Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zeus

Z is for Zeus
As we come to the final day of the A to Z Challenge, Z wasn't tricky to figure out for this girl at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School. Being in World History and in the civilizations unit, this word popped into her head quickly.  The boys and girls in her group concurred that it was a great idea. This was a great moment for me as a teacher, because it is the blended learning format at work. The students are able to make connections from their online class to what we are doing in the classroom. The best part is when they can make these connections all on their own without me having to point it out to them. Check out her post below!

A statue of Zeus
Zeus was a Greek god. He was god of all Greek gods. Zeus was born in 700 BC. He inherited the Heavens and Earth by overthrowing his father, Cronus. He ruled from Mt. Olympus rewarding good and punishing evil. His famous weapon was the thunderbolt. Being the god of aerial phenomena, he could shake his aegis and produce storms and intense darkness. He created thunder rolls, lightning flashes and rainfall, which fructified the earth. He protects the assembly of the people and watches over the whole community. Zeus had many children, but the two most famous ones were Hercules and the goddess Athena. Hercules’ mother was a human therefore he couldn’t become a god during his life on earth. He used the gods help to perform brave deeds. When he died, he was taken up to Olympus by a cloud to live with the gods. The virgin goddess Athena was the goddess of cities, wisdom and war. She looked after skilled workers as well as the arts, literature and philosophy. Spartans thought that she judged them. Zeus often manipulated people on earth to satisfy himself. He took a big interest in the actions and well being of mortals. He was a great god to the Greeks.

Jamestown Publishers.  Greek Life.    Chicago.  Jamestown Publishers.  2001. 

“Zeus.”  Greek Mythology.  2000.  2/26/2014.

“Zeus.”  Info Please.  2007.  3/25/2014. Colombia Electronic Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2007.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yalta Conference

Y is for Yalta
When this student pulled out Y, he started talking with the other boys and girls around him about what he could do.  He got a lot of ideas, but nothing was really speaking to him.  We eventually grabbed the Y encyclopedia, and went looking through his different options. He liked Yalta immediately because of the current events happening on the Crimean Peninsula and his interest in World War II overall.  This was a great fit and will eventually translate into a presentation to the whole class to complete his World History class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School

In 1945, in Crimea Russia, three world leaders met to discuss post war plans for the world. The leaders were Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. They met to discuss what would be done with Germany after the war, if there would be war trials and where the war trials would be held, what would be done to help establish order in Europe and get the defeated countries back on their feet.

Franklin D Roosevelt was the 32 President of the United States from 1933 to 1945. He was born in 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. He got polio in 1921. He had many achievements in his life such as being appointed assistant secretary of the Navy in 1913, being elected governor of New York in 1928 and being elected president in 1932, 1936, 1940, and in 1944.  During his president years, he established the New Deal and the Good Neighbor policy. He led America through the Great Depression and the attack on Pearl Harbor. He signed the declaration of war against Japan after the attack or Pearl Harbor on December 7th.

Winston Churchill was the Prime minister of Great Britain starting at 1940. Out of the three world leaders, he had been in politics for the shortest time. Churchill was also a noted speaker, painter, author, war reporter, and soldier. He was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1874. He graduated from the Royal Military College when he was 21 years old and in 1901, he entered the House of Commons. He was also knighted and won a Noble Prize for literature and retired in 1955. He is known for his “V” for victory, which gave hope for the British people. During the conference, he was not happy with Germany because of the bombing of Britain which killed lots of British civilians and had lots of damage. He also feared that Stalin might keep the territories in Eastern Europe that his troops occupied.

A famous picture of the Big Three
Joseph Stalin was the Soviet premier form 1929 to 1953.  He was born in Gori, Russia in 1879 and jointed the Russian Social Democratic Labor party in 1901. During the beginning of the war, Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Germany, which obviously stated that they would not attack each other. This pact was broken when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Joseph Stalin wanted Germany to crumble.
At the Conference, several issues were discussed and decided on. Germany would split up into four separate territories that would be separately governed by the UK, the U.S., the Soviet Union and France. War criminals would be tried in Germany for their crimes against humanity. Germany would give the Soviet Union equipment for the damages on the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union would enter the war with Japan in exchange for territory in Manchuria, and the Kurile Islands. Everyone agreed to a world peace keeping organization called the United Nations.


Clemens, Diane Shaver. “Yalta Conference.” World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 549.
Marrin, Albert. “Stalin, Joseph.” World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 825-827.
Patterson James T. “Roosevelt, Franklin Delano.” World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 452-462. 
Thompson Carol L. “Churchill, Sir Winston.” World Book Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc. 2005. 545-549
U.S. Department of State. “The Yalta Conference, 1945.” Office of the Historian 3/19/2014.

