Sunday, June 27, 2010

Modified DBQ Examples from 2010 Dallas I SI History I Strand

The image below is what we used for our example of a Modified DBQ.  The others are what we created in class.  Great examples of how you can get this done in a classroom and help your students work with sources and write a thesis.

click on each image above to make them larger.  

We had a good time on Thursday working with primary/secondary sources and also with "Modified DBQs."  There were some great examples of how you could work on this with your students.  Thanks!

Text Responses and Graphic Organizer Examples from 2010 AVID SI Dallas I History Strand

Here are some examples of the work we did in the Dallas I AVID History I strand. These are examples of graphic organizers and text responses.

Lists of Teacher Resources from June 2010 AVID Dallas I Summer Institute

These are the lists of great teacher resources that we compiled through our AVID History I strand.

You can flip through, pause and reverse with the lower left buttons.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The story of Jonathan Grant Brown - AVID Inspiration

The past week at the AVID Summer Institute, the highlight (as always) was the luncheon.  There are 18,500 people who will attend AVID Summer Institutes this summer, about 4,000 at the Dallas I session.  The four speakers this year were also a part of our 30th Anniversary of AVID and they did a video retrospective through the decades.  It was incredible.

One of my AVID photos from my website ended up in the video montage and that made me pretty excited.  I was also super lucky to have a front row seat for the speakers.  The luncheon has about 2,000 jammed in the ball room.  And it is a sea of humanity that the students have to address.  Quite intimidating.  Well, I walk in (a little late because our session was in a different hotel) and they ushered me into this front row seat at the first table.  Suddenly I'm sitting with two of the speakers and their families!  Pretty amazing experience.

One of the speakers was Jonathan Grant Brown.  His story is amazing.  I would not say it's "typical" of the AVID student experience though.  Most of our kids have great parents who love them, some pretty good support systems, but they just need AVID to help them advance into AP and Dual Credit classes and prepare for college.  But, Jonathan's story shows the power of AVID and what it can do for someone, even in the most dire situation.

This is a superb story. Jonathan Brown and his success through AVID. He is inspirational and shows that if he can do it, anyone can.

Jonathan's Original 2006 AVID Summer Institute Speech:

I originally posted some of this on my AVID class blog here:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

JFK Primary and Secondary Source Video

I tried the link on the UCSD website for the source, but I could not find the video.  A quick Youtube search gave it to me though.  Here it is:

If you would like to download this video, here is a post I did on my World History Blog about how to download Youtube clips:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What is AVID?

I was thinking tonight that it would be great to have this video on this blog to explain just what AVID is.  This is something I put together last spring.  It steps through the program and explains all the parts.  We have a great AVID program but it is still only in it's fourth year and is still growing.

The T-shirt design was not a favorite of mine (in fact, I had no design in choosing it), but our seniors loved it.  I think it is modeled after the "LOVE - HATE" from the movie Do the Right Thing.

What is AVID 2009? from Mr. Duez on Vimeo.
This is the 10 minute, Parent Night version.

AVID Summer Institute 2010 in Dallas

Tomorrow I'll be jumping on a flight bound for Dallas for the AVID Summer Institute 2010.  I'm excited about it.  But, I hate leaving Norma and Aidan for this long.  They are going to have a ball, they have lots planned.  And I have Skype to talk to them with at night.  So that'll be nice.  But, I'll still miss my boy.  It is bitter sweet traveling on Father's Day.

This is a big deal for me though.  I have been hoping to be an AVID National Staff Developer for the past 3 years.  From the first day that I was in San Diego, I just knew that it would be something I would love to do.  I must say I am a bit nervous tonight.  Although I have done this training session many multiple times within my district, I'm still a little hyped up because it is the real deal now.

I am teaching with a partner who is from Chicago and he's done the training a number of times.  So I have his experience to lean on and he's fantastic.  So I am looking forward to learning from him.  I'll be doing History/Social Science I.  It is four mornings of training sessions (Tue-Fri).  In the afternoons we'll be with our district site teams and with our school groups.  So it'll be a busy, busy week.

One of the other things I am really looking forward to is the 30th anniversary of AVID.  They have lots of great things planned for Summer Institute this year to take advantage of the 30th year.  They will have student speakers who are alumnus of the program.  That should be super inspirational.

I am nervous tonight, but I know once I'm in the session and we get rolling I'll be fine.  I love helping other teachers.  We should have 30 to 50 people in our session, so having 2 staff developers is really necessary.  I realize my role will be more of a #2 man and helper in most cases.  I'm fine with that because I will work the room as much as I can and try to be helpful.  There is so much to do during these sessions.  And keeping everyone happy and learning is really important.

The hotel we are staying in is at the Hyatt Regency right downtown.  That should be awesome.  I've been there before for other SI meetings but have never stayed there.  Looking forward to being downtown all week and soaking that in (after I'm super prepared for my training sessions first).

There is a lot to do in downtown Dallas.  The West End is pretty cool.  It is a little bit of a walk across downtown, so that'll stink.  But, they do have a public transportation train that you can hop on.  I'll have a good time.  But, my #1 priority is doing the best job I can as an AVID staff developer.  I'll let the rest take care of itself.  Should be a great week.

