Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chasing Ice: Must See Documentary

At his lecture this week, Bill McKibben advised everyone to go see the new National Geographic Documentary:  Chasing Ice

Summary from Variety review:
The case for climate change is mounted in visually breathtaking yet conventional fashion in "Chasing Ice." Following the exhaustive efforts of photographer-scientist James Balog to capture irrefutable evidence of the world's glaciers in retreat, first-time helmer Jeff Orlowski's documentary supplies a heroic human-interest angle on global warming that's ultimately less remarkable than the grandeur of its arctic imagery. Emphasis on the picture's must-see time-lapse visuals could help National Geographic's Sundance pickup overcome the usual theatrical-docu hurdles before edutainment/ancillary payoff.

"Chasing Ice's" raison d'etre is easily the stunning EIS photography of glaciers receding worldwide; the painstakingly captured images are presented in time-lapse montages that proceed with a slight jerkiness, showing the gradual but inexorable reduction of enormous ice blankets into mere patches of white. Graphs, diagrams and other visual aids comparing glacier sizes from one year to the next are deftly deployed, lending credence to the alarming revelation that there has been as much glacier reduction in the past decade as in the preceding century."

Watch the trailer:

Currently playing in Evanston and at the Music Box Theater.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Worldview 11.28.12 Interview with Bill McKibben, founder of

I attended his speech on his 21 city tour "Do the Math" in Chicago tonight. Most of his program is encapsulated in this podcast which aired today on Jerome McDonnell's Worldview program.

Listen to this program explaining how serious the Climate Change issue is:
Worldview 11.28.12

He's the author of Eaarth  and a new title the New Trier Library will purchase:


Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Gas Station Crisis Sees Solution From New Jersey High School Students

Librarian Linda Straube brought this Huffington Post story to my attention because she immediately thought of IGSS students who would be likely to participate in a project like this:
Hurricane Sandy Gas Station Crisis Sees Solution From New Jersey High School Students via kwout

Click to read about how high school members of IMSOCIO, a youth community mapping initiative to empower communities, who launched a crowdsourced map that locates about 100 open gas stations in the New York-New Jersey area. Stations are identified by green, red or yellow pins -- each representing an open, sold out or charging station. An impressive amount of work done by students who care about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on their region! Franklin High School students are receiving constant emails and Tweets supporting their gas station map project; this public support is facilitating their real-time updates. The IMSOCIO team is also taking tips via Twitter. You can send them support by following their project @IMSOCIO2012 on Twitter.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thinking Differently About Learning

I recently read Will Richardson's new book (available only as a Kindle single) titled:

Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere

It definitely speaks to issues of how definitions of learning and literacy are changing.

It highlights how students are now learning from "strangers" across the globe. On yesterday's NY Times Learning blog, Richardson is a guest blogger who shares a describing a digital history textbook created by students, a project begun in two Ohio middle schools, but continued “with help from others around the globe.”

Richardson writes about Twitter as main source for thinking and learning about education. Like Richardson, I use Twitter as the key part of my own personal learning network.

At the recent ISLMA Conference, keynote speaker and Librarian Joyce Valenza, (PhD) stated that she has learned more from strangers in the past two years than she has learned in all years previously.

I would like all IGSSers to connect with others via Twitter to enhance the learning on the CREATE projects.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We're Reading Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

Good Reads provides some of favorite quotes from Vonnegut's work:
The Sirens of Titan Quotes :
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

“I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”

“The bounties of space, of infinite outwardness, were three: empty heroics, low comedy, and pointless death.”

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.”

“The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody would be to not be used for anything by anybody. Thank you for using me, even though I didn't want to be used by anybody.”

“Mankind flung its advance agents ever outward, ever outward. Eventually it flung them out into space, into the colorless, tasteless, weightless sea of outwardness without end."

“Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules — and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress.”

“The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart.”

“His response was to fight it with the only weapons at hand—passive resistance and open displays of contempt.”

