Model For Focus Project & Black History Month project Final Idea(s)

I just first wanted to say that I love you all and pray that you give your parents a big hug and a kiss and let them know how much you love them not just tonight but for every night that you are blessed to be together.


So Mr. S just had a brainstorm that even Nikola Tesla would have been proud of!

(look it up :-p)

Focus Project/BHM Idea

A few months back I did a current event on an excavation currently taking place overseas in some western part of the Middle East.  What was found unbeknownst to the construction workers doing basic road repair was a remarkably (incredibly) preserved and detailed depiction of the sophistication of culture and opulence that the Roman Empire was well known for.

I think the article serves a second purpose in that it’s almost presented as a Focus Project Essential question in terms of Cierra’s Question (and I’m sure others) in which she asked something along the lines of (but a lot more introspective) “why is it important for people to study history?”

If your finding on your paper that you have more than 3 (and at most 4 subtopics (6 total with intro and closing) make sure that they don’t come across as add-ons, simple sentences unrelated and unresearched to your question and only included to cover a base and add length.

If you don’t have enough notes that you can connect together in way that makes sense to a reader, we tackle complexity by doing further, more committed research to our task at hand.  For others you may have to choose a new essential question, one that is more up your alley and easier to relate to and develop deeper meaning questions.  Lastly, sometimes we/students can have so many notes that we end up choosing by our instincts and preference more often than which will serve us best.  When you are writing your final draft of your paper, you should feel confident and in control because in your mind that paper should already be organized and written, you simply have to break down that barrier between fear and success and fill in those gaps with the details from your brains and the emotions of the characters from your hearts.

Literally Everything Here  Could be a subtopic to research (a little bit) further to help supplement Cierra’s feelings on why she chose the topic in the first place (as one of the handful of questions on the Focus Project Directions indicates).  Obviously she can choose any topic for her own paper, this was just the first connection that came to mind (that and Keysean’s).

LIST OF POTENTIAL SUBTOPICS FOR THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION “Why is it important to care about history/” (something like that).

  • It is easy to forget how incredibly advanced civilizations long past were, in some cases even beyond our own technology.
  • How do discoveries like this impact our views of the past?  Rewrite history books?  Imagine the time and wealth that went into creating this design; it shows how valuable culture and expressions of power were to the Romans (and most empires)
  • What led to the Romans slow demise?  
  • After the fall of Rome why did Western Europe enter the Dark Ages?  
  • Why once the Knights Templar returned back to France after the first Crusades did science and technology across Western Europe suddenly revive itself to a period in time which we now called the Renaissance?

These kinds of questions can go on for days depending on how much effort you want to put into finding options that you love/prefer over others.

  • Or more modern movements as to why we celebrate Black History month and/or other celebrations/days of remembrance in this country.  Tradition, culture, etc., there were so many ideas that we came up with today that now it is simply easier to organize your thoughts in the way you feel works best.  



Here is the article below…(mind you, they find mosaics of similar magnitude throughout the Roman Empire).


These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

Twenty years ago, construction workers in the Israeli town of Lod working under a city “street came across something extraordinary: A massive mosaic, laid down almost two millennia before. Now, they’ve found another.

The Lod Mosaic has become iconic over the years: It was removed from the city street where it was found, it has traveled all over the world and has been displayed at the most important museums on Earth. It’s been the subject of volumes of academic study, spurring debates about what the perfectly-preserved Roman mosaic describes (some claim that it depicts a shipwreck that the wealthy person who commissioned it survived).

These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

The first Lod mosaic. Image by David Silverman/Getty Images.

Lod, of course, is in Israel. But when this mosaic was made, it was a Roman colony, as the mosaic’s official website explains:

Lod is ancient Lydda, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 66 during the Jewish War. Refounded by Hadrian as Diospolis, Lydda was awarded the rank of a Roman colony under Septimius Severus in A.D. 200. It remained in Roman hands until becoming a Christian city and eventually succumbing to Arab conquerors in A.D. 636… Debris covering the floors contained pottery and coins of the third and fourth centuries A.D., suggesting that the mosaics were laid in about A.D. 300.

The mosaic’s discovery in 1996 brought new attention to Lod, a downtrodden city that saw tens of thousands of new visitors, the New York Times reportedin 2009. The city planned a visitor center dedicated to the ancient piece–and the process of building that structure has accidentally uncovered more treasures.

These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

The original mosaic. Niki Davidov/IAA via Getty Images

Today, the city and the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that during the construction process, workers uncovered—yep—another Roman mosaic, as well as other fragments and details of the upper-class home where the original mosaic was discovered in 1996:

These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

The new, 42-foot-long mosaic was situated in a covered courtyard, and it depicts the kinds of pastoral scenes you’d expect of a well-bred Roman of the time: There are vases, fish, birds, and scenes like a lion-esque animal is tearing into its prey.

Officials today described this multi-mosaic house as “meticulous and luxurious,” a space that would have been *raises pinky finger* “in the best tradition of the well-born of the period.” Now, the museum will be redesigned to include the second mosaic—and it seems pretty likely that these fragments will continue to be discovered.

These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

These Huge Roman Mosaics Were Hidden Under City Streets For 1,700 Years 

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

It’s actually not that unusual for mosaics from the Roman or Byzantine era to be uncovered by modern construction, either in Israel or elsewhere. We’ve seen a rash of mosaics uncovered over the past few decades, as city streets and infrastructure are updated and as construction of new neighborhoods goes forward.

Mosaics are also extraordinarily durable: Not only are they solid and made from stone—they’re flat, which means they won’t collapse or crumble like actual three-dimensional structures and artifacts. In a way, they are the time capsule: Resistant to water and weather, and almost unbreakable.


The first Lod Mosaic, for example, has a hole where a cesspit was dug into the ground a few hundred years later. It just goes to show: if you really want to understand a city, from its sewage to its greatest artifacts, look beneath its streets.

All images via AP Photo/Ariel Schalit unless otherwise noted.






Black History month part 2

ANYWAY, I thought it would be nice to have an eclectic celebration (look it up! :-p) and so for our “projects” you have an option between…

MOSAICS!- students can work together using art supplies to create a colorful mosaic of the visage (face) of their hero or capture an important moment on the timeline of black history.  This idea can be done as a small group since it may take a little while but I think the payoff will be spectacular, especially when other kids see it!

  • the Harlem Renaissance activity depicted in the previous blog post below.  Showcase a song, art, dance, performance art, etc. (NOT modern dance, rather, the styles of dance popular to the time period ONLY).
  • choosing a person or event (s) from either of the two black history timelines (dating back to the 1400s!) to further research and present to the class a written a 5-10 minute speech meant to inform and educate the class on their topic.  This written speech will double as your “research paper” as described below. and should be 2-3 pages in length (or more if it is done properl 
  • a 3-5 page paper on a young, creative African amateur trailblazer and entrepreneur (use the notes provided by Mr. S for inspiration)
  • …or do some song, dance, a skit, or stand-up comedy a’la Showtime at the Apollo (I think the kids would love it).  If Yasmeena had an instrument that she could play for us in class as well, that would be awesome (this invitation is extended to all those that play an instrument as well!)

I want to make sure that you guys are enjoying yourselves with these options so we will discuss the logistics and how to further proceed when we return to school next week.

There is nothing we can do about the Focus Project but since we can work on it in school it’s not going to be that bad at all.  


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