Friday 2.27

Today your job is simple –

  1. finish up any remaining work from yesterday
  2. Inform yourself about taxes.  Start local.  Consider the ways future candidates are distinguishing themselves from each other.  Here’s a NY Times editorial reprinted in the Seattle Times.
  3. Do some independent research to learn the current tax system for Federal taxes.  We will eventually discuss Corporate taxes, Capital Gains taxes, and Income taxes.  If you want some help, start here:
    1. the most recent tax changes; a 2012 article from economists
    2. some discussion on taxing the wealthy – from the view of a millionaire,
    3. a discussion on corporate taxes – and the ways corporations avoid paying taxes (legally)
    4. The start of conversation on the effect of tax cuts – the loss of services from the Washington Post
    5. An interesting article about people’s views on government subsidies like healthcare
    6. The views of Republicans – an article about a recent speech by Jeb Bush on the plight of the poor from the Washington Post
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Thursday, February 26th – Views on the economy

You are responsible for working today to track your own progress.  Please open up the document that you started yesterday and return to the website at the Pew research center.  Consider your results.  Write responses to the following questions into the same document that your results are in.

  1. What seems most shocking about your results?  Did the test confirm what you already believed?  Why is that?
  2. When you read the description of the profile for your political views, what seems most accurate?  What seems most off-base?
  3. Read the descriptions for other groups.  Are you in the group that is ‘right’ for you?  Are you in the group you hope(d) to be in?  Explain.
  4. Read the more elaborate explanation – “Beyond Red vs. Blue…”- comparing people’s responses to the questions.  What did you learn?  Write and elaborate – use examples where appropriate.
  5. Compare the typology groups on the various issues.  What seems most interesting? How does this data alter your view about the political landscape?
  6. Compare the data in the responses to the questions.  Does the explanation validate the findings?  Does data give them merit?  Is this an accurate way to know someone’s political views?

Now that you’ve done some initial research into the political assumptions you have, read and consider the breakdown of responses regarding government, write a thoughtful response to this question:

7.  Given what you’ve now know about paradigms (thanks to Kuhn), what impact will an individual’s political views have when they consider a question like: What fiscal policy would you promote (regarding taxes) if you were a presidential candidate for the 2016 presidential election?  To what degree should we work to change individual’s values before we tackle the simpler question of ‘what should we do about taxes?’

8.  Let’s look now at the ways the area of knowledge History will play in this exploration.  Consider your views and the views of others about Trust in Government. What could be done to change these views?  What should be done?  Why is that necessary?  Read this article from 2013 regarding a decline in Trust in government.  Link to and explore the interactive on Public Trust in Government.  What do you learn?  What are the implications of what you’re learning?  What does it suggest about recent presidents?  About the role of historical events as factors that influence individual perspectives?

9.   As you get deeper into the interactive, consider the presentation of the data itself.  What is significant about this particular tool as a way to know something about individual attitudes about government?  How does the presentation of data influence its interpretation?  Its value? Its interpretation?

Hopefully, you can do a thoughtful job today in class.  Hopefully, too, you are productive.  I would expect thoughtful, productive, and focused learners to complete questions 1-6 and begin a written explanation of question 7 by the end of the period today, Thursday, February 26th.  While there is no homework, you will need to save your written progress and be prepared to submit it in written form if asked to do so.  In the meantime, keep it in digital form and work diligently to explore the issues.  Tomorrow, we will continue from where you left off.

It is a good strategy to improve your essay over the break…

If you’re up to it, invest one or two hours improving the quality of your essay.

In addition, you should also complete the Second Interaction on the Theory of Knowledge – Planning and progress form.   Given the two hours that we worked on essay this week during class, you should be able to spend just a few hours on your essay to improve it prior to the February 24th due date.  In case you haven’t realized it, that is Tuesday after break.

Essays will be submitted to turnitin.com on Tuesday, February 24th.   These drafts will be graded.   It should be noted that I will be basing your ‘predicted grade’ for the course (I eventually submit this to IB) upon the quality of the essays submitted on February 24th.  I will also assign your essays a completion grade and quality grade for the Skyline gradebook by reading what you have submitted on turnitin.com.   I will neither comment on nor edit your essays directly, nor will I assign them a mark based on the IB rubric.  I WILL be sending you a brief series of comments indicating ways you might improve your essay.  I intend to return the comments to you by early March.  At that point, you may make minor alterations to your essays and then upload them to the IB gods by March 10th.

Kuhn Test and Essay Progress

Today, February 11th, we took the Kuhn Tests in class.  After the tests, we submitted our Journals with our Critical Reading Notes (many submitted their books as well), our Content Notes (from the chapter we were assigned), our Content Chapter Tests, and our Jigsaw notes from the presentations Monday and Tuesday.  In all, we have critical reading notes on chapter 1, the assigned chapter, and the postscript.

After the test was completed, students were encouraged to collect their submitted (and now marked) outlines.  Outlines have a score on them – the number on the top half of the ‘fraction’ is the points (out of 50) earned based on the completion of the 4-level outline [MT, BTs and CM with cited support].  The bottom half is an overall quality grade based on the thought and research investment into the outline.  Essays with strong Thesis Statements, complete Body Thesis Statements, insightful and complete Commentary, as well as Cited factual support would have earned a score of 50 (out of 50).  The class averages were closer to 40/50.

Now that essays have been commented on, you can complete the Second Interaction on the Theory of Knowledge – Planning and progress form.   From here, you should start some initial revisions and continue working on the essay Thursday and Friday in class.

Essays will be submitted to turnitin.com on Tuesday, February 24th.   These drafts will be graded.   It should be noted that I will be basing your ‘predicted grade’ for the course (I eventually submit this to IB) upon the quality of the essays submitted on February 24th.  I will also assign your essays a completion grade and quality grade for the Skyline gradebook by reading what you have submitted on turnitin.com.   I will neither comment on nor edit your essays directly, nor will I assign them a mark based on the IB rubric.  I WILL be sending you a brief series of comments indicating ways you might improve your essay.  I intend to return the comments to you by early March.  At that point, you may make minor alterations to your essays and then upload them to the IB gods by March 10th.

Beginning Thomas Kuhn…

Today, we’re starting our reading of the text The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  You should have checked out a text from Ms. Eide in the library.  You will be expected to take notes on the material you’ve read.

Remember to make sure that you always meet these three criterion with your notes:

  1. You have identified the important passages after you have read the book
  2. You have written commentary to suggest the significance of the passages
  3. You have synthesized the ideas into your own words

Additionally, we will continue to take in-class notes on the ideas/questions that we have as we work through the text.

Although it seems obvious, it bears repeating that it is my expectation that each student meets the following criterion:

  • is able to use a variety of reading strategies to better understand collegiate-level work
  • is able to understand Kuhn’s ideas and can paraphrase significant passages from the text
  • is able to synthesize the main arguments from the text and use a quotation to support that synthesis
  • is able to identify and evaluate specific passages or ideas in the text

With this in mind, it is important for students to do their own work and to refrain from using summaries or encyclopedias to do the analysis in lieu of student thought.  In all facets of this process, students are expected to be able to demonstrate evidence of their own thinking and the steps they’ve taken in this process.

Tonight, you should read the remainder of chapter 1 and have evidence of such reading and notetaking