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for the XXII Olympics

X is for XXII Olympics
This girl was mortified when she pulled X out of the hat.  All of the other students in her World Geography class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School started to brainstorm ideas.  Someone suggested doing something with Roman numerals.  We had just gotten done with the Sochi Olympics so we quick looked up the Roman numerals for this Olympics and sure enough she had an X.

The five rings in the Olympic symbol represent Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and America. There are over sixty events in the winter Olympics. Two thousand athletes come together from over sixty countries. Athletics in ancient Greece have played a role in many religious festivals. These festivals began from 1896-2014. The games begin when the opening ceremony starts. The flame is extinguished when the Olympics come to an end. Olympic National Park is near Seattle, Washington and the park contains campgrounds and winter sporting activities. Many athletes spend most of their time dedicated to finally reach the Olympics. America has always had many Olympians on their team. Some of the big names are athletes Ted Ligety, the hockey twins and many more. The Americans had many victories and were a strong and powerful team.
We saw this a lot as we watched the coverage at school!
One of the greatest names in the sport of skiing is Ted Ligety. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1984. His hometown is Park City, Utah and he was a part of the Park City Ski Team. Ligety was involved in the 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 worlds. Ted has also been involved in the 2006 and 2010 winter Olympics. On top of this he has seven championship titles.

One of the logos of the Olympics
Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureux, hockey twins have lead the U.S women’s hockey team to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. These two sisters have been playing hockey since they could walk. On ESPN’s Sports Center Monique gets into a brawl with a Canadian hockey player. She was upset that one of the players on the women’s Canadian team threw an elbow at one of her fellow teammates. For the first time women’s hockey was next to NBA and NFL highlights. Lamoureux stated that it was really an exciting and cool experience to be on ESPN! During the twins childhood they played on an all-boys hockey team. These two iconic pair could definitely hold their own in the sport of hockey. Both sisters are extremely grateful that they received the opportunity to compete in the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Sources: World Book and Time Magazine

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Watergate Scandal

W is for Watergate Scandal
This post was a collectively written post by the students of the government class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School.  These boys and girls have been fascinated with this scandal and that a president could have had so much power to cause cover-up. We talk a lot about accountability in the therapeutic discussions, and the lack of accountability stands out to them. Below is their gathered information about the who, what, where, when, why and results of the scandal.

What: Richard M. Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was caught in a scandal going into the 1972 re-election campaign. Five men were caught in the Watergate Complex in the Democratic Headquarters. They were all Republican, as well as co-workers of President Nixon. The biggest fact was that Nixon tried to cover up his actions, and denied any connection to Watergate. He later becomes involved in a court case, Nixon v. U.S., and is subpoenaed to turn over any tapes and recorded conversations from the Oval Office that he had.  He was later brought up on three charges of impeachment, which resulted in Richard M. Nixon being the first president in U.S. history to resign from office, and Vice President Gerald R. Ford took over as a president.

Who: The “plumbers” are the con-men who would plug the leaks in the Nixon administration. These men were paid from White House funds, which is how they were eventually connected to Nixon.  This scandal affected the careers of many of the people in the Nixon administration. John Dean, the head lawyer for the White House, was fired. H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, top advisors to the president, resigned during the scandal. On what has come to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre, Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus resigned after refusing to fire Archibald Cox.  Archibald Cox was the special prosecutor who was appointed by Congress who was eventually fired by President Nixon that day.

The Watergate Complex in Washington D.C.
Where: The original break-in occurred at The Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. This scandal then made its way all around Washington including: the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Washington Post newsroom, and the Supreme Court.

When: In June 17, 1972 the actual break-in occurred.  When Nixon was questioned repeatedly, he denied involvement. Overall, the cover up was in October 1972-January 1975. On July 27, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee charged Nixon with three articles of impeachment and on August 8, 1974 he resigned.

Why: Nixon really wanted to win the re-election of 1972.  He barely won his first election, and he wanted to make sure to win the next one. The reason he broke in was to gain information on the Democrats so he could win the election.

Results: Nixon resigned right before he was impeached.  A lot of trust was lost in the government on the part of the American people. Later, President Ford pardoned Nixon from any wrong-doing. This caused controversy amongst the citizens at the time. As a result of Nixon’s resignation, President Ford became the only president and vice president to not be elected into office.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vietnam War

V is for Vietnam War
This student at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School is in the government class. History has a huge role in the government class because we can analyze the choices that the President, Congress, and Supreme Court made in that situation.  I often ask the boys and girls in this blended learning class about whether or not the separation of powers worked in this situation or did someone abuse the power that they do have. Should checks and balances have played a greater role? Read this post about the Vietnam War, and decide for yourself.

