Sunday, December 28, 2008

Grading Rubrics

What is a grading rubric? A rubric is a set of categories which define and describe the important components of the work being assessed. You will be assessed on 7 different parts of the make.a.difference project with the following rubrics. Along with the detailed descriptions and instruction you have received in class, using a rubric while working on the project will help you to stay focused and also know exactly what is expected of you. Feel free to print them out and grade yourself along the way to gauge how you are doing.

Final Presentation Requirements

Click here to find out all the requirements for your visual, extension area, artifacts, toolbox, and oral presentation.

Project Writing Requirements

Click here for the specifics on the writing requirements for the make.a.difference project. You will find details and specifics for the persuasive essay, research paper, and personal reflective paper.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Facts Guideline

Feeling stressed about doing your facts? Here is a guideline to help you. The citing will NOT be required for the first set of facts that you have due on 12/15. In your revisions, you will be adding the citations, but if you have time and want to add them in before you turn them in, that is fine, too! All I did with my example was to copy and paste the information from easybib.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Types of Resources Update

Please note that the new types of resources can be located here . Since you are doing 50 facts, the sources have been adjusted accordingly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

60 years ago this very day - after the horrors of World War II - the world came together at the United Nations to unanimously pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This powerful declaration says that every human being deserves dignity, freedom and respect. It's the first blueprint for global rights, establishing fundamental freedoms for every human being.

The UDHR set in motion a global movement that literally opened prison doors, shut down torture and execution chambers, and caused the downfall of the worst tyrannies.

60 years later, despite much progress, millions are still denied basic human rights. Many governments still show more interest in abusing power than respecting those they lead. For far too many, injustice, inequality and impunity are still the hallmarks of our world today.

But hope exists.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008


If your person or organization could have a toolbox with 3 things that would help them make a difference, what would they be? In a creative way, include 3 tangible objects that symbolize how to make a difference and put them in a “toolbox”. This toolbox doesn’t necessarily have to be a regular toolbox. It can be a creative enclosure that relates to your topic. Include 3 brief descriptions of the items and how your person or organization would use them to make a difference. This toolbox will be included on your table for the final presentation. If you click the picture above, you will see examples of similar toolboxes that were created for a topic in genocide prevention. You can also visit the Be the Change website to see what the featured people would include in their toolbox.

How to write a business letter

Your business letter is due January 28th. It needs to follow the above format and be at least 2 paragraphs long (6-8 sentences each) as well as be typed neatly. Write to someone that would be connected to your person or organization. Make sure that you have an address to send it to. You will be actually mailing this the following week after it is due, so be prepared to bring in a stamped envelope.

Monday, November 17, 2008

worldbook online

Worldbook online is a great resource available to you.

username: mshome1
password: monty

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What is Plagiarism? is a great resource to help you avoid plagiarism. Click here for a quick guide that explains what plagiarism is.

Library of Congress

Search the Library of Congress for your topic.

Internet Public Library

The picture above will take you to the Internet Public Library where you can have access to thousands of resources. If you need help from a librarian, you can ask an IPL librarian for help!

What Wikipedia is Good For

Although wikipedia cannot be used as one of your works cited, it is great for finding resources about your topic. Simply type in your topic and scroll down to the bottom of the wikipedia entry. There, you will find notes, references, external links, and works online.

Encyclopedia Online

Verified facts, information, and biographies from trusted sources

HighBeam Encyclopedia gives you credible answers from published reference works – all in one place:

  • 49 encyclopedias from sources like Oxford University Press, Britannica, and Columbia University Press
  • 73 dictionaries and thesauruses with definitions, synonyms, pronunciation keys, word origins, and abbreviations

Google Book Search Feature

Did you know that Google has a book search feature? Just type in your topic and thousands of books will pop up. This is an excellent site to find your book resources!

Technology Meets Bibliography

Click the easy bib logo above to create your own free easy bib account. You will be able to keep your bibliography online, upload it to a word document, and have it already alphabetized and in correct mla format. You'll also be able to add annotations. :o)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Constitution Center and National Liberty Museum Fall '08

.....and the topics are....

Drum roll, please...

