Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Emergency Text Alert

1.  What cell phone company sent out an emergency text message to users yesterday?  Where were the people who received the text message located?

2.  What were some of the reactions that people had to the text message?  What occurred in 1938 in the same place that frightened people?

3.  Do you believe that the benefits of sending out text message warnings outweighs the bad when a mistake is made?  In what situations would a text message warning be appropriate?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Your Phone's Secret Recording Device

Recording Device Article

Question 1:   What is Carrier IQ?

Question 2:    According to the article, approximately how many phones have this software installed on it and what company states that they do not have this software on their cellular devices?

Question 3:   Do you feel that Carrier IQ is needed for the ever changing technological landscape? Do you think a company should be allowed to log everything you do with your phone? Why or why not?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hinckley Seeks Freedom



Please take them time to read the following article.  They are in the middle of the hearings to decide whether he will be released or not. 

Does this new article change your mind?

What was Hinckley doing when he said he was seeing a movie?


1.  What is the reason the article gives for John Hinckley attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan?

2.  How old is John Hinckley now?  Also, how many people did he kill or injure in the shooting?

3.  Do you believe that Hinckley should be released from the mental institution?  Why or why not?  Explain your reasoning.

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Amendment Rights

Please share the topics that you found in your research.  You should be researching a topic where someone's 1st Amendment rights have been violated in your opinion.  Have fun with it!

Write a paragraph describing Who was involved, What happened, When it happened, Where is happened, and Why is happened.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


McCain Slams GOP Candidates



1.  What is Waterboarding and why is it considered to be so controversial?

2.  Which GOP presidential candidates say they support the use of Waterboarding?

3.  What has the U.S used Waterboarding for in the past?  Who is this practice aimed at?

4.  In your eyes is Waterboarding torture or enhanced interrogation?  Right or wrong?  Explain

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Child Abuse Laws

Child Abuse Laws

1 - What year did Sweden become the first country to ban physical punishment to children?

2 - What two countries have NOT ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child?

3 - According to the article, what penalties can parents expect if they are found guilty of physical punishing their children in Sweden?

4 - Do you believe that "spanking" of young children is acceptable? Is there an age limit? Do you think a law comparable to the one in Sweden would work in the United States? Why or Why not?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Iranian Soccer Players

Iranian Soccer Players

1. What were the two soccer players arrested for and how much money are they being ordered to pay as a fine?

2. What punishment may the two soccer players be facing? Does the punishment fit the crime? Do you believe it was a crime?

3. What are some other examples of harsh treatment undertaken by the Iranian government? What are your thoughts and feeling on the Iranian government?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

1. Who are the 99%, 1%? Where do you fall in this situation? How much of the nations income does the top 1% earn?

2. Do you agree with President Obama's decision to bailout the banks? What effects does this have on the 99%?

3. According to David Brooks of the NY Times, the "virtuous 99 percent" did what with economic environment during the boom years? Explain what this means.

4. After reading this article, explain who you blame for the economic situation we are in and give one example of a law that could be created to help the country get back on steady ground. Be prepared to defend your answer!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are online classes a good idea?

Please grab a copy of the article from Mr. Owens or myself and read both responses. After your reading, please answer the following questions in a comment for this blog. ALL ANSWERS should be in complete sentences. ***If you don't know what dichotomy means, look it up on dictionary.com***

1 - List three advantages and three disadvantages to online classes that are referenced in the article.

2 - According to Karen Aronowitz, what dichotomy exists within current legislators around this topic.

2 - In your opinion, are online classes beneficial to everyone involved? Think about this issue from the side of the students? teachers? society in general?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Extra Credit

This extra credit assignment is a follow up to the song 'A Vietnam Story' we listened to on Tuesday.

Below you will find a list of terms and ideas from our song.

1. Write a paragraph defining the key term and what is had to do with the Vietnam War.

2. Research the topic on the internet. What effects did this have on the Vietnam war, as well as soldiers? Give me specific information.

3. Make a visual representation of the topic. Include pictures or artwork that show us about some of these topics.

Please come see Mr. Owens or Mr. Paulauskas about any questions you may have!

