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Leading By Example, in the 21st Century...

January 2011 Blog Posts (21)

Pro and Contra

After reading the David J. Voelker's article, "Assessing Student Understanding in Introductory Courses: A Sample Strategy," I began to reflect on some of the assignments I've given this third quarter. Voelker argues against the "fact first" coverage model, that is, that students need to learn the facts and chronology of history before we can begin to have them think critically and analyze events. "That before we can learn to think, we must first absorb a large body of facts." Sample…


Added by Karen Michele Beranek on January 20, 2011 at 11:00pm — No Comments

study abroad and the teaching of American history

Eurospring 1996

By Mark J Biberg

One of the highlights of my undergraduate education at Bemidji State University was having the chance to take part in an overseas study experience in England.

Europsring is the name of the program and it included 8 weeks of study at Oxford University in Oxford, England follow by a 3 week tour of the continent.

As a teacher I could not have asked for a better experience. I believe in experiential learning and this was…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 10:40pm — 1 Comment

using art as a metaphor to teach American history.

Today I am going to plug for my web site on Manifest Destiny a bit by introducing some of the artwork that was included on the site.

Manifest Destiny was the basic notion that the United States had a destiny, a divinely sanctioned destiny at that, and it was the responsibility of the leaders, both political and intellectual to make this destiny manifest, to make it real.

One of the strongest and most effective aspects of Manifest Destiny is the artwork that goes along with…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 10:38pm — No Comments

How can we focus our teaching of American History?

How important is culture in education and in our everyday lives?


By Mark J Biberg

By culture I mean a lot of things: language, religions, celebrations, art, music, stories, laws, dress, among other things.

In this short essay I would like to examine the question of culture in education and how important it is to be "culturally inclusive" as teachers, students, and anybody else involved in education.

I think everybody's story, culture, traditions are…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 10:11pm — No Comments

who can remember their first year of teaching (when we knew everything about history)

On Desert High School


By Mark J Biberg

Ten years ago, the 1999-2000 year, was my first year of teaching.

I left home in Minnesota and drove accross country to Edwards Air Force Base, where I had signed on to teach Senior High history.

To say the least this was a learning experience for me. It was not only a long way from home, my first year of teaching, but also a environment that was both hostile and unforgiving.

I did not enjoy living in…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 10:09pm — 1 Comment

manifest destiny and teaching American history

Manifest Destiny.


compiled by Mark J Biberg (from Gerry Schnabel's lecture)

In a somewhat overheated editorial in July of 1845, John L. O'Sullivan, used in the Democratic Review a phrase that was to become the most potent phrase of the decade and a key word in Us History in general.

He coined the phrase Manifest Destinly to describe the ongoing expansionistic activities of the US in its first 70 years of existence.

The most basic definition of…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 6:28pm — 1 Comment

very insightful essay that gets to the heart of teaching and learning (and if you insist assessment)

very powerful essay for me by Mark J Biberg


I would like to share an excerpt from an essay that I just read. The essay is called: All the Fish in the River: An Essay on Assessment.

As anybody who has been in education, the term assessment or assessment movement may bring back flashbacks.


This essay was a very valuable  way for me to think about "what works" as far as assessment goes.

Below is the excerpt I would like to…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 6:10pm — 3 Comments

How can we improve how we teach history in rural Alaska?

Teaching History


by Mark J Biberg


When I was in high school, history seemed like a "go through the motions" class; that is, I went to class, took notes that went along with the textbook and every other week we took a multiple choice test. It was not hard to ace the test and required very little thinking.


I enjoy history and sensed that there must be more to it than the fairy tale approach as offered by the soon to…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 6:06pm — No Comments

To speak a language is to have an "in" to the culture and history of that language.

Mark J Biberg


I am learning a new language. It is going OK. I try to keep it simple: simple vocabulary, short phrases, etc.  I also try to use cognates: words that have a common root or common usage that transcend languages.


My wife is from Peru and she teaches me a lot. One of the key things is immersion: a person has to spend a lot of time hearing the sounds of a language and you have to make an effort to use what you have learned. Obviously it is tougher to…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 6:03pm — No Comments

doubt as a skill in history


a take on what I study


by Mark J Biberg


In my field of History, a person must be on constant guard. Why! For folks who try to write history in a way that does not jive with the evidence.  I do not have a problem with history changing, it happens all the time.


