Week 7 Parent Newsletter – September 25-29, 2006
Mr. Langhorst – 8th Grade American History
South Valley Junior High School

This Week in Class – The Heart of the American Revolutionary War
We are in the middle of our study of the American Revolutionary War. This week we are taking some notes on the war as well as starting to view the movie “The Crossing”. A&E Network created and showed “The Crossing” several years ago. It is an excellent historical view of Washington’s historic crossing of the Delaware River and attack at Trenton. Check out more about “The Crossing” here: Students this week are also working on their Unit 2 project – either a comic book or journal about the Revolutionary War – which is due on October 9th. On Tuesday we will also take a look at the role of music in the Revolutionary War – both as entertainment and as a means to communicate in the field with the military.

Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum
This past week I attended the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum in Redmond, Washington with fellow South Valley Jr High 8th grade American History teacher Erin Garvey. We were one of the 27 learning teams selected to attend from 17 different states. We were one of only 3 teams to represent the Midwest – there was also a team from Illinois and Michigan. The major theme of the forum was collaboration. We were divided into learning teams and introduced to a specific learning strategy called “Expeditionary Learning”. In this exercise a learning group is given mystery texts to introduce a theme or place. My group was given information about a market and we soon discovered that we were on our way to explore Pike Market in Seattle – the place where the guys throw fish in the market. We were able to explore the market for a couple of hours taking pictures with digital cameras and recording audio with a digital recorder. We then returned to the Microsoft Corporate Campus and had about an hour to create a 10 minute presentation that we would offer to other participants the next day. We use a program named PhotoStory which allows you to use digital pictures in a slideshow format. You can check out my group’s video at:
www.liberty.k12.mo.us/~elanghorst/pikemarket.wmv We also attended an awards dinner on Thursday night and listened to a keynote address by Tom Carroll on Friday. I have included some podcasts and pictures from the forum at my pocast site. You can check it out at: www.speakingofhistory.blogspot.com It was a great learning experience and Erin and I brought back some great ideas that we can use in our classrooms.

Conference Reminder
Just a reminder that conferences are coming up in a couple of weeks. Mark down October 9th from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM and October 12th from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. See you then. Thanks.

Site of the Week – Front Pages from Around the World
The featured site this week is for all of you that love media and the news. This site allows you to check out the front pages of over 520 newspapers from around the United States and over 50 countries. This is a great tool for teachers who incorporate current events in their class but it is also great to look at for fun. You can click on any page to see an enlarged color version of the front page. It is also possible to view the front pages from around the world on recent historical dates – such as 9/11 or the day the Shuttle exploded in 2003. Check it out at:

Have a great week and let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.

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