Saturday, January 28, 2012

Freedom Writers

There is a whole bunch of great movies about teaching.  One of those movies is Freedom Writers.  It is based off a real teacher and her class.  What this teacher does is incredible!  It is inspiring for me as a teacher to watch.  One thing she did was bond with her students.  I think that is so important!  I try to bond with my students everyday, and as a teacher I don't think we are always aware of the power we have.  Our words are powerful, and make a difference.  I choose my words carefully!  If you haven't seen this movie - see it NOW!

The inspirational song from the movie!

One of the great things that this teacher did her first year was teach her students about the holocaust.  After learning about the holocaust they read "The Diary of Ann Frank."  The students were so touched they brought the lady who hid Ann Frank to come speak to them.  And they really did it!  Here is a little bit of the scene from the movie.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Deepest Fear

One of the most inspirational poems is "Our Deepest Fear..."  It is quoted in Coach Carter and Akeelah and the Bee.  Those clips are located at the bottom of this post.  This poem is inspiring, and gives strength to all.  It tells us not to be afraid of life, not to be afraid to shine, not to be afraid of yourself.  You can do anything - the sky is the limit!  Go out there and claim your life!

Inspirational song from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.  This song is called, "Can't Stop."  The band is telling us to live our life.  It says this life is more than a read through...  I love this song!

Friday, January 20, 2012

US Government and Ok. History Collages

For my first week with my students - I wanted to see what they know and think about US Government and Oklahoma.  So I divided the class into groups to make collages.  In US Government the class was divided into 3 groups.  Each group was assigned one of the three branches of government, and were to collage what that branch of government means to them.  In Ok. History they were divided into four groups.  Each group was assigned a section of Oklahoma (NE, SE, SW, or NW).  In their group they are to collage what Oklahoma represents.  Here is how the project went:

All the supplies needed - scissors, magazines, and glue.

I cut out paper for each group.  I also had it pre-cut because I laminated the collage.

A class working on the project.  Looking through magazines, cutting out images, and coming up with a game plan.

Here are some pictures of students working:

The completed collages.  I'm about to collage them.

Laminating the collages.

The hallway infront of my room.  I hung up the collages to display.

Completed collage.  They had to decide on an image that represents their branch of government.  Then put the collage inside the image.  This is the legislative branch, and the top of capital building.

A completed Oklahoma History Collage.

This was the first time I ever did this project, and was pleased with the outcome.  My students were so creative and thoughtful!  It was so insightful to hear what they know and think.  I can't wait to do this project again!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fall of Robespierre


I love the French Revolution, and the historical figure that I love the most is Robespierre!!!  I wish I could find the words to describe my curiosity for this man.  He was not the best man, so I don't actually love him.  But his rise to power and fall is so fascinating.  He is the reason "The Reign of Terror" began in France, and thousands of people lost their head.  Ironically he will be the second to last person to lose their head.

Robespierre will be in power for just about a year.  He was dictator of France, and had absolute power.  There is much to say about him and his rule of France.  The most exciting moment was his last week alive, July 1794.  By this moment he got paranoid and isolated. Robespierre began to believe everyone was out to get him.  He trusted no one, and isolated himself.  He stopped going to meetings, and being seen. 

These actions will make people nervous and fearful.  They watched his every move, and prayed they would not be on his list.  By July Robespierre had to go to a meeting in front of the Convention and make a speech.  He arrived dressed as a King.  Which reveals to us how he felt about himself.  During his speech he discussed enemies of France.  This was the worst thing he could do.  People did not want to be on that list.  If they were - off with their head.  People began to shout at, "Who?  Who are the enemies?" 

Right then and there Robespierre should have named names, but instead he stalled.  He told the Convention he would come back the next day to name names.  After Robespierre went home unaware of what was brewing.  This was the moment the people of France were waiting for!  The opportunity to take him down.  They came up with a plan.  They went to the President of the Convention, and told him what they wanted to do.  The President agreed to help by not calling on Robespierre the next day.

Everyone but Robespierre knew something was up.  There was standing room only the next day at the Convention.  You can not talk unless you are called on by the President.  Even Robespierre.  He quickly became frustrated because he could not speak, and then it happened.  An unknown stood up and said, "Arrest Robespierre!"  And they did!  Robespierre had many friends - so the guards took him back home.  Robespierre was a dazed and confused.  He was being urged by his supporters to act, but he couldn't.  Reports say he was frozen in a chair.

