Friday, October 31, 2008

"The Age of Exploration and Discovery" Pre-Evaluation

This pre-evaluation is intended to test what you already know about the Age of Exploration and Discovery." Click here to open the test. Answer the questions to the best of your ability (If you want to go on line to find the correct answer, bye-all-means, please do!). Click here for the answers after you have completed the pre-test.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some comments from Mr. Filzen...

First of all, I am encouraged by the number of you who have visited our blog site recently. That’s great because it gives us an opportunity to continue learning outside of the classroom, and it motivates me to put more cool “stuff” on the blog.

Sergey, use jfilzen as your sign in to the video and Groton as the password when trying to access a video. This should resolve the problem! Please let me know if it doesn’t. To those of you who do not sign your name at the end of your entry... I have no way of knowing who you are, so I cannot respond personally to your comments. Sheldon, I am glad you are enjoying our current unit of study. I have enjoyed your comments in class as well. Ms. Bassett, thank you for your participation in this “conversation. I will ask my “southern friend (Floyd lives in Virginia. You met him at the Glennwood...) if he knows of any books on the Civil War that are written from a southern perspective. I’m sure he does. To any parents, friends, etc. who have visited our blog... Thank you and feel free to post a comment.

This blog is a new endeavor for me, and I am learning as I go. I am trying to disprove the saying that “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks...”

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This entry is primarily, but not exclusively, for our 8th grade classes. I hope you enjoy your time spent here!

We have been studying the American Civil War (1861-1865). There are many complicated issues surrounding this war. The casualties resulting from this epic war exceed 660,000. This, to me, is a staggering figure. It makes me ask “What issues were so important to government leaders and citizens of that time that they would allocate so many human and material resources to that struggle?” As residents of a Northern state, a state that was also on the “winning” side of this conflict, it is not uncommon for our students to align themselves with the Union cause while criticizing the Confederate cause in the process. After all, the Southern states seceded and fired on Ft. Sumter (Charleston, SC), and Lincoln was only fulfilling his oath to “...preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution....” ...oh yea! ...and the South had slaves! A closer look at some of these issues may, however, reveal some information to get you questioning where you stand on the issue of southern secession and the Civil War in general. I hope so.

When South Carolina and the other southern states seceded following Lincoln’s election, they based their actions on the belief that their “states rights” were being lost to the more populous, and soon to be more numerous Northern states. They were concerned that the North was controlling legislation in Congress and using this power to enhance northern interests at the expense of the “South.” If things continued as they were, the northern states would not only control Congress, but it would be almost impossible for a southern candidate to be elected to the Presidency. Given that, Supreme Court judges would all be Republican appointees, thus jeopardizing the system of “Checks and Balances” that was so carefully integrated into the U.S. Constitution by the “Founding Fathers.”

The North denied these southern accusations, and, eventually, the wealthy men who controlled southern politics convinced southern citizens to secede. The Confederate States of America was formed with Jefferson Davis elected as the first President.

The following links (Morill Act,Homestead Act 1862, Contract Labor Law )contain information concerning some of the legislation that was passed during the Civil War and shortly after. There was no longer any southern opposition in Congress, so these laws were passed without much resistance. Read through them. Think about what you are reading and ask yourself if the South had legitimate reasons to withdraw from the Union.

Also, read this site on the New York City Draft Riots of 1863. ...I thought northerners were for emancipation and granting civil rights to all people regardless of color?!! Once you have done this, please answer the "Secession-Draft Riots" survey that is found in my Wikispaces folder.