Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Silk Road and World Trade

Map of the Silk Trade Route

Marco Polo's Route

Voyages of Zheng He

The trade routes that we collectively refer to as the Silk Road started as far back as 2,200 years ago. Although the types of trade goods were varied, it is called the Silk Road because of the demand created for silk from China. 

While we may tend to emphasize the economic implications of these trade routes including cities created as stopping points that became wealthy, a much more important trade was taking place throughout this period, the trade of culture. Languages, mathematics, literacy and religion were all shared throughout large areas of the world because of these trade routes. 

Essential Question: What led to the rediscovery of the Americas and its colonization?


  • We know that Columbus 'rediscovered' the Americas, but what events led to the need for this exploration?


  • Why did I include the time stamp for the questions on the video questions?
  • What can you tell from the time stamps?
  • How can you use this information to inform how you approach questions over audio/videos?
  • How did trade drive the sharing of culture?
  • Why did Columbus look west for a route to India?


The First American Immigrants

The history of the Americas started well before Columbus. Unfortunately, because of the lack of or destruction of written histories, archaeologists have to rely on the discovery of artifacts to further our knowledge of these peoples. In this lesson we will learn about different theories of migration and also discover that this area is constantly changing and updating do to new discoveries. 

Essential Question: Where and when did the first immigrants to the Americas arrive?
  • Review the Kenniwick Man lesson
  • How did the first immigrants come to the Americas?
  • When did the first immigrants come to the Americas?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Algiers/Battle of Algiers

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 BoyerHedy 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?

SOPE Opportunity

SOPE 2022-23

We are excited to open enrollment for SOPE 2022-23! SOPE-Discovery School is open to McDonald County students in grades 7th and 8th. This program immerses students in the local natural and cultural environments of McDonald County, and engages students in studying how society and the environment are intertwined.

This Fall, SOPE students will be researching the Elk River Watershed. In September, students will be investigating the aquatic life found in the Elk River watershed. Students will be in the water nearly every day. In October, students will explore the geology of the Ozarks. They will also be visiting the Missouri River to work with Missouri River Relief. In November, students will research the ways humans have interacted with the Elk River from prehistoric times to now. In order to show what they know, students will create a podcast episode discussing a local issue related to the Elk.

In Spring, SOPE students will investigate bats, their habitat and the benefits they provide to humans. They will create a podcast to inform residents about what they can do to help bats. In addition, they will build bat houses to be placed in the Outdoor Classroom and at local schools. Students will also create an instructional half-day to teach several students in younger grades about the role bats play.

This program should not be viewed as a way to get out of school. In fact, your student will be engaged in much more rigorous research and investigation. Many of the activities your student will be doing are incredibly physical, and you can expect your student to be exhausted by the end of these weeks. They will be doing a lot of work in outdoor environments. This means they will be exposed to rain, sun, heat, cold, and local wildlife, both small and large. Your student will be expected to dress appropriately and with necessary supplies for that day. The weeks activities will be shared prior to the first day so you know what to expect for the week, and any changes will be noted as quickly as possible. Students will demonstrate understanding of the concepts through a variety of methods, including writing, designing and giving presentations, videos, and developing plans for local projects.

You can view the activities from previous SOPE sessions at If your student is selected, we will contact you to get additional necessary information. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Keith Jones at

50 States Map Test

 It is rare that you get a real life example of why learning something in class is worthwhile. This isn't the only, or even best reason, to learn where countries are, but it might keep you from being embarrassed as an adult.

If you are unfamiliar, Geography Now is a great resource to learn facts about countries. Unfortunately there is no video on the United States yet, they are working alphabetically down the list, we are lucky a video was created on the 50 states. We will watch this about mid-way through today's lesson. 


The first activity will be for you to label a paper map of the 50 states. Afterwards play the game below and see how well you do. Let me know what your first score is so I can record it.

We will take an assessment of the 50 states next week. Make sure you spend some time reviewing, you don't want to end up looking dumb in a Jimmy Kimmel video, do you?

EQCan you identify the 50 states?




  • Label a map of the 50 states


  • Where are the 50 states located?


