One teacher's thoughts on American culture, history, politics, activism, unionism, education, and life in the classroom--with a bit of punk rock's spirit and hardcore's heart.

"The Kids Aren’t Alright," The Offspring’s call back to The Who’s "The Kid’s Are Alright" (recorded 1965). Our marching band plays this through our campus on Friday mornings during football season. It occurred to me yesterday that many of my students probably don’t know the song—or at least don’t recognize it (especially with brass instruments instead of electric guitars/bass). It also seems a bit ironic to play a song that talks about the "shattered dreams" of young people as a fight song. Also, the song was recorded in 1998—when some of my 11th graders were born. Time flies. 
#TheOffspring #Offspring #TheKidsArentAlright #TheWho #teenagers #education #teachers #students #highschool #marchingband #fightsong #punk #punkrock #punkrockteacher
This makes me really happy. 
#myBean #daughter #mihija #love #girl #curls #toddler #painter #art #artforkids #encouragement #punkrockdad #dadlife #fatherhood #punkrockteacher
Some Sunday morning humor from the amazing @projectluv. 
My students say, “This isn’t English class. Why do you keep correcting how we speak and write?” 
Shouldn’t writing and speaking in academic English (or whatever the relevant language is) be practiced in every classroom across subject matter areas?
#language #texting #technology #ELA #English #subject #acrossthecurriculum #history #teaching #learning #Education #school #communication #skills #teachers #students #repost #punkrockteacher
Fact check this one, but it makes a good point.
#students #college #university #education #highereducation #highered #collegedebt #debt #CBO #studentloans #studentloandebt #racket #exploitation #controlmechanism #taxes #taxtherich #punkrockteacher
One of the duties of any educator is to dispel myths and break down stereotypes—even small ones. As my friend Morrissey says, “So let it be known”: Vikings did not have helmets with horns or wings. Forget what the NFL says (about a lot of things lately). 
Here are some versions of genuine Viking helmets, as portrayed by an artist (unknown). 
These helmets were truly pieces of functional art—and worn by some pretty intimidating fellows. 
This week I’m talking with my students about the different theories about who “discovered” the Americas, including Norseman Leif Erikson who is thought to have briefly settled “Vinland” (modern Newfoundland, Canada) around 1000 CE. It’s interesting to see how many students still discount Native Americans in this conversation and don’t know about or recognize that the indigenous presence in the Americas preceded European (and possibly Asian or African) exploration by at least several thousand years. What’s also interesting is to juxtapose the belief of traditional Native American people who believe that their people were always in the Anericas, and developing scholarship that supports the idea that the Beringia theory of migration from Asia may be wrong. 
#Americas #Beringia #theories #science #research #stereotypes #myths #facts #LeifErikson #LeifEriksson #discovery #Vinland #Viking #víkingr #wicing #Norse #Gjermundbu #Norway #Norge #Scandinavia #helmet #helm #nohorns #art #functionalart #metalwork #warrior #protection #defense #pirate #piracy #raider #expedition #history #punkrockteacher

One of the duties of any educator is to dispel myths and break down stereotypes—even small ones. As my friend Morrissey says, “So let it be known”: Vikings did not have helmets with horns or wings. Forget what the NFL says (about a lot of things lately).
Here are some versions of genuine Viking helmets, as portrayed by an artist (unknown).
These helmets were truly pieces of functional art—and worn by some pretty intimidating fellows.
This week I’m talking with my students about the different theories about who “discovered” the Americas, including Norseman Leif Erikson who is thought to have briefly settled “Vinland” (modern Newfoundland, Canada) around 1000 CE. It’s interesting to see how many students still discount Native Americans in this conversation and don’t know about or recognize that the indigenous presence in the Americas preceded European (and possibly Asian or African) exploration by at least several thousand years. What’s also interesting is to juxtapose the belief of traditional Native American people who believe that their people were always in the Anericas, and developing scholarship that supports the idea that the Beringia theory of migration from Asia may be wrong.
#Americas #Beringia #theories #science #research #stereotypes #myths #facts #LeifErikson #LeifEriksson #discovery #Vinland #Viking #víkingr #wicing #Norse #Gjermundbu #Norway #Norge #Scandinavia #helmet #helm #nohorns #art #functionalart #metalwork #warrior #protection #defense #pirate #piracy #raider #expedition #history #punkrockteacher