Military Conflict vs. War
Agent Orange
Vietnam War
Chinese Expansion
Viet Cong
guerilla warfare
Booby traps
Operation Rolling Thunder
Vietnam POW's

Unemployment and a loss of income

Unemployed risk a permanent pay cut

Take a look at the article from CNN on unemployment and how it might affect your income down the line. Answer the following questions with a post and we will discuss some answers! All answers should be in complete sentences!

1. The study shows that a worker who losses their job during a time of high unemployment with 3+ years of experience can expect to lose how much on average?

2. Based on the article, Maria is currently able to find work but there a possibility for a large added cost to her situation. What is this possible added cost and why is it important?

3. Based on your experiences and this article, what are some ways to better protect yourself against potential economic downfalls?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Questions for October 4

1.  List 3 words that you do not know the definition to.  Look these 3 words up and describe what they mean.

2.  What was is this reading about?  How do you think the soldiers in our reading feel?

3.  What kinds of techniques does this reading use to describe the war to us?  Do you like this song, yes or no?  Why?

Reading October 4

Jedi Mind Tricks
Uncommon Valor (A Vietnam Story)

I don’t know why I’m over here this job is evil.
They send me there to Vietnam to kill innocent people

My mother wrote me said the president he doesn’t care
We’re trying to leave the footprints of America here

They say we’re trying to stop Chinese expansion
But I ain’t seen to Chinese since we landed

Sent me whole entire unit thinking we can win
Against the Viet Cong guerillas there in Gia Dinh

I didn’t sign up to kill women or any children
For every enemy soldier we’re killing 6 civilians

And it ain’t right to me.  I ain’t got enough of freakin’ fight in me.
It frightens me and I just want to see my son and moms
And over here they dropping 7 million tons of bombs

I spend my days dodging all these booby traps and mines
And at night praying to God that I get back alive
And I’m forced to sit back and wonder
Why I was a part of Operation Rolling Thunder

In a fox hole with 9 months left here
Jungle is the harbinger of death here.

I don’t wanna be here I’m scared, I just wanna go home.

Call me Thornburn, John H. staff
Sergeant, marksman
Skillin, killin, illin,
I’m able and willin
Kill a village elephant, rape and pillage your village
Illegitimate killers U.S military guerillas

This ain’t a real war Vietnam
World War II that’s a war this is just a military conflict.

Soothing, drug abusing Vietnamese women screwing
Sex, scramplin and booze all this stuff is amusing

Ladies and guns, this is every man’s dream
I don’t wanna go home where I’m just an ordinary human being
Special OP, Huey chopper gun, enemy run when the mini gun spit
Won’t miss kill things, spit 4000 bullets a minute

Bit the Charlie, hit trigger I’m in it to win it
The lieutenant hinted to the vilian I ended up killin
The killin, I did it, cripple did it pictures I painted vivid, live it

A wizard with secret weapons, a secret mission
We about to begin it.  Government funded
Behind enemy lines bullets is spraying it’s heating up 100 degrees
The enemy is the North Vietnamese, c’mon please

A’int no sweat I’m told “be at ease”
Until I see the pilot got hit and we about to hit some trees
Till the rotor broke crash land,
American man, Cambodia
Right in the enemy hand

Take a swig of the whiskey to calm us
Them yellow men wearing black pajamas
They want to harm us, they roll up on us,

Bang bang, bullet hit my chest feel no pain
To my left the captain caught a bullet right in his brain
Body parts flyin’, loss of limbs
Bad intentions, I see my best friends intestines.

Pray to the one above, it’s raining and I’m covered in mud
I think I’m dyin, I feel dizzy, I’m losing blood

I see my childhood I’m back in the arms of my mother

I see my whole life, I see Christ, I see bright lights
I see Israelites, Muslims and Christians at peace, no fights.
Blacks, whites, Asians people of all types
I must have died then I woke up I’m surprised I’m alive
I’m in a hospital bed the rescued me I survived

I escaped the war came back but ain’t escaped Agent Orange
Two of my kids born handicapped

Spastic, quadriplegic, micro cephalic, cerebral palsy, cortical blindness
Name it they had it.  My son died he ain’t live but I still
Try to think positive cause in life God take God give.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Immigration Restrictions

1.  According to Smith, the mayors of what four cities have received mail bombs?

2.  According to Pawlowski what percentage of Americans were foreign born in 1870?

3.  What is a "melting pot"?  What does each author say about the idea of the melting pot in our country?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is It Time To Withdraw From Afghanistan?


