Before we dig in to our new way of being in this class, we need to talk about expectations. I read through the survey responses from those of you who took the time complete it, and a few things really stood out.

  1. Almost all of you care deeply about your family and are motivated toward success in order to make them proud, or to help them in some way in the future.
  2. Almost all of you see yoursleves graduating on time, and many of you see yourselves attending college after high school.
  3. Almost all of you have expectations for your futures that fully acknowledge that hard work pays off and will lead you in a positive direction – whether that’s toward college or a job.
  4. All but two of you, when given the option, stated you’d prefer to engage in a learning experience that includes me as a fellow-learner, as well as your peers, rather than engage in a self-directed, independent and online learning experience.

I think that’s great. It takes a certain kind of person to handle the responsibility of learning on your own. However, I have to say that I was extremely surprised by those results. Given our experience together so far this year, I was expecting that half the class (at least) would opt in to the self-directed, independent option. Clearly I was wrong.

And that’s totally fine. But for a class of this size to jump into learning together, we need to agree on some guidelines, rules and expectations. We’re going to work together today to complete a Class Contract. Like any contract, once done and signed, it’s going to require certain things from each of us. Please take this seriously.


We’re going to work in our table groups today to complete this form. We’ll discuss it as a class first, but then we’ll break into our tables and see if we can get 6 different versions of it completed.

Then we’ll compare notes and work to find consensus around the guidelines, rules and expectations that we all agree will support a powerful and productive learning environment.

Self-Directed Learners

For those of you who chose to work independently, please click on the below link, and enter the below Classroom Code. Complete the registration information using your first name and last initial, your school email address and create a password that you will remember. My recommendation is to use the same password as you use to sign into your school email account.

Big History Registration Link
Classroom Code: PGK71U

You should receive an email from them to confirm your account. Please go to your school email and look for it. Click on the link that says ‘to our registration page’, then log in using your school email and the password you just created.

If you get to the screen with the timeline on it that shows units 1 through 10, you’re in the right place. Before you go much further, though, I’d like to sit with you to explain a few things about the course, and about the site. So in the meantime, your primary task today is to work through the History as Mystery activity.  It is explained below under the orange heading ‘In the Meantime”.

If you don’t get the email (there’s a chance this could happen – has to do with the VHS email filters), raise your hand and let me know. I’ll come help you soon.


Begin working on the worksheet titled “History as Mystery”.

  • Read through the 1st page carefully, then answer question 1 on page 2.
  • In order to answer question 2, you’ll need to watch the first 18 minutes of THIS VIDEO. Feel free to pause the video as needed so that you answer question 2 thoroughly.
  • If you finish, go on to read the article on page 3 called “What will we leave behind?”, and answer question 3 on the next page.

Remember, all work will be checked daily or weekly, so you’ll need to stay organized and have it available for me to review when requested.

“Relentless generosity brings us closer together.”

Seth Godin