The following video and Voicethreads document our day at Gettysburg on May 4, 2010.

Hershey Invades Gettysburg–May 4, 2010 from Mr. Titzel on Vimeo.

Period 5:

Period 3:

Period 2:

Period 1:

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Beginning Wednesday April 21, my four American Cultures classes will participate in a simulated trial of John Brown to think and debate about issues surrounding John Brown’s use of violence to try and end the institution of slavery. The students will be debating the following issues:

  • Was John Brown insane?
  • Could slavery have been abolished peacefully?
  • Is violence committed for a righteous cause right?

We will attempt to stream the four trials live through Ustream embedded in Coveritlive.  The jurors have been given the instructions to chat during the trial on Coveritlive.  Visitors may contribute, but please use a name as no anonymous postings will be accepted.  Here are the tentative times for the trial:

Wednesday (4/21/10)

Period 1–9:50-10:10

Period 2–10:30-10:50

Period 3–12:25-12:35

Period 5–12:55-1:05

Thursday (4/22/10)

Period 5–9:40-10:10

Period 3–10:20-10:50

Period 2–12:15-12:35

Period 1–12:45-1:05

Friday (4/23/10)

Period 1–8:10-8:50

Period 2–9:25-10:05

Period 3–11:00-11:35

Period 5–12:15-12:55 Read the rest of this entry »

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A major resource for our study of the American Civil War will be actual photographs that were taken during the War.  The Civil War generation was the first generation to experience photography.   Imagine being alive during this time and being the first generation in human history to see real images copied on to tin or glass (later it would be copy on to paper).  For the first time you would be able to keep an image of you and your loved ones with you.  And for the first time you would be able to see the devastation caused by war.  Imagine how photography would change your perceptions of the world around you?

View this short video from a recent TED conference.  The speaker talks about the impact that historical photos have had on the world. Do you agree that photos can change the world?

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The Civil War Survivorman.  Follow Harrisburg’s National Civil War Museum’s curator Brett Kelley as he lives as a Civil War soldier in the dead of winter.

Follow Brett Kelley:


Twitter: cwsoldier24_7

Facebook: The National Civil War Museum

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What's Changed This Decade
Source: Online Education

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Constitution Video, Part 1 from Mr. Titzel on Vimeo.

Constitution Video, Part 2 from Mr. Titzel on Vimeo.

Making of the Constitution Video from Mr. Titzel on Vimeo.

Simplifying complicated concepts is an essential communication skill.  With the advent of cheap video cameras, like the FlipCam that we use in class, and video hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo, a whole new way of communicating is within reach of the masses.  This new reality is changing what literacy means in the 21st century.  To be fully literate in this new reality is to be able to use an interplay of images, music, and words to not only explain things in a new way but to also construct new meaning out of old knowledge.  The ability to create these new mashups of media has become the new way to communicate in an age of accessible media hosting and creation tools.

The ability to master the creation of a media mashup in the current age of media saturation is equivilent to mastering the well crafted letter or written essay in the not so distant past.  The importance of communicating through the written word is still essential; however, when the well crafted phrase is combined with an appropriate image and music the idea being communicated has gone from black and white to technicolor.  The reality is more people will understand and be effected by the media mashup because it appeals to more of our senses and a greater portion of our brains than just reading words on a page or screen.

So, why don’t we all challenge ourselves to think about how we can change how we do school.  Instead of thinking of that written essay, letter, or summary–how about thinking about how we can turn that writing into a Voicethread essay, music video letter, or video summary (like our Constitution VIdeo)?

Please check out Common Craft and their Electing a U.S. President in Plain English as superb examples of how well crafted words and images can be mashed up to effectively explain complicated concepts.

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Seven score and six years ago Abraham Lincoln reminded us that our nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are created equal.

When Lincoln uttered these immortal words we were engaged in a deadly Civil War, testing whether a nation dedicated to freedom and equality can long survive. More importantly, Lincoln’s words hovered over the newly dug graves of those brave Americans who gave their lives at Gettysburg so that our American dream of freedom and equality would live.  It was altogether fitting and proper that Lincoln spoke about the meaning of the sacrifice of those brave Americans.

However, in a larger sense, Lincoln’s words would mean nothing today if it were not for the brave men, living and dead, who have struggled for the survival of our nation in the years since Gettysburg.  We, the current generation, can never forget what they sacrificed for us.  It is up to us to take an increased devotion to that cause which our American  military personnel has given their last full measure of devotion to protect–that our generation highly resolve that our American soldiers have not sacrificed and died in vain–that through their actions our nation can continually have a new birth of freedom–and that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

What should your generation’s contribution be to the American struggle for freedom?

Gettysburg Address Performed by 8th Graders from Mr. Titzel on Vimeo.

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On Friday we had the opportunity to walk down the same streets as our founding fathers did when our nation was created.  Much has changed since the 1700’s, however, there are still places that remain after all those years.  Christ Church, Betsy Ross House and Independence Hall still stand.  At Franklin Court you can visit the oldest post office in America and see the foundations of where Benjamin Franklin’s house and print shop stood.  Walking down Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited street in America, reminds us all how much the scale of life has changed.  A visit to Fireman’s Hall shows us the contributions of Benjamin Franklin, but just as important the individual contributions of citizen firefighters in keeping our communities safe.  Walking into Arch Street Meetinghouse one can see how a young Franklin could fall asleep in one of their meetings, since they were quiet until someone was moved to speak.  There were many other historical gems that may have been visited like Carpenter’s Hall, Congress Hall, and the Liberty Bell, however, the real value in visited Philadelphia is to realize that we are only the 12th generation of Americans to walk these streets as a free people.  Hopefully, future generations will be able to visit these historic sites to experience the continuity of America’s founding neighborhood.

What was the most interesting place you visited on our field trip?  What made it so interesting?

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  • Textbooks, spiral notebooks, pencils=answering questions for homework or for tests in class
  • If you’re sick call school or friend for work.  Complete work and wait for feedback.  Get behind in classes.
  • Create a poster project, share with class, get feedback from class, and hang in classroom for classmates to see.


Everything from yesterday, but some more powerful tools at our disposal:

  • Wikis, blogs, Google Docs, Moodle, flip cameras=answering and asking questions in school and at home
  • If you’re sick view Study Hall wiki to see what you missed, email teacher for clarification, work on missed assignment at home using Google Docs and share with teacher to get immediate feedback before you return to school.  Stay current in all your classes.
  • Create a collaborative wiki with students from around the world.  Embed the wiki with pictures and videos you produced that demonstrate your learning. Share and get feedback from students around the world.


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