A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Podium Point Six--Fake it till ya make it!

Last year, or the year before, I posted on this blog five essays on five of the podiums points suggested by Ford's Theater. If you want to review, here they are:

Podium Point One: Whoa, not so fast...
Podium Point Two: "Stay offa First will ya"
Podium Point Three: "Twy vewy vewy hahd not to destwoy uth."
Podium Point Four: "...and I believed him because he was a basketball fan..."
Podium Point Five: "What happened last year?"

These podium points are for the vocal end of public speaking. There are four for the physical end of public speaking. I thought I would chat about those this year.

I'm tackling the one I have the most problems teaching first. Not for any other reason than I found the video above and Dr. Cuddy does my job for me. This will totally change how I prep kids for their speeches. Fake it until you make it sound trite and ineffective. However, her research says differently.

Presence--"The speaker's energy and connection with the audience. Does his or her presence reflect confidence? Is the speaker welcoming the audience with what he or she has to say?" I took that direct from the Ford's handout. How do you teach confidence. Practice helps with confidence but, how many of my students have practiced twice as much as their counterparts only to struggle on the day of the speech. Its heart-breaking to watch. Now I have a tool.

body language

Will let you know how it works.

There is no real reason for this particular image. While it does relate to the TEDtalk, I just like it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hope and a Holocaust essay...

Detail from a display at the Dallas Holocaust Museum (source: Dallas Holocaust Museum)

It has been more than a month since my last confession...

...oh, wait...

Its been more than a month since my last blog post.

We are in the thick of the school year. My schedule has changed so I find myself with less time during the day (and evening) to write. I think I have the new rhythm worked out and I miss writing. It is a useful way for me to get ideas out of my brain.

Lucky you!

I 've been researching the Holocaust for a project I've been working on and I keep finding myself thinking that this or that moment is a ugly as humanity can get...and then I read or watch further and realize it can get uglier.

There is a movie I show in European History from the BBC which does a great job of telling the story without making it ghoulish to watch. Its appropriate for seventh graders and is an effective springboard for discussing the Holocaust.

As I was researching, I came upon a 2011 movie by Uwe Boll. the clip below is more a 'making of...' trailer.

There is a trailer for the movie, but I can put it on my blog. It is too disturbing for the age group of kids I teach and since sometimes they wander onto this site, I will pass. Boll is been taken to task over the graphic nature of the movie in several articles like this one from the UK's The Guardian. What I have seen of it is unflinchingly accurate. Still...

That was one of the challenges of writing essays for the grant. Auschwitz is important of because what happened there and I don't want it sugar-coated. I want my students to confront the shadow-side of humanity. That being said, there is a limit. What is interesting is that the more I read about the death camp, the more moments of hope I found. The violence isn't blunted but, I keep reading stories of those who survived and the actions of those who died there and the humanity they showed.

One of the tasks for the essays was to watch several of the clips by the USC Shoah Foundation; footage of survivors telling their stories. In this first clip, Betty Gold talks about hiding in a cave, sure that they were going to be killed that night. I can't even imagine... In the second clip, Shalon Yoran recounts his mother's last words to him:

"Go. Fight. Survive. And tell the people of the world what happened here. And take revenge of our death."

I am not a fan of the word revenge. However, maybe Mr. Yoran's revenge can be in knowing that a teacher a world away has been inspired by his story and his mother's words and is going to share them with his students to show that hatred and cruelty may win in the short term, but hope and kindness prevail in the end.