2017 Summer Blog #3 – Hamilton’s Nemesis, Aaron Burr

Trying something new this week. I recorded a mini-pseudo-podcast. Not sure how good the audio will be. Let me know if it works … or not.

 

 

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2017 Summer Blog #2 – Hamilton Intro

 

So I’ve read about halfway through the book (pg 357) and its just now that I feel confident that I can have an informed opinion on this song. I mean the music is great, that much is obvious. Its super catchy and gets stuck in your head in a I-can’t-remember-all-the-words-but-I’m-going-to-try-to-sing-it-anyway kind of way.

Factually I can’t find any errors in the song although there are some exaggerations. The interesting thing I find is what the song chooses to emphasize. This whole musical is a historical parable of the American Dream and you can hear it in this very first song. Hamilton is portrayed as the quintessential immigrant who works hard, pulls himself up by his own bootstraps, and makes a name for himself. Nothing is ever that simple, and the musical gets into the complexities a bit later on and so will I. However, this intro does give one glimpse into the making of Hamilton’s greatness that was not of his own doing.

The book obviously goes into more detail about this, but I think its instructive that this great and talented man needed a local minister to recognize his talent, care about his down and out situation, open up writing opportunities, and take action to collect funds for his education. Those funds are what sent him to New York and set him on the path of becoming and doing all that he became and did.

As I’ve said many times (and will in the future) ‘Great Man History’ isn’t all its cracked up to be. Nothing is ever that simple.

The preacher’s name was Rev. Hugh Knox, who until this reading I had never heard of.

Side Note: The actual intro to the book starts with Eliza Hamilton, who outlived her husband by many years. She is fascinating, but more about her later.

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2017 Summer Blog #1

I know you all have been out of school for about two weeks now, but we teachers just finished up meetings and such last week. So I’m just now sitting down to think about the assignments I said I’d give myself for this summer.

  1. Read all 735 pages of Hamilton by Ron Chernow  – This is what the musical is based on.
  2. Attend a class in Philadelphia on The Supreme Court’s role in American democracy.
  3. Visit some interesting historic places.

 

Oddly enough those last two are going to be the hardest. As many of you know my wife and I are having a baby, who is due to arrive nearly any minute. So traveling might be kind of tricky. Nevertheless, I’ll find at least a few interesting things to write about. There’s plenty of interesting stuff just in and around Pittsburgh.

Check back soon for an update on how far I’ve read in Hamilton, and read along if you want. You could also download the audio book from Audible or somewhere and listen to it much faster than I can read.

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The Great?…Blog Post

 

 

A while ago we talked about Alexander the Great. We can tell that Alexander really was important because of the obsession everyone in the ancient world had with him. All of Alexander’s generals tried to fill his shoes after his death. Pompey tried to copy Alexander’s conquests (and even his hair style) for Rome. Shakespeare in his play Henry V wrote a line for Henry to say to his troops encouraging them to be ‘…like so many Alexanders…’

What does it mean to be great? What makes a person great?

I want you. To come up with a list of 10 great people and in one word or phrase describe the reason for their greatness. (You get one word/phrase per person)

If you don’t know of any great people I’ll give you a little help to get started. Below is a link to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017. Maybe you’ll find some of them to be great feel free to look for people from other sources though.

 

Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People – 2017

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7/8 Nightly Listening Assignment

9 Things We Learned About Phones From a Teenager 

  • This is from 2015 so it might be a little dated but its a decent starting point to discuss how you all use technology and what has changed in the two years.  (If you don’t want to listen to the audio you can read the text of the article)

 

After you listen fill out the survey below.

 

 

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Outline of a Letter

Below is an outline of what a letter to your elected representative should look like. Don’t forget your rough draft is due on Monday. Its worth 25 pts.

 

Salutation (E.g. Senator Toomey, Representative Doyle, Governor Wolfe)

Paragraph 1 – Explain who you are and where you’re from (what community or district) so they know you’re from a place they represent.

Paragraph 2 – Explain what issue you’re concerned about and how it affects you.

Paragraph 3 – Describe what 2-3 specific actions you’d like your representative to take. What future laws/actions would you like them to support or not support? What do you want them to actually work toward.

Closing (E.g. Sincerely, Respectfully, Thank You)

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7/8 Nightly Viewing/Listening Assignment 4.26.17

All the following links will take you to some information regarding education and its costs.

Tech Not Taxes – This is a little dated but still interesting.

Free College is a Really a Thing – In some places at least. Listen to the audio or read if you want. Pay attention to the reason why some places are providing free college.

Places with Free College Programs – Its a map! and its clickable. Check out PA and a few other states.

The Numbers – A short article that breaks down the cost of college. The whole thing is interesting to read, but if you’re too lazy at least read the pieces on the ‘Cost of a College Education’ and ‘Inflation Comparison’. The numbers are pretty accurate  I think even though the article is from 2015. Warning: This might be really depressing, but you should know what you’re walking into.

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