“Oh Lord Most High, Creator of the Cosmos, Spinner of Galaxies, Soul of Electromagnetic Waves, Inhaler and Exhaler of Inconceivable Volumes of Vacuum, Spitter of Fire and Rock, Trifler with Millennia — what could we do for Thee that Thou couldst not do for Thyself one octillion times better? Nothing. What could we do or say that could possibly interest Thee? Nothing. Oh, Mankind, rejoice in the apathy of our Creator, for it makes us free and truthful and dignified at last. No longer can a fool point to a ridiculous accident of good luck and say, 'Somebody up there likes me.' And no longer can a tyrant say, 'God wants this or that to happen, and anyone who doesn't help this or that to happen is against God.' O Lord Most High, what a glorious weapon is Thy Apathy, for we have unsheathed it, have thrust and slashed mightily with it, and the claptrap that has so often enslaved us or driven us into the madhouse lies slain!" -The prayer of the Reverend C. Horner Redwine”

“Mr. Constant," he said, "right now you’re as easy for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to watch as a man on a street corner selling apples and pears. But just imagine how hard you would be to watch if you had a whole office building jammed to the rafters with industrial bureaucrats—men who lose things and use the wrong forms and create new forms and demand everything in quintuplicate, and who understand perhaps a third of what is said to them; who habitually give misleading answers in order to gain time in which to think, who make decisions only when forced to, and who then cover their tracks; who make perfectly honest mistakes in addition and subtraction, who call meetings whenever they feel lonely, who write memos whenever they feel unloved; men who never throw anything away unless they think it could get them fired. A single industrial bureaucrat, if he is sufficiently vital and nervous, should be able to create a ton of meaningless papers a year for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to examine.”

“When you get right down to it, everybody's having a perfectly lousy time of it, and I mean everyone. And the hell of it is, nothing seems to help much.”

“Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself.”

“. . . but the Universe is an awfully big place. There is room enough for an awful lot of people to be right about things and still not agree.”

“The Earthlings behaved at all times as though there were a big eye in the sky—as though that big eye were ravenous for entertainment.”

“I found me a place where I can do good without doing any harm, and I can see I'm doing good, and them I'm doing good for know I'm doing it, and they love me, Unk,as best they can. I found me a home.”

“Now, you can say your Daddy is right and the other little child's Daddy is wrong, but the universe is an awfully big place. There is room enough for an awful lot of people to be right about things and still not agree.”

"All living things were brothers, and all dead things were even more so.”

Discussion question: What is fate?

Do events happen for a reason?
Do you have to have faith to believe in Fate?
How is fate comforting?  Can it be a crutch?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Senior Excursion- Ai WeiWei - Never Sorry

Ai Weiwei (@aiww) uses Twitter to report on social injustics and inequalities. Ai Wei Wei is the most famous international artists in China and an outspoken critic of government policies.  Never Sorry is the "story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics".

Follow Ai WeiWei on his English Twitter feed:

Social Media is the Next Phase of Humanity

Listen to Deepok Chopra explain how

Social Media is the Next Phase of Humanity [VIDEO]
“What drones can’t do, what the armies can’t do, what the weapons can’t do, what the weapons of mass destruction can’t do, what biological warfare can’t do — we can do through technology to heal the world,” [Chopra]

SEE ALSO: Deepak Chopra: Spirituality in The Age of Social Media

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Helpful films as you brainstorm your CREATE project

Check out these online films - 

Films For Action Presents: The Top 100 Documentaries Inspiring the Shift to a Sustainable Paradigm   

"Films For Action uses the power of film to raise awareness of important social, environmental, and media-related issues not covered by the mainstream news. Our goal is to provide citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society."

This website has cataloged over 1155 best films and videos that can be watched free online.

One of these may inspire you to action this year.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Student Collaboration: Remembering 9/11

9/11 a Message of Remembrance, Hope, and Peace: This collaboration involved 5 schools BCLUW, Sioux Central, Waukon, Van Meter, and Western Plains.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

“The greening of America starts first with the pocket, then with the heart and then with the mind.”

Watch this inspiring TED TALK from educator Stephen Ritz:
"Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx teacher/administrator who believes that students shouldn't have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one. Moving generations of students into spheres of personal and academic successes they have never imagined while reclaiming and rebuilding the Bronx, Stephen’s extended student and community family have grown over 25,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance.
His Bronx classroom features the first indoor edible wall in NYC DOE which routinely generates enough produce to feed 450 students healthy meals and trains the youngest nationally certified workforce in America. His students, traveling from Boston to Rockefeller Center to the Hamptons, earn living wage en route to graduation."

Do you think IGSS students would be interested in creating an indoor edible wall at NT?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another cool tool for IGSSers

Just discovered 
"Draw It" which is an online collaborative whiteboard.  We use whiteboards in class several times per week so I thought this might work well for IGSS.

