Sunday, August 29, 2010

Progressing through the open door

With the first week of our journey done, the door is now open to what lies ahead. For seventh grade, this analysis will turn inward with the Trace Fossil Writing Task. Starting this week, the idea of being able to fully identify conditions and properties of trace fossils will occupy the time, vocabulary, and expression of our students. In a similar manner, the eighth grade students will investigate learning styles and how individual psychology impacts student learning. This will lead to the start of our unit on the Constitution.

Students generated a great deal of questions about the course. I thought I would take some time here to address the ones that were the most commonly asked. Obviously, for students who wish to have detailed answers to their individual questions, they are encouraged to ask during class or come in during lunch for a personalized response, if they wish. Before I start, I need to commend one of you out there for catching some of the deliberate typographical errors on the course description. As true to my word, you earned extra credit for it. You caught two mistakes, but there are more. Congrats!

Seventh Grade Commonly Asked Questions

1. Do you like poetry?
I was quite surprised with how many questions related to such a topic. I confess that I have a fondness for poetry, but I use it in my class as a way to reflect the idea that scholars can use different tools for different jobs. When Nietzsche argues that "Truth is a mobile army of metaphors," it means that we are able to find different concepts to help illuminate our ideas. Poetry is a part of this. For those of you who caught the extra credit of the poets used or paraphrased, nice work.

2. What "pain" in American History?
This was something that about five of you pointed out as a question to ask. There is much in way of pain in American History. Anytime one studies the history of a democracy, there is going to be moments where pain is evident because of heterogeneous beliefs and value systems that collide with one another. The pain of moments such as slavery, subjugation, negation of voice, as well as instances where fear and paranoia caused us to embrace "the lesser angels of our nature" represent this pain. Some might also assert that studying history, in general, can constitute pain. I'd be willing to live with either one.

3. Are we going to be mostly doing projects, tests, or homework?
Short answer: Yes. There were many questions that really sought to identify what we are going to be doing in terms of assessment. The only way I can answer this is to suggest that we strive to embrace as many assessment options and assessments as possible.

4. Contact information.
My email is , and as for my home number, I believe I gave this out in some classes and will make sure that all classes have it by Monday. With parental permission, students can email me or contact me at home if they have questions or are having challenges with an assignment.

5. Do you really make 500 mistakes a day?
Yes. I think it's your job to catch each one and call it out in order to earn more credit.

Eighth Grade Commonly Asked Questions
1. Why the Constitution?
This one appeared quite a bit. The Constitution and its exam are a state mandate. The idea is that before you walk out of Julian, you will have exposure to the Constitution and pass an assessment on it demonstrating competency in it. On a more personal level, I think that the Constitution is the structure by which we can use to analyze modern American History. It's almost as if the Constitution is an idyll and we are able to assess how America echoes or strays from it.

2. Do we lose points on any extra credit tasks if we get it wrong?
No. Extra credit is only meant to help, not hurt (If only the rest of life were like that!)

3. Do you hand out notes with your lectures?
For the most part, yes. I think that you should always be prepared to receive some supplement that you can use while a lecture is ongoing. You can also use the blog, with the links to the left, that can have hard copies of all of the notes and lectures delivered.

4. Do you give pop quizzes?
No, I am not an advocate of them. I will announce all assessment dates and deadlines in advance. If all is well, there should not be surprising or "Gotcha!" moments.

5. Can we revise anything?
Yes, you can. In the first trimester, anything can be revised. In the second trimester, anything except homework can be revised, while revisions disappear in the third trimester.

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at school or at home. I look forward to seeing you all at Curriculum Night on September 15.

All best.
Mr. Kannan


  1. The article can help identify an object in your life that has historical value because the article tells and shows what a trace fossil is or can be. Henry Harper

  2. mr kannan its cullen i said a chair for one of mine because it has arms and legs just like a human bieng!

  3. The article, "Teaching American History with Teddy's Bear" can help in identifying objects in your life with historical value. The article shows how the Teddy Bear was created, when people were making fun of Teddy Roosevelt. The Teddy Bear gained historical value through Teddy Roosevelt and that time period. The article can help you think of objects in your life similar to the Teddy Bear and its historical significance. For example, if an object in your life is so meaningful that you think that that significance will last for a long time it would be a perfect example of historical value.
    -A.S. Period 2

  4. The article gave me an example of how much more historical value the Teddy Bear had than someone would think. The article helps me identify my piano, which was passed on to me by my grandmother and is 80 years old and was used by my aunts and uncles over the years.
    Naomi G

  5. Greetings Mr. Kannan!!! I sure hope this is the place to post a comment for extra credit if not. Oh well!
    To answer your question the teddy bear article helps me to identify things in my life as trace fossils because it gives me a clear understanding of what a trace fossil can be or what it mean. For an example tells me that the teddy bear is not just a toy, it tells a story of our country's masculine versus feminine beliefs at the time.

