Friday, October 5, 2012

Extra Credit: Psychology Today

If you would like to raise your lowest grade to 100%  follow the link to Psychology Today , read the article, and compose a 3 paragraph (5-7 sentences) summary of your findings in the comment section below.
Suggestions for Writing a Literary Commentary:

Read the passage you are given a few times. Read it once through to get a gist of what the speaker is saying. Jot down your initial reactions to certain parts of the text so you can refer to them when you are writing. When you have finished, go back and read it again, this time identify key words and phrases and jotting notes to yourself in the margins. While the minimum number of times you should read something is two, it is ideal that you read each passage three or four times.

Plan your commentary. List the key points that you need to cover. Arrange them in a logical order so that your commentary does not sound jumpy. Find quotations from the text for each point you make. You should comment on all of the following (though not necessarily in this order):
  • Theme/Topic/Subject - What is the point of the text? There may be many themes, but try and find one or two key ones to discuss. It may help to consider information that you have such as the writer's name or the date it was written.
  • Message/Purpose - Determine the aims and purpose of the writer. Is the text persuasive, informative, descriptive? Address subtext and any irony or satire present.
  • Tone/Atmosphere - Discuss the tone of the piece. Is there a strong mood or feeling present throughout the piece? Talk about how the writer created this effect (think about word choice, cadence, syntax). Readdress the setting and its effect on the tone and mood.
Write your commentary. Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to say, begin to write your commentary. Sometimes getting started is tricky—you can start with the body paragraphs (which you've just planned out) and write the introduction at the end. Some things to keep in mind:
  • Avoid writing in first or second person. The only exception to this is the conclusion—the first person may be used here to further enforce a point made earlier).
Write a conclusion. This should sum up the information presented in an interesting way without introducing any new ideas  Have fun.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Culture of Celebrity Challenges

Congratulations on your first experience with Challenge Identification. As you move through the steps of the problem solving process, your command of each element will become more and more powerful. One of the best things we can do when learning something new is to work collaboratively to help each other clarify our understanding of the task. That is what we will do this week.

Post your three best challenges in the following format:

Your Name and last name initial - Matt L.

Due to the fact that celebrity body guards often lack proper training, there may be a problem with innocent people being harmed, because a poorly trained bodyguard could take inappropriate action against the wrong person.


Once you have posted your three challenges, visit three other classmates posts and then read and comment on their challenges. Each comment should use complete sentences, be thoughtful, respectful, and be comprised of at least 5 - 7 sentences. Use the EEExperience Blogging Rubric to direct your responses.

Have Fun!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Introduction to Culture of Celebrity

Our first topic of study this year will be an exploration of the challenges associated with the current culture of celebrity that grips many people around the globe. With social media advancing information sharing in leaps and bounds, many of us our bombarded with more than we want to know. Here is what FPSPI has to say abouth the topic Culture of Celebrity:

We are currently surrounded by images of people who are “famous for being famous.” Magazines, TV, and the Internet are flooded by minute details of celebrities’ lives. Young people see many of these celebrities as their role models even though these celebrities may indulge in destructive behaviors. Research has documented a celebrity-worship syndrome (CWS) where the person’s idolatry becomes all-consuming. At its worst, this can lead to the stalking of celebrities, whilst others spend their lives learning everything they can about “their” celebrity, collecting memorabilia, making websites, or writing “fan fiction.” While there are a variety of negative impacts resulting from celebrities’ actions, they are also able to bring widespread attention to worthwhile causes around the globe. As the media finds more and more ways to exploit celebrities for profit, what will the effect be on the lives of those susceptible to “celebrity worship”? What extreme measures might celebrities take to stay out of the public eye? Can this trend continue to escalate without dire consequences?

Be on the lookout for links to research that will give you a head start on the topic. Search the topic on your own and add your links to our blog. As you all know - nothing that you do to help further our collective efforts is in vain. Every extra effort translates directly to extra credit when you need it. Hope you are having a great summer. Mr. L

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Highlighting Social Injustice Through Cultural Bricolage

It has been a while since we last posted on the blog. Our focus in class right now is on a social action project that involved creation of artwork using a form known as bricolage. EEE is collaborating with Mrs. Julie Chatman and the West Jr. art department, along with the University of Missouri, to help students use their art work to bring attention to the social injustice topic of their choice.
Ultimately, student work will be displayed during an international conference on cultural bricolage to be held on the campus of MU next November. The students are really creating some dynamic pieces and we look forward to sharing their final products. Coordinating everything involved has been a huge task though, so the blog got put on hold.
We do have some great things going on though. Our middle division global Future Problem Solving team of Stephanie K, Anna L, Amanda S, and Shirley Z took first place in the Missouri State Bowl. Maggie L. of Hickman High School also won first in state in the senior division individual competition. They will all be heading to the University of Indiana in June, to compete with over 350 other Future Problem Solvers from around the world, at the International Conference.

