suffer because you would rather hang out with your friends!!! This is our plan/schedule. Let's finish this 6-weeks strong!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

GOV: Important New Info for the Debate!

The current issue of the Houston Press (click on link to see the article) has a very interesting piece on the red light camera issue, the men who fought to take them down, and the mayor's actions in all of this. There are many good facts and statistics that can help every group with the debate. I will bring copies to class on Monday so everyone can look them over before we get started. Sorry about this being discovered right before the debate, I just found it. Please enjoy and I hope that this helps!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

US HISTORY: September 12-16, 2011

WARM UP: We just discussed the Civil War and Reconstruction which marks the beginning of the Modern Era in the US. Today we move to a new Unit: The Gilded Age. You have also started your projects. Write a paragraph about what work you have done and what work you will be doing this week.
OVERVIEW/OBJECTIVE: The Gilded Age This unit uses a conceptual lens of ESP (Economic, Social, and Political) change to explore the impact of expansion, industrialization, immigration and urbanization on Native Americans, workers, immigrants, and big business in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.
·         Industrialization and innovations/inventions increase productivity and create both positive and negative ESP change.
·         A variety of push/pull factors influence immigration/migration and urbanization patterns.
·         The motivation for expansion is often fueled by profit and at times leads to cultural conflict and denial of individual rights.
1) Warm Up
2) Break into groups for 5-10 mins to discuss/work on projects
3) Copy down Overview/Objective and Essential Understandings for this Unit
4) Vocabulary TAGXEDO
5) Introduce the GILDED AGE: The period from 1877 to 1900, named by Mark Twain, prosperous on the outside but corrupt and unequal beneath of the surface.
6) ESP (Economic, Social, and Political); ESPN (Economic, Social, Political, and eNvironmental)
7) See pics dealing with Economic Issues in the GILDED AGE.
MATERIALS NEEDED: Binder; Pen; Textbook
HOMEWORK: Continue to work on Civil War Project (DUE FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2011); Define: Industrialization, Transcontinental Railroad, Labor Unions, Farm Issues (pg. 259), Free Enterprise, Big Business, Laissez-Faire Capitalism , and Entrepreneurship (DUE WEDNESDAY)

MATERIALS NEEDED: Pen; Something to take NOTES on

WARM UP: Answer one (1): 1. What push/pull factors led to increased immigration and rapid urbanization in the late 19th century? 2. How did these population shifts affect life in American cities?
1) Grades Back/Warm Up
2) Work on projects for 5-10 mins
3) Continue with the Gilded Age
4) Populism; The Populist Movement
5) View population charts
MATERIALS NEEDED: Binder; Pen; Textbook
HOMEWORK: Continue working on Project; Define: Robber Barons, George Westinghouse, Cornelius Vanderbilt, George Pullman, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan (DUE FRIDAY)

WARM UP: Why were the Gilded Age titans of industry often referred to as robber barons?
1) Warm Up
2) Continue with the Gilded Age
3) Immigration and Political Issues
4) Graphic Organizer for Political Issues
5) Sherman Anti-Trust Act
MATERIALS NEEDED: Binder; Pen, Textbook

HOMEWORK: Continue working on Project and definitions (definitions due Friday)

1) Library
HOMEWORK: Continue working on Project (DUE in 1 WEEK)

GOV: September 12-16, 2011

WARM UP: What work did you do for the debate this weekend? What work do you still have to do for the debate? Answer in a paragraph.
OVERVIEW: Legislative and Executive Branches of Government – This unit explores the concepts of representation, power, and cooperation by examining the constitutional requirements and responsibilities for those seeking election to federal, state, and local offices.
·         Elected representatives are often given the power to carry out law making processes and are limited through systematic checks and balances.
·         The principles of federalism, checks and balances, and separation of powers help determine division of power in a limited government
·         In a limited government, voting is one way that citizens exercise their popular sovereignty.
·         Legislative and executive power is subject to financial constraints, bureaucratic capability, and bureaucratic cooperation.
·         Federalism and the ideas of delegated, shared and concurrent, and reserved power help distribute power and responsibility between and among levels of government.
1) Warm Up
2) Break into groups for 10 mins to work on DEBATE
3) Finish up Chapter 2 and transition to Chapter 3
4) Graphic Organizer: The Election Process
5) Create a FLOW CHART or other graphic organizer detail the process for drafting and passing legislation including the checks and balances provided in that process.
MATERIALS NEEDED: Binder; Pen; Textbook
HOMEWORK: Continue working on DEBATE; finish flow chart.

WARM UP: How do governments finance themselves?
1) Warm Up
2) Work on Debates for 10 mins
3) Pass out Test Grades; Discuss
4) Government Economics
HOMEWORK: Work on Debate and any unfinished work.

WARM UP: How is the implementation of legislative and executive power hindered by financial constraints, bureaucratic capability, and bureaucratic cooperation?
1) Warm Up
2) Work on Debate 15 mins
3) Graphic Organizer (Venn Diagram) , or other graphic organizer, that compares the structure and functions of the government of Texas to that of the national government.
4) Federalism
MATERIALS NEEDED: Binder; Pen; Textbook
HOMEWORK: Work on Debate and any unfinished work.