Alli: Schindler and Upstanders of the Holocaust
Jake: The UN
Alex: Michael J. Fox and Parkinson's
Kyle: Autism Awareness
Jill: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Anna: Peace Corps
Nisha: World Wildlife Federation
Emily: Alex's Lemonade and Childhood Cancer
Douglas: Nikola Tesla and the Electric Current
Lane: Al Gore and Global Warming
Miriam: ASPCA
Brianna: PETA and Ingrid Newkirk
Allison: Homelessness in America
Casey: Susan G. Komen and Breast Cancer Awareness
Evan: Renewable Energy
Bradley: William Penn
Maisie: Steve Irwin and Australian Animal Conservation
Jack A.: Bobby Kennedy and Civil Rights
Tiffany: Make a Wish Foundation and Terminal Childhood Illness Research/Awareness
Lena: Suffragist Movement
Lizzy: American Red Cross and Water Safety
Taylor: Jane Goodall
Courtney: Guide Dog Foundation and Education/Technology for the Blind
Avery: Therapeutic Animals
Michael: George Bush
Nelson: Colin Powell
Alec: NASA
Emma: Save the Dolphins
Aaron: ALS Association
Shane: Ben Franklin
Jack Z.: Greenpeace

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ernest Guevarra

A doctor in the Philippines, Ernest has promoted healthcare and human rights since the mid 1990's. Click the picture above to read his story.

Yinka Jegede-Ekpe

A Nigerian diagnosed with HIV at age 19, Yinka bravely stepped forward and became one of her country's most visible activists. Click the picture above to read her story.

Arn Chorn Pond

A survivor of the Cambodian Genocide, Arn has devoted his life to music, peace, and human rights. Click the picture above to read his story.

Martin O'Brien

Martin has devoted his life to non-violence and human rights in Northern Ireland. Click the picture above to read his story.

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta is a young lawyer who rights racism. Vanita helped with the release of 35 African Americans falsely accused of drug-related crimes in Tulia, Texas. Click the photo above to read her amazing story.

Civil Rights Book Club

About the Civil Rights Book Club

Social Justice Issues Beyond the Headlines

Welcome to the Civil Rights Book Club, where you can explore today's complex civil rights issues on a whole new level. Click the picture above to see this month's featured books.

Carefully chosen and reviewed by leaders of today's progressive movement, our selection of books and other media aims to provide context and provoke discussion about today's top social justice concerns.

Each month, we will feature five books representing the diversity of the contemporary social justice landscape on topics like voting rights, immigration reform, economic inequality, women's rights, and educational equity.

Click here for past selections.

Activism Letter Writing Tips

Kids Can Make a Difference! Writing a letter to officials let's them know that you're concerned about human rights, and that you're taking steps to make the world a better place! Come on! I'll show you a letter and how to write to officials! Click Mr. Rights above for a guide to letter writing.

Amnesty International Urgent Actions

AIKids' Urgent Actions are simply-written actions in large typeface, for children, about children. They provide unique hands-on human rights educational opportunities for the home or classroom. The monthly AIKids' Urgent Action offers teachers and parents a chance to introduce children to letter-writing as an empowering tool.

Click here to find out about this month's urgent action due by Oct. 25th.

Think Mtv

Mtv is known for its videos, but they have an amazing site dedicated to activism. Whether your interests are in human rights, poverty, or discrimination, they have created a place where kids can learn how they can make a difference. Click the logo above to visit the site.

Suitcases for Kids

When 11-year-old Aubyn Burnside heard about how many children in foster care programs are forced to carry their belongings in garbage bags because they cannot afford suitcases, she was shocked and saddened. "I thought they must feel like garbage themselves," she said. So, Aubyn founded Suitcases for Kids, dedicating herself to ensuring that every child in foster care would have a bag of his or her own.

Trick or Treat for UNICEF

Want to help kids in other parts of the world get the things they need to survive and grow?

You've got the power to do it! Click the pic above to find out how!

tot-boxorder.gifThis October, make Halloween count by Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF. You can help us get water, education and medicine to the children who need it most.

Getting involved is easy and fun!

Kids Can Make a Difference

Click above to find out what you can do to make a difference.

Free rice

Click the picture above to play the free rice game. For each answer you get right, they donate 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger.

fun quiz!

"Here are ten people who have made a positive impact on humanity. See if you can guess who they are." Click the quiz host above to take the quiz!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

CNN reveals Top 10 Heroes of 2008

Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Starfish Story

Photobucket Image Hosting

A man was walking along the beach one evening and saw a little boy throwing starfish that had been washed ashore by the tide into the sea. He thought the boy was silly in trying to save the starfish, as he knew it was impossible to throw every single one of the starfish back into the sea, with the tides washing them up. The man walked right up to the boy and asked him why he was trying to save the starfish. 'You see sir; the starfish would die if they are left on the shore. They need to be in the sea in order to live,' answered the boy with all the innocence of a child. 'But son, how are you going to save all of them? Every time you put one back, another would be washed up. It doesn't matter to them, son' The boy picked up a starfish, looked at the man and said, 'But sir, it matters to this one.' After saying that, he threw the starfish back into the sea.

