Category Archives: Lesson Plans

Some of my lesson plan ideas.

Another Sunday; Another Change in Plans

Students of Saint Mary's Hall

Students of Saint Mary’s Hall (Photo credit: Robert of Fairfax)

I always begin lesson planning on Thursday, so I can stay focused on my goals.  I have been planning to try to have my students use the tools of the 21st century to analyze and write about literature.  The blog also allows them to respond to other student’s opinions also; however, they cannot merely say, “I concur.”  I expect students to support their opinions with facts from the reading selection.  It’s Sunday and I am ready to go…

Except I checked the English department’s laptops and we are down to 21.  Five of my six classes have more than 21 students.  I am left with the dilemma: how do I have students create a blog when they don’t have a computer?

I think I will go back to the 20th century and have them write on notebook paper, then share their analysis with a partner who will write a response.  I can cover the same standards in the curriculum.  I have reserved the good computer lab for the first open day, Jan. 6, so I can introduce the blog then.  But, it is late.  Perhaps I will have a different idea in the morning.




Filed under 21st century skills, Education, Lesson Plans, Writing

Fighting Bullying

Toward the end of the school year, I read a story that has been circulating on the Internet for years.  I verified that it is true on the website

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary’s School in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million.   Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful.   

Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving – “Thank you for correcting me, Sister!” I didn’t know what  to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it  many times a day.   

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice teacher’s mistake. I looked at Mark and said, If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!”   It wasn’t ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, “Mark is talking again.”  I hadn’t asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it.  I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark’s desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room.   As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me.  That did it! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark’s desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, “Thank you for correcting me, Sister.”   

At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the “new math,” he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third.   One Friday, things just didn’t feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled.  Mark said, “Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend.”   That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual.   

On Monday I gave each student his or her list.  Before long, the entire class was smiling.   Really?” I heard whispered. “I never knew that meant anything to anyone!”  I didn’t know others liked me so much.”   No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.   

That group of students moved on.   Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip, the weather, and my experiences in general.   There was a lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply said, “Dad?” My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important. “The Eklunds called last night,” he began “Really?” I said. “I haven’t heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is.”   Dad responded quietly. “Mark was killed in Vietnam,” he said. “The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend.”  To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark. images

I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before.  Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, “Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.”   The church was packed with Mark’s friends.  Chuck’s sister sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps.   One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up  to me. Were you Mark’s math teacher?” he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. “Mark talked about you a lot,” he said.   

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates headed to Chuck’s farmhouse for lunch. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. “We want to show you something, his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. “They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.” Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.   “Thank you so much for doing that,” Mark’s mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.” Mark’s classmates started to gather around us.  Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, “I still have my list. I keep it  in the top drawer of my desk at home.” Chuck’s wife said, “Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.”  ”I have mine too,” Marilyn said.  “It’s in my diary.” Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. I carry this with me at all times,” Vicki said without batting an eyelash. “I think we all saved our lists.” That’s when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.   

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

-Written by Sister Helen Mrosla, a Franciscan nun. 

I read this around the same time my wife and I watched a documentary on bullying.  This led me to think: how could I do something like this.  I thought of the bullying and cyber bullying I hear about.  I thought about how teaching is like life: making connections with people, something no standardized test will show.   I thought of the fact that some teenagers are confident enough or brave enough to compliment others.  I see this everyday.  However, many are fearful, like I was, that they will be laughed at or considered strange.  I remembered that I did not smile much in high school unless someone smiled at me.  Not until I was older did I realize smiles were contagious, and I held the power to create a positive environment.

Therefore, this story inspired me to try something like it.  Due to my teaching 160 students, my copying all of the positive comments on paper was too time consuming.  Instead, I had the students write a message on one index card for each classmate.

This simple writing activity (I instructed the kids to write with specific details and more than one sentence) had the students smiling from the start.  They worked diligently to personalize their messages.

When the day came to read the messages, the kids were as excited as, well, as kids on the last day of school.  Many girls were surprised to see that other girls loved their curly or straight hair.  Compliments flew through the room.

I have not heard from any parents or students, but I did hear about the list from a little brother of a student.  He told me his sister told him all about the assignment and how much she loved it.

