Sunday, August 17, 2008

Welcome to the Hippocampus Government and Politics Blog

“Obama Spells Out Energy Policy”. “McCain Seeks West Coast Votes”. “Candidates Attack Each Other on Race”.

Wow!! What a way to start a school year. The biggest election of our young century! The first African American presidential candidate for a major party and a feisty senior citizen squaring off during a period of economic downturns, the Middle East war, and skyrocketing fuel costs. If we can’t get kids interested in politics this year, when could we? But for all of you that are veterans of teaching U.S. Government and Politics, you know that the hoopla of elections may get students hooked on the election horse race, but translating that enthusiasm into learning the details of day to day government is a big jump.

This Blog is all about that jump. The Hippocampus Government and Politics Blog is about a dialogue between all of us…sharing the best practices in a learning community of dedicated educators who happen to be in love with U.S. Government and Politics. Like any good blog, the value is not in the originator or the facilitator. The true value lies in the contributions of you, the readers. New teachers with fresh ideas and insights, veteran educators with tried and true methods, and every one between can become part of this blog with one goal…seeking collaboration that points the way to better instruction and solid educational practices.

Next week I want to get the ball rolling by talking about the “three big questions” that I start my year with. These are the questions that drive my first quarter and are the method behind the madness. In the mean time, check out the right side column. We will include some sites and resources you might want to visit as you are preparing for the new school term with Government and Politics. We would love to have you respond by suggesting some of your favorite sites!

About the Blogger

My name is Ric Vix, and I am the social studies chair at Wichita Heights High School, an urban school with a diverse demographic of about 1600 students. I have been teaching for 23 years and have focused the last 10 or so years on Advanced Placement Government and Politics. For six years I was an AP Grader for the US Government and Politics Exam and have taught an AP Institute for Government and Politics through Wichita State University. My wife Sandi and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this year with our two adult children. My passions outside of government are camping and fishing, reading, woodworking and building, and travel.


bodyrox said...

Obama wants to change a lot of things in education. He stressed how new teachers are in need of mentors, advice from older colleagues, and more support from the education system in general. I mean it's no wonder teachers use the internet for advice from other educators.
A U of Chicago graduate, George Hammer, also stressed the importance of "structural holes" in the education system, resulting in isolation of teachers, lack of resources, etc.
He is the creator of is a new website free for educators with job resources, lesson plans, teacher discounts, all bundled in one site.Oh, and forum so you can speak your mind.

I just hope that after the elections something is done about teaching to the test.

Ric Vix said...

I went to, but found the site under construction. In the current educational climate of Professional Learning Communities, the structural holes can be filled, at least partially, by teachers sharing and networking within their own ranks. The hope of this blog is that in the coming months much more sharing will take place and that this blog will become a PLC for AP instructors. RV