But there must be standards for that change; and one…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 6:01pm — No Comments

summer 2002: studying with the Elders on the Tannana River at Old Minto.

Going to Old Minto

By Mark J Biberg

I am getting ready to go out to Old Minto for a culture camp. It will be a seven day camp, during which we spend time with the Athabaskan Elders learning about traditional ways of teaching and learning. My goal is to learn ways in which I can incorporate more meaning (context) into my teaching out in the village. I would also like to start a culture camp out in the village. So I will most likely write one more blog before I leave and then I…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 6:00pm — 1 Comment

Meta-cognition and Teaching American History (How wethink about what we think about history!

How we Teach?


By Mark J Biberg


I am starting to realize that the most important moment is now, today, or "the eternal present". (Carpe Diem)


The words experience, knowledge, teaching, and learning are part of my Philosophy of Education. To me as a teacher, education is about experience and knowledge.


Whether it be the collective knowledge of the human race, or the experience of individuals, teaching is about sharing what we have…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Teaching About Yupi'ik history with a sense of pride.

Think of 5 years in Yup'ik Country


We were once great hunters, and gatherers of sustenance from the land, now times have changed, we must adapt to the new times, we must become hunters and gatherers of information and technology and use those things to serve our needs; our great strength has always been our ability to adapt. Now is the time my friends, my people, let us continue to be the proud people we have always been. Yupik Elder.

Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 5:58pm — No Comments

Where does race fit in American history and Can individuals claim not to be part of their heritage?


Many folks say: "I was not there" and " my family did not own slaves" and " I am not a racist and do not share responsibility for racism".


 While those statements may be true on the surface, it does not speak to the depth of the problem.


Race relations and racism have been part of our history from the very start (1607/1619, Jamestown, first importation of west African slaves) and the economic and material success we all share today was build, at least…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 5:52pm — No Comments

How do we teach history? How do students Learn History?

One student told me about something on the History Channel.

Another student had rented The Aviator at RedBox.

The third had headphones in and was listen to A People Guide to American History from Audible .com, narrated by Matt Daman.

The next was sking for streaming video of  primary source that supplemented her online class. I referred her to and told the best route to the video stream.


I was not using a text, lecturing, or just…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 5:41pm — 1 Comment

a thought from Conrack.....and old movie about teaching in a cross-cultural setting.

a river is wide by MJB

Teaching in the village by MJB (adpated from a river is wide)


Of the children in the villageI can say very little at this time. I don't think I changed the quality of their lives significantly or altered the inexorable fact that they were imprisoned by the very circumstance of their birth.

I felt a great deal of beauty and innocence when I was… Continue

Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 5:29pm — No Comments

How can we combine love of history, the study of history, and the teaching of history.

Teaching: ( in a sense are all teachers and learners)

By Mark J Biberg

It seems that teaching is much more than knowing something or being good at something, or even being able to communicate that something in a clear and concise manner.

Being a teacher is a lifelong endeavor...we may achieve the title of teacher early in life, but the effective teacher is always in a process of becoming, of evolving, of doing a liitle bit better.

We can all think of a… Continue

Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 5:20pm — No Comments

How we come into history!

A Perspective on History.


We’re all born late. We’re born into history that is well under way. We’re born into cultures, nations and languages that we didn’t choose. On top of that, we’re born with certain brain chemicals and genetic predispositions that we can’t control. We’re thrust into social conditions that we detest. Often, we react in ways we regret even while we’re doing them. (david brooks

Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 5:17pm — No Comments

Traveling in Alaska

It is hard to believe that I have been in Alaska for 10 years. I arrived from Minnesota on March 31st, 2001. I that I time I have been fortunate to travel over a fair portion of this Great State.


My first stop was Fairbanks where I met up with my cousin Paul. He was almost an old-timer by then, having been in Alaska for 15 years, built his own cabin, and experienced Alaska in many, many ways. Paul's great love was cross-country skiing and he had stories of skiing that took…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 19, 2011 at 5:08pm — No Comments

Thematic History

As I was editing my 2nd Inquiry Project, and checking to see if from out of the void anyone had actually looked at it and perhaps added a comment, I noticed John Trampush's uploads about teaching history along thematic lines. He stated that there were precious little resources out there. Currently I am teaching a class that is blended between the Academic Decathlon curriculum and our District's Level 9 Social Studies. Having coached academic decathlon as an extra-curricular activity in the…


Added by Karen Michele Beranek on January 13, 2011 at 11:00pm — No Comments

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