Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zeitoun Discussion Questions

Watching the award winning documentary: Trouble the Water.

Leading up to Hurricane Katrina

According to the author, was Zeitoun’s decision to remain in New Orleans after a mandatory evacuation order an act of hubris or one of compassion? If both, then which outweighs the other?

In what ways does Zeitoun’s life before and during Katrina challenge or reaffirm the notion of the American Dream? What can we learn about The American Dream from Zeitoun’s experience?

Can one ever fully prepare for a natural disaster such as Katrina? Whose responsibility is it make sure states, cities and homes are prepared for these events?

Katrina Strikes

What happens when organization breaks down? Where do you see examples of poor organization in Zeitoun? Who is in charge? Who should be in charge?

Was Hurricane Katrina a natural or man-made disaster?

New Orleans, LA, August 30, 2005 -- People sit on a roof waiting to be rescued after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is being evacuated as a result of flooding caused by hurricane Katrina. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Immediate Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
FEMA was roundly criticized for how it handled pretty much everything in New Orleans. How do Zeitoun’s experiences relate to these criticisms?

Considering Zeitouns’ experience with authority and the stories we’ve read about Danziger Bridge, Algiers Point, etc. Is there any explanation or justification for the treatment US citizens seem to have received at the hands of police, etc.

What happened in the superdome? What happened in “Camp Greyhound”? What is going on with this super charged human aggression that’s right below the surface?

Are there any universal human rights that are made apparent by this story? Examples: Right to fair trial. Right to phone call. Right to practice any religion. (Note: this question hides another, more basic one: is there such a thing as a universal human right?)

Aftermath and Legacy: Meaning for America

Are the darker parts of this story story more about an innate human aggression or innate human fear?

Based on the book, evaluate how the Qur’an influences Zeitoun’s and Kathy’s understanding of their place in the world and their responsibilities to others. Do their thoughts and actions alter your understanding of Islam?

What principles ought to guide and govern our actions in a diverse/pluralistic society? Is there anything to which we are all accountable?

How does the shadow of 9/11 impact Zeitoun and his family? Is this “shadow” an entirely negative thing?

Given what happens to Zeitoun, do you think he would choose to stay in the city again. Do you think you would stay?

How much, if anything, does a national government owe its citizens in a time of emergency or crisis? Answers might range from “ 24-hour care and protection from cradle to grave” to “very little. Bad things happen and people need to cope”.

How do we feel about Kanye’s claims about inequality in our country?

Controlling the weather has been investigated and attempted throughout history for many reasons. In fact, weather control has been outlawed internationally for war purposes. Should we be research controlling the weather if it means preventing events such as Katrina from striking the United States? How would we weigh the benefits and costs?

Are people displaced by Hurricane Katrina “refugees”? Why would they be upset by this label?

These documentaries, and to some extent Zeitoun, are extremely critical of US government and authority in general. Does the “democracy” of films like these justify the loss of trust and unity that our country feels as a result?

If one believes that human action or choice had something to do with Hurricane Katrina (climate change, slums in New Orleans, a long history of racism), just who is responsible? Does the responsibility extend to those of us disconnected from New Orleans?

“We weren’t American enough for the rest of America”. (Jana Napoli)
“Did all that really happen? Did it happen in the United States?” (Kathy)
“I thought I lived in the United States of America, until a couple of days after Katrina.” (Congressional representative)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Resources for September 11

New Trier Librarians have assembled the "best of the web" for Teaching/Learning about 9/11. Many wonderful resources are available because it is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Librarian Linda Straube shared resources posted by Sue Polanka's blog: "No Shelf Required"
ebrary has developed an open access collection of e-books related to the events of September 11th at Libraries can include that link on their homepage and enable anyone with access to an Internet connection to download and read any or all of 15 full-text e-books throughout September. The selection includes:

Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying, Tom Murphy, AMACOM Books, 2006

11th of September and the International Law of Military Operations
, T.D. Gill, Amsterdam University Press, 2009

War on Terror and American Popular Culture: September 11 and Beyond
, Andrew Schopp & Matthew B. Hill, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009

We Are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant America After 9/11
, Tram Nguyen, Beacon Press, 2006

Protecting What Matters: Technology, Security, and Liberty since 9/11
, Clayton Northouse, Ramon Barquin, & Jane Fishkin, Brookings Institution Press, 2005

Tower Stories: An Oral History of 9/11, Damon DiMarco and Thomas Kean, Santa Monica Press, 2007
After the Terror (Expanded, Revised Edition), Ted Honderich, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004
Discouraging Terrorism: Some Implications of 9/11, Neil J. Smelser, National Research Council Staff, and Faith Mitchell, National Academies Press, 2002

Terrorism: Perspectives from the Behavioral and Social Sciences, National Research Council Staff, National Academies Press, 2002
Internet Under Crisis Conditions: Learning from September 11, Committee on the Internet Under Crisis Conditions, National Academies Press, 2003
Shock of the News: Media Coverage and the Making of 9/11, Brian Monahan, NYU Press, 2010
The Victims of Terrorism: An Assessment of Their Influence and Growing Role in Policy, Legislation, and the Private Sector, Bruce Hoffman, Anna-Britt Kasupski, & Bruce Hoffman, RAND Corporation, 2007
Scapegoats of September 11th: Hate Crimes and State Crimes in the War on Terror, Michael Welch, Rutgers University Press, 2006
Holy Terrors: Thinking about Religion After September 11, Bruce Lincoln, University of Chicago Press, 2008

Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen
, Peter Meyers, University of Chicago Press, 2008

This is a fully-functional site with access to all of ebrary’s research tools at absolutely no cost.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Very Special Street Art Film

"Very thought provoking as art should be........" Is Banksy's film just as self-promotional as MBW's art?
New York Times Review
The Guardian
Sundance Review
The Chicago Sun Times - Roger Ebert
I loved the zany Mr. Brainwash most of all and Banksy's film is so much fun! Now on DVD.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The World Becomes What You Teach

Zoe Weil is the co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), working to create a world in which we all live humanely, sustainably, and peaceably.