The Vietnam War was the longest war that the United States has been involved in and lasted from 1954 - 1975. The United States President at the time of this war was Lyndon B. Johnson. The Vietnam War started because North Vietnam with help tried and wanted to overthrow the South Vietnam Government. The North Vietnamese were Communists and wanted to overthrow the South because the South was starting to form a Democratic Government. The North did not like that and wanted to take over their government.

This is when the United States got involved because Harry Truman when he was president made a policy saying that the United States must help any nation that is challenged by Communism. This policy was called the Truman Doctrine and that it why the United States got involved. The United States joined to help the South Vietnam stop and push back the North. The war went on for years and the United States troops were dying daily at a high number. The United States failed to stop them after all and there were a total of over 3 million deaths at the Vietnam War including 58,000 Americans. The United States were involved in the Vietnam for about 6-7 years. Once the United States backed out of the war, South Vietnam was still requesting aid from the US and they denied it. The North Vietnam ended up taking over and renamed the country.

A moment in time in Vietnam
Source: World Book
There were many of battles that happened in this war that were called the Buddhist Crisis where The Buddhist’s said that South Vietnam were restricting their religious practices and that led to a pretty big conflict. There was the Gulf Of Tonkin incident where North Vietnam attacked United States’ destroyers. There was also the Tet offensive where North Vietnam and the Viet Cong attacked the major cities of South Vietnam and mostly hit the Capital. These incidents were pretty big things that happened throughout the war. 

Hillstrom, Kevin and Laurie. World Book. Chicago. 2005.
Spector, Ronald. “Vietnam War” Encyclopedia Britannica. 12/23/13.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Uranium

U is for Uranium
The students of the U.S. History class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School were given the assignment to write a post on the letter U, their teacher thinking that they would do “United States”.  However, as a teacher continually learns—these boys and girls can surprise us.  They came up with uranium all on their own.  Here is what they learned.

Uranium is a radioactive metal used as the energy source in nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs. The reason it is used is that it has immense energy stored in its nucleus, which can break apart and release this energy. This process of splitting the nucleus is called Fission. This is done by striking the nucleus with a neutron. A U-235 nucleus splits readily when it is struck by a neutron into two or more fragments. This releases energy and two or more neutrons. These neutrons can then cause other U-235 nuclei to break apart releasing more neutrons repeating the process continuously. This self-sustaining process of fission events is called a chain reaction. U-238 nuclei, in most cases, will absorb the nuclei that hit them. When scientists discovered the ability to cause a chain reaction they discovered that a tremendous amount of energy was released. Albert Einstein created the theory that shows matter can be transformed into energy and that energy and matter are related by the equation E= mc^2. This says that energy (E) into which a given amount of matter can change into equals the mass (m) of that matter multiplied by the speed of light squared (c^2). This theory was created in 1905. Scientists determined using this formula that one pound of Uranium would release as much energy as 8,000 tons of TNT. This realization determined that Uranium could be used to make a powerful bomb.

The United States took these discoveries and put them to use in the making of the first working nuclear weapons. The weapons were two nuclear bombs each made using different technologies. A subcritical mass is a mass unable to sustain itself while undergoing a chain reaction. This subcritical mass must be triggered into a chain reaction in order to achieve a nuclear explosion. A fission weapon uses one of two methods to create a critical mass, which is a minimum amount of fissionable material. The first way is the gun-type method. This is where two subcritical pieces of material are placed into a device similar to the barrel of a gun. One piece is at one end of the barrel and the other is near the opposite end with a conventional, or non-nuclear, explosive behind it. When triggered, the conventional explosive propels the first into the second at very high speed. The result is a combining of mass causing a chain reaction. This is the cause of the explosion. The second method is the implosion method. In this method, a subcritical mass is made into a supercritical mass by compressing it into a smaller volume. This mass is in the center of a weapon, surrounded by conventional explosives. When triggered, the conventional explosives go of simultaneously, compressing the subcritical mass into a very high density supercritical mass. A self-sustaining chain reaction occurs, causing the explosion. There are also Thermonuclear and other types of nuclear bombs, but none have been used.