This time of year many people in the US and across the world take time to remember the tragic loss of life incurred during the 9/11 attacks. Without getting into “inside job” conspiracy theories or accusations of “chickens coming home to roost” (a la Malcolm X), I think we can all agree that the violent deaths of 2,977 unsuspecting innocents is abhorrent. But injustice and terror reside in far more places than most people are comfortable admitting. 
This week my classes will delve into Precolumbian (pre-European contact) indigenous history and hopefully take an honest look at the lives and cultures of a diverse indigenous population pre-1492. Among other activities, I’ll screen the “Clash of Cultures” episode of the _500 Nations_ documentary series. It will be a transition activity that will introduce students to the often brutal or otherwise interactions between Europeans and Native Americans in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The documentary details the conflicts that arose between the conquistadors and people like the Taíno of the Caribbean, the Timucua of modern Florida, and the English abuse and exploitation if the Inuit. 
Lots of people seem to think—or even say aloud—“That was the past. Why can’t you just move on?” A few of my own students have expressed similar sentiments over the years. There are many responses one can give to these perhaps ignorant or callous types of statements and questions. One of them is, “Would you say the same thing to 9/11 families? Holocaust survivors?” And what we should remember about Native American history—without diminishing the ugliness of other historical tragedies—is that armed attacks were not one-time events. Using various forms of violence against the indigenous the indigenous population became systemic and systematic. Violence became a tool of imperialist expansion and colonization—and we see it in the actions of governments against their own or neighboring populations to this day. So why do we not forget and just move on? Because remembering is an act of resistance, an act of defiance, an act of dignity, and an act of humanity. 
#500Nations #clash #culture #indigenous #NativeAmerican #Inuit #NDN

This time of year many people in the US and across the world take time to remember the tragic loss of life incurred during the 9/11 attacks. Without getting into “inside job” conspiracy theories or accusations of “chickens coming home to roost” (a la Malcolm X), I think we can all agree that the violent deaths of 2,977 unsuspecting innocents is abhorrent. But injustice and terror reside in far more places than most people are comfortable admitting.
This week my classes will delve into Precolumbian (pre-European contact) indigenous history and hopefully take an honest look at the lives and cultures of a diverse indigenous population pre-1492. Among other activities, I’ll screen the “Clash of Cultures” episode of the _500 Nations_ documentary series. It will be a transition activity that will introduce students to the often brutal or otherwise interactions between Europeans and Native Americans in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The documentary details the conflicts that arose between the conquistadors and people like the Taíno of the Caribbean, the Timucua of modern Florida, and the English abuse and exploitation if the Inuit.
Lots of people seem to think—or even say aloud—“That was the past. Why can’t you just move on?” A few of my own students have expressed similar sentiments over the years. There are many responses one can give to these perhaps ignorant or callous types of statements and questions. One of them is, “Would you say the same thing to 9/11 families? Holocaust survivors?” And what we should remember about Native American history—without diminishing the ugliness of other historical tragedies—is that armed attacks were not one-time events. Using various forms of violence against the indigenous the indigenous population became systemic and systematic. Violence became a tool of imperialist expansion and colonization—and we see it in the actions of governments against their own or neighboring populations to this day. So why do we not forget and just move on? Because remembering is an act of resistance, an act of defiance, an act of dignity, and an act of humanity.
#500Nations #clash #culture #indigenous #NativeAmerican #Inuit #NDN