No registration required and no plugs-ins necessary.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

On School Reform

What’s a Readlist? A group of web pages—articles, recipes, course materials, anything—bundled into an e-book you can send to your Kindle, iPad, or iPhone. No login necessary.
Quick and easy to do. The tools keep getting easier and the possibilities are endless.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chicago International Social Change Film Festival

Margot introduced students to the possibility of joining the Student Advisory Board for Chicago International Social Change Film Festival (CISCFF)

Consider submitting your ETC film!  Click here.

find out more from

When you visit the website, make sure to:

Like CISCFF High School Program on Facebook

Follow them on Twitter:!/CISCFFyouth

Follow the blog:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Congo Benefit Project

We are currently seniors in the Integrated Global Studies School program at New Trier High School and as part of our end of the year project; we will be hosting an event on May 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm to raise awareness about the issue of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All proceeds will go to the non-profit organization, COPERMA, which is based in the Congo and directly benefits the victims.
From the COPERMA website:
"Out of the city of Butembo in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, COPERMA (an organization of farmer-businessmen organized for the betterment of society), has established several support centers to help young victims of the on-going war.  Most of the victims are young girls who have suffered the horror of rape;  many, as young as twelve, and have had a baby as a result. They are frequently rejected by their families and society, or are orphaned as a result of the violence, and are left to fend for themselves.  The children are refused access to basic education and are exposed to further exploitation by society and poverty."

 For this event, guest blogger for the New York Times, rape crisis counselor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaker and activist, Amy Ernst, will join us at New Trier High School to give a presentation on the current crisis in the Congo. After her presentation, there will be time for a Q&A session with Ms. Ernst.

In addition to Ms. Ernst’s presentation, we will also hold a screening of the documentary, The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, which examines the debilitating situation in the country.

Along with our guest speaker and screening of the film, we will be providing beverages and hors d’oeuvres and there will be additional merchandise for purchase.

We recommend a $10 donation to benefit women and girls in the Congo.

Again, this event is taking place at New Trier High School (East Campus) in the EPI Center at 7:00 pm.

To read more about the issue, visit Amy Ernst’s blog, or

Don't miss this unique opportunity.

Thank you,

Ellen Naughton & Nora Grubb
Seniors, Integrated Global Studies School

For more information or questions, email us at

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Relationship School

read: the op-ed piece by David Brooks
Published: March 22, 2012
The New American Academy in Brooklyn is an exciting experiment in education reform that centers everything around the teacher-student relationship.
The New American Academy has many structural similarities to the IGSS program.  What is super interesting is to read the comments following the article.  So many nay-sayers out there who seem fearful of giving educational innovation a chance, or just think we've been there and done that. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Simple Life: Three students of New Trier's Integrated Global Studies School on a quest to live simply.

Click here to enjoy the V-log of our 3 IGSS seniors experimenting with simplifying their life.

They are finding it hard to live a simple life.

Molly has been so unplugged from technology that she came to me for enjoyable reads to fill up all her new found free time. I gave her 2 books to "read over Spring break" but she finished them both prior to the start of Spring Break. She will be devouring many more.

Great Project!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Definitive History of the Occupy Movement

NEW! Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Mar 21, 2012

Fault Lines tells the definitive history of Occupy Wall Street from its early days through the movement's rapid spread up to the brutal crackdown by state authorities.

This is extremely well done and worth the 24 minutes viewing time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Classics Academy

Another high school's approach to integrated curriculum and student's shaping curriculum:

"The Morristown High School Classics Academy program offers a unique, cross-curricular experience for seniors who wish to explore the deeply-seeded connections of ancient Greece and Rome both to western intellectual history and, more personally, to their own lives. Through the study of classical literature, history, mathematics, art, religion and philosophy, students learn to produce and consume new knowledge while synthesizing complex understandings of the human experience. Academy students conclude this year-long program by composing a final project that is presented and exhibited at the end of the year. " from YouTube

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA and PIPA explained by Clay Shirky

Shirky summarizes the evolution of online content law leading up to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its sister bill, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). He tells how the two controversial bills were preceded by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and Audio Home Recording Act of 1992.

Shirky not only explains what SOPA and PIPA want to do, but also serves as a call to action for opponents of the legislation to preserve their ability to share, remix, and discuss.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Outsider Art: Just Watched the Documentary "Marwencol"

documentary storyline from IMDB:

"Marwencol" is a documentary about the fantasy world of Mark Hogancamp. After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar, Mark builds a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard. Mark populates the town he dubs "Marwencol" with dolls representing his friends and family and creates life-like photographs detailing the town's many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helps Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds of the attack. When Mark and his photographs are discovered, a prestigious New York gallery sets up an art show. Suddenly Mark's homemade therapy is deemed "art", forcing him to choose between the safety of his fantasy life in Marwencol and the real world that he's avoided since the attack.


New Trier Organic Garden