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Quarter 2 Benchmark : Student Free Speech

By Markia & Elisa



Reflection :
My partner and I chose this topic because in the requirements aid that we had to talk about something that we felt relates to us. Since we go to a technology based school we decided to do something that had to do with censoring and student free speech. It was thoroughly enjoying to complete this project because I was able to learn about cases in the past. During a time when students didn't really have much of a say in anything.
Other than that my partner and I were really able to talk about and form our own opinions about our topic. One of the things we research that made me really think about the different ways students can express their free speech rights was the case of Tinker v. Des Moines. The entire case was the school district opposing black bands being worn in protest of the Vietnam war. I really wanted our project to make people think  about how student free speech has and has not changed since then. 
I think we did a good job of making people think afte they watched the video but some of the imagery in our project could have been better. For example, when we posted some of the things we as students have to deal with we should have had a visual behind the text of something related. Other than that I believe our product came out well my partner and I really collaborated to create our video, and personally I really think we did a good job.Our video was interesting and related students today with the first amendment. We learned ourselves about the fine line between what is seen as inappropriate and self expression. 
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Q2 History BM

​Link to Luna's page
Link to video


We chose this topic because it was easy to explain about and it really was important to us as voters and as women. I liked how the project gave us a free reign to make the video however we wanted, although I found it challenging that it was supposed to be a video. My group had three people in it and getting us to share the work equally was very difficult because there is no place online that lets us all share and edit together. The most interesting fact that we learned was that the final vote for women's suffrage came down to one man and that, that one man was very whipped by his mother. This project could be improved by making the time limit shorter because 5-8min of video is a lot of video. We ran into trouble with this video when it came to editing time because we had to do all the exports and imports and sharing onto a flash drive then give it to someone else then do it again so that everybody could do an equal amount of work. I thought that our teamwork went very well, I was in a good group that pulled their weight and we worked very well as a team. If I had to do it over I would change the way we went about creating the video. The video itself could have been better with more angles and shots to get all of our full faces in it, we could have probably gone about editing the video in a better way and you could clearly see that we were reading from a script. I learned more about women's history and more about myself with regards to how I feel our our government and our government in the past.
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The 10th Amendment and "Us"

My group (Mathhew Scuderi and Julia Boyer) and I chose the 10th amendment because it was something that not everyone in the class was researching. We weren't too schooled on the powers reserved to the states and wanted to become more informed on the subject. In completing this project, we learned that the basic idea of the tenth amendment is that there are certain powers or laws, rather, that the states have control over. The nation should not interfere with the way that the states handle issues like education or gay marriage, among other issues. The tenth amendment is the reason why Obama can't forcefully demand that all states require their children to go to school until the age of 18; he has to ask the states permission to implement this law because education is a power reserved to the states. Among all of the issues that we could have dwelled on for this project, we chose to research education as a power reserved to the states. 

I liked this project because we were given the opportunity to use video as a our means of media presentation. It is not something that I, personally, usually use to present, so it is exciting whenever I can make a video for one of my projects. I also liked that we were given the liberty to speak with outside professionals about our topic and could record interviews, not only with said professionals, but also with our school peers. We were able to put the student voice into our documentary. 

As with all of the projects that we complete in school, our documentary could have used some growing room. If I were to do the documentary again, I would start on the project a little earlier and incorporate more dimensions of the issue at hand into the documentary (How we can fix the problems, the funds that we have to make changes to the way that this works, connect education as a power reserved to the state to the powers of the states under the 10th amendment, etc.) I feel like we could've done a better job connecting education back to the 10th amendment. 

We ran into a little bit of trouble with this project after winter break because I missed school for a week, as I was with my family in Puerto Rico. I was not back on time to work with my group on the project in the beginning of January, and had to wait a week before I could see them again. I worked on finding information for the group on our issue and posting it on our google doc while I was still away and after a week was able to come together with my group once again to touch base about what we needed to complete our project. My absence threw me back a little because I could not effectively find out what my group needed from me to complete the project. We fixed our problem by making sure that we all completed our designated jobs on our own time so that when we did meet, we could present what we had to import to the project. In the end we put all of our individual pieces into one project. We were all pretty on point and prompt with all of our individual tasks which helped us to complete our project on time. We also made sure to collect our c-span footage really so that when it came to put all together, we wouldn't have to spend too much downloading the videos from the site and adding them to our movie.  If I had to do it over again, I would probably begin my project before I left to Puerto Rico, so that my group could have a big bulk of it already done before the new school years starts up again. If we would have done this, we would have saved ourselves a lot of stress and time.