Friday, June 18, 2010

AVID in the News - Seattle Times Article w/Video

Although this article is not exactly like our program, it is similar.  We don't normally have students in AVID who have failed classes, or TAKS for that matter.  But, many of the concepts are the same.  

I also don't think AVID students are "average" in any way.  These are kids that are willing to take on more work to be able to succeed and move up into honors, Pre-AP, AP and Dual Credit classes.  Average kids would not make it.  But, our AVID kids do.  

I also take exception to "supercharged study hall" because AVID tutoring is certainly much more than that.  It is a very specific method with highly trained tutors.  It resembles no study hall I have ever seen.

Good article though and it's wonderful to see some positive things in the news about education.  Part of the article here, with links to the full article and the video is embedded:

Average students shine with help from AVID program
AVID — Advancement Via Individual Determination — is part supercharged study hall, part motivational seminar and part time-management training. It motivates kids in the academic middle to aim for college.
Seattle Times education reporter

It's hard to imagine that Bruna Afonso was once apathetic about her studies, unsure if she'd finish high school, much less go on to college.
She now earns good grades, takes tough courses and almost always speaks up in class, as she did recently during a spirited debate over the United States' role in Bosnia.
A few years ago, she disliked school and didn't try to do well.
Now? "I'm busting my butt," she said.
She credits her transformation to a program with a mouthful of a name: Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID.

Full article here:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another Thank You Notes to Remember - From AVID Student

I wanted to write out a few more of the great thank you notes that I received at the end of the school year.  I do this to remember them and to have them permanently on this blog so that I can pull them up when I am old and grey and smile.  :)

Mr. Duez - 
Where do I being... :)
I wanted to say that this year in AVID has probably been my favorite.  Last year was cool too, but this year I learned to appreciate it more.  Last year in tutoring it helped, but I took it for granted and this year it really helped me in all my classes.  I especially liked it when you came to my tutor group and helped me with my questions because no one else knew the answers like you did.  I would love to switch World History classes!  ha ha!  :)  Anyway, I wanted to thank you for a great two years in AVID and I really hope we have a great year again next year!

Such a sweet note and so nice that she took the time to type it up and fold it out like a card.  Really neat.

AVID is always a struggle because we have the kids for 4 years.  The kids have their ups and downs... and so do I.  But, it's about the long haul.  It's about getting these kids to college.  So you take things one day at a time and one step at a time.  And sometimes one tutoring question at a time.  :)

I can't wait until next year.  It will be so incredible to graduate my first AVID class and to also see my juniors accept the challenge of AP and Dual Credit classes and succeed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reflections on the 2009 - 2010 School Year "Best Of"

This was a great year.  I am super happy with the progress of my students.  Only two did not get credit for the year.  I am proud of that.  It definitely is a measure of the fact that I have GREAT students.  And I am committed to doing whatever it takes to help kids learn World History.  I think it is also a reflection of the kind of system I have created to assist students, so that learning is the only thing that matters.  Here's a quick look at the system, in a nutshell:

If a student gets any grade below an 85, they can come to tutoring to make up the work and reassess it.  They can not reassess during our class period, only during tutoring.  My tutoring times are Tuesday and Thursdays from 2:45 to 3:30.  It is up to the students to get in there after school to improve their grades.  But, the grade is just the carrot.  When I get them into tutoring, I'm checking their notes, orally quizzing them, helping with future assignments and working with them to be sure they understand the material.    There are time restraints.  A student can not come in to reassess after our next test.  For example, they can come in and work on Chapter 2 assignments all the way until we test for Chapter 3.  That's the deadline.  So I am not grading and re-grading forever.  The deadline is important.  For last work, they get a 50 if it's late until they come to tutoring and can earn up to an 85 if reassessed and orally quizzed that they indeed know the information (to be sure they did not copy/cheat).  If students do not turn work in before the deadline - it's a zero. 
Many would look at this and say it is watering down the course or worse, 'giving grades.'  But, the kids have to earn it.  They earn it by showing me that they have learned the material.  In the long run, this is all that matters.  And I love having the ability to say to a student (or parent), "Why didn't you come to tutoring to raise any grade that was below an 85."  Number one it's a win-win scenario for me and my students.  That pressure that it is on them and them alone to make the effort and be sure they understand the material... it just puts the pressure where it should be - on the student.  And it puts me in a support role, doing whatever I can to help and assist in the learning.

The year was also wonderful because of the many great and spirited service projects that our school committed to.  We raised over $7,000 for Haiti.  Through NHS at our school, students raised about $6,000 on a balloon campaign  for a young elementary girl dying of cancer so that she could go to Hawaii as her "wish."  Many of my World History and AVID students participated as judges for elementary school student's competition in Ecobot Challenge.  I believe they caught the "service bug."  We committed loads and loads of time as a school into community service and it made our school a much better place to be at in 2009-2010.  Really awesome.