Leo Szilard was a renown physicist who learned the Germans had split the Uranium atom. He alerted the famous scientist Albert Einstein, who in turn notified Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR approved the Manhattan Project, which was spear headed by General Leslie R. Groves. Once the team learned the British had started developing a bomb, Roosevelt approved the creation of an American bomb. Szilard and Enrico Fermi were the scientist responsible for major advances, and under J. Robert Oppenheimer, they tested the first bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1945. President Harry Truman was the president who, during his term, approved the drop of the atomic bomb on Japan.

The bomb known as "Little Boy"
that was dropped on Hiroshima
Two uranium bombs were dropped on Japan at the end of WWII. Little Boy, the smaller of the two bombs, fell on the city of Hiroshima at 8:15 AM on August 6, 1945. Fat Man, over twice the size of its partner, hit Nagasaki three days later on August 9. In the case of both explosions, ground zero and the surrounding area was decimated and both cities were left in a state of utter ruin. The combined death toll was around 83,000 victims, a significant number of whom were captured forced laborers and American prisoners of war. WWII ended with the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945, just six days after the bombing of Nagasaki.

Harry Truman will go down in history as a man that mercilessly killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. “The most terrible weapon ever known.” says Was it really necessary? Most Americans think of Truman as a hero. The decision to drop the bobs was undoubtedly difficult. Japan had broken international peace, and their allies, the Germans, had committed crimes that will never be forgotten. Some may think the bombing was a harsh punishment, but it is comparable to how the Japanese treated their war adversaries.

Before the bombs were dropped, the US offered Japan an unconditional surrender. The Japanese military command rejected this offer. The times were dire, and the US officials had heard that the uranium atom had been split, making the event of atomic war inevitable. The “good guys” had to assert dominance before things really got out of control.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Terrorism

T is for Terrorism
This girl from the government class immediately thought of this word when she pulled out her letter that first day of this unit at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School.  We often discuss the issue of terrorism as current events, historical events, and/or governmental implications. It is a tricky topic as the research and information on terrorism is constantly changing. She sums up the facts as best as she knows them in the post below.

What actually is terrorism? Most people when they hear the word terrorism think of places being bombed or airplanes being high jacked. However, the actual meaning of terrorism is the exploit or threat of violence against someone or group to create fear, alarm, or harm. There are many different forms of terrorism such as bombing, chemical attacks, kidnappings/ assassinations, hijackings, and etc. Terrorists include a variety of different people and or groups. Some terrorists are a terrorist because of their religion/beliefs, some for their political groups, some do it for their “group” (an example being Al- Queida). Terrorists attack or make threats for multiple different motives, most commonly are their beliefs/religion, political motives, to gain power, and etc. 

Above is a picture of the World Trade Center after being attacked.

Terrorism in the US started coming into play in the 1990’s, but really became a problem in the US after the attacks on 9/11. Why they do it isn’t something that is always a for sure answer and very rarely are we 100% positive of the reason behind the attacks or threats. Like I mentioned earlier reasons are varied all the way from being based off beliefs to simply gaining power. As of now, our biggest counterattack to terrorism is preventing it from happening in the first place. One of our greatest assets is our intelligence systems and security systems. Being able to monitor conversations and trace sketchy business has helped the US in preventing a bunch of attacks. Another source of help has been the economic and military forces of many combined nations. This has allowed us to shut down many terrorist operations as well as track, keep and eye on, and withhold many groups and individuals. So in my opinion, I feel that the whole idea of terrorism is absurd. I feel the reasons behind it are simply just excuses to do the unacceptable and twist it into being okay in their head. Terrorism isn’t something that has directly affected me, but I do know people who have been affected by it. I support the government as well as worldwide efforts in the attempt to stop terrorism.

Appleby, Joyce, et al. The American Vision. Columbus: Glencoe/ Mcgraw-Hill, 2008. 1036-1041.
Mockaitis, Tom. “Terrorism.” The World Book Encyclopedia. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book, Inc., 2005. 174-179.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Social Studies

S is for Social Studies
Today, the students got a break from writing. Their teacher gets to write “S”.  As such, S is for Social Studies.  I have enjoyed teaching Social Studies at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School.  Each class brings a new group of boys and girls that can learn about the world that they live in and become more familiar with where they came from.  Each subject area: World Geography, World History, U.S. History, and Government give the students an opportunity to expand their knowledge.  Each course taught in a blended learning format with a rigorous curriculum prepares them for their future lives in career, college, or life.

