All posts tagged: Social Studies

Wounded Knee Anniversary, Precise language, and Perspectives that don’t matter.

Today marks the 130th anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee where 20 U.S. troopers received the medal of honor for the slaughter of over 250 unarmed men, women, and children. To put history in context, this atrocity still holds active consequences today in the gold mines still operating in the Paha Sapa (Black Hills). In fact, if you’re feeling up to it, you can join the thousands of others who have stolen from indigenous lands and pan for gold yourself. This got me thinking and writing, and I came across some realizations I wanted to talk about. First, that the use of precise language is important in how we teach history. The second is that the use of the word perspective is a terrible argument in defense of atrocious behaviors and quickly falls apart when used in today’s context. The Third is that treaties matter, no matter how old they are, and to say otherwise is nonsense. Precision Language in Social Studies The Massacre at Wounded Knee was not an isolated incident. It was …

War Culture

I have a memory that occasionally floats its way back to the front of my thoughts. Today, as I looked at the news of the two mass murders, acts of terrorism, I couldn’t help snapping back to the summer of 2008. I don’t remember exactly what we were doing or why, but I do remember that we were on a patrol. I was in the turret of one of our vehicles. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of sitting behind a machine gun and chain smoking your boredom away, I can tell you that the mundane action of patrolling Iraq is a great way of freeing up mental space for random thoughts and philosophical discussions between vehicles on the radio.  One day, as I sat there turning the turret back and forth in my section of coverage, I noticed something that had never really crossed my mind before. Just on the other side of the road passed a convoy of Iraqi police trucks, filled with officers sitting in the bed of …

Data Matters

These past two weeks have been a bit hectic trying to keep up with all the work that I have to do. I spend the majority of my time right now putting out fires that have been started by the education system itself. I don’t blame the teachers for not having the materials to differentiate their readings. I blame the systems in place that only make materials for the majority and completely leave minority students in the dark. It’s kind of like if your dad went out to buy a family van but bought a motorcycle instead, so now you get to walk to school instead of riding in comfort. Basically, my problem is that I have a decent number of students who cannot access the text due to their low reading level, low level of English comprehension in both listening and reading, and combining all that with the fact that these classes are text heavy. So if you have any more ideas for me, please send them my way because right now I am drowning trying …