Photobucket Image Hosting

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tips on writing persuasively

Persuasive writing attempts to convince the reader that the point of view or course of action recommended by the writer is valid. To accomplish this, the writer must develop a limited topic which is well defined and debatable, that is has more than one side. It is important that the author understand other sides of the position so that the strongest information to counter the others can be presented. In the essay, only one side of the issue is presented.

Like all kinds of five paragraph essays, there is a specific format to be followed.
  • The topic sentence cannot be a fact as facts cannot be debated. It should be a statement of position. That position must be clear and direct. This statement directs the readers to follow along with your logic towards the specific stated conclusion that you want them to support. Do not make it personal so do not use personal pronouns. Make it definitive.
  • Then, in the same introductory paragraph, state the three best reasons that you have to support your position as the remainder of the opening paragraph. These reasons become the topics of each of the three supporting paragraphs. Again, be sure they are able to be supported with additional separate facts.
  • In the body of the essay, the writer uses specific evidence, examples, and statistics and not broad generalizations or personal opinions to persuade the reader that the stated position is a valid one. Each topic sentence for the support paragraphs have been introduced in the beginning paragraph. Each additional sentence must closely relate to the topic and the sentence that came before it. This way, the logic of the argument is easy to follow.
  • Be sure to use adequate transitions between paragraphs as they make it easy for the reader to follow the logic of the presentation.
  • As one closes the essay, it is most important to to clearly redefine the topic and restate the most compelling evidence cited in original form. Remember, this is the last chance to remind the reader and convince him/her to accept the writer's position.
  • Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
A great reference website: Time for Kids

The art of Persuasion

The first thing that you will be doing after you choose a potential project is to write a Prospectus or Persuasive Essay. In a one page, 5 paragraph essay, explain your choice for your year-long independent study exercise, the Make a Difference Humanities Project. The purpose of this essay is for you to convince us of the importance of your choice of topic to understanding how the person or organization made a positive contribution to society.

In order to do this, you must spend some time doing preliminary background research so that you are able to write convincingly of your topic's positive contribution.

Try to avoid statements such as:
"Please give me this topic because I want it."
"Please give me this topic because I like it."
~refer to the next blog post about tips for persuasive writing for more help.

Suggested format:
(remember that a paragraph is usually 6-8 sentences)

1st paragraph: Introduction to your topic.

2nd paragraph: Why your topic is an important topic to study (introduce your evidence to support your argument)

3rd paragraph: Introduce what you know about the positive contribution of your topic to the service of humanity.

4th paragraph: Why this topic is meaningful to you. Why did you select this topic?

5th paragrpah: Conclusion to your topic and of your argument.

How do I choose a topic?

You will be choosing a topic based on a person or organization that has made a positive impact on humanity...essentially, someone or something that has made a difference.

Some things to consider:

  • Your topic must have enough information to span a year-long project.
  • Since you are spending so much time on it, choose something that you are really interested in.
  • Will you be able to create a variety of writing pieces, including a research paper with the amount of information you have?
  • Are there a variety of sources on the topic? (ie. books, magazine articles, reference materials, primary source documents, multi-media information, as well as the internet)
  • Do you have any personal connections to the topic?

Some questions to ask yourself about your topic:

  • What issues do I care about and why?
  • What types of things inspire me to make a difference in the world?
  • What people or organizations do I admire because they have changed the world in a positive way?
  • Have I ever done any volunteer work? How does that make me feel?
  • What motivates me to make a difference?

Some websites to visit:

If you are looking for a person to use for your topic, these websites are a great resource:

If you are looking for an organization, these websites are a great place to start:

Some other topics in general:

  • Women’s rights
  • Conflict resolution
  • Healthcare
  • Justice and discrimination
  • Youth
  • Music and the arts
  • Environmental issues
  • Genocide
  • Hunger/poverty
  • Migrant/immigrant rights
  • Slavery/trafficking of persons
  • Right to education
  • Right to housing
  • Freedom of expression
  • Animal rights
Think about this on a personal level and please feel free to discuss this with Mrs. Schelhorn or Mrs. Pal. We're happy to help, advise, and answer any questions. :o)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Essential Question

When considering your topic, ask yourself this essential question:

How does the individual or organization contribute positively to the service of humanity?