So at the end of the school year, it is time for some reflection.  My first piece of the reflection will focus on a part of my survey.  Each spring I ask my students to fill out a survey that is a reflection of the school year.  Here were some of their comments that stood out or were repeated often:

Best Activities or Assignments of the Year:

Trench Warfare (Video)
It was really fun, although I hid behind a backpack like a coward.
We were allowed to throw paper at each other and did not get in trouble for it!
It was better than using real guns!

Video Project 
Everyone got to do what they wanted.
I loved getting to use computers.
I had never created a video before, so I learned more doing that than anything.
they were so creative, it was so much fun to watch what people came up with.
because we got to go into detail about a subject that we felt strongly about.

Castle Project  (Rubric) (Video)
Such a creative project.  When we are creative on things like this it keeps us more interested in the class.
OMG So much freaking fun!
I loved picking my partner.  We worked so well together.
Building a castle was just pure fun.
Loved being able to work with friends on the Castle.

College & Career Project 
It taught me what I should be looking for in a college.
I thought it was fun and interesting and got to hear what people wanted to be.
I liked the opportunity to do the resume.
It really helped me prepare for my future, Thank You Mr. Duez.

Ball Toss  (Video)
I really liked the ball toss because it allowed us to be active and involved.

Philosophical Chairs 
I really loved PChairs because it made me question my own opinions and views.
I loved debating all the topics.
It was always exciting and got me thinking.

Socratic Seminar  (Edmodo Experiment) (Video)
Using was one of the coolest things.

Rock ArtCollege Essay
It introduced everyone to each other and showed who we are to you.
It was the perfect ice breaker to start the year with.  I felt like I knew everyone after having gone through it.
I got to use my imagination

Human Rights Project 
I liked it the best because everyone had to do their part and we all learned the whole thing together.

World Leader Project 
I liked this one the best because we had a complete say in the leader that we wanted to do.  I loved learning about him.

My Reflections:
I will definitely swap when I do the World Leader Project and Video Project.  This year I came into the school year with a plan to do the Video Project twice because it was such a huge success the previous year.  But, the Video Project needs to happen in the 5th Six Week's Period.  (See last year's awesome videos from spring 2009 here)  It gives the kids more time to know each other better and they can work more cooperatively in teams.  They are also a bit older and more ready to work on videos, work with the technology end of it, and most important do the kind of research it deserves.  By the 5th six week's period the students know me better and are more comfortable asking for help.

The World Leader Project in the second six week's period will give my year a big shot in the arm.  I'll be giving them a research project right out of the gate and that will really help.  We will be working with multiple sources much more quickly and it will lay a great ground work for the kind of research we'll be doing all year long.

I loved the projects we did this year.  They were very similar to what we have done in the past.  But the biggest change was adding rubrics to better direct their writing.  This gave me the chance to add writing rigor to these projects that were not there in the past.  These students wrote better than any previous year that I have had.  I think a lot of that was attributed to the fact that I pushed them to write more and in a more complex way.  (Thesis writing all fall and then working with Documents using DBQs in the spring)  That has to continue next fall and be stronger to get them even more prepared for AP US History.  They don't call it "A-PUSH" for nothing!  It is a signal to me to push these kids even harder, but with lots of support.

I'll add another blog post or two this summer regarding what the student responses were about other questions in the survey, like:
 "What they will remember 10 years from now,"
"A Song, Book or Movie Title to describe the class,"
and their "Words of Warning" to next year's students.

I'd like to thank my friend MissTeacha, a fellow World History teacher, for lots of help and assistance this year.  She has a wonderful way of listening and giving support.  Thank you!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Outrageous Lessons

This is a really fascinating article about engaging students through outrageous lessons:
TLN Teacher Voices: Outrageous Lessons

This is a nice review on the book: Teaching Content Outrageously: How to Captivate All Students and Accelerate Learning

Among the "a-ha" moments for me in this article (and I have not read the book) is the fact that an outrageous lesson can actually improve discipline.  I found that very interesting.  I doubt that it is true if the students are not learning and do not see a connection to the learning target or objective.

I have found that some of my most dramatic lessons (dressing as a Roman Soldier, trench warfare with paper balls, purchase points system w/Reformation) have been very successful.  But, what is missing here is the fact that the lesson must be supported by strong setup or follow through to be sure that the objectives are taught and learned.  It is one thing to do something dramatic, it is quite another to be sure that learning has occurred.  When the two are tied together it can be quite an experience for students and one that they will always remember.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Our beautiful school
sent from my droid

Had to go into school this morning to pick up a check that was in my box.  It was amazing how peaceful it was for a Friday morning.  The stormy clouds from the day before were leaving and blue skies with big white clouds were coming in over the school.  I just had to take a quick picture.  It's such a beautiful building.  My wife and I are so lucky to teach there.

Unfortunately on Monday the life, craziness and commotion will return.  For the fifth year in a row we'll be hosting summer school for the entire secondary portion of our district.  We have 5 high schools, yet AHS is ALWAYS the home of summer school.  I simply don't think it's fair.  Our teachers have to tear down their entire rooms, pack up everything into a small wardrobe and take the rest home.  Yet 4 other high schools sit vacant while ours is used and abused.  It's really not fair.  I hope at some point they realize it needs to rotate.  Before long the school is going to age well beyond it's 5 years in wear and tear alone.