World Geography really helps the students to learn about the world that they live in. The class starts out with a unit on the basics of geography and the five themes of the class.  These five themes are: Location, Place/Region, Impact of the Individual, Movement, and Human-Environment.  The students then go through the regions of Europe, South and Central America, North America, and Russia to focus in on these themes and aspects of these areas.  Each region discusses the climate, resources, and make-up of that area.  Students can choose to take the second semester, which covers the rest of the world. We reinforce this in class as students connect their learning to the current events of the area and as we focus on an activity with each of the themes.

World History covers the major events of the world as the students start with the initial civilizations of the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Greeks.  As the material builds they learn about the civilizations that expand, fall, and the impact that they have on future civilizations and the civilizations of today.  If the students take both semesters, they come all the way to the present-day.  We reinforce this learning in class with current events that are often influenced by historical events. We also practice reading primary sources to gain a greater picture of how these people lived.

U.S. History is set up in a similar way to World History in the fact that it covers the major events of the United States of America. The class starts with the discovery and settlement of the new world, transitions to the formation of the republic, the Civil War, and the U.S.’s involvement in the world events.  This class moves all the way to the present-day as well as students are required to take a full year of this course.  The students enjoy discussing the way that the country has turned out now in relationship to where we have been through the current events.  We will use a variety of primary sources from old news clips, to newspapers, texts, and movies to understand what people thought at that time.

Students working hard on their assignment in class
Finally, the government class is set up to follow the U.S. History class as the students focus in on the writing of the Constitution, the three branches of government, and the inner workings of their federal, state, and local governments.  These students culminate this class with a final project that requires them to write about an issue to their local Congressman/Congresswoman.  This letter allows the students to really think about their opinion and commit to it—a great skill we work on in all of the classes.

Overall, I hope that you can see why I love teaching Social Studies so much and what we try to accomplish in each class.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Reservations

R is for Reservation
When this girl pulled "R" out of the hat, she immediately thought of reservations.  Cedar Ridge Academy is located near the Ute Indian Reservation and we participate in a lot of the sports that the organize.  As an international school, we have the opportunity to learn a lot about different cultures that other schools don't have the ability to do so.  In addition, with a private school and therapeutic boarding school schedule we have the flexibility with our blended learning format to step outside of the box and explore the world around us.  This student of U.S. History has been able to learn a lot from the world around her.

While the concept of Indian reservations had been around since North America was first settled, reservations as we know them today came about in 1867. During this time period many people, encouraged by government actions such as the Morrill Land-Grant Act and the Homestead Act, left the Eastern cities to settle in the West. The federal government wanted people to settle the west, because it would result in more money for the country. The federal government formed the Bureau of Indian Affairs (IBA) to manage the reservations. The IBA still exists today and works with the United States government to improve the welfare of Native Americans. While some Native Americans agreed to be relocated onto the reservations, many resisted, leading to bloody conflicts.

A big aspect of Native American culture was the idea of working together for the benefit of the community, instead of the individual. Many tribes also had a very nomadic lifestyle, which conflicted with the more western standards in the US. In 1887, Congress passed the Dawes Act, dividing up the reservations into individual plots of land. The act assigned plots of land to each Native American. It was an attempt by the government to force Native Americans to become farmers and to assimilate to American culture. However, the Dawes Act severely weakened the Native American culture and changed their way of life.

Native American boy with authentic tribal face paint 
stands in front of ancient petroglyphs.
There are about 285 Indian reservations in the US in 30 states. The largest Indian reservation in the US is the Navajo Reservation, which covers around 14 million acres, which is roughly the size of West Virginia. The main source of income on reservations comes from agriculture, although it is far from the only way money is made. Many reservations also make money from tourism, demonstrating some of their culture for people. Another main source of income for many Indian reservations is gambling casinos. While some reservations are able to make a considerable amount of money by running casinos, the practice has moved many Native Americans even farther away from their culture. Today more and more Native American youth are moving farther away from their ancestors’ way of life and moving closer to the more ‘American’ culture, suggesting that the original purpose for the creation of Indian reservations is being accomplished. However, has it been worth paying the price?

Appleby, Joyce, et al. The American Vision. New York, NY: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print. 542-545.
Tiller, Veronica E. Velarde. “Indian Reservation.” The World Book Encyclopedia. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc., 2005. 188-189.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is Quebec

Q is for Quebec
As written by one of the boys in the World Geography at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School, this post really shows the effort that this student has made in perfecting his outlines and writing.  With the academics and rigorous curriculum that our certified teachers employ, both boys and girls can improve their writing dramatically

In discussing the Canadian province of Quebec, there are many things to cover including Quebec’s cultural geography, Quebec’s physical geography, and Quebec’s economy. Each of these has many subtopics to cover.