    Ben E. First period

  6. its daniel K., period 1. the article that we read can help me to find a trace fossil of me because how there is teddys bear for me its tiolet paper because i collected tiolet paper as a weapen vs houses so everyone one knew that when they see toilet paper you have to hide it from me because it is my weapon. that is why the article helped me.

  7. The teddy bear was used to make fun of Theodore Roosevelt. It served as a historical object that changed people's opinion of it; it told a story. This is an example of a trace fossil because it was important in shaping people. It helps people like me understand that this trace fossil, and lots of others, shape people. Since this historic bear is a trace fossil, it's a lot easier now to find things that are historic to us. Understanding that this bear shaped peoples opinions, we can easily know what objects carve our opinions.

    ~Hannah M.
    Period 2

  8. From Sam L., Tess W., Katie W.:
    The Teddy's Bear article helps us because the teddy bear was important in history. It was important in history because at first, it was insulting to Teddy Roosevelt but then, kids started to think that the bear was cute. The bear represented that boys should play nicer wiht others and that girls are not so fragile and weak. The article helps because the teddy bear was important in history and trace fossils are important in all of our lives.

  9. My answer to Extra credit problem-

    It can help because, it shows us an example of a trace fossil and shows us a window to the past.

    -Parker G., period 1

  10. 7th grade hw- I think the article helped us with the object of my life by telling us what trace fossils are.They are objects that only you know the history of.
    Ingrid L., p. 1

  11. Jaylin G., period 2, says:
    The article can help you identify specific objects in your life with historical value, because it tells you that it is something you care about or don't care enough for you to say something about it.

  12. The article we read helped us identify objects in our life that have historical value by showing us an example of a trace fossil and telling us in detail about it. The Teddy Bear has a story behind it, which makes it a trace fossil.
    W.G. period 1

  13. The article we read helps us identify objects in our life by showing us an example of a trace fossil. The teddy bear was an object that had a story, which is a trace fossil.
    W.G. Period 1

  14. The article can help us identify objects in our life by helping us understand what a trace fossil is and making us think of a common object as a trace fossil.
    Bobby Halvorson

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. it can help because we can see that if there is that much history behind our well-known and loved teddy bear, there must be so much history behind objects in our life.
    - M.Y. Period 2

  17. It can help because we can see how much history a trace fossil can have behind it. It also helps us understand what the definition of a trace fossil is because there isn't just one definition for one.
    -Julia Barcia, your favorite.

  18. The article helped us to identify trace fossils by giving us information about what a trace fossil is and how other common things can be trace fossils, like the common teddy bear.
    -Bonnie Breyer, per. 2

  19. The article can help identify objects in our own lives with historical value, because it gave you an example of an object with a story behind it. This can help give you ideas of what might be important to you a has a story or value to it.
    Ally Period 2

  20. Teddy's bear question response: The article helps define how Teddy's bear is an example of a trace fossil. Teddy's bear has historical meaning and its own complicated back story. Because Teddy's bear is such a big part of American culture, it makes me think about things that are important to me in my life.

    - Grace R. 2nd period

  21. The "Teddy bear" article can help us identify a object in our life that have historical value because it helps us relize that anything can have historical value no matter what you might think when you first see it. Such as the fact that if I just saw some Teddy bear I wouldn't think much of it, I would never think that maybe it was a insaut to someone aspecially not a cute little bear. I ve learned that sometimes you have to dig a little bit deeper than you might think.

    Julia B second period

  22. Lernard mcdonal 2nd period I have an reflection to an teddy bear when i was an baby and my mom use to give me teddy bears when i was sleep and born thats how i think its related to american culture

  23. I received this from a student who had already posted a comment. I love the fact that scholarship does not know an exact end and is one where individuals constantly assess and reassess their beliefs. Good for you, kid!
    I thought about the Extra Credit some more, so I'm revising my answer and e-mailing it to you: This article can help me see personal items as having historical value by telling me that objects are not all they appear to be and they have a story of their own. That story comes from, the time, the place, and the people involved in the creation and use of the object. B.H 1st period

  24. The Teddy's Bear article can help me identify specific objects in my life with historical value by telling me that some objects can have more personal meaning to one group of people than another. And all trace fossils have a distinct story that reveals something about our past.

    ~ Mardy Hillengas 1st period

  25. says that crocs are a bettter trace fossil than any teddy bear ever could be...

  26. christian and dannyOctober 6, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    this video helped me improve my study habits

  27. thanks for the help i think i learned alot about how to study better for class & tests no we hope we both do better