The Power of Nightmares [Documentary]

17 04 2008

The Power of Nightmares DVD CoverA powerful series of 3 one hour documentaries by Adam Curtis. The Power of Nightmares takes its viewers through an exploration of radicalism, in both the form of neo-conservatism and radical Islamists.

These programs explore the history of both of these radical groups, and explore concepts of political illusion and the use of fear to control populations.

These programs can serve as valuable additions to more advanced treatments of political science and the proliferation of war.


The 4Ps of Creativity [Game Kit]

17 04 2008

4Ps of Creativity Game KitA downloadable game kit that can be easily constructed with a printer, scissors, glue, and construction card. The game was designed to help students (individuals or teams) reach higher levels of creativity when they work together on problems that they need to solve.

The game takes students through the “4Ps of Creativity” (person, process, product, press), and it also teaches the concepts of divergence and convergence at basic levels.

This game was originally developed by Jonathan Chambers for The International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY, Buffalo.

Kit available as PDF via this download link

SimCity Societies [Software/Game]

17 04 2008

SimCity SocietiesVarious versions of the SimCity computer ‘game’ series have been used in schools for over a decade.  Game creator Will Wright was schooled in the Montessori tradition, and his fascination with play-mixed-with-education has led to even richer gaming experiences.  Added to the original SimCity concepts of wider urban planning and management of infrastructure, this new incarnation also incorporates societal values: productivity, prosperity, creativity, spirituality, authority, and knowledge.

The genius of the SimCity games is that they allow players to experiment with a massive number of combinations and permutations of cityscapes, architectural styles, and system choices, and to then witness the evolution of their system.

Lord of the Flies [Novel & Movie]

17 04 2008

Lord of the FliesStranded on an island, a group of schoolboys degenerate into savagery.

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies preceded and informed many of the concepts that we’ve seen in Lost, Cast Away, and even Survivor.  The tale’s exploration of the patterns and phases that a group of previously ‘civilized’ boys go through after being stranded on an island speaks to ancient patterns of tribalism, fear and superstition that are sometimes difficult to explain in the classroom.  On other levels, there’s material to discuss organizational structures, hierarchy, values, and even extremely ‘close to home’ issues such as bullying.

An Inconvenient Truth [Movie]

17 04 2008

An Inconvenient TruthA documentary on Al Gore’s campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

Beyond the impact of simply watching the film in your classroom, there are many activities and suggestions for extension and follow-up available on the web.  One Planet Fundraising is just one example of a site that offers teacher resources that could accompany a screening of the movie.

Dead Poets Society [Movie]

17 04 2008

Dead Poets SocietyEnglish professor John Keating inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day. Starring Robin Williams.

Dead Poets Society is an inspiration for both teachers and students, and it speaks those who wish to go beyond mere formulaic notions of art and achievement. The film commences with an exploration of classics, and then follows its characters as they experiment with individual expression.

Freedom Writers [Movie]

17 04 2008

Freedom Writers DVDA young teacher (Hilary Swank) inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.

Freedom Writers is a moving film that can serve as inspiration for reluctant writers, and it can also serve as a timely introduction to class journaling. It also has the potential to demonstrate the power of collective collation and publication of student work. For information on on-demand publication that can liberate the teacher from the task of distribution, check out