Starting with the cultural geography of Quebec, there are a few things to discuss. First off, Quebec is the only Canadian city to have extensive ties to French culture. Quebec is the only city in Canada where English and French are displayed on street signs and where many laws and policies are written in both French and English. Both languages are also spoken by many inhabitants of Quebec. These people are called the Quebecois, and they hold very tightly on to French tradition and culture. They are so unique from the rest of Canada that at one point most of Quebec was, and actually is today, in favor of separatism. They want to secede from the rest of Canada and be their own country. To speak about language and religion, Quebec is very diverse in the languages its people speak and the religion that its people practice. The languages adopted from other places in the world, along with French and English, are German, Italian, and Chinese. There are also languages spoken by the indigenous peoples that live there, including Cree and Inuktitut, which are spoken by the Inuit people. Moving into the religions of Quebec, the main religion is Roman Catholic, while other religions, not as heavily practiced, are Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Sikhism, which all show the major cultural diversity of Quebec.

A view of the Quebec skyline
Source: World Book
Now, we begin to get into the physical geography of Quebec. The area around Quebec is considered to be Canada’s heartland, along with cities like Montreal. Quebec sits on what is known as the Canadian Shield, most of Quebec is on top of this sheet of bedrock that covers about 1/3 of the entirety of Canada. This makes most of the area poor for farming and so the main economic focus is on businesses that specialize in mining and the slaughter of livestock. While most of the area is poor for farming, there is still 1/5 of the area that is not sitting on top of bedrock; the St. Lawrence River valley can still support the growing of some crops, and the soil is surprisingly fertile there. This place supports most of the agriculture in Quebec. While people often think of Canada as snow covered, a lot of Quebec is actually green and lush due to being so far south in relation to the rest of Canada.

All in all, Quebec is a very interesting and unique place. It is diverse in its languages, religions, and culture. And it has unique physical geography that is not shared by the rest of Canada.

Edgenuity. “Physical geography of Canada, Cultural geography of Canada”. Edgenuity. 3/31/14.

Deslauriers, Pierre and Donald Fyson. “Quebec”. World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago:World Book inc, 2005, 12-36.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Presidents

This post was written by a student in the United States History class at Cedar Ridge Academy, a therapeutic boarding school that works as an accredited private high school and accepts international students. This boy worked hard on his research as shown by his thorough description below.  

P is for President
The president of the United States is the head of the executive branch of the United States government. The president is put into office by being elected by the majority of the United States citizens. A president is elected to serve a four year term. One person may only serve two terms as president. In order to qualify to become a candidate for presidency, you must have been born in the United States, you must currently be a citizen of America, you must be at least 35 years of age, and you must have lived in the U.S for at least fourteen years. The president earns a salary of $400,000 a year, and lives in the White house in Washington, D.C. He/ She also receive a $50,000 allowance for expenses, plus some additional money for traveling and maintenance expenses.

The United States president was the first of its democratic kind. The first ever president was George Washington. We have had forty-four presidents since then, all of them being men. The current president is Barack Obama, who also happens to be the first African-American president. This just goes to show how unique American presidents are compared to the rest of the world’s governmental leaders. Americans have pioneered many ideas and customs pertaining to government. Even a woman can become the president. This has never happened yet, but it almost did seven years ago when Hillary Clinton was the third runner-up. In most countries, this has been or is unheard of. Having openness in this area is an example and very representative of American ideology.

Generally, the president represents America as a whole. He is selected by everyone who votes as a citizen of the United States. The person is nominated as head of a political party by the members of that political party, and then every American citizen has the right to vote for the nominees of the different political parties. As the president, most big national issues fall onto him/her, even when they have nothing to do with it. The president’s job title is the chief of enforcement. This is a major reason why so much goes into his election. The vice president goes along with the president the entire way and does not require an election to be the vice president. In an event of emergency or death of the president, the vice president would then become president. This is the only way that a person can become president without being elected by the citizens of America. There is an entire lineup of people that would become president in event of extreme emergency or death of vice president and etc. This list has no end to it. All of these characteristics are what makes the president so important to the U.S, and so unique compared to the rest of the world.

Appleby, Joyce, et al. The American Journey. Chicago, Glencoe, © 2003.

Cronin, Thomas E. “President.” World Book. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc, © 2005, p. 758

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Oversight by the Senate

O is for Oversight
This boy is a student in the Government class at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School.  In this private international school, we discuss a lot of current events which inevitably leads to discussions about how our government is set up. This is a great summary of the Senate's powers and functions.

