Monday, March 20, 2017

Extra Credit Opportunities through Spring Break

During Spring Break, students may want to view some youtube or netflix shows on topics that have to do with the Age of Activism.  WARNING:  because these topics are wide open, there could be a chance that a video might have inappropriate subject matter.  Please choose videos that are connected with history shows or other official documentary productions.  These videos must be at least 40 minutes long for you to get credit and you must include the site address where you viewed them.

Rachel Carson

Ralph Nadar (Car safety advocate)

Jerry Garcia (Guitarist for the Grateful Dead)

The Grateful Dead (rock group)

Woodstock Rock festival (warning--there might be some inappropriate material)

Altamont Rock festival (again--inappropriate material warning)

Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters

LSD and Timothy Leary

The Diggers and San Franciso's Haight Ashbury District.

Andy Warhol and the Factory

Cesar Chavez (any biography of him would be great)

Other documentaries may have the title "60s" and would include overviews about much of this material.

The spirit of this extra credit is for you to gain more exposure to an exciting but complex time in American history.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 7th through March 17th

Students are beginning to learn about the Age of Activism.  We will be working in class on four graphic organizers.  They have also just finished their documents on the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson.  They are learning about the Environmental Movement, the Counter Culture, the Activism of Minorities, and the Women's movement.

If we have time, right before Spring Break we will start the Vietnam war and begin reading the Vietnam War Novels.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Through March 23rd

Students have been busy in Social Studies during our first four weeks of the semester.

They have learned about the Great Society speech by Lyndon Johnson, and have done Cornell notes on the speech.  They also did a Smarter Balanced sample which included four check point questions and a "letter."  This activity was meant to somewhat copy they type of task they will have for their Smarter Balanced test next year.

We have had two back to back films that are so exceptional they are a history lesson in themselves.  The films were Thirteen Days about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Bridge of Spies about the Russian Spy case and the U2 shootdown  of Gary Powers.   These films depict the feeling of crisis which dominated the Cold War Era.

After that---we will begin the age of Activism and learn about the following (and a lot more):

The Women's Movement

The United Farm Workers (Latinos)

American Indian Movement

The Counter culture--the rise of drug use

The Environmental and Consumer Movements

Monday, January 30, 2017


Second semester has begun in 20th Century II.  I am welcoming students from many different classes.  If you had Mr. Trammell, Mr. Charles, or Mr. Allen---we should all be around the right place---the beginning of the Kennedy administration.  

The last thing you learned about was the Civil Rights movement.   We may still do a quick review of the Civil Rights movement this week because it was rushed for all of us with the snow days.

FIRST OFF:  There is an EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY which will be available for the next six weeks....which means the DEADLINE for this opportunity will be the week before Spring Break.  The movie HIDDEN FIGURES is in movie theaters and it happens to cover both parts of the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Program promoted by President Kennedy.

January 30 through February 10th we'll continue to cover the Kennedy administration and its achievements---many which occurred after President Kennedy's untimely death by an assassin's bullet.   We will discuss the founding of the Peace Corps, America's response to the building of the Berlin Wall, and the Bay of Pigs disaster, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  We will be watching at least one movie this time:  Thirteen Days. 

We will also be in the library doing a Point of View activity seven times this semester.  I will be handing out the list in the next few days.

Here's to a great semester!

Mrs. Olsen

Friday, January 13, 2017


The snowy weather and school cancellations have meant that Mrs. O is going to help you out with providing the study guide answers to the questions on line.  Copy them down and study them---I am going in order of the question and I will not be writing the question down.   So make sure you match the question with the answer.

I am not doing the vocabulary words.  You will be doing those in class.

There were many difficult issues at the Yalta piece conference.  However, how Poland would govern itself was the most pressing issue.  Poland had been invaded by Hitler---and it was through Poland that Germany invaded Russia at the start of World War II.

Satellite nations were countries that were subject to Soviet communist domination

The Truman Doctrine was United States supporting, either through money or military, nations that were being subjected to Soviet pressure or attempts to control

The Marshall Plan was U.S. economic support to help rebuild Europe.  It was even offered to the Soviet Union.  They refused to help in the plan because of many reasons.  They didn't want to be seen to be under US control---but also, they did not want the United States to discover just how behind their economic and social systems were.