I guess Sister Helen is still teaching.   50751007_127083548039


Filed under Education, Learning, Lesson Plans, Lessons from students

Seven National Crimes in My Classroom

The freshmen are reading George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  I love history and teaching the kids about Josef Stalin and Russia is a passion for me.  However, for some reason, most teens in 2013 are not as excited about this as I am.   Therefore, I continually look forward to finding ways to bring the novel’s themes to the lives of the students of today.

February 4–11: Yalta Conference

February 4–11: Yalta Conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This summer I ran across “The 10 Cannots” by William Boetcker.  He was an American religious leader and influential public speaker during his lifetime (1873-1962).

Born in Hamburg, Germany,  he was ordained a Presbyterian minister soon after his arrival in the United States as a young adult. The Rev. Boetcker was ordained in Brooklyn, New York. (Wikipedia)

Boetcker also spoke of the “Seven National Crimes:”

▪   I don’t think.

▪   I don’t know.

▪   I don’t care.

▪   I am too busy.

▪   I leave well enough alone.

▪   I have no time to read and find out.

▪   I am not interested.

Everyday, I see these crimes committed in the classroom.  (To be truthful, I am the one committing some of these every once in a while.)  Consequently, while rereading my notes, I started to reflect on my life and “crimes.”  Soon, I will present these questions to my classes with the hope that they will see some connections to an “old” book and their lives.

  • How do you think critically?
  • How do you become knowledgeable, even on matters that don’t interest you?
  • How are you a caring, active member of the community
  • What are your unproductive and unfulfilling activities?
  • How do you get involved in their community life?
  • What have you read recently?
  • What is your passion in life?

“Never mind what others do,” Boetcker said. “Do better than yourself, beat your own record from day-to-day, and you are a success.”

Wish me luck…

Please note: the related articles are meant to make you think.  They do not necessarily represent my ideas.


Filed under Education, Learning, Lesson Plans

Change Is Good; Learning Is Good

Recently one of our assistant principals observed my teaching.

I remember my first observation.  I worked hard on my delivery of the pre-reading notes.  I use to think it was important for students to see how much I knew about an author or poet.  After all, I did have the book with all of the answers.

Actually, I did not get a teacher’s annotated edition until I was in my 6th year of teaching, and this forced me to think and be creative on my own.  It was a true blessing.  But, I digress.


English: Daguerreotype of the poet Emily Dicki...

English: Daguerreotype of the poet Emily Dickinson, taken circa 1848. (Original is scratched.) From the Todd-Bingham Picture Collection and Family Papers, Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     After my mini-lecture, I read the poem to the class.  It was Emily Dickinson’s Because I Could Not Stop For Death:

Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me;

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away

My labour, and my leisure too,

For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,

Their lessons scarcely done;

We passed the fields of gazing grain,

We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed

A swelling of the ground;

The roof was scarcely visible,

The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries; but each

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the horses’ heads

Were toward eternity.

Then I began to ask questions.  Are there any words you do not know?  What figurative language do you see?  What do you think the theme is?  Etc.

I would pause and wait for answers.  I would repeat or rephrase what the students said.   I would write notes on the board.  I was leading the lesson.  And, I received a great evaluation.

I try not to be the sage on the stage anymore.  I wonder how many of my students that day remember the poem?  While I read the poem, what were they thinking about?  While I asked a question and one student answered it, what were the other students doing?

I have to lead at times.  I know grammar rules better than most of the kids.  However, I do not have to explain what reading selections mean.  If I taught this poem today, I would do it differently.  I would have the students write a journal about what they want to do before they die; they would create a bucket list.  I would have the students get a partner and read the poem to one another.  Next, they would answer questions similar to the ones I asked that day long ago.  After they were finished, we would bring the class together, and I would let the students lead the discussion to see if their analysis of the poem was similar or different.  The final evaluation would be an analysis of a different poem.

I am curious to receive the feedback from our assistant principal.  He observed my warm-up activity of having students copy three vocabulary words and writing a creative sentence with figurative language as the context clue.  While the students do this, I take attendance and talk to students who were absent.

Next, the students used our laptops to write their short stories.  My classroom became a buzz of activity as students shared ideas, read each other’s stories, and asked me questions.  It never became too loud, nor was it silent.  I do wonder what my first principal would have thought of this. I ended with an exit ticket of self-evaluation:  If you had more time, what would you have done differently?  Of course, the students had the next day to continue their writing.