The Senate is a very interesting and dynamic part of the U.S. Government. The different aspect of the Senate makes it so that it has the more power of the two houses in Congress. My reasons for claiming that is you have to look at how limited the rules are in the Senate. The simple fact that you can filibuster is a big piece of power that the Senate has over the House of Representatives. A single Senator can stall a bill for a good amount of time which will make it so that the opposing party that is pushing for a bill to be passed will be dropped from even being voted on.

The U.S. Capitol Building
Then you can look at the control they have over the president. The president will have to go through the Senate to go and deal with diplomatic affairs around the world. That major check on the president by the Senate gives the Senate a good deal of power. Not just that, the Senate has the Vice President as the head of the Senate. This enables the Senators to build a relationship with the VP so that they may be able to work together to build a bill that will benefit the people they both represent. Another part of the Senate is that they have the power to veto a bill even after it made it through the House and if the bill does pass through to Senate will go to the president’s desk and if the president sees fit he will sign it and make it into law.

The power of the Senate is a big part of the government and how it runs our Framers make it so that all of these things where put into the government so that there would be this check and balance in the government. This balance of power is a big part of the United States government and makes it so that we do have a free society. As far as whether the Senate is more power full then the House that is your own view. 

“Other Expressed Powers (direct instruction)” 2007. 3/31/14.

“The Implied Powers (Direct Instruction)” 2007. 3/31/14.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for New York

N is for New York
This post was done by one of the boys in the World Geography class at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School. At our private international high school, we really focus on a rigorous curriculum. That was the great thing for this student who made great improvements on his writing from his rough draft to this final post.  He also had a lot of pictures to go with! I have tried to include them all strategically around since they are all cool shots.

World Trade Center being attacked

New York is a very big city and it has a lot of cool facts, here are just some of them. The Empire State Building is on Fifth Ave. between 33rd street and 34th street.  The Empire State Building has 102 stories and on the 86th floor, there is an observation deck and you can look through the big binoculars out over New York City. You can also explore the gift shop that is inside. The World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001. A plane was hijacked at 8:00 A.M and was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 A.M. The Statue of Liberty is also another interesting thing that is in New York. The Statue of Liberty is on Liberty Island. It is the symbol of American freedom. The tourists get to the island by boat.

Something else that attracts a lot of people is Greenwich Village. There are many actors, artists, musicians and other people that live around Greenwich Village that hang out in the streets during the day. There are small theaters as well as shops in the village. There are many places to buy books there as well as gifts for friends and family. There are lots of good places to eat around Greenwich Village.
The Statue of Liberty
New York is one of the main printing and publishing centers. There are more printing plants than any other city in the United States. There are about 93,000 workers there and about a 3rd of the books in the United States are published in New York. The port of New York and New Jersey is one of the biggest seaports. There are about 200,000 people working there . The cargo is foreign imports and exports. New York is 3rd in the manufacturing industry. There are about 17,000 industrial plants and they give jobs to about 430,000 workers.

These are just some of the reason why it would be cool to go to New York and look around the city. This is a good place to plan a family vacation.

New York University Ed.  Scott Fetzer.  Chicago: World book Inc., 2005 322-345
Santella Andrew. September 11, 2001 scholastic Inc. Grolier Publishing Co. 2002 9-11
Twin Towers Dollar Bill

New York City Skyline on the 1st year anniversary

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Minimum Wage and Mandela

M is for Minimum Wage and Mandela
In continuation of our post yesterday, the students of the U.S. History class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School have been exploring the arguments for and against minimum wage.  Today, they will state their opinions on the minimum wage issue.  Also, the World History students explored the time in South Africa as Mandela passed away and what that means for the young Africans there.  Check out their sum-up below.

Do you support the president’s proposal of raising the minimum wage that to $10.10 an hour? Why or why not?
  • I favor it.  If the minimum wage increases, employers will still need their employees, and will likely still be able to pay their wages. The minimum wage people are in more need than employers.
  • I agree that the minimum wage should be increased, however not by so much.  Too much of an increase too quickly can lead to more inflation, which is the main cause of the issue in the first place.
  • Instead of focusing on the wage, I think the president and legislature should be more concerned with school reform preparing people to work advanced jobs that deserve more money.  A lot of time and money is misplaced in public school.  In my opinion, it is the duty of the government to prepare children for the future, without citizens paying for and going into debt for an education.
  • I do not support this proposition for long term purposes.  I believe this wouldn’t help the problem; it would only address its symptoms.  I believe it would further contribute to a large gap between the upper and lower classes.  Either you are wealthy or in poverty, I do not support either of these, and believe this could be solved by creating some means of a maximum wage. With the firing of people that are currently employed on a large scale, the government would become overwhelmed with things like public healthcare and welfare.  I believe it would be hard to find a job, making even the low level minimum wage type jobs completely filled by more prestigiously qualified individuals, creating a crisis for students. 
What is South Africa like for young adults?