Hours later he was finally convinced to act.  Right before he signed a declaration, Robespierre was shot in the mouth.  This is a mystery - did he shoot himself or did guards shoot him?  We may never know what actually happened, but we do know he was shot and taken into custody.  He was taken to his office, and the Convention allowed the People of France to come say goodbye to Robespierre.  People showed up to throw rotten food and not nice things at him.  While Robespierre endured this they had his trial - where he was found guilty. 

That morning Robespierre was carted to the guillotine.  He was good friends with the executioner.  This is unusual because when Robespierre came on to the scaffold, the executioner grabbed him and threw him onto the guillotine.  They had put a white cloth around Robespierre jaw to hold it together.  The executioner ripped off the cloth and exclaimed, "Your cloth will dull my blade!"  Then with one swoop, chopped off his head! 

Realistically Robespierre was most likely not thinking of anything.  He was probably in a world of pain.  But I like to think he was thinking about what happened?  How could this happen?  He had absolute power.  How quickly you can rise, but just as fast you can fall!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


When I was Class Sponsor for 2010 - our Senior Year these three guys in the pic above formed a band.  They formed the band, Apollo.  They came out of no where.  Apollo played at a school talent show, and blew everyone away.  They have real talent!  I hope they make it big because they can!

When I was in the hospital this past summer - they surprised me and visited me in the hospital.  I was so surprised to see them in my hospital room!  They told me they heard I was sick, and they wanted to have a "jam session" for me.  They brought their musical instruments and sang for me!  I thought they would sing 2 or 3 songs - they sang 10.  It was my own private concert!  I felt so blessed!

Below is the song that made them famous at BTW.  Heartless by Kanye West.  They sing it better than Kanye West!  I'm jealous of their talent - I cannot sing or play a musical instrument.  Enjoy Apollo and Heartless!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Stay Silent

The video below is from the Oprah Show in 1996 when the Little Rock Nine did a reunion.  The Little Rock Nine were nine black students who were chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.  When they arrived at school that first day they were confronted by an angry white crowd who didn't want their school integrated.  They also found the National Guard there not to protect them against the angry crowd, but to prevent them from coming.

President Eisenhower did an amazing thing.  He said on national television that Arkansa must follow the Supreme Court and their decisions so he sent the 101st Airborne to be the personal escort for the Little Rock Nine. 

I love how Oprah analyses this event, and the questions she asks.  There are two things that stood out to me.  The first is staying silent.  You see this throughout history.  Horrific things happen and people stay silent.  They don't speak out against the evil that is happening.  I hope I would have the courage to speak up!

The second is honoring those who came before you.  For Oprah the Little Rock Nine was one of those groups that made a bridge for her.  That is such a great thing to ponder?  Who made waves for me?  Enjoy the video!

The 101st Airborne escorting the Little Rock Nine. 

Such an iconic American photo.  One of the Little Rock Nine walking to school while being confronted by the angry white crowd.

A journalist was curious about these two girls.  One black and one white, and wanted to know their stories.  Go beyond the picture!

Elizabeth and Hazel today in front of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Sense of Place

Yesterday on Friday, January 6, 2012, I took my 1st Semester 2nd Hour to hear Michael Wallis speak about Oklahoma.  It was part of a program called Tulsa Town Hall, and he was outstanding.  Wallis said the most important thing about history is the idea of "a sense of place."  Here is a little of what he said:

Oklahoma has a sense of place.  A sense of belonging and being that is an essential part of life.  And it is something that is tied directly to an understanding and appericiation of history.

He then went on to give an example of the Creek Tribe.  When they were forced to move to this land which at the time was called Indian Territory from their ancestoral land of Alabama.  They brought with them the embers and ash of the council fire.  When they got to what is now Tulsa, they used those embers and ash to make their new council fire, and the chief of the tribe said we are home.  Tulsa was born that day!

I had never heard history explained like that - and it made sense.  I want to include this idea of history in my teaching.  My place is Tulsa and Paris.  A lot of people will say how much they hate Tulsa, and they can't wait to move.  That always makes me a little sad, and now I know why.  Tulsa has a sense of place for me - it is home.  I'm connected to it.  Then Paris, France has a sense of place for me.  People always ask, "What is your favorite thing to do?"  Honestly nothing.  Just being there makes me happy.  I'm connected to it.

