Wednesday, March 25, 2015

20% Project

I want to introduce the 20% project we will be doing the 4th quarter.  This project will be something you do either by yourself or with a group of up to 5 people.  The project will be your final presentation and grade for the semester and you will be doing this in place of a semester final...this is your final.  

What is the 20% project? 
 Basically, this idea was taken from Google and is an experimental project idea.  At Google, they decided it would be a great idea to give their employees free, creative time to come up with their own ideas.  These ideas became part of their company and Google was able to expand what they do in terms of offering services through their company.  Some of these ideas became things like Google search, translator, maps, sites, etc.  

Your goal is simple.  You have 20% of class time from now until the end of the year to create anything of your choice.  Yes, you will get 1 class day per week to research, develop, create, and implement any creation of your choice.  At the end of the year, beginning May 11th, you will present what you've came up with to the rest of the class, to other classes, and possibly to administrators (yes like Mr. Stoker).  Your main goal is to have created something, researched something, or done something of significant value that you can present.   Some ideas that may help you get started are: 

1. An in-depth research of a topic of interest like the effects of carbon emissions on the environment and future impacts.
2.  A video documentary about poverty and homelessness in La Crosse the state of Wisconsin...etc.
3. A task force you have created to help solve a problem like hunger....I know some students are currently doing this and yes this will work.
4. A study and follow up interview on the mentally ill in society and what we are doing to help or hurt them.
5. A demographic breakdown with visual charts, graphs, and organizers of any reach of society like why people vote the way they do or why people consume certain products in society.
6. A personal experience of you and your group volunteering at any organization for a certain cause.

***The possibilities are limitless


The grading criteria will be as simple as I can make it
- Your presentations will account for 100 points and will be based on clarity and dynamic speaking.  The presentations can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.  Your content will reflect if you've actually done the project.
- You will post a weekly update on my blog (current events blog) on your groups progress (1 paragraph) for 10 points per week
- Group planning and reflection sheets completed at the beginning and at the end of the project for 50 points per completion of each

In the end this is really a wide open project that you can do whatever you want with it.  I'm doing this because you are the generation of collaborators and thinkers.  In your future you will be working with a variety of people on a variety of different tasks and your creative knowledge will be called upon; so I'm calling on your creative knowledge right now to think and act on your own.  To complete this task you'll need to simply find something you are interested in and act on it to the best of your ability.  If you procrastinate and blow the project off, you'll get an easy F.  If you put your full effort into this you'll get and A+ without a doubt.  I'll be able to tell in your presentations.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


The next small unit we will look at is the unit dealing with poverty in America and in Vernon County.  Although most of you live the affluent American lives that most in the world dream of, there are actually many people right here, in this town that struggle to make ends meet.  These people are living below the poverty line and need assistance to make it from month to month.  Believe it or not there are many homeless people living in Vernon County as well that need assistance to survive.  We will look at these subjects as they are tied into the last unit we looked at dealing with racism and race relations in America.

Attached are the notes for the unit Poverty Notes


A fun assignment that I want us to do will be called - The Westby Current Events Channel!

For this assignment, the following will take place:

  1. Get yourselves into groups of 3 - 5 students
  2. Each group will be responsible for creating a "news update" of current events that are happening at our school each week.
  3. This includes creating a video that will be posted on my youtube channel and this will be shared with the rest of the school in the hopes that all students will watch it on Mondays during I & E period.  
  4. You can use your own video equipment for this assignment or you can use my classroom ipad which can easily shoot the video and upload it to the youtube channel.  I will preview videos before they are shared with the school.
  5. Videos must be at least 3 minutes long and should be no longer than 6 minutes.
  6. Videos should cover things that are currently happening in the school on a weekly basis.  Example:  Your videos should be completed and sent to me or be on the ipad by the end of the day Friday so I can upload them to the youtube channel for viewing on Monday.
  7. Videos can include interviews of staff and students and this is supposed to be a "news-like" informational video.
  8. Each group will do this hopefully twice which will take us to the end of the school year.
  9. You will receive a completion grade of 40 points per person for each video.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Racism in America Notes

Racism Notes

Blog Assignment

For your next assignment, I want you all to create a blog.  You need to use blogger, which is accessible through your chromebooks, and the blog needs to be personalized to you.  It needs to have at least 3 graphics (pictures or videos) about you, and it needs to address 1 current event of your choice at this time.  We will update your blogs throughout the rest of the semester on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.  Once everyone has their blogs up and running, you will all need to visit at least 3 of your classmates blogs and comment on current events of their blogs.

Please title your blog "Your Name - Current Events."

Throughout the rest of the semester, on a weekly basis, I'll try to have a topic of discussion that we can view and you can comment on this blog as a simple assignment as well.

Rubric for Blogs:

  • Student has used blogger to create blog with 1 current event issue - 0 - 10 points
  • Student has included at least 3 graphics - 0 - 15 points
  • Student has creatively individualized their own blogs - 0 - 10 points
  • Student has commented on 3 other blogs - 0 - 10 points

Current Events Daily

Let's begin by taking the weekly current events quiz to test your knowledge.  Go to Quiz to see what you know from the last week.