The Berlin airlift began when the Soviets had cut off the roads leading into Berlin.  Stalin was furious that Germany was getting back on its feet and now had a new currency.  He also wanted free Berlin to collapse so it would not be an island of democracy in Eastern Germany.

When NATO was formed (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), it was meant to be a group of nations who would united in defense against communist aggression in Eastern Europe.  The Russians were upset---and saw this as an organized threat to their influence.  They responded by forming a coalition among the communist nations of Eastern Europe.  It would be called the Warsaw Pact (Warsaw is the capital city of Germany).

THE HUAC was the House Un-American Activities Committee.  It was established to probe any person associated with the film industry as being sympathetic to Communist ideas.  Many Hollywood writers, actors and producers were questioned.  Some were banned from the profession and had to work underground.  This ban was referred to as a "blacklist."

The outcome of the Korean was was that North and South Korea were divided at the 38th parallel---the same division that had been before the war began.  This division area is often called the DMZ.  North Korea remains a closed, backward, and dictatorial state with widespread violations of human rights.  Starvation and oppression have killed hundreds of thousands of North Koreans, if not millions.

Senator Joseph McCarthy believed that communism had infiltrated numerous organizations and persons in the United States.   He led accusations again many, including members of the United States military.   When he appeared on television, however, he was exposed as a bully, a zealot, and someone who was leading a "witch hunt" that would destroy people's lives.  Now that decades have pased and we have learned more about communist activity in the United States, there is no doubt that McCarthy's accusations and some support to them.

After World War II, the demand for oil continued.  In the Middle East, both the United States and Russia tried to gain power or influence in the oil producing nations.   Things were even more complicated when the United States supported the newly created state of Israel.   The United States continued to gain favor and influence in the Middle East to thwart the Soviet Union.

After World War II, the United States Gross National Product (economic growth) doubled.  This was due to the intense military build up and a more educated work force.

There were many changes in the work force.   Earlier, most jobs had been blue collar or depending on manual labor.  After the war however, machines and automation replaced some of these jobs.   College education increased and more white collar jobs increased.

The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 meant that a huge interstate highway system was build.  This allowed for a new car culture to develop.   Trains lost business as more and more people took to their cars to travel the United States.  Each year, new car models were develped for eager consumers.

Dr. Benjamin Spock believed that women should stay home and raise their children.  At the same time, he meant to instill confidence in young mothers about how they raise their children.

The beatnik culture of the 1950s preceded what would be the hippie culture of the 1960s.  Beatniks were a curious group who stressed spontaneity over conformity.  At the same time, many were self centered and have messy personal lives.

Recovering from the World War II meant a few rocky years for the economy.  Soldiers were now unemployed and price control ended.  Once price controls were lifted, inflation soared, and prices went up almost 24 percent.  In the meanwhile, wages could not keep up with the price of goods.   It would take some time for the economy to regulate.

When the Sputnik satellite was launched, there was a great fear that the Russians were smarter than the Americans---and this began in the schools.  Science and math instruction was now implemented in the schools.  The National Defense Education Act encouraged scientific and technical education and even gave loans for those who became teachers in those subjects.

Television was now in everyone's home, and it became and advertising bonanza.  Products from lunch pails to toys were now linked to popular shows.

The mood of the fifties would be in stark contrast to what we will learn about the 1960s.  Comfort, security, and conformity were valued over adventure.  Americans spent money to fit in:  they dressed the same, lived in similar neighborhoods, their children knew each other.  They did not want their children to go through the rough depression era childhoods they had---or know the terrors of war.  Teenage culture developed.

Women had always worked outside the home, but by 1960, the figure had risen to 31.  Still, women worked for less pay, and often they were limited to typical female professions.  Millions of women were frustrated with their constrained roles.

Questions on Civil Rights (you will need to know these as we are going through the Civil Rights movement very quickly and have lost some days to snow days.)