Where is your sense of place?  Where is your home?

Here is Tulsa World's Article about the Lecture: Michael Wallis Article

Michael Wallis was the voice of Sheriff in Disney's Cars.  He has written a book about Route 66, and was hired as a historian and fact checker for the film.  Then they realized he has a great voice, and asked him to be the voice of Sheriff.

Tulsa skyline.  Everytime I see this - my heart smiles because I know I'm home.

Me in Paris along the Seine.  Not the best picture of me, but I love where I am.  And I feel so blessed that I have been to Paris 10 times.

Me with my 1st semester 2nd hour.  This was one of the best classes I have ever had.  Love them!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

France during WWII

I've decided to post about History I love!  The first thing is France during WWII.  In the very beginning of the War - Hitler occupied France.  Well the French were not going to take it lying down.  The most impressive thing that they did during the war was to protect the art of France.  Hitler was an art collector, and he wanted Paris's art.  The French did two impressive things:

  1. The Louvre - the french hid all of the art in every museum.  The hid it in the country or people's basements.  I said the Louvre because when Hitler arrived in Paris, the first place he wanted to go was the Louvre.  When he walked in there was nothing there!  It was empty!  If you have been there or seen pictures you would know that feat!
  2. Notre Dame de Paris- the french wanted to protect the Rose Windows.  There are two, and they took out every peice of stained glass, numbered it, and hid them under the Seine.  The Seine is the river that runs through Paris.  After the war, they dug up the stained glass and put them back together. 
What love they had for their country, culture , and art to do that!  Every time I think about it - it amazes me what they did!  The final thing that happened in France during in WWII that amazes me happened at the very end.  Once Hitler realized the war was over, and he was defeated, he told the German officiers to destroy the city.

They strapped bombs on to every single building and monument.  When it came time to blow the building up - they could not do it.  They had fallen in love with France!  Especially Paris - It has an affect on you!  It is magical, and you will keep wanting to come back.  I've been to Paris 10 times, and I'm not done coming to Paris.  I hope I go back 100 times more!

Here are some pictures of that time:

Hitler and the Eiffel Tower

A Paris Man weeps as he views the German army march into the city

One of the Rose Windows in Notre Dame de Paris

The Louvre!  Look at how big it is - How did they hide all of the art?

One of my favorite movies about Paris!  It is Paris, Je t'aime.  The movie is made up of little stories about Paris.  This is the last one - and it spoke to me.  It's all about this woman falling in love with Paris!  That is what I did!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holocaust Survivor

There are moments in history that I just don't understand.  As a history teacher I know there is a reason, but my human heart cannot comprehend.  How could you treat another human being so cruely?  The holocaust is one of those moments.  I have studied it a lot, and I'm sickened by the whole event.  I usually cry and cry when I read stories from survivors because I put myself there.  What would it be like to live through that and experience it?  The holocaust I can't even imagine!

So it is important to know the story, and make sure it never happens again!  The saddest thing is that most of the survivors are dying.  They will no longer be allowed to tell their story.  It is now our responsibility to make sure the world never forgets, and something like the holocaust never happens again!

Here is one survivor's story.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tiananmen Square 1989

I think there are those images from history that speak to you.  This is one of those pictures caught on camera.  China's young people were protesting in Tiananmen Square and the government was not happy.  So they sent in the military and tanks to put down the protest.  This one man refused to move.  Just think about that!  A tank is coming forward and it is not stopping.  Would you have the courage to do that?  Do you believe in anything strong enough that you would risk your life?  Every time I see this image - I ask myself those questions.  I hope I would be that brave, but you never know.  On a happy note this man did not die.  His friends ran out, and physically removed him before the tanks could get him.  But we will never know his name.  We will never know this courageous man who did this act!  Power of one is incredible!

French Revolution

Above is all the books I own on the French Revolution.  It is decoration in my living room.  I wanted to show my love for the French Revolution!  I don't know what it is exactly, but I love it!  It captivates me, and my favorite person from the French Revolution is Robespierre.  He played a big role in cutting off everyone's head.  I wish I could teach a whole class on the French Revolution!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Water For Elephants

I saw this movie today and it was amazing!  One it has a great story full of drama, romance, and heart.  Two it is very historical.  The movie takes place in 1931 with the great depression and prohibition.  You get a great sense of what the 1930s felt like, and the consequences of the depression and prohibition.