Can Your Students Spot a Fascist?

Listen to “James Sturtevant Hacking Engagement” on Spreaker.

If you’ve taught a humanities class, you’ve probably recognized how frequently Adolf Hitler comes up. Unfortunately, many kid’s understanding of Hitler and Fascism doesn’t expand much past the Holocaust, and some students can’t spot a Fascist from across the room.

In fairness to kids, though, lots of adults also struggle with this, because, like students, they haven’t been exposed to the characteristics of a Fascist (see list below).

Scott Elliott teaches 9th Grade World History with me. Right before Christmas Break, we were yakking about how we could teach Fascism, our first unit in January, in a more engaging and impactful way.

Scott found a wonderful resource which formed the backbone of the assignment. The article is by Laurence W. Britt and is entitled Fascism Anyone.

The assignment we created challenged kids to rate WWII leaders on the 14 Characteristics Britt articulates and also to apply them to current leaders with authoritarian traits. Here’s a link to the Hyperdoc we posted on Google Classroom.

Britt’s list of 14 Fascist Characteristics

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
  5. Rampant sexism
  6. A controlled mass media
  7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
  9. Power of corporations protected
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
  14. Fraudulent elections

This turned into a solid activity in our World History class, but the lesson can be applied outside of the humanities.

Perhaps, there are misunderstandings about important concepts in other subjects. I can certainly think of examples in science.

Applying the Hack Learning model

The Problem

Students freely use words like Fascist, Nazi, and Hitler with limited knowledge of these label’s broader meanings.

The Solution

Expose kids to what Fascism is and then challenge them to apply it, and challenge them to apply agreed-upon standards to a set of contentious circumstances.

What you can do Tomorrow

  • If you teach a humanities course and Fascism is a topic, please steal our lesson and morph it to fit your needs.
  • If you teach a non-humanities class, take a controversial or misunderstood topic, expose students to some agreed-upon standards and then challenge them to apply that knowledge.

Please inspire your kids to pursue objective truth relentlessly. Assignments such as this will nurture this essential disposition!

Why grading and evaluating are not assessment

Hack Learning’s Mark Barnes wrote about revolutionizing assessment by going gradeless in Education Week’s 10 Big Ideas special report. Some readers are intrigued, and some are pushing back.

In Episode 110 of the Hack Learning Podcast embedded above, Mark takes on the pushback and explains why grading and evaluating are not parts of effective assessment.

No, Students Don’t Need Grades, excerpted from Education Week’s 10 Big Ideas article

Technology and social media continue to disrupt education. Classrooms are morphing into maker spaces; STEM labs and media centers are filled with fascinating electronic gadgets. Teachers spend less time in front of the class and more time in the middle of the action. Schools, teachers, leaders, parents, and students across the country are embracing this brave new world.

In the midst of rapidly changing technology, and consequently, pedagogy, there is another fundamental change I would argue more educators need to embrace. It’s a growing movement to alter the one function of education that most stakeholders steadfastly refuse to revise: how we assess learning.

If you’re interested in disrupting education far more than the 3-D printer or smartphone ever could, consider schools and colleges where there are no grades. Imagine classrooms where teachers never place numbers, letters, percentages, or other labels on students’ work; where report cards don’t exist; and where the GPA has gone the way of the dinosaur.

In a gradeless classroom, the perpetual lies that numbers and letters tell about learning would cease to exist. Honor and merit rolls would disappear. There would be no school valedictorian. Clubs that celebrate high performers would disband. Many colleges and universities would change how they admit incoming freshmen, and academic scholarships would need a makeover.

Moreover, teachers would learn how to effectively assess academic performance, and students would become independent learners, driven by curiosity and inspiration rather than by the empty promise of a “good” grade or the threat of a “bad” one.

Now, this may sound like only a big, perhaps even unrealistic, idea. But the gradeless classroom already exists in schools worldwide. While I don’t claim to be the creator of no-grades learning environments, I and thousands of my colleagues across the United States and around the world have turned it into a movement that is helping educators reimagine how they assess learning.

Read the rest of my EdWeek article, part of the 10 Big Ideas in Education special report, here.

Mark Barnes on grades, feedback, and evaluation

  • Grades and feedback are not the same. Grades are numbers, percentages, and letters that label students and mislead stakeholders about what has or has not been learned.
  • There are many factors that impact learning, and teachers must have a conversation with students about those factors.
  • It’s crucial that teachers ask kids questions: Why did you do this? Why this way? What if you had done this instead? What don’t you understand? How can you better understand this?
  • Education needs to eliminate evaluation from assessment. Evaluation is about judging performance, and the only shareholders suited for this type of judgement are the learners. Teachers should relegate their feedback to observations and questions and teach kids how to judge their work.

