Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Island Refugee Tragedy

Read this article: Boat Horror Kills Up to 50 at Christmas Island

Answer these questions in a comment on the blog:
  1. Where is Christmas Island and which nation "owns" it?
  2. Where are the "refugees" coming from?
  3. Why are they trying to get to Christmas Island?
  4. Who is responsible for taking care of the "refugees"?
  5. What do you think will happen to the "refugees" that survived?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Once Upon a School

Once Upon a School is a Ted Talk done by Dave Eggers. In this video Mr. Eggers talks about a project he started that has flourished. After watching the video answer the questions below in a comment to this post.

1) What is the project Mr. Eggers started?
2) Why in your opinion is this project successful?
3) Would doing this in our community work? Why or why not?

Make sure you answer these questions completely. I want your best work.

You should notice a new commenting system on the post. Use your media history blog for the blog URL, and you can use your email address or the generic

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sick Santa!

I just got word that Santa won't be making his usual rounds this year. It seems like his overly rich diet has caused him to get gout. This will unfortunately keep him home on Christmas Eve.

The good news is Santa has contacted teachers around the world to ask for help. He has created a special, super-secret Amazon account that he will use to pay for all the presents this year. All he asks in return is that we have one student per family pick out presents for their entire family. Sounds like fun, right?

Your task is to find presents for each person (including yourself) on Amazon and to give that list to me. There is one very important qualification, the cost of each person's presents must be between $195 to $200. You cannot spend more or less. Because Santa is a non-profit organization he gets his purchases tax free so we don't have to worry about adding those in.

You will need to keep track of the items for each person, the url for each item, and the cost of each item. How you do so is up to you. I would suggest you create a spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel or if you have a Google account you can use Google spreadsheet. Here is a tutorial for creating a spreadsheet in Excel. You could even create a Google form to put in the information you need. Of course paper and pencil will also work. Just make sure the total amount to spend is between $195 and $200.

You may want to check with your family members and ask them for ideas, or you could just pick things you think they will want. Santa expects you to explain why you chose the gifts you have for your family and yourself, make sure to include that information with the list.Whichever you choose, get the lists done and give them to me so I can pass them along. You don't want to miss out on Kris Kringle's gifts and if you don't get the lists finished Kris may decide you are not behaving and deal with you appropriately.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

John Lennon

My students were disappointed that I remember Pearl Harbor day on Tuesday but didn't do the same for John Lennon yesterday. Not wanting to disappoint them, I have created this post.

Here is an article on the MTV site written about the last interview he did before his death.

John Lennon's Jukebox: A documentary about the music he listened to.
Woman: Music video of the song.
John Lennon news coverage of his murder.

The Beatles

The Ed Sullivan Show: Second US appearance of The Beatles
There are some related videos on the right of this page.

In the MTV article Lennon states: "We're born-again rockers, and we're starting over. ... There's plenty of time, right? Plenty of time." Soon after he was shot and killed. What can you learn from this?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

BeFunky is a picture editor that allows you to put "filters" on your picture. It is a very interesting editing site for your pictures. Go to the site, upload your picture and try out the different filters. When you have decided on a picture or two, click save and choose download to the desktop. Upload them to the Media History blog.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

December 7, 1941 A Date that Will Live in Infamy

The Minelayer Oglala capsized at her berth at the 1010 dock

It is pretty unusual for a country to remember the date of one of its worst defeats yet the United States still remembers today. On December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by the country of Japan. Before this attack the United States had not declared war against Japan or the German/Italian coalition.

On December 8 the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a speech declaring the United States to be at war with Japan.The United States declared war on Germany on December 11, the same day Germany declared war on the United States.

National Geographic has an excellent map that shows the timeline of the attack. has pictures taken by Americans during the attack and the Japanese. has the full text of the speech and the actual audio.
The Military channel has a video clip taken from a news reel. It includes a short clip of Roosevelt's speech.

After reviewing this information leave a comment on this post in the last ten minutes of class. Think about the attack. How would you react if this attack took place today (remember you are not old enough to serve in the military so enlisting isn't an option.) What would you do to help the nation cope with the tragedy?

Friday, December 03, 2010


Today we are going to play a game called chess. Click here to read about the history of chess. The online chess game we will be playing today comes from Chess Test Tutors.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I have posted over 500 times on this class blog and have had over 100,000 visitors. In a few weeks the blog will turn four. This blog has led me and my students to so many wonderful learning experiences. I am very grateful to my students for encouraging me to continue to use the blog when it first started and to all the visitors that have come through over the last (almost) four years.

I realize that a little reflection about the blog is in order, but I have already written reflections over it before (you can dig them out if you want to). What I would like to write about is the future of the blog, basically look at where it is headed.

The most important thing I have done is been willing to change the focus of the blog over the years. It has served in a lot of different capacities up to now where I use it mostly to disseminate information for my students to use. I really don't see that changing much any time soon (although with next semesters return to keyboarding classes there may be a bigger emphasis on reporting of school happenings.) 

I really hope that this blog will wear out its usefulness before too long. It seems like there should be a new tool in development that will have a more robust experience for myself and my students. I would really love to create a space like this where my students have the ability to write in a way that makes sense. With posts being buried, it just doesn't work well now. 

Another thing I would like to see happen is to create a more "communal" (yes that is my new favorite word) space where others can gather to share and have conversations. Yes there are CMS's like Ning that can do that, but they are still very impersonal. I may be reaching for something more than technology can provide though :(