You Got Something to Say?

…then join the Urban Debate League.  Get recognition for arguing!

Debate is an art–a passion–a skill that will benefit you in college or your career.  The Rhode Island Urban Debate League will help you develop those skills.

Practices are Tuesday and Thursday after school from 2:15–3:45.   The debates are on Saturdays and are listed on the RIUDL link above.  You can bring home the glory and get some skills that will serve you a lifetime!   Don’t miss this prestigious opportunity!

Rebellion and Revolution

One of the major themes of the Hunger Games was rebellion and revolution.  We watched a BBC special, “How Facebook Changed the World: The Arab Spring.

This BBC timeline shows patterns of revolutions in many of the Arab states.

Today in Syria, the revolution continues.


Foreign Policy Syria Page


Critical Question:  After our discussion of the theme of “revolution” from the film and our viewing and discussion of the documentary, comment on the following:

At what point does discontent turn to revolution?  How is modern day revolution different than revolutions in the past? Do you think that modern technology gives the people more rights, or gives the government more ability to crack down?


Modern Day Civil Rights

We have spent the quarter discussing civil rights.  We have looked at Muhammad Ali and his role in protesting the Vietnam War. We discussed the role of Malcolm X before and after his hajj and his changing attitudes toward civil rights.  We discussed student groups such as SNCC, CORE, COFO and others in grassroots student organizations in organizing and carrying out protests against discrimination and in registering African-Americans to vote.

We also discussed the evolution of the women’s rights movement, which evolved from Civil Rights, and some of you have suggested that civil rights never fully took effect in the United States, as there is still discrimination against many groups of people based on income, social class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and race.


List the groups you’d like to discuss and provide a case study involving an unfair situation involving that group. What was the resolution of this case? Was it fair?  How would you solve the inequality.

Please take advantage of the following Learnist boards:

Mohammad Ali, Civil Rights, and the Vietnam War

Malcolm X

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Stokely Carmichael

Voices of Freedom

Protest: Music and Movements that Shaped Society


Infographics are graphic representations of information. They’re becoming more and more popular as a means of showing complex information quickly in a graphically pleasing way.  Some examples of infographics are on The Daily Infographic.

You are creating an infographic based on the information in our unit on citizenship.  Please include
–rights and responsibilities of citizenship

–path to naturalization

–How do citizens perform their civic duties?

–What should America reform on the issue of immigration.

Feel free to use Piktochart to complete this assignment.

Final Presidential Debate

The final presidential debate will be held in Boca Raton, Florida.  It will be moderated by Bob Schieffer, host of CBS “Face the Nation.”  Since Boca Raton was home of former President Richard Nixon for many years, one wonders if this will give the Republicans an edge.   The debate will be segmented into two minute response times.

The President is expected to receive questions about the death of the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens while Governor Romney will be under pressure to atone for slip-ups involving foreign policy situations.

Please tweet with us @braincountry

Civics students will either tweet, comment, or fill out the organizer.  However, all other classes are encouraged to join in the fun!! Remember–politics is a spectator sport.

Second Presidential Debate

Tonight’s debate, held at 9PM, will be hosted town-meeting style and moderated by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.  Please participate by commenting here or by tweeting with us live @braincountry.

Things to consider:

  • How do you feel the moderator performed in directing the debate
  • Who was the winner?
  • Which policy issues stuck out in your mind, and which points did you particularly like or take issue with? Why?
  • How did the candidates hold up to the camera?  How was the level of speech and comportment (how they spoke and carried themselves?
  • What were the main messages each candidate tried to convey?

The Hunger Games

We are looking at themes and connections in The Hunger Games.

  • Government oppression
  • Themes of internal and external conflict
  • Self-preservation vs. self-sacrifice

You will be identifying connections to the real world throughout history or in present-times.  Please take note of situations from which you may draw analogies.  We will be discussing themes of hegemony, dictatorship, and political oppression, in addition to situations of rebellion, such as the taking down of the Berlin Wall.




Tonight is the second in a series of debates, this time between Vice President Joe Biden and VP hopeful Paul Ryan.   It’s scheduled to begin at 9PM sharp.

Watch and comment!

  • What are the most important issues?
  • Who do you think won the debate and why?
  • Based on the performance of these candidates, who do you think should be the Vice President?

English, please?

Benchmark Assessments.  The tool of measuring educational data.  We took a lovely journey into the Declaration of Independence to assess where the class is in “decoding primary source documents.”  There are several Common Core State Standards that are associated with this, and if you’d like a separate post outlining all of them, I’ll begrudgingly comply.  But the bottom line was that we took what would have been a fabulous lesson on The Declaration and turned it into a snoozer of an assessment.

For this, I am sorry.  But don’t worry–I’ll make it up to you with an awesome lesson on The Declaration. Awesome?  The Declaration?  Surely you must be joking, you say.  Nope. I’m serious. I give you a money back guarantee that if you don’t love Jefferson’s opus (that means “work”) I will refund you in full. “What’s that,” you say?  “I didn’t pay any money for this lesson! That’s cheap!”  Oh, my people–time is money, and   surely the taxpayer would disagree–someone pays something for every lesson, so I want to make sure you get your money’s worth out of Jefferson.  For after all, he did invent our concept of “macaroni and cheese.”  If it weren’t for Jefferson, you’d have no Kraft Mac & Cheese, Bob Kraft would have been too poor to buy the Patriots, and who would you root for during football games?

That, my good people, is an example of “cause and effect,” one of the very standards we addressed with that assessment.

But hang tight for the “English to English translation” of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.

  • What did he say?
  • Why did he say it?
  • Was he even right to say what he said?
  • How’d he do calligraphy that nice without messing it up?
  • What were the effects of this document?

Stay tuned, for the answers to all these important questions and more…

Reel to Real Civil Rights Update

We’ve been looking at what the class thinks are really cool movies, but are really a prelude to a hefty lesson in Civil Rights.

  • In “Ali” we saw the Champ protest the United States involvement in Vietnam on the grounds not only that he was a conscientious objector who didn’t believe in fighting, but that if he did need to fight, he’d fight against injustices to African Americans on the homefront.
  • In Malcolm X, we will investigate the two sides of the Civil Rights movement–peaceful nonresistance modeled by Martin Luther King and student organizations such as SNCC and CORE which eventually broke ties with movements that felt that nonviolent resistance (Gandhi’s satyagraha) was ineffective.
  • Please research using the learnboards on these subjects: Ali, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Protest: Music and Movements that Shaped Society