I miss teaching about the US Supreme Court

Last spring, after 21 years at Totino-Grace High School,  I decided it was time to make a change in primary employment. I now drive across the Twin Cities every day and work with the Upper School faculty at Breck School as an Academic Technology Coordinator. The position is evolving, and I enjoy working with faculty on ways to leverage technology to support teaching and learning and designing quality research-informed learning activities for any classroom. That being said, I do miss teaching about the US Supreme Court. I must miss it a lot as I am waking up my blog after years of dormancy, and offer the following.



If you’re ever in Washington DC, I cannot strongly enough encourage you to check out the US Supreme Court, located just East of the Capitol building. Oral arguments and decisions are open to the public, and even the open self-guided walking tour is impressive. Until the opportunity to visit presents itself, here is a quality short background piece from CNN on the US Supreme Court, this Crash Course walks through the Supreme Court procedures.  As there are only 9 sitting justices, I often found that students would be intrigued when they could hear the justices speak and share their stories. With that in mind, here are two playlists, one from YouTube and one mostly from C-SPAN,  with collections of videos showcasing available interviews with or talks by the sitting justices.


Gideon v Wainwright Turned 50!

ImageStudents remember the case well. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor referenced it in the previous Supreme Court welcome video (Part 1 and Part 2) when she talked about a “prisoner writing his petition in his own hand.”  Gideon v Wainwright turned 50 on March 18. How fun to see a piece from CBS Sunday Morning and NPR on the case as well as where the issue of representation for the poor is today. There is also a new podcast from the US Courts and this great interactive site from the Missouri Bar. I wish I were teaching government this semester!

Digital Storytelling and Being Average

National Geographic’s series on the global population of 7 Billion is being promoted with several videos including this one on being “typical.” 

Our 10th grade Global Studies students could easily gather data from the Population Reference Bureau, NationMaster, United Nations, and the CIA World Factbook, see the National Geographic video as an example, and then use a video tool like Movie Maker Online or JayCut to create their own “typical” videos for the countries they are studying.

Thank you to Jim Gates for posting the video on his blog, “TipLine – Gates Computer Tips.”

Singing History

Love it! I just read an article from the Washington Post through which I learned about two talented teachers in Hawaii, Amy Burvall and Herb Mahelona (“historyteachers” on YouTube) who are making musical video parodies to teach about world history. From the Crusades to the Black Death, Gutenberg and more, the ideas are great and if I were to teach world history (haven’t done that for four? years now), I would be sure to incorporate these into my curriculum.  Thank you to the “historyteachers” for posting their creations!