Friday, January 24, 2020

Political and Climate Maps of Europe

Today we will be looking at the countries and capitals of Europe. I want us to focus on how the physical geography of Europe has affected the political boundaries of the countries as well as how they have affected the placement of the major cities.

Today's video will be over Southeast England and we will be learning about some interesting history of the area. We might even learn about one of the most infamous murders in England's history!

  • What are the countries and capitals of Europe?
  • Are the political boundaries in Europe affected by the physical landforms?
  • What do you notice about the majority of major cities in Europe (think water this time)?
  • How does climate affect where cities/capitals are located?

  • Classroom Discussion of questions. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Constitutional Convention

  •  How did the Constitution affect the balance of power?
  • How did the Philadelphia Convention begin?
  • How did  a major disagreement lead to one of the key features of the US government?
  • How did the question of slavery shape the new government?
  • In what ways does the Constitution limit the powers of the national government?
  • How did debate over the Constitution lead to the creation of the Bill of Rights?
  • How was the Constitution finally agreed upon?
  • The students will answer each question under Explain

Film Study: Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Getting the number five nod for AFI's 100 greatest American movies of all time, Singin' in the Rain is considered to be the greatest American musical ever filmed. The film was directed and choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen and starred Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Jean Hagen. The story was written by the famous comedy partners Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Gene Kelly, who is considered one of the greatest choreographers of musicals as well as a prolific actor and director, will be seen again soon when we watch the luminescent An American in Paris which ironically is the movie he just finished when he was brought on to head Singin' in the Rain with Stanley Donen. He has an amazing dance scene with the transcendental Cyd Charisse (who goes on to star in the Movie Silk Stockings (1957) which is a remake of the movie Ninotchka (1939) which we will be watching later this year.) 

Donen, a protege of Kelly, went on to direct a lot of great movies including Damn Yankees, The Pajama Game and Kismet, as well as the troublesome Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He also directed the Lionel Ritchie music video "Dancing on the Ceiling".

As we watch this movie we want to pay attention to the use of sound in the movies. We will be looking at this this PowerPoint from the British Film Institute to discuss this further. As we watch, try to figure out:
  • How were the tap dancing sounds created during the Singin' in the Rain musical sequence?
  •  How were the voices dubbed in the movie? 
  • Who actually sang the song Singin' in the Rain during the performance at the movie premiere? 
  • How does the music impact the scenes in the movie?
  • What is a Foley artist and what do they do?

Physical Map of Europe Day 2

Today we are going to continue to make a physical copy of the physical map of Europe. 

We will be using this as a reference as we explore Europe's climate, population, biomes, and more. How important is the physical geography of a continent?

Today's Rick Steve's video is on the Scottish Highlands. Do you remember where Scotland is on the map?

  • What are the physical landforms in Europe?
  • How does the landforms in Europe affect its history, economics, and population density?
  • Copy the physical landform map. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Physical Map of Europe Day 1

Today we are going to make a physical copy of the physical map of Europe. We will be using this as a reference as we explore Europe's climate, population, biomes, and more. How important is the physical geography of a continent?

First let's watch this video. You will be given a worksheet to fill out as you watch. I love Rick Steves' videos and we will be watching a lot of them so I hope you like them too.

  • What are the physical landforms in Europe?
  • How does the landforms in Europe affect its history, economics, and population density?
  • Copy the physical landform map. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Voices of Civil Rights

  • Why do we have a national holiday for MLK Jr?
  • Vocabulary Review
  • Bigotry
  • Children’s Crusade of 1963
  • Complicit
  • Exonerate
  • Freedom Rides
  • Ideology
  • Infallible
  • Injunction
  • Jim Crow
  • Voices of Civil Rights Video (44:20)
Explain: Questions take from:
  1. How has this documentary made you think differently
    about the civil rights era?
  2. In what ways does this program affect your views of history and the
    ways it should be told?
  3. How do you define civil rights? In light of your answer, what would you say are the beginning
    and ending dates of the civil rights era in the United States?
  4. Some of the interviewees implied that during the civil rights era “there were two Americas.”
    Do you think this is an accurate description?
  5. How do the interviewees in this film describe their experiences as students during integration?
  6. How does the social climate of your school compare/contrast to that of public schools during
  7. How does the theme of forgiveness appear in the stories?
  8. In what tangible ways can you see the impact of the civil rights era in your community?
  9. Historians often ensure historical accuracy via fact-checking. How could someone ensure the
    stories in this film are accurate? How is fact-checking for oral history similar to the process for
    printed documents? How does it differ?
  10. Why are some “voices” readily heard in the historical record while others are not? In what ways
    can historians seek out unheard voices?
  11. The stories in this program will be archived at the Library of Congress. What are some steps
    and technologies we can use to preserve these stories for future generations?

