15 January 2011

Charters of the New World

I am missing my middle schoolers as I am now student teaching at the high school. Middle school is just so much fun with all the projects we got to do. One of my favorite projects was the charter/township projects the students did. They created their own charters for the "king" to sign, and they were then able to place a pin on "Marconia" (the imaginary New World, named after the teacher of course—my own will be called Jenonia).
After placing their pin on the map, they then were given a limited amount of supplies to build their townships. As they went through the weeks of building their towns, many scenarios were thrown at them. Some days they had run ins with natives, other days a supply ship arrived in which they had to pay for new supplies. In the end they had to survive the winter by completing trivia questions on the Colonial era. Some towns did not survive, and the lone survivors had to migrate to the next town.
They had to be as realistic as possible with their limited supply of construction paper. It was essential to provide shelter, town meeting houses, churches, livestock, crops, roads, fences, wells, and firewood—otherwise their chances of surviving were slim.There was one instance when I played the part of the native. I went to each town and let them know that they were on my hunting ground. They were given a choice to fight or move and become allies, but if they chose to move, that meant starting all over on their town. Those who became allies received help on their winter survival trivia worksheets (in the weeks ahead), those who decided to fight had to answer a set of three questions. If they did not answer the questions correctly, for each answer that was incorrect they lost 10 inhabitants. The fighting was brutal, but most towns survived. There was only a couple groups in each of the three classes that chose to ally with the natives.
Here are some more examples:The students did such a great job on their towns, even though some did not survive. However, the larger towns did much better when it came to fighting off the British in the Revolutionary War.

02 January 2011

A New Year Means a New Season of Classics

A new season of PBS' Masterpiece Classic begins tonight at 9 p.m. As annual tradition calls, this means a night with my fellow classics fan and dear "schmookums," Heather. The season starts off with "My Boy Jack," which is a WWI drama about the author Rudyard Kipling's only son, who ends up missing on the Western Front during the war. Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe stars as the young Kipling, along side Kim Cattrall who plays his American mother, and Carey Mulligan as the Kipling daughter.

Masterpiece Classic

This winter and spring, Masterpiece classic returns with signature period dramas, hosted by Laura Linney.

  • January 2, 2011
    My Boy Jack
    (One 120-minute episode; TV-PG)
    Daniel Radcliffe stars in a World War I drama about beloved storyteller Rudyard Kipling's only son, missing on the Western front in 1915. David Haig and Kim Cattrall co-star as the famous author and his American wife, Carrie. (Repeat)

  • January 9, 16, 23 & 30, 2011 at 9pm
    Downton Abbey
    (Four 90-minute episodes; TV-PG)
    A stately country house, a noble family and a succession crisis are the backdrop for this epic drama by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) starring Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern and others.

  • February 6, 2011
    The Unseen Alistair Cooke
    (One 60-minute episode; TV-PG)
    Told in his own voice and home movies, The Unseen Alistair Cooke shows America as the beloved Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke saw it — the raw material for a lifetime of journalism. (Repeat)

  • February 13, 20 & 27, 2011 at 9pm
    Any Human Heart
    (Three 90-minute episodes; TV-14, S)
    William Boyd adapts his acclaimed 2002 novel about a man making his often precarious way through the 20th century. Matthew Macfadyen, Gillian Anderson, Hayley Atwell, Kim Cattrall and Jim Broadbent star.

  • March 27, 2011 at 9pm
    The 39 Steps
    (One 90-minute episode)
    Secret agent Richard Hannay battles German spies on the eve of World War I in a riveting and romantic new version of the thriller by John Buchan. Rupert-Penry Jones (Persuasion) stars as Hannay. (Repeat)

  • April 10, 17 & 24, 2011 at 9pm
    Upstairs Downstairs
    (Three 60-minute episodes)
    Upstairs Downstairs is an updated version of one of the most-loved television series. Jean Marsh reprises her Emmy-winning role as Rose along with series co-creator Eileen Atkins (Cranford). Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard and Art Malik (The Jewel in the Crown) also star.

Coming Soon

  • Coming May 1, 8 & 15, 2011
    South Riding
    (Three 60-minute episodes)
    Anna Maxwell Martin (Bleak House) and David Morrissey (Sense & Sensibility) lead the cast in Andrew Davies's (Bleak House, Little Dorrit) three-part adaptation of Winifred Holtby's moving love story.

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