Thursday, April 30, 2015

Video Conferences

“It’s OUR War Too: Women in WWII” 
During the month of April, 8th Grade Civics students had the opportunity to participate in four video conferences with some of the most renowned museums in the nation following their daily PSSA Tests.  Students were able to choose which video conference most appealed to their interest from among four choices.

On April 14, Twenty-four students learned about the history of Presidential Campaign commercials from the Paley center for Media Museum in New York City.  Through a program entitled, “The Thirty Second Candidate”, students discussed propaganda techniques, analyzed historic campaign commercials from President Eisenhower and President Johnson and also compared & contrasted them with advertisements from more recent elections (Clinton, Obama).

On April 15, Twenty-six students participated in a video conference entitled “It’s OUR War Too: Women in WWII” which was broadcast live from the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.  Students not only viewed original TV spots promoting women entering the workforce, they also analyzed political cartoons from the era.  For many, the highlight of the video conference was the first-hand oral history provided by a real-life “Rosie the Riveter” named Edna Donnelly who worked in a shipyard in New Orleans during WWII.

On April 21, twenty students tested their espionage skills when they met with an educator from the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.  Students graduated from “Spy School 101” by completing three tasks:  analyzing a still photograph for suspicious activity taking place in a seemingly ordinary courtyard, identifying tools used by spies that appear to be common everyday accessories, and trying to spot a spy in disguise during a crowded scene from a hotel lobby.

On April 22, twenty-seven students learned about the “Red Scare: The Cold War on Television” as presented by the Paley Center in New York.  Students first viewed a famous P.S.A. that instructed everyone to “duck and cover” for protection from an atomic bomb.  Then, they discussed the psychological effects that building bomb shelters might have on the nation.  Finally, after viewing clips from the McCarthy hearings, students analyzed a sci-fi clip from a famous episode of The Twilight Zone for similarities to the hysteria-causing hunt for communists happening in the US in the 50s & 60s.