Now to grade those stories…


Filed under Education, Learning, Lesson Plans, Measuring Student Success, Teacher Evaluations, Writing

To Move Or Not To Move

Romeo and Juliet with Friar Laurence

Romeo and Juliet with Friar Laurence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It was a perfect weekly plan for my lessons.   I was going to give a test on Romeo and Juliet this Thursday, Valentine’s Day.  See the irony?  Alas, I was not prepared to be met with students saying, “On Thursday, sir? the time is very short” (4.1.1).  It was as if they knew we were reading Act IV today.  Every student seemed able to quote Friar Lawrence.


It turns out that the history and biology teachers are giving tests on Thursday also.  Thus, I had to contemplate what is best for the kids.  Do I stick to my plan because it is what I want?  Do I give in to kids because they seem to whine?


The truth is that I was not 100% positive I would be ready to give the test on Thursday.  Plus, we could use time to write the outline/rough draft of the essay.  Therefore, it looks like Thursday will still be for love, Friday will be for the tragedy of love.



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Filed under Education, Learning, Lesson Plans, Lessons from students

How do I Differentiate Instruction?

Meeting kids where they are: Differentiating I...

Meeting kids where they are: Differentiating Instruction (Photo credit: Wesley Fryer)

Our school district is collecting data on the idea of removing all honors classes from the junior and senior high schools.  The theory is that teachers can differentiate instruction in the classroom to challenge the students at their different abilities.

I have done this in the past by offering extra credit assignments to students who want to push themselves beyond the curriculum.  For example, while studying oral traditions (folk tales, mythology, etc.)  students can research mythologies from other cultures other than Greek/Roman.  According to the picture above, this seems to be ok.

I have to admit, though, that I am a neophyte on differentiated instruction.  Offering extra credit to challenge students does not seem to be true differentiated instruction.  Some kids prefer to challenge themselves in a different manner than completing extra work in English / Language Arts class.  For example, Tina has an A in class and is the lead in the school musical.  She would rather challenge herself with theater, which is her passion.  She wants to be an actress.

I think I should be grouping the students and assigning them different projects based on previous grades or standardized test scores. I have begun to research and ideas are bouncing around my brain like popcorn in the microwave bag.

I could use some feedback from folks in education and those of you who have other life experiences.

1. What do you think about eliminating honors classes?

2. Do you have any ideas how I may incorporate differentiated instruction in my classroom?


Filed under 21st century skills, Education, Learning, Lesson Plans

Vocabulary Follow Up

Vocabulary - Words Are Important

Vocabulary – Words Are Important (Photo credit: Dr Noah Lott)

After having students work on vocabulary review exercises from a workbook with partners of their own choosing, I gave a quiz.  The 23 point quiz was a matching section of the Latin prefixes and their meanings, fill-in-the-blank, and a synonym section.   Oh, and I gave the quiz on a Monday.

I thought the first section would be easy.  It was just like one in the workbook, and it was the basis for the unit.  Only a handful got it perfect.

The second section had a word bank and students used context clues to write the correct word in the sentence.  I learned that some 9th graders do not know parts of speech very well.  A word that ended in _ed is usually a verb, yet some kids placed it as noun.

The last section I call my Sesame Street Section.  I had four words in a row.  Students circled the one word that was not a synonym.  Sing with me: Which one of these words is not like the others…  Some students had difficulty because they did not know all four words.  It probably would be like me trying to decide what three words are synonyms in German and which is different.

What the students and I learned:

1. Working with friends is fun, but not always productive.  (I will be choosing partners in the future.)

2. If a student lets others do their work, the others do better on the quiz.  (Some people are lazy.)

3. Besides knowing meanings of words, students need to know how they are used in a sentence.  (This is taught, but not always learned or applied by the student.)

4. When asked if they studied for the quiz, about 60% said they did not.  The others studied about 15-30 minutes the night before or in lunch.  (Students need to take ownership of their learning.)

5. Quizzes on Mondays are not a great idea.  (I will avoid them whenever possible.)

I did allow students the opportunity to earn up to 15 points extra credit by taking a Personification Vocabulary Test.  Students would personify one of the vocabulary words from the unit.  The exactly 50 word writing assignment would show the meaning of the personified vocabulary word with context clues.  Students could write three personifications.  It would take effort, but so did preparing for the quiz.  Of course, about 40% of the students chose to do the assignment.  I have to admit that I am disappointed in the lack of effort or care shown.

