High School Field Trip to the Pima County Adult Detention Complex

This year I started teaching government to our seniors at Desert Christian High School. I thought, “What better way for my students to understand civic duty, the roles and responsibilities of our local police, and the repercussions for not obeying the law than to take them to our local jail?” With that question in mind, I contacted our local detention center in Tucson, AZ, the Pima County Adult Detention Complex located at 1270 W. Silverlake Road. Here we are, standing in front of the complex after our tour. IMG_20190507_140431_954.jpgRather than me explain what the students learned from the experience, I thought it better to let them explain for themselves. Below are excerpts from their take-away presentations.

The main takeaways that I got from our visit was two things: one being that the officers always have the health of the inmates as top priority and two that this job even though its taxing has rich rewards of helping others. – Emma

I grew up around the idea that jail and prison were the exact same thing, So the people in jail were terrible and very guilty people, who did not have any sense of morals and always desired to do wrong. I was not sure how exactly they were housed together but imagined that it was the typical steel bars and then a hard bed and a sink in the back of cell. I did not think that the officers were concerned at all with the health of the inmates and making sure that they won’t hurt each other. I didn’t know that they were able to have tablets and that there was a “store” inside the housing units that they could shop at. The media represents jail as one of those places that is a rough place to be in. The media tries to make it seem like the jail is not exactly trying to better the inmates, when in reality they totally have the betterment of the inmates in mind. That is why they now have the tablets which they can use for taking classes to educate themselves while they are in jail waiting for their court date. -Emma Continue reading “High School Field Trip to the Pima County Adult Detention Complex”

A Semester-Long Project by “DJ Justin”

This year I decided to try something new (no shock there) with my US History students. As I have done in the past, I wanted to create a semester-long project with multiple check points – in “teacher speak” we call these formative assessments – rather than a standard, summative assessment. What I changed was the creativity options – teachers call this differentiated learning – for this project. This year, I offered my students a wide range of artistic options to show their understanding of the historical content covered in class.

“DJ Justin,” an amazing international student, took my artistic challenge and ran with it. I am so excited to show you his three checkpoint submissions: songs he wrote that discuss his personal interpretation of the content from our second-semester units. Go Justin!

Johny Johny (lyrics in PDF form)

Enjoy these final two submissions, which were provided in audio format.

Struggle (lyrics in PDF form)

A Dream (lyrics in PDF form)

Alternative Summative Assessment

This year I tried something new with my students, although that is nothing new for me. I’ve never given a standard exam as a summative assessment; instead, I favor semester-long projects. This year’s semester project for my US History students was two-fold:

  • complete a timeline, which compared the eras of exploration and colonization of America through the American Civil War, to biblical and modern-day (so as to illustrate how thematic patterns repeat themselves (Eccles 1:9) and,
  • complete an annotated bibliography on four topics of choice, each topic specific to an era in American history. For each topic, students were to gather five credible sources (a combination of both primary and secondary). Therefore, their final bibliography was to contain 20 sources, each critically analyzed and summarized.

This project required intensive writing and research, as well as an introduction into an alternate formatting style guide for research papers, Chicago (Turabian). Both sections of this project were to be built as the semester moved forward – and we developed our understanding of US history – with specific, built-in checkpoints where I and their peers evaluated their progress.

Outside of the information taught in class, this two-part project represents their body of knowledge gained in just five months of study. As you might imagine, these students worked very hard on this project. There were times during the semester that they thought they’d never get through, but at the end, a realization of accomplishment brought smiles of pride to their faces.

Here are a few examples of hard-earned, exemplary work.

US History Timeline

World History Timeline (Focused on the US) 3rd Period

USH Timeline

Timeline of US

US History Timeline1

Annotated Bibliography(1)

Annotated Bibliography

Combined Annotated Bibliography