More on going gradeless

Click image to look inside Hacking Assessment

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How to Make Your Students Flip in Minutes

Listen to “77-Flipgrid is a Powerful Little Tool that’s a Blast…Starring Aharon Rockwell.output” on Spreaker.

When evaluating a new tech tool, I must be able to use it within five minutes, or I just bag it.

If I can’t figure it out by then, my students will be lost.

I was conducting a PD session in Ft. Worth this past summer. A young lady called me over and said, Have you heard of Flipgrid and if so, have you used it? My answer was, No and No.

I made a mental note to try it when the school year started, but I remember thinking, It has to pass my ease of use test. Eight weeks into the school year, I finally got around to it. I’m glad I did!

Flipgrid is a cool way to encourage student’s voice. You record a video question and then kids record a 1 to 90-second video on their smartphones or Chromebooks in response.

Learn about more digital learning strategies

I mastered this cool new tech tool in about three minutes. My students figured it out in two.

This tool is great in terms of providing a creative vehicle for student expression. My friend Chrissy Romano warned that ostentatious presentation tools like Flipgrid might unravel introverted kids.

My response, which Chrissy liked, by the way, was to take anxiety away by permitting students who were uncomfortable to interview someone.

My first Flipgrid was pure practice. The students were prompted to ask Mr. Sturtevant a question.

This accomplished two objectives: It got them accustomed to the platform and they learned a lot about their teacher, which makes me more approachable.

My second Flipgrid was powerful. I challenged students to interview a friend, family member, coworker, or classmate. They asked their subject if they knew a Muslim and is Islam a religion of peace.

Aharon Rockwell

Aharon Rockwell is a freshman and in my Global Studies class. He knew I had a podcast and approached me about being a guest. I jumped at his offer and I’m glad I did. He’s a great guest, who explains the power of this tool, in the episode embedded above.

The Problem

Student are limited in terms of expression.

The Solution

Flipgrid will give your kids a new expressive canvas to paint upon…and it’s a lot of fun.

What you can do Tomorrow

  • Watch this brief tutorial from Tina Zita.

  • To become familiar with this tool, create your own grid and coerce your family and friends into posting.
  • Prompt your students to use Flipgrid in a trial by challenging them to ask you a basic question…see my first Flipgrid.
  • Prompt students with a question that gauges community attitudes. This will be an interview where introverted students can breathe a sigh of relief. Check out this Flipgrid for ideas.

Flipgrid is a cool tool that’s easy for kids to master. It’s also a lot of fun!

10 Mantras you Can Use Daily to Reduce the Stress of Parenting

Hacking Parenthood: 10 Mantras You Can Use Daily to Reduce the Stress of Parenting

Parenting Just Got Simpler

Because mantras bring peace to the process

You throw out consequences willy-nilly. You’re tired of solutions that are all or nothing. You’re frustrated with the daily chaos. Enter Parent Mantras, invaluable parenting anchors wrapped in tidy packages.

These will become your go-to tools to calm your mind, focus your parenting, and concentrate on what you want for your kids.

Now, you can connect with your child like never before

Parenting author, educator, and presenter Kimberley Moran works tirelessly to find best practices for simplifying parenting and maximizing parent-child communication.

Using 10 Parent Mantras as cues to stop and reset, Moran shares concrete ways to parent with intention and purpose, without losing your cool, creating better parent-child connections.

Click the image to learn more

With Parent Mantras, you’ll be able to:

  • Balance immediate needs with end goals
  • Grow your child’s independence
  • Engender trust and honesty
  • Let your decisions stand
  • Set boundaries with confidence
  • Locate practical resources for support

Bonus: Parent Resource Notebook

The PRN includes sample pages that parents can use as models for implementing mantras. These models are accompanied by blank templates you can actually write on, creating your own notebook pages that serve as your go-to guide for those difficult situations that are unique to you and your children.

Click image to learn how it works

Download the FREE Parent Resource Notebook here

 

Click here to purchase on Amazon

Click here to purchase on Barnes and Noble

 

Keep Hacking Parenthood and the included Parent Resource Notebook with you at all times. It’s like having your own playbook for parenting teens and children of all ages.

Ready to find your mantra?

Grab Hacking Parenthood today; find your mantra, and hone in on what matters most, when raising kids feels out of control.