In the next few weeks, parents will be able to view grades on-line.  I think I can predict how parents will react when they learn Johnny or Janie made a choice to not improve the grade.  I know how I reacted with my own children.


Filed under Education, Learning, Lesson Plans, Lessons from students, Measuring Student Success

The Art of War or The Art of Teaching?

When I teach subject / verb agreement, my old handouts and even older textbook review the rule: certain phrases, like “many a” always have singular verbs.  Of course, one kid always has to ask, “Who says “many a” any way?”

My reply: “Many a person does.  Or, at least they did, last century, when I was in high school.  I have to plan for inquisitive, facetious students who like to question authority.  To be honest, I love those kids.  (I just like them to raise their hands first.)

As many a teacher does during the summer, I have been planning for next year.  I have worked with colleagues on the new CORE curriculum.  I have read new novels and stories, created activities, writing assignments, and quizzes.

I have even mapped out the entire year.  As the great New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once said, “You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”  Thus, I have an idea of where I am going this year.

Like most teachers during their first year of teaching, my plan was to stay a few days ahead of the students.  I succeeded most of the time.  I remember thinking that teaching is similar to preparing for war.  I once said that to a curriculum director for gifted and talented students, and she proceeded to admonish me for thinking schools were battle zones with the teacher and student always in conflict like Muslims and Christians during the Crusades.  She was missing my point and did not stop talking long enough for me to explain.  I guess she was used to lecturing gifted and talented kids and having them sit passively as if she was the sage on the stage.

Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist and author of The Art of War, said, “When one treats people with benevolence, justice, and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.”  Replace army with students and leaders with teachers.  Most teachers are kind and fair.  Most students are well-behaved and courteous.  Of course, every once in a while, there is that one kid who wants to create conflict, like an enemy soldier on the filed of battle.  Sun Tzu describes the best way to handle the disruptive student: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”  One of my old principals gave me similar advice: “Never get in a stink fight with a skunk; you both come away smelling bad.”

Thus, teachers treat their students with respect; after all, we are in the battle to learn together.   In addition, teachers plan, plan, and plan more lessons.  Like the great generals, teachers know, though, that every great plan will change.  For example, prior to a meeting with the Allies Supreme Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General George Patton began to create plans to move The Third Army to help save the valuable crossroads at Bastogne. During the meeting, Ike, hoping to have the Third Army relieve the paratroopers at Bastogne within two weeks was surprised when Patton responded, “As soon as you’re through with me,” Patton claimed.  I can attack the day after tomorrow morning.” He had thought his moves out the night before and had three alternative plans.  All he had to do was telephone a code word to activate his troops.  Later, Patton commented on his plans: “The point I am trying to bring out is that one does not plan and then try to make circumstances fit those plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances.”  He realized that in battle, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

Bradley, Eisenhower, and Patton

Bradley, Eisenhower, and Patton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a classroom, no lesson plan survives contact with all learners.  Students learn different ways and at different rates. Today, creating multiple plans to reach all types of learners is called differentiated instruction.  Many of us still just call it teaching.

So, a kid questions authority or students struggle with a concept.  Do teachers keep to their plan like Generals did in WWI: send the boys over the top, hoping the enemy’s machine guns run out of ammunition?  No.  Teachers adhere to the words of Winston Churchill:  “Those who plan do better than those who do not plan even though they rarely stick to their plan.”  Teachers have back up plans.

Unfortunately, Miss Gifted and Talented Curriculum Creator, did not listen to my use of the word “planning.”  I was not comparing the classroom to a war zone.   I was comparing the amount of time and effort it takes to prepare.  Our good teachers are willing to make decisions quickly.  Good leaders do that.  They have contingency plans and like good sailors, they adjust their sails when the wind changes.

And, now time to go back to planning…


Filed under Education, Goals, Lesson Plans

Winning the War Against Boring, Bad Grammar Lessons

MC Hammer - Club Nokia - May 5, 2012

MC Hammer – Club Nokia – May 5, 2012 (Photo credit: starbright31)

“As M.C. Hammer use to sing, ‘It’s Grammar Time'” I would say as I danced across the front of the room.  Thus would begin any of my lessons on commas, subject / verb agreement, pronoun / antecedent agreement, and any other grammar issue.  Of course, this created a cacophony of “Ughs, Args, and guffaws.”  I could actually hear kids cringe.

