Civic Virtue and Learning Virtue

Posted by Paul Wilkinson on 12/7/2022

Quick update as we use the final 12 school days of the first semester to celebrate progress in understanding our revolutionary origins, the contribution of civic virtues to our progress, the development of legal processes, how financial markets work, and domestic and international challenges. Students continue to practice the writing at the heart of effective thinking and build background knowledge to better understand our second semester, which looks at western expansion, the Civil War, and technological progress.

The civic virtues of TikTok may be doubtful. Still, we are watching three videos posted there this week to understand how to better prepare for our last test of the semester, Friday, Dec. 16. Well, we didn’t watch the videos on TikTok, but seeing the logos and graphics was enough to fascinate students. University of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham also posted the videos on his Facebook page, which you can see here. He’s worth following for anyone who wants to learn anything.

As they prepare for next week’s test, please encourage your learner not to simply review and reread their notes but to make the concepts we’ve learned meaningful by asking themselves how each idea fits into our larger themes of American identity, the challenges of creating a successful representative democracy, and civic virtue. We are reading the last of four documents authored by George Washington this week, his last will and testament, in which he discusses his reasons for endowing what has become George Washington University. You might discuss with your learner how learning has been fundamental to American values since the founding.

This week, we’re focusing on the War of 1812, continued partisan conflict, and the law and geography of American territorial expansion. Next week, as we wrap up Unit 3, we’ll examine the fight over creating a national bank—the outcome of which continues to affect students today, as Federal Reserve interest rate policy affects student Stock Market Game portfolios.

Please be sure you and your learner are monitoring Infinite Campus for missing assignments and opportunities to learn from feedback as the semester winds down. The test will be open note. Students will also earn credit for having a well-organized three-ring binder consistent with the criteria we set at the start of the semester. They will get a checklist in class to check their evidence of organization. Enjoy the holiday season!