Every fall one of the first units I teach is on personal history. I camouflage it pretty well by introducing it with this film, _Antwone Fisher_. The film is based on the autobiography of Antwone Fisher, and portrays the struggles of a young man learning to deal with a painful past to prevent it from continuing to negatively impact his present and future. It’s also Denzel Washington’s directorial debut. 
The story and the acting are solid—even if some of the subject matter is heavy and the language isn’t always very school-friendly. My view is that the value of the narrative and lessons to be learned far outweigh any offense a student or other viewer may take from the expletives in the dialogue. I use the film as a tool for students to get students thinking about a few things: 1) Everyone has had (or will have) painful life experiences; 2) Some people’s experiences (perhaps classmates’) has been really rough; 3) the past influences the present and the future; 4) our own past experiences can shape who we are, both negatively and positively; 5) our past can influence who we become individually and collectively; 6) history is not just on the pages of a textbook—it’s everywhere, including our own personal memories. 
While watching the film students answer a series of comprehension, predictive, and analytical questions related to film. Many of the questions relate to or reinforce ELA standards, as well. We discuss the plot, characters and character development, the setting, and key events. Analyzing important events leads us to make a timeline of Antwone’s life, which is guided practice for the next assignment: a project in which students construct their own personal history timelines. 
I’ve found that screening the film in class helps a lot of kids drop their barriers (against me, their classmates, and history class), understand where I’m coming as their teacher, and helps them start to open up a bit to me—which allows me to get to know them as people and continue the process of building rapport and developing classroom culture. 
If you’re interested in my film questions or the personal history timeline assignment, shoot me an email.

Every fall one of the first units I teach is on personal history. I camouflage it pretty well by introducing it with this film, _Antwone Fisher_. The film is based on the autobiography of Antwone Fisher, and portrays the struggles of a young man learning to deal with a painful past to prevent it from continuing to negatively impact his present and future. It’s also Denzel Washington’s directorial debut.
The story and the acting are solid—even if some of the subject matter is heavy and the language isn’t always very school-friendly. My view is that the value of the narrative and lessons to be learned far outweigh any offense a student or other viewer may take from the expletives in the dialogue. I use the film as a tool for students to get students thinking about a few things: 1) Everyone has had (or will have) painful life experiences; 2) Some people’s experiences (perhaps classmates’) has been really rough; 3) the past influences the present and the future; 4) our own past experiences can shape who we are, both negatively and positively; 5) our past can influence who we become individually and collectively; 6) history is not just on the pages of a textbook—it’s everywhere, including our own personal memories.
While watching the film students answer a series of comprehension, predictive, and analytical questions related to film. Many of the questions relate to or reinforce ELA standards, as well. We discuss the plot, characters and character development, the setting, and key events. Analyzing important events leads us to make a timeline of Antwone’s life, which is guided practice for the next assignment: a project in which students construct their own personal history timelines.
I’ve found that screening the film in class helps a lot of kids drop their barriers (against me, their classmates, and history class), understand where I’m coming as their teacher, and helps them start to open up a bit to me—which allows me to get to know them as people and continue the process of building rapport and developing classroom culture.
If you’re interested in my film questions or the personal history timeline assignment, shoot me an email.

And that about sums it up. 
I wonder what Lincoln would think of his party, the Republicans, today. 
#prounion #union #labor #uptheunion #notaDemocrat #definitelynotaRepublican #AbrahamLincoln #Abe #Lincoln #PresidentLincoln #USHistory #history #quote #LaborDay #LaborDay2014 #punkrockteacher
The Koch Brothers fund some of the most insidious organizations and causes that undermine the quality of life of working Americans, as well as the democratic traditions of our republic itself. I strongly urge you to avoid supporting them by boycotting their products. 
#KochBrothers #KochIndustries #KochBros #boycott #middleclass #workingclass #trades #bluecollar #whitecollar #LaborDay #LaborDay2014 #andeveryday #empower #unite #teachers #union #labor #laborunion #CFT #AFT #votewithyourwallet #solidarity #punkrockteacher
#LaborDay #LaborDay2014 #workingclass #trades #middleclass #labor #laborunion #unions #organizedlabor #AFT #CFT #unite #solidarity #inequality   #exploitation #incomeinequality #minimumwage #manipulation #benefits #march #protest #strike #boycott #organize #educate #agitate #teachers #education #punkrockteacher