WARM UP: Answer one (1) of the two questions: 1. How does federalism contribute to the distribution of power between and among national, state, and local governments? How do the delegated, shared and concurrent, and reserved powers afforded to federal [national] and state/local governments differ? (Look up in textbook) 2. Why is the concept of federalism so critical in a limited government?
1) Warm Up
2) Elections and Leaders
3) Think/Pair/Share
MATERIALS NEEDED: Binder; Pen; Textbook
HOMEWORK: Work on Debate and any unfinished work.



We will discuss in class.


We will discuss in class.

To My Classes

Writing Tips for Social Studies Classes: This is helpful to better understand what Social Studies questions ask students. This will soon be a handout for our binders. Please enjoy because this will really help and was written by our Social Studies Department Head Mr. Peek.

Adapted from Timed Writing Practice: Comparative Essay developed by Chris Peek at Bellaire High School, Bellaire, TX.

Successful Social Studies essays have an underlying shared core structure. This core plays an essential role in a student’s ability to construct a logical argument. This core consists of a thesis, supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. The following steps help guide students through the process of understanding the formal writing prompt.

1. Determine the task: What are you being asked to do?

Examples of possible task words which often appear in essay prompts:
The process of separating the parts of a given topic into its component parts in order to examine each part in detail and to reach a conclusion or determine the relationship of the parts to the whole topic.
The process of presenting a case for and/or against a particular proposition.
The process of determining the importance or validity of a topic/statement/idea; to judge the worth of something through examination.
The process of examining a given topic(s) for the purpose of determining similarities AND differences.
The process of showing points of difference between two or more topics/events/ideas.
The process of examining a subject closely to present arguments for and against in order to reach a conclusion; to present in detail for examination in order to reach a conclusion.
The process of making a judgment about the worth or value of something based on evidence and stated including one’s opinion.
The process of explaining the meaning of something in clear, explicit terms.
The process of proving something to be right or valid in order to absolve from possible guilt.

2. Determine the parameters of the prompt: What dates, places, people, ideas, and/or events are mentioned specifically?

3. Identify the key terms: What key words such as economics, nationalism, and/or gender are included in the prompt?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GOV Class on Friday September 9, 2011

We will now meet in the Library instead of in our classroom to do research for our 1st debate. We will discuss is in class.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To my classes... Important Info for Thursday September 8, 2011

Due to New Teacher Orientation training, I will be absent on Thursday. I truly wish this was not occurring this week. I'm sorry about the late news, I just found this out. The project will be pushed back one day. We will still meet in the Library on Friday and start the project then. We will discuss this after the test tomorrow.

Monday, September 5, 2011

This Week in GOVERNMENT: September 6-9, 2011

This is the schedule for this week in US HISTORY. Things are always subject to change, but barring any craziness, this should be what we will accomplish this week:

Tuesday: September 6
- Warm Up: In what ways can GOVERNMENT affect our lives?
- Visual Vocabulary from Chapters 1-2
- Opportunity to ask questions about Chapters 1-2
- ***IMPORTANT NOTE*** On page 25 of your textbook, find questions 27 and 29 under the "Critical Thinking Skills" section. Be able to fully answer one (1) of these two questions by tomorrow (outlines may be written on the study guide).
Materials Needed: Binder, Pen, Textbook

Wednesday: September 7
- TEST #1: Chapters 1-2
Materials Needed: Pencil and something to read for when you have completed the test.

Thursday: September 8
- DEBATE #1: Red Light Cameras
- Find groups and topics
- Start Chapter 3
Materials Needed: Binder, Pen, Textbook

Friday: September 9
- Continue Chapter 3
Materials Needed: Binder, Pen

This Week in US HISTORY: September 6-9, 2011

This is the schedule for this week in US HISTORY. Things are always subject to change, but barring any craziness, this should be what we will accomplish this week:

Tuesday, September 6:
- Visuals from the Civil War and Reconstruction
- Dissecting the differences in the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson
- Opportunity to ask questions before the test.
- ***IMPORTANT NOTE*** On page 154 of your textbook find questions 1-3 under the "Thinking Critically for TAKS" questions. Be able to fully answer one (1) of these questions by tomorrow (outlines may be written on the study guide).
Materials Needed: Binder, Pen, Textbook

Wednesday, September 7:
- Test #1: Chapters 3-4
Materials Needed: Pencil and something to read when you are done with the test.

Thursday, September 8:
- Civil War Project (introduced to class with the opportunity to find topic and find groups or remain solo with letting me know what topic you are choosing and if you are working in a group).
- How to do a Research Project
- How to find and judge sources found for Project
- How to write outlines
Materials Needed: Binder, Pen, Textbook

Friday, September 9:
- Meet in the LIBRARY to start research for Civil War Projects.
Materials Needed: Binder, Pen

US HISTORY: Online Resources for Textbook

Here is the online link for resources for our US HISTORY textbook American Nation in the Modern Era. This is not the textbook online (I'm working on seeing if that exists) but provides a lot of access to work that we will cover from each chapter, maps, pictures, and a lot of other material that can help illuminate the textbook for students who need more resources. Enjoy.