This article is about young Africans honoring Mandela because they insist that their determination to look to the future is the greatest tribute they can pay him.  South Africans are encouraged to build the South Africa that Mandela envisioned. Young Africans socialize with people of other races, which is looked down upon.

The cover of this particular Upfront

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Learning Through Current Events

L is for Learning
through Current Events
L is for learning through current events at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School. As teacher and students, we spend a little bit of time each class period talking about recent events in the world. This is a two part post, with half coming today and half coming tomorrow.  New York Times Upfront is a great resource as the students explore the minimum wage arguments right now. The U.S. history boys and girls were asked to explore these arguments.

What are the arguments for raising the federal minimum wage?
  • Minimum wage jobs are crucial to a lot of breadwinners in families. Higher wages could better support families and young people.
  • Some of the arguments for raising the federal minimum wage are that it will boost the economy and help workers keep up with inflating prices.
  • The arguments for raising minimum wage are that people working full time shouldn’t live in poverty.
  • The president said, “No one working full time should be living in poverty.” Many say the cost of living doesn’t match up with the wages. Inflation has caused the minimum wage to become less then it should be or was intend to be originally.  In many states, the raise is believed to improve the economy.

Why do some companies oppose a minimum wage hike?

The cover of this particular issue of Upfront
  • Increase in minimum wage jobs will make it harder for employers. It will lead to job loss and unemployment.
  • Some companies oppose a minimum wage hike because they say it will increase their cost of doing business, as well as make it more difficult to hire new employees and to keep the current ones.
  • Some companies oppose the change because they say it will hurt the economy by increasing prices and scaring away customers.
  • Many companies believe they will not be able to keep up with profit growth, leading to the need to downsize. They say many will be jobless with no hope of getting a job. The only workers will be the “lucky” ones.  Also monetary needs in other areas would have a lack of funding and therefore lead to decreasing quality all around.
Check back tomorrow for the student's opinions on what we should do about minimum wage.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Kauai in Hawaii

K is for Kauai
This post from the World Geography class at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School is from one of our girls.  She struggled trying to figure out what to write about, but she found Hawaii to be a beautiful place that she really enjoyed learning about.

Kauai is an island that is found in Hawaii. Some people like to call it the garden island. It’s very lush, green and has plenty rain. Kauai is actually known as the rainiest area in Hawaii. It has a mild climate, and the island is surrounded in a circle form. In the Pacific chain, it’s the oldest island. Hawaii also has beautiful oceans along the shore. Even walking on the street, there are many palm trees. Kauai also has many beautiful vibrant flowers. They’re very colorful and bright. The yellow hibiscus is actually the state flower. There are also many canyons that are found in Kauai along with peaceful waterfalls.

This is Hanauma bay in the island of Oahu. It is beautiful, relaxing, and calm 
Source: World Book
In Hawaii, Polynesian dancing is a popular tradition. Hawaiians believe this as a beauty of art. The reference of the word “hula” means dance. If you think of the concept of charades, it’s similar to figuring out and indicating the story the Hawaiians give when hula dancing. They move and sway their hips. They also indicate each movement to inspire and explain their story. They might do different movements with their arms that can indicate the flow of the ocean. They also can sway their hips to the beat of a drum and the rhythm. Doing Polynesian dancing at festivals is also a cultural tradition. Hawaiians are also very passionate in their culture of what they enjoy and love doing.

These are two Polynesian dancers at
 a festival doing their tradition of hula dancing.  
Source: World Book
Another part of the culture is the language that the Hawaiians speak. Most people in Hawaii actually speak English.  In the language, there is a vowel at the end of a syllable, along with the end of a word as well.  Aloha is a term that can be said from either saying hello or goodbye. Each syllable of a word being spoken has a certain meaning. “Alo” means presence and “ha” means breathe. When I think of the term Aloha, I think of it as a term used in introducing yourself to someone with respect. This involves being kind and friendly when meeting someone or letting them go. The definition of Aloha means “love; greetings; welcome; and farewell.” 

Boylan,  Dan and  Wester, Lyndon  “Hawaii, The Aloha State.”   Ed. Scott Fetzer.  Chicago:   World Book  Inc.,  2005. 88-110.

Hawaii feature, “Hawaii People and Their Culture.” March 20, 2014.