1.  Since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001 how many U.S Soldiers have been killed?  How many have been wounded?

2.  How much money is the war costing our country?  Can you think of how it would be better spent?

3.  What argument does the author make for why we should stay?

4.  Should we stay in Afghanistan or leave?  Why?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Health and Science

1.  Do the numbers tell us that smoking is on the rise or the decline?  How many people does the CDC estimate will die this year of smoking related illness?

2.  Where was a 1.97-million year old fossil found?  What features of the creature were similar to humans and which were different?

3.  Why do you think some people might hesitate to admit that they have a mental illness?  As Americans, do we place a stigma or think negatively about people who admit they have a mental illness?

examples of mental illness include: depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress etc...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Hikers Jailed in Iran are Free (News Article)

Hikers are freed (Live blog updates)

This is a follow up to our previous reading. Click on the link above to find out what is happening to the American hikers in real time.  They were released from prison today.  Not all of the details are in.

Feel free to comment on the events as they unfold!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Death Penalty

Read the articles on the handout that I give you and answer the following questions:

All answers need to be given in COMPLETE SENTENCES!  2-3 sentences for each question.  

1.  How many prisoners have been exonerated since 1989 by DNA evidence?

2.  How many states in the U.S have passed laws that allow inmates to get DNA tests?

3.  How was the 13 year old boy in our article treated? 

4.  Compare the two article you read.  Do you believe in the death penalty or not?  Why?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15 Reading Activity

Today each of you will be responsible for reading an article of your choice.  Create a Hyperlink to the web article so I can see what you read!

Answer the following questions in paragraph from when done:

Summarize the article, who did it happen to?

What happened?

When did it happen?

Where did it happen?  Why?

Write me a paragraph detailing your opinion of the article.  Did you like what was happening or not?  How come?  How will it affect you?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 13 Reading Activity

Read the Article:  Americans Imprisoned in Iran

1.  What is the bail that Iran has set for their U.S prisoners?  What were they arrested for in the first place?

2.  Why would paying the bail be a difficult process for the U.S?  What are relations between the U.S and Iran like?

3.  Should the United States pay the bail ($1.5 million) for the 3 suspects or not?  Why?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8 Reading Activity

Is the U.S Safer?  At What Cost?

1.  How old were you when the World Trade Centers were attacked?  What do you remember from that day?

2.  Is there anything you remember about life that has changed since the 9.11 attacks?

3.  Do you think giving up our privacy in exchange for feeling/being safe is a good idea?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 6 Reading Activity

President Obama's Re-Election

1.  What is one thing that could improve Obama's chances of being re-elected?

2.  A recent Rasmussen poll shows that 43% of Americans strongly disapprove of Obama while 20% strongly approve.  Why do you think the numbers are the way they are?

3.  Do you plan to vote?  Do you think that Obama will be able to win his re-election?  Why?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September 1 Reading Activity

Keith Nolan, Deaf Man, Fights to Join U.S Army

Watch a Video of Keith Nolan Talking About This Topic

1.  In your opinion, should a person who is hearing impaired be allowed to join the United States Army?  Why or why not?  (3-4 Sentences)

2.  In the past both African Americans and women have been prevented from joining the U.S military.  Do you see any similarities or differences between these issues? (3-4 Sentences)

3.  What is a good tool to use when deciding who to let in to the military?  How should we allow some people in and not others?  (3-4 Sentences)

4.  Should Focus Learning Academy have sports teams?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Student Topic Ideas

If you guys have a topic that you are interested in that you would like to discuss or read about in one of our reading activities list it here.

 I will do my best to incorporate your topics and ideas into an upcoming lesson.



August 30 Reading

1.  Do you believe in the United States having birthright citizenship?  Yes or no, why?

2.  Why do you think people would want to come to the United States in order to have a baby?

3.  Do you think that we have laws that are outdated in our country?  How do you think we should fix them?