Recap of the 1st Two Weeks of GOVERNMENT

Since I just recently started this class blog, I wanted to do a quick recap of what has occurred during the 1st two weeks of classes. This is to ensure that everyone knows what we have done before we move on.

CHAPTERS (in textbook): Chapter 1 (Principles of Government) and Chapter 2 (Origins of American Government)

GRADED WORK: So... What Do You Know Quiz; Chapter 1 Vocabulary; Quiz #1 (Chapter 1); Class Discussion of Chapters 1-2.

TEACHER's THOUGHTS: So far, excellent! Just about every student has come to class fully prepared and done great work! Please know that I am very proud! Not too much late work, though there have been issues with students getting their textbooks. Please make sure that you have what you need. With my students being seniors, I understand that things will get a little hectic (to say the least) and we all need to ensure that organization and keeping up with all assignments and readings (watch out for procrastination - it will sink you fast) is of the utmost priority! Seniors have the difficulty of having to prepare for their future while simultaneously having to focus on the present. This is a difficult process for some, but know that I am here and am always willing to accommodate those who come and speak with me (Compromise is my favorite word). 

So far we have discussed Chapters 1 and 2. This Wednesday (September 7, 2011) will mark our first test, which will cover Chapters 1-2. Most everyone so far seems to have a good handle on the information. Tuesday September 6 will be our final discussion before the test. Make sure you have questions ready if you do not understand something.

As previously said, I am very pleased with my 5th Period GOV class! Students have been wonderful so far and I am truly excited to see what they can accomplish! Please make sure that you are good to go (please let me know if you ever are having any issues) because we are getting set to take tests, participate in debates, and do scholarly research. Stay tuned for more to come! 

Recap of the 1st Two Weeks of US HISTORY

Since I just recently started this class blog, I wanted to do a quick recap of what has occurred during the 1st two weeks of classes. This is to ensure that everyone knows what we have done before we move on.

CHAPTERS (in textbook): Chapter 3 (The Civil War) and Chapter 4 (Reconstruction)

GRADED WORK: 19th Amendment Paragraph; Chapter 3 Reviewing Main Ideas/Thinking Critically for TAKS, Chapters 3 and 4 Identifying People and Ideas (VOCAB); Quiz #1 (Chapters 3 and 4); and Chapters 3 and 4 class discussion.

TEACHER's THOUGHTS: So far so good! We started classes in Chapter 3 (with students reviewing Chapters 1-2) which discusses the Civil War and moved to Chapter 4, which discusses Reconstruction. My students have done lots of great work so far, which is very nice to see in the first couple of weeks when everyone is adjusting to being back and getting in to the grove of things. My only real issues have been students getting their textbooks and making sure that they read and review all material discussed in the textbooks. I have been bringing extra textbooks to class, but this, as promised, was only for the first couple of weeks. Make sure that all supplies needed for class are brought to class because students will be unable to fully participate without having what they need. This is especially important to ensure now because we are starting a project at the end of this upcoming week (Thursday and Friday).

Please also make sure that if there are any issues that students are having, tell me. Many students were offered the opportunity to retake QUIZ #1 if there grades were under a 70. Less than 5 students took advantage of this (there were at least 4 times as many who could have taken advantage). My retakes are quick, at lunch, and the student only has to demonstrate that they have learned the material that was missed. Full, long retakes are not offered since everyone is busy. I want to give every student the opportunity to have as good a grade as they can achieve.

The final issue is turning work in on time. I am fully aware that WE are ALL BUSY, but late work, especially from students who are not absent, cannot occur! Too many assignments were turned in late during these two weeks! Much kindness was given because it was the first two weeks of the school year, but starting Tuesday September 6, 2011, late work will be highly penalized. I do not do this to be mean, this is done because a big part about becoming an adult is to move away from procrastination towards being professionals who are organized and on top of all assignments. I understand that students have many responsibilities, and in turn, I am always willing to come to a compromise when situations arise. If you do not let me know that there is an issue, then I cannot help.

This is how the first two weeks of classes went and what we accomplished. I am overall very pleased and excited about the potential of my students!!! There is lots coming up including TEST #1, a Civil War Project, and Chapter 5. Make sure that you are good to go because class is really about to heat up!


Hello to students, parents, and anyone else who reads this. This blog will be used to keep all important updates about my US HISTORY and GOVERNMENT classes at Bellaire High School. I will include information about upcoming classwork, homework, projects, due dates, supplies needed for class, PowerPoints, videos, as well as links to additional information, how to conduct research, how to write research papers, and anything else needed for the success of my students. I will post information as often as I can. Please also EMAIL ME if you need any additional info or questions to be answered. Please enjoy this blog as it is meant to enhance all of my classes and be a resource for students, and anyone else, to use if they feel lost. To a great year of US HISTORY and GOVERNMENT at Bellaire HS!!! Stay tuned...