Understanding iGen and connecting with your students

I have noticed a decent amount of media attention focusing on the "Millennial" generation over the past couple of months and it sparked my interest so I decided to do some research on my own.  We do not focus on generational differences in Global Studies, however I felt that the topic could be incorporated as a way to introduce our "Geography and Culture" unit at the beginning of the year.

I am certainly no expert on the matter, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand the stereotypes (positive and negative) of different generations.  Millennials, according to Simon Sinek, are often accused of being entitled, narcissistic, unfocused, and lazy.  While his interview pertaining to Millennials in the workplace is quite enlightening (and hilarious), further research into the matter made me realize the unthinkable...I am a "Millennial"!

How could this be?  I'm far from perfect, but I pride myself on my work ethic and I earn everything I g…

Back to School: 15 Tips for Students, Teachers, and Parents

It's almost that time again.  Time for that loud and persistent alarm clock to wake us up earlier than we want.  Time for hurried breakfasts (if you're lucky!) and coffee to go.  Time to feel rushed, overstretched, and overwhelmed.

The "back to school" season should be a fun and exciting time, but for many students, teachers, and parents it is a rude awakening that the days of summer bliss are over.  While re-acclimating to a school schedule can be a challenge, a little planning goes a long way in easing the stress of a new routine.  Start your year off on the right foot by following these simple tips.


1.  Allow yourself some time to exercise regularly.  Campus Mind Works at the University of Michigan provides a list of mental health benefits that can be attained from maintaining physical activity.

2.  Re-establish a healthy sleeping pattern.  Go to bed and wake up earlier a few days before the first day of school and buy an alarm clock if you don't already…

Poll Entry: Global Studies Curriculum

At the end of this past school year, my colleagues and I met to discuss the possibility of changing our Global Studies curriculum and perhaps removing some content.  Most of us struggled to "fit everything in" at the end of the semester, however we all had a favorite unit/subject that we didn't want to see get taken away.

In an effort to improve our course, please take a minute to answer the polls below.  I am curious to see which areas of our current curriculum (first poll) and possible additions to the curriculum (second poll) garner the most interest.

Poll #1:  Please be sure to select your top three choices.

Which of the following subjects would you most want to learn about in a Global Studies class? (Please select your top three choices)
Geography & Culture Government & Economic Systems World Religions Rise of Dictators (Hitler, Mussolini & Stalin) World War I & World War II Imperialism in Africa, India & China Conflicts in the Middle East Poll Maker

Video Post: The Basics of Islam

Some people are shocked when I tell them religion is one of the units I cover in my Global Studies class.  I often hear; "Are you allowed to teach religion in a public school"?  The answer to that question is "Yes", although there are a few important rules public school teachers should follow when teaching about religion.  

To help those of us in the field of education, the ACLU organized the "Joint Statement of Current Law on Religion in the Public Schools" along with many other organizations across the ideological, religious, and political spectrum.  The statement provides guidelines to assist teachers and administrators navigate some of the "grey areas" when it comes to the separation of church (religion) and state (the school).  The list below highlights some of the helpful rules outlined in the article.

1.   Students may be taught about religion, but public schools may not "teach" religion.  In other words, one religion cannot be t…

Audio Post: Why study Global Studies?

When someone asks me why my class is important I have to decide which reason(s) I want to use.  As a teacher, I obviously feel that my class is necessary, especially for young men and women who have just entered high school.  It has been my experience most students are at least a little interested in learning why things are the way they currently are.  Exposing students to various geographical features, cultures, economic systems, religions, and conflicts helps them understand the world in which they live.

As I've said before, the Global Studies curriculum of my particular school is unique.  Our curriculum covers different themes rather than adhering to a strict chronological order of events.  While conflicts and struggles for freedom across the globe are studied in historical order, we have found that introducing students to different political and economic systems helps their understanding of 20th century conflicts when it is taught prior to the actual fighting.

In any case, I cam…

Image Post: Propaganda during the World Wars

The Global Studies curriculum at my school is quite unique in that we incorporate both World War I and World War II our course.  Students receive a more "in depth" study of the World Wars during their junior year, however we expose them to different themes of the wars to lay a solid foundation for these two monumental events of the 20th century.  One of the themes we explore is the use of propaganda to bolster public support of both wars.  See below for some of my favorite propaganda posters from both World War I and World War II to go over with students.

 "Uncle Sam" called patriotic Americans to arms for the first time during World War I.  Feelings of fervent nationalism (pride in one's country) caused thousands of young men across the United States to join the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) after the Lusitania disaster and the aggressive Zimmerman Telegram.

Public Domain Image via Wikimedia Commons

The "Uncle Sam" poster was modeled after a Britis…

Response to "Digital Natives"

This week I was asked to give my perspective on three readings dealing with generational differences in the areas of learning and use of technology.

The terms "digital native" and "digital immigrant" were conjured up by Marc Prensky in his creatively titled article; Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.  Prensky uses the term "digital native" to refer to a person who has grown up (or is currently growing up) with frequent use of digital technology.  On the other hand, a "digital immigrant" is someone who uses technology, but did not grow up doing so.  He mentions that digital immigrants sometimes revert back to their "old world" ways as they were socialized prior to the digital age.  Prensky asserts that today's educational system is not serving "today's students" in an effective manner.  

"Our students have changed radically.  Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.&…