There were three groups known by their initials during the Civil Rights Era.  The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) encouraged the practice of non-violent protest.  Martin Luther King had been impressed by the idea of non-violent protest as a way to gain sympathy and support for the Civil Rights.  Earlier, in India, the great leader Gandhi had done the same.  However, the roots of non-violent protest have to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Sermon on the Mount.  Forgiving one's enemies, turning the other cheek, restraining from violence is all part of the non-violent ways to deal with ones enemies.

Another organization was the SNCC---which was often nicknamed snick.  This organization reached out to young people, mainly students.  It inspired young people to participate in the Civil Rights movement and it helped them to make thier own decisions about how they would do this.

Birmingham Alabama had been called the most segregated city in America by Martin Luther King.  If protests could bring about change there, it would be a model for other cities.  During the protests, Martin Luther King was arrested and put in jail for protests.  He wrote a letter "Letter from Birmingham Jail" outlining his reasons for protest and what it was like to be a black man in America.

Television had a major role to play in the Civil Rights movement.  People saw Blacks fire hosed down.  Even worse---police dogs, most often German Shepherds, were used against protestors.  This horrified the viewers.  The comparison to what had happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany was also made.  Television would also have an impact on views about the Vietnam war.   These conflicts--both Civil Rights and the Vietnam war, would be the conflicts viewed from the living room couch.   America would not tolerate repeated images of violence without wanting change.

The March on Washington followed other marches---but since this time, 1963, all other marches have been a reflection of citizen protest.   Their were over 200,000 people, black and some white, who gathered in Washington D.C. around the long grassy area with the reflecting pool.  In this case, the speakers stood at the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  The March on Washington was intiated to protest the idea of jobs and freedom for blacks.  It was peaceful and orderly, with television showing both whites and blacks gathered together.  The speech that Martin Luther King gave has often been given the nick name  "I have a Dream."

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed any tax or limitations on blacks to vote or gain political office. There had been deaths of Civil Rights Leaders over this issue:  right before the march, Jimmie Lee Jackson was savagely beaten and murdered. As part of the protest leading up to the Voting Rights Act, there was the march from Selma to Montgomery:   a 50 mile march to the capital of Albama, Montgomery to protest unfair voting laws and limitations on black political power..  It began in Selma.  As the protesters cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they could not see the police on the other side.  When they came to the other side, they were beaten and abused by police and citizens.   The National Guard was placed under federal control and their route was protected.

The Black Power movements was more agressive than other movements in the Civil Rights era.  It began with Stokely Carmichael who had been a member of SNCC.  He was tired of non violent protest.  He asked SNCC member to carry guns.  He was not afraid to use force.  The black power movement motivated blacks to rise up, define their goals, and not accept the abuse of black rights.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

From December 4 through Christmas

Wow, what a messy three weeks it has been since Thanksgiving.  We had a day off---and then two days off in the past week.   Mrs. Olsen was the last one to leave the parking lot and hardly made it up Keubler Hill.  She was prepared to camp out at Sprague and burn textbooks if necessary to keep warm.  However, that didn't happen, and so we are going to have to really move it in the last three weeks of school.

Through the 14th, students were busy reading the book THE CIRCUIT about Francisco Jimenez and his family.   Also, they began presentations.  Presentations were well done, and I even learned a lot!We will have to make up several after Christmas.  If you were do to deliver a presentation make sure you are ready to go during the week we get back from Christmas.

When we get back from Christmas break, we will be learning about an epic story of struggle and triumph:  The Civil Rights movement.

Have fun, but remember no more snow days please, or we may have to make them up later in the year.

Mrs. Olsen

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week of November 28 through December 2

Students have been busy in class rockin' the 50s.  We have turned from learning about the Cold War to learning about domestic life in the 1950s.

Students designed a Levitt town home
They looked at authentic volumes of Life magazines from the 1950s
They matched primary documents to paragraphs about life in the 1950s

On Monday, our short day, students viewed the I Love Lucy episode about "job switches."  This was a great start to understanding the changing roles of women.

On Wednesday, students will begin reading the biography The Circuit, about immigrant Mexican workers in California during the 1950s.  We will continue learning more about the 1950s and women's roles with a written assignment in class.

Next week, we will continue to read the Circuit, but also prepare for our powerpoint presentations.  Once we are done with the Circuit, we will start our unit on the Civil Rights movement.