Then, I would get out the grammar books with exercises and worksheets and begin the lessons.  We would do a few together, do a few with a study buddy, do a few independently, and then the kids would take a quiz.  We would Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Then, write with the hope the kids would apply these grammar skills.  However, it did not always work.  I will let you in on a secret.  Sometimes teenagers don’t think about what they are doing.

This year I plan on letting the students teach the lessons.  I have not worked out all of the details and hope some of you could give me some ideas.  I could break students into small groups (4-6) and let them teach each other.  I could give individual assessments and reward the group with the highest average with food or extra credit or smiley-face stickers.

Smiley Face

Smiley Face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or, I could have an individual teach a rule to the class.  Or…

I know that I learned grammar best when I taught it.  My dilemma: Is there a best way?  I know there is no one way that works for every student or type of learner.  Therefore, how did you learn writing conventions, grammar rules, etc.?  Thank you for sharing.


Filed under Education, Lesson Plans, Lessons from students, Measuring Student Success

Integrated Learning

In the old days, high school teachers would disappear into their rooms, close the door, and lecture, lecture, lecture.  Today, a few dinosaurs continue this practice, but soon, they, too, will be extinct.  Most of us old teachers have adapted to changes and the fresh-out-of-college younglings are creative, energetic, and inspiring.

So, aside from Mr. T-Rex, our teachers of today have been trying to get kids to think.  Our new national curriculum, or Core Curriculum as the federal government prefers it to be called, does a great job in promoting thinking and collaboration.  Although it is only a matter of time until Old Man Triceratops retires, there are a few Neanderthals who are far from retirement and in need of being dragged into the Twenty-first century.  Thus, we have been mandated a “new” curriculum.

I write “new” because it is not so new in Language Arts.  We do many of the lessons already – teaching reading and writing skills.  The curriculum does offer many ideas for lesson planning, most of which we already use.  Nonetheless, one focus in the new curriculum appears to be integrated learning and teaching to the multiple intelligences of the students.

I was involved in an integrated class in 1993-1995.  For the first year, our district allowed the science teacher, math teacher and myself a common planning period.  During the second year, the district added Spanish I to the integrated team and only the science and math teachers and myself shared a fifteen minute study hall with our students.  Needless to say, the integration of all four subjects for many lessons was either contrived or forced.  In English and Spanish we were able to compare and contrast mythologies and folk tales.  In English class, we could research some scientists or mathematicians.  Or, I would help students write lab reports.

The class was cancelled when our district changed school course offerings and science requirements at the junior and senior high school.  However, I was able to see how integration can work, and I began to develop ideas that would have students utilize multiple intelligences and promote creativity.  I found the projects to be successful when I gave points for creativity (with formats, media, and figurative language) and graded student’s effort,  yet I continued the focus on their writing skills.

This year, though, three of my classes had the opportunity to work with the choir director to create a visual and oral presentation for the 9/11 Remembrance and Veteran’s Day Concert.  I designed assignments to be used with the songs being performed.  I came up with four possibilities students could choose from:

1. Immigration and why people move here.

2. People’s reactions to the 9/11 attack.

3. Explain what happened at the battle of the La Drang Valley during the Vietnam War.

4. Use the novel we read, Sunrise Over Fallujah, to show the effects of the war in Iraq.

I was impressed with the quality of work produced by the kids.  It was difficult to choose four to be part of the choir concert.  The choir performed for the community on a Thursday evening and for the students on a Tuesday morning.

When I was in choir, we stood on the stage and tried to sing louder than the snores of our parents in the audience.  Some of the kids even tried to sing in tune.  Not me.  My philosophy has always been the louder the better.  However, this collaborative effort between my students, the choirs, and a multi-media class produced an entertaining and moving performance.  Several choirs moved around or danced.   Videos, accompanied with music and slide shows with narrations, were used as transitions when the various choirs entered and exited the stage.   The narratives and videos produced a few tears in the audience members as we thought of those who died on 9/11 or in military service.

What did the students learn?  They learned a little about the topics they researched.  They learned that freedom is not free.  They learned that our country is home to people from all over the world who came here to escape persecution or famine and to seize opportunities that seemed to abound in every city and every state.  They learned how words can paint a picture and pictures can stir emotions and songs can soothe the soul.  They learned that no subject is an island to itself.

Any ideas for our next integration project?

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