We also can't forget about Alex G. who placed first in the History Channel's National History Bee. The History Channel will be flying Alex and his parents to Washington D.C. where he will compete for $50,000 in scholarship prizes. The competition should air on the History Channel sometime in June.
We have had a couple of busy months. The blog is a great format to continue discussion. Keep posting.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kony 2012 - A Digital Media Revolution

During our exploration of Human Rights as a problem solving topic, we focused on creation of child soldiers as a crime against humanity. That journey brought us to Invisible Children (which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube). The young men responsible for creating Invisible Children represent the potential within all of us. They originally went to Africa with a couple thousand dollars and a nice camera. Their mission was to capture some of the injustice experienced on the continent. During their travels they came to the city of Gulu. There they found hundreds of young children sleeping in the streets of the city. Upon investigation they discovered the children were hiding from local rebel groups, so that the soldiers would not kill them, or take them as child soldiers. Moved by the stories they heard, these young men made a promise to do something for the children of Uganda.

My students and I came across Kony 2012 on Tuesday, March 6th 2012. At that time there were only around 5,000 views of the video. As of this morning (Friday, March 9, 2012) over 52,000,000 people have viewed the call to action. This campaign represents the power of not only social networking, but our young people as well. When faced with injustice they gathered together, used digital media to rally others to the cause, and then proved to the establishment that change is here.

The digital media revolution represents a shift in the fundamental structure of our global society. When people join together by the millions to fight injustice globally, governments are forced to pay attention. When these same people begin to speak out and share with others, those same governments are then obligated to take action. Kony 2012 represents the potential that both technology, and our youth have to truly make the world a better place. Regardless of what one thinks of the endeavor, it is a direct reflection of the exponential changes new technology has introduced to the human experience.

Update on Syria 3/9/12

The prior post was deleted because it linked to some distrubing images of Syrian governmental forces dancing on the body of an opposition soldier. War makes people crazy.  This one will be just as informative, and less graphic.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Some people say the situation in Syria highlights what can happen when a government is willing to go to any extreme to preserve their own power. However, others believe the government is simply taking direct action to restore peace and stability in their country. Do you think the Syrian government has a right to use any means necessary to restore order and stability - even if it means attacking and killing Syrians? If protesters become violent in any nation, is it the responsibility of the government to use force to restore order? Do you feel Syrian protesters basic human rights are being violated, or that they are getting what they deserve for allowing their protest movement to become violent? Is the video intended to bring awareness to the situation, or is it simply propaganda used to turn people against the Syrian government?

Friday, February 3, 2012


What do YOU think Human Rights are? Are they important? When introducing this topic many of my students asked, "Why should I care about human rights?" How would YOU answer that question?

Human Rights

Since the end of World War II, many people have prioritized the protection of human rights around the world. But what exactly are human rights? Do they vary depending on religion and culture?

Many western countries criticize the Islamic world for its treatment of women, while the United States is often condemned for its use of the death penalty. Can one nation fight to protect human rights in another nation, and if so, how?

What challenges do globalization and the prevention of terrorism present to the preservation of human rights in the future?

Do poverty and the inequities between  countries fall under the umbrella of human rights?

After the devastation of two world wars, world leaders came together to advance the cause of human rights. The newly formed United Nations established The Commission on Human Rights. Together, members from around the world drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
However, though many of the democracies of the United Nations readily accepted the declaration, there were other nations who worried that the declaration would upset their way of life. These tensions remain unresolved today and present a huge barrier to agreement over, and enforcement of universal human rights.


Future Problem Solvers, we need you to examine violations, issues, obstacles, and alternatives related to the topic of human rights. This is a subject that is critical to both your personal well-being, and the well-being of future generations. We all have a right to live; now we need to hold governments around the world accountable for ensuring that our basic human dignity is preserved both now, and in the future.

Use this post to list Human Rights violations that are important to you. Feel free to add information, comment, and provide resources on each others posts. This is where we begin exploration of the challenges within our topic. Enjoy.

Welcome to the EEExperience

Welcome to what I hope will become an essential component of our problem solving community.

Background: My students and I participate in a program known as Future Problem Solving Program International. We work together with over 250,000 students from around the world to address global challenges from a futuristic perspective. We use a process based approach to problem solving that allows us to take on some of the most pressing issues around the world. The process itself gives students the power to tackle HUGE problems, in a systematic manner, that can truly make a difference and bring about change.

Vision: This is where YOU come in. Whether you are a student, parent, fellow educator, or a person who wants to make a difference - I invite you to participate in our problem solving conversations, and indeed to stimulate your own conversations. Your comments, solution ideas, and insight will help everyone involved become more informed, powerful, global problem solvers.

The future of technology and communication is here. Social networking and weblogs represent an excellent opportunity to share information and ideas. I am always looking for ways to communicate solution ideas and action plans for the problem solving topics we are exploring. The EEExperience represents yet another way that we can work together to address some of the most pressing global issues facing all of humanity. Your participation in this blog provides the opportunity to have your voice heard by some of the most intelligent, compassionate, active problem solvers in our nation.