  • Class Discussion of questions

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Walt and El Groupo

  • Why did Walt Disney take a group of animators to South America during World War 2?
  • Walt and El Grupo documentary
  • Selections from Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros
  • Why was the Disney company reeling before the trip?
  • Why did the US Government pay for Disney's trip?
  • How did the trip to South America influence Disney's work and the work of his artists?
  • How does Education for Death inform what you saw in Walt and El Grupo? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Articles of Confederation

  • How well did the Articles of Confederation meet the needs of the new nation?

  • Were the Articles successful?
  • What were the weaknesses of the Articles?
  • How did Shay's Rebellion doom the Articles?
  •  Assessment

Friday, January 10, 2020

Film Study: Algiers (1938) and The Battle of Algiers (1966)

The first two movies we will be studying are linked by place, but not by impact. Algiers (1938) is a remake of the movie Pepe le Moko (1937) based on the novel by Henri La Barthe, a French journalist, detective and writer. Both movies share the same plot, a wanted gangster hides in the Casbah in Algiers protected by friends and the woman who loves him. Things change when he meets another woman visiting from Paris.

Algiers (1938)  John Cromwell is the director, he prolifically directed 50 movies during his career including The Prisoner of Zenda and Of Human Bondage . He also directed Anna and the King of Siam which Rogers and Hammerstein later adapted into the musical The King and I, a film we will watch during our unit on musicals. 

The movie stars Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr, and Sigrid Gurie. Boyer, who we will see again in Gaslight during our look at Film Noir, was famous for his smooth charm and wonderful French accent. Hedy, whose first name is actually Hedwig!, made her Hollywood debut in this movie. She had starred in several movies in Germany before coming to the United States. She was also very intelligent and patented a way for changing radio frequencies during radio transmission to stop signal blocking. After making just a few movies, Sigrid transitioned to creating art including paintings and jewelry. 

While watching Algiers (1938) we want to look at setting. We will book trying to answer the following questions:
  1. What is the Casbah?
  2. Where is Algiers?
  3. Why are the French in charge of the police and military in Algiers at this time?
  4. Is there a political bias in this film? 
  5. What connection does Pepe Le Pew have with this movie?
The second movie we are going to watch is The Battle of Algiers. This movie will be a completely different style of movie from Algiers (1938). The first is more of a standard film noir, while The Battle of Algiers (1966) is a much, much different style of movie. It is considered to be a neorealist style, which means it seems real, although it isn't.

Battle of Algiers was directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, an Italian film maker. One of the stars, Saddi Yacef, has a very special tie to the film which we will discuss.

The movie is based on the Algerian War (1954-1962) which eventually led to the departure of French forces and the finish of French control in Algeria. The film depicts accurately portrayed bombings and terrorist attacks from the war. According to Wikipedia, "The Battle of Algiers gained a reputation for inspiring political violence: in particular the tactics of urban guerrilla warfare and terrorism in the movie were supposedly copied by the Black Panthers, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front."

Again we will be revisiting setting in this film as well as discussing the following questions:
  1. What impact did this film have worldwide?
  2. Which side, as depicted in the film, is morally superior?
  3. how did the style of film affect your understanding?
  4. At any time during the film did you think you were watching real footage from the war? 
Interestingly enough both films were nominated for Academy Awards. Algiers received four nominations while The Battle of Algiers earned three, but neither won. Which movies won the awards in those nominated categories?

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Where is El Dorado?


By Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,
   A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,   
   Had journeyed long,   
   Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

   But he grew old—
   This knight so bold—   
And o’er his heart a shadow—   
   Fell as he found
   No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

   And, as his strength   
   Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—   
   ‘Shadow,’ said he,   
   ‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’

   ‘Over the Mountains
   Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,   
   Ride, boldly ride,’
   The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’

  • Is El Dorado a real place?
  • None
  • Digging for the Truth: The Search for El Dorado
  • Eldorado poem by Edgar Allen Poe
  • How is the El Dorado that Josh Bernstein searches for like Poe's Eldorado?
  • How are they different?
  • Draw and color a picture inspired by the poem. Try to include at least one detail from the poem.
  • Write a short story about you, the narrator, searching for El Dorado. This story should be at least 350 words long.