  • Post Assessment 50 States Quiz

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Internet Safety

  Picture of Netsmartz Video Page


Today we are discussing safety again, but this time it is about being safe online. After this lesson you should know how to be safer online with your presence and also what you should do if you experience cyber-bullying. 


  • What are some ways students can keep safe while online?
  • What should a student do if they are being cyber-bullied?


  • What are some of the rules you follow when online?
  • Have you ever been cyber-bullied or witnessed someone else being cyber-bullied?



  • Classroom discussion

Friday, August 26, 2022

Kennewick Man: Who Is Right?

File:Kennewick Man.jpg
Kennwick Man

Today we will explore the story of Kennewick Man. As you explore the topic keep in mind the following questions:

  • How did this story evolve over time?
  • What eventually happened to Kennewick Man?
  • What should have been done with the remains?
  • What would you want to have done with the remains if they were your ancestor?
  • According to the map below, what indigenous people group use to live here in southwest Missouri? 
  • What should you do if you find the remains of an indigenous person?

Essential Question: Should scientists be allowed to study the remains of indigenous peoples?

Engage: What would you think if a scientist dug up the remains of an ancestor to study?

        own words as well as draw a picture of what that word means to them.
  • On occasion, archaeologists have dug up the remains of ancient Native Americans.
  • Should scientists be allowed to study these remains?
  • Native Americans feel such remains should be immediately reburied according to Native
        American customs.
  • Scientists worry that if reburied, the remains will deteriorate and lose their value
        for present and future scientific study.




  • During class instruction/work time you will follow all directions.
  • Stay seated and do not talk while taking the vocabulary assessment.
  • While working you may talk quietly and go to supply table for supplies.
  • The Kennewick Man Worksheet will be due Wednesday, August 30. You will receive half credit after that date.
  • When finished place the Kennewick Man Worksheet in the tray.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Foot Soldier of Birmingham

In this lesson we are using the podcast The Foot Soldier by Malcolm Gladwell to discuss inherent bias.

In this lesson we will look at the above picture and try to decode it. What are we seeing happen here? Then we will listen to the podcast by Malcolm Gladwell. Is what we believe to have happened what actually happened?

After the lesson you will need to answer these questions:
  1. Can the art we create be used to influence belief systems? 
  2. As we examine the story as well as look at the statue and the picture from which the statue comes, what can we learn about ourselves and how we react based upon what we have learned?
  3. How will this change your view of historical artifacts as we move forward?

Essential Question: Does the Foot Soldier of Birmingham statue have historical value?




  • Is the statue a reliable representation?
  • The statue is a misrepresentation of the facts. Does this matter as an art piece? 


Creating a World Map


In this lesson you will take a quick pre-assessment to see how many continents and oceans you remember. Then you will hand draw the continents and label them and the oceans. You will finish up by coloring them. 
Essential Question: Can you label the continents and oceans of the world?

  • Hand draw, label and color a map. Identify the continents and oceans. 

The Mystery of Skippy's Tombstone


Photo by Me

This is a tombstone that resides in my yard. It has been there as long as I can remember (50+ years). Today we will be looking at this artifact and try to learn as much as we can about it.

Your assignment is to come up with 10 questions that I will be able to answer with a yes or a no. I will then answer 10 of these questions for you. You will then write down everything you know about this artifact. 

I will finish by telling you all I know about this artifact, and some of the conclusions I have drawn about it. Will what you write match my story?

TSW examine an artifact and create appropriate questions to ask to learn more information about that artifact

TSW examine an artifact and create appropriate questions to ask to learn more information about that artifact

Essential Q:

  • Why are historical artifacts important to us? (5 minutes)



  • The students will examine a picture of a tombstone.  (5 minutes)
  • They will create questions to ask me about the tombstone that can be answered as yes/no. (5 minutes)


  • I will explain what I know about the tombstone as well as what I do not know. (5 minutes)


Thursday, August 18, 2022

Welcome Back!


Welcome back to school! If you are a returning junior high student you will notice we changed some of the expectations for junior high. If you are a new junior high student then this may all be new for you.

Please listen to the explanations as I review these slides, these are mainly talking points that will be addressed. Also, please ask questions if you need clarification. The goal of all our expectations is to make you more successful in my classroom and our school!