I like her idea of developing in students the capacity to become "solutionaries" who can tackle problems to improve the world. I think that IGSS is moving in the direction Weil envisions for all students.

Zoe Weil shares her vision of schooling:

I will be ordering her 2009 book: Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life 
for the New Trier Library collection.  From the Amazon description:

"Weil explores direct ways to become involved with the community, make better choices as consumers, and develop positive messages to live by, showing readers that their simple decisions really can change the world. Inspiring and remarkably inclusive of the interconnected challenges we face today, Most Good, Least Harm is the next step beyond "green" -- a radical new way to empower the individual and motivate positive change."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Creaza: Cool New Tool for Digital Storytelling

Discovered this new tool on Twitter today: Creaza --video editor which works with any camera device
No need to worry about codecs and extensions....

From the website:

Shoot and capture media with your mobile phone or any camera device, and sync it to your private media library in the cloud.
Shape and edit your media clips with professional-looking titles, transitions, effects, animation, music and narration.
Share and collaborate in an online workspace and publish your movies to social networks and video scrapbooks.

This one looks like a winner for classroom projects.   A sharing/collaboration features allows you to invite others in to edit the film. It's all stored in the cloud and even allows for HD - movies can be exported with a resolution up to 1080 pixels. No installation or software is required and all files are safely stored. 

I signed up for the waiting list; it's in Beta right now and will hopefully be getting an invitation to try it soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Happened on the Danziger Bridge? PBS Frontline

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

From Frontline:
"The shootings by police on Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005 have become one of the most infamous moments in the post-Katrina history of New Orleans. Five NOPD officers are now on trial in federal court facing charges stemming from an incident that left two people dead and four seriously wounded.
It was clear and hot that Sunday when a dozen police officers drove onto Danziger Bridge, guns firing. They had been called to the scene after receiving a distress call about a fellow officer under fire. But the only other people on the bridge at that moment were eight individuals, all of whom say they were walking across the bridge in search of food and medicine. None had any weapons, they say. When the police started firing the eight civilians ran and sought cover -- no one returned fire.
Prosecutors say that after the shooting stopped, the police -- realizing a possible "bad shooting" of epic proportions -- almost immediately started fabricating a cover-up. Five officers on the bridge that day have cooperated with federal agents and are expected to testify about creating a seamless narrative of their innocence and planting a fake gun -- in NOPD parlance, a "ham sandwich" -- on the scene.
The Danziger Bridge trial marks one of the U.S. Department of Justice's most significant criminal prosecution of police since the early 1990s. It is also what many in New Orleans hope is a final chapter in the long history of corruption and violence in the NOPD."
Update from Frontline:

Verdict: Five NOPD Officers Guilty in Danziger Bridge Shootings, Cover-Up

A federal jury today found all five Danziger Bridge defendants guilty of the shootings that killed two civilians and seriously wounded four others in the days after Hurricane Katrina. The jury also found the officers guilty of a massive cover-up that lasted nearly five years. Five NOPD officers had previously pleaded guilty in the case.

Read more:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rationale for School Gardens

Not all government resources are wasted! The Library of Congress offers some wonderful resources on School Gardens. These are worth investigating as IGSS students pursue the development of a school garden.

View this webcast by Constance Carter, Head of the Science Reference Section, Library of Congress, explaining the history of the school garden in America and describing reasons why school gardens are making a comeback.

The American Memory Collection has wonderful resources for the history of school gardens:

America From the Great Depression to World War II
Search on school gardens to find images of school gardens and children's victory gardens.
American Landscape and Architectural Design
Images of school and children's gardens in New York, NY.
Garden and Forest (1888-1897)
Search on school gardens to find articles on school gardens.
Juvenile Nature Literature and Nature Pedagogy, c.1850-1920 from The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920
Bibliography of print material documenting the development of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century juvenile nature literature and pedagogy, including what was known as the "nature study" movement in American education.

Additional Information on School Garden programs:

American Horticultural Society: Youth Gardening
An array of resources (see links at left) assembled to help young gardeners, including schoolchildren, by a major national gardening organization.
Chicago Botanic Garden: School Gardening
Information and links about the Chicago Botanic Garden's extensive school gardening program.
Edible Schoolyard
An innovative school gardening program created in collaboration with chef Alice Waters.
Gardens for Learning: Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden
A comprehensive, downloadable guidebook created to support today's school-gardening movement, by the California School Garden Network.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Much Is Left? The Limits of Earth's Resources, Made Interactive

How Much Is Left? The Limits of Earth's Resources, Made Interactive

This Web-only article is a special rich-media presentation of the feature, "How Much Is Left?," which appears in the September 2010 issue of Scientific American. The presentation was created by Zemi media.

How Much is Left?

New Trier Organic Garden