The Choices Blog

History and Current Issues for the Classroom

Category: Online Resources (page 2 of 2)

Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and the State of the Union

“This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort.

It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.”

-Lyndon B. Johnson, State of the Union Address, 1964

Coming on the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of LBJ’s War on Poverty speech, there is a lot of speculation regarding whether President Obama will capitalize on this timing to address U.S. poverty in his 2014 State of the Union Address on January 28th.

A recent article in The New Yorker, “The ‘P’ Word: Why Presidents Stopped Talking About Poverty,” provides an overview of the number of times poverty has appeared in State of the Union addresses since Lyndon Johnson’s last term in office.

The author of the piece, Jeff Shesol, points out that it took five presidents and twenty-three years for the term poverty, or “the poor,” to be said in State of the Union addresses the same number of times as during the Johnson administration. (President Johnson used those words forty times; so far, for President Obama, the tally stands at eight.)

As your students watch and discuss the State of the Union Address on January 28, have them take note of those topics, including poverty, that do and do not make the cut in the president’s formal statement. Will Obama overcome presidential fears of the “P” word(s), or will he avoid the rhetoric that had powerful (and controversial) implications for 1964?

Be sure to check out our “Surveying State of the Union Addresses” Teaching with the News Lesson, which we first released last January. This lesson features an interactive video timeline (including LBJ’s 1964 speech) and updated graphic organizers for your students to fill out before and after the address.

In the lesson, students will:

  • Understand the constitutional basis and history of the State of the Union Address
  • Explore significant moments in twentieth century State of the Union Addresses and identify important historic themes
  • Collaborate with classmates to identify likely topics for the State of the Union Address
  • Assess President Obama’s State of the Union Address

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The March (1963)

The National Archives recently released a digitally restored version of the 1963 documentary The March directed by James Blue. The 30-minute film chronicles the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28th, 1963.

While (regrettably) the most iconic moment of that event, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech has been redacted for copyright reasons, it’s the rarely seen footage of ordinary citizens traveling across the country and participating in the march that make this film remarkable.

Details on the making of the film can be found here.

Update: Debating the U.S. Response to Syria

“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it.”       —President Obama

Last night, President Obama addressed the American public on the topic of the crisis in Syria. After earlier calling for a vote in Congress on the use of targeted military strikes, he has now asked that Congress postpone their decision. With Russia pushing for Syria to hand over its stockpile of chemical weapons, new diplomatic alternatives have come to the fore. The president made clear, however, that the future of these talks is uncertain. Other options remain on the table.

In Choices’ Teaching with the News lesson, Debating the U.S. Response in Syria, students explore different foreign policy options for addressing the conflict in Syria, and have a chance to articulate their personal views on what role the United States should play. What is the United States’ ultimate goal in Syria? Should we pursue military intervention, diplomatic measures, or let other countries take the lead on seeking a resolution? Students are encouraged to share their views not only with their classmates, but with their elected representatives and the president. Referencing individual letters he received in his speech, President Obama made clear that the American public is engaged and grappling with the issues in Syria. We hope students will join in the discussion.

 

Great Resource on the Green Line

An upcoming vote in the General Assembly of the UN on recognizing a Palestinian state is going to be getting more and more attention in the coming days.

Here’s a useful resource from the New York Times on the role of the Green Line in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

There’s a terrific animated map, four short videos with different perspectives on the future, and five images with captions.

Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

As Israelis marched on June 1 to commemorate Israel's capture of the Old City from Jordan in 1967, Palestinians climbed to the rooftops, waving Palestinian flags in protest. The marchers wound their way through Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood on the Palestinian side of the Green Line that has become restive in the past few years after Israeli settlers began moving in. (Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times.)

Maine Teachers Use “Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change” TWTN Lesson for Innovative Project

Media coverage of pro-democracy protests across the Arab world – collectively known as the Arab Spring – has captured the world’s attention. Amy Sanders (Social Studies teacher) and Cathy Wolinsky (Instructional Technology Integrator) at Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Maine, seek classroom partners for a collaborative study of the Arab Spring. The project, modeled after the Flat Classroom Project, will begin in early October and last approximately one month. Utilizing the CHOICES Teaching with the News lesson, “Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change,” the project envisions students working in international collaborative teams to learn more about the protest movements in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain. Students also will be asked to reflect on what they have learned and connect this to their experiences with democracy. If you would like to join the project or would like more information, please visit: http://arabspring.wikispaces.com/ or contact Amy Sanders at amy_sanders@yarmouthschools.org.

The Teaching Profession in 2030

The Teacher Leaders Network (TLN) is a network of highly accomplished teacher leaders from across the nation who are dedicated to student success and the transformation of teaching into a true profession.

Not to be missed on their website is a 5 minute, quirky video A Look at TEACHING 2030. A Look at TEACHING 2030 is visually attractive, innovative and offers several new ideas such as “teacherpreneurs.” What do you think about the ideas presented here? What should the teaching profession look like in the 2030?

Apps for the Classroom: On this day…

On this day...
A nice app for history class, On this day… tells you what important events happened on a particular day in history. (Reposted from Revolutionize Education.)

The Death of a Terrorist: A Turning Point?

Interesting data visualization tool from the New York Times showing the reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s death.

Using Prezi as a teaching tool

Prezi is an online presentation-maker that takes PowerPoint to the next level. Rather than going through a presentation slide by slide, Prezi lets you lay out your presentation on a visual canvas and then move, rotate, scale, and zoom through it.

For some ideas on how you might use Prezi in your classroom, take a look at this Prezi by Paul Hill.

The basic version of Prezi is free to use, but they also offer a Student/Teacher license that gives you access to some of the pro features.

Update: Prezi has added some new features!

The path of protest

The Guardian has put together an excellent interactive timeline that tracks the events in the Middle East over the past few months.

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