 I learned that the States can decide how they deal with issues like education, marriage, and gun certification. The Federal government cannot interfere with this. The problem is that sometimes, since the federal government funds the states, federal policy tends to leak into the state policy (because states need funding and support from the federal government). 

To see our bibliography, click here

If you are having trouble viewing the video, please click here
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Focusing on the 14th Amendment.

For this benchmark I worked with Ayanna Robinson we focused on the 14th Amendment. I will be uploading our citations and Ayanna will be uploading our video and then we will both make sure we have everything on both pages at a later time. Below are the sources we used. 

Mulligan, Robert, dir. To Kill A Mocking Bird. Writ. Horton Foote. Universal , 1963. Film.


Comer, Dawn, writ. Our Friend, Martin. Dir. Rob Smiley, and Vincenzo Trippetti. DiC Enterprises, 1999. Film.


Brooks, James, dir. Spanglish. Columbia Pictures Corporation, 2004. Film.


The Ed Show


Fox News



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Medio Ambiente PSA (Force y Manton)

Hicimos un PSA sobre el contaminacion del aire en Filadelfia.

Es un asusnto importante a nosotros porque nosotros queremos aire que no esta contaminé.

Esperamos que el público de Filadelfia ayudarán nosotros con nuesto meta.

Mi Reflexión
Mi grupo y yo hicimos un PSA sobre el contaminacion del aire en filadelfia.

Por crear el PSA, la cosa más importante que aprendí fue que hay muchos, muchos cosas que nosotros podemos hacer a ayudar el medio abiente.

Me gusta el PSA de mi group porque yo pienso es un muy bien PSA, y yo peinso que es un poco comimico tambien.

Si pudiera hacer el proyecto otra vez, yo pienso que yo cambiaría los tiempos que nosotros hacemos algas cosas.


Quarter 2 Benchmark: 14th Amendment

I would like to start out by saying me and my partner Samantha have learned alot more about ourselves and our struggles with our past and our present by completing this project. Using the 14th amendment with both of us having ethic backgrounds and expeirencing discrimination in some sort of way whether it be school, jobs, or anything that we as people can come into contact where you can possibly be judged for, we deal with on a daily basis. I know that not only is the 14th amendment important to me and Samantha, but that law being written im the past has given us ample opputunities for today and will give us even more our futures. We hope that you enjoy our video.
One of the main reasons why me I choose amendent 14 is because I realized that without this amendent there would be a drastic change to,the lives we lead today. although there are many topics that fall under the 14th amendment the one that hit close to home was discrimination. We live in a time where everyone has the same equal rights but not for a second do I forget the people who fought, died and marched to get those rights granted. I did this amendment because I could relate to the feeling the desire and the privelege of people who were discriminated against but ultimately survived and knew they deserved better and got better. What I enjoyed most about this project is that it allowed me to take time out to think about the day to day things I do without even thinking about it twice and really examine if this amendment was not there, there would be many things even on my way to school that would be difficult for me to do, on the other hand the most challenging thing to do was to relate the message though a presentation even though there was a Set way you had to present it making your video unique and different was the hard part. While doing this project the most interesting fact is that people who we incuded in our video were good at explaining thier point of views on the subject and had stories as to go with our topic that was interesting. I loved doing this project but overall if there was anything I could improve it would be our timing and our editing. The timing part was good but towards we had some problems with sound and what not, but if we would have had more time that we paced ourseleves we could have had it perfect. And editing it was both our first time working with editing so that was kind of difficult. What I learned is that don't forget that life is how itbecuase of these amendments.

HIV/AIDS Discrimination - Recent Court Cases, Issues and Articles." American Civil Liberties Union. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.

"HIV & Your Civil Rights: Know Your Rights in the Workplace." American Civil Liberties Union. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.

"History of U.S. Since 1877 Important People, Terms, and Events." Colorado Public Record Search. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <>.

Somerville voices article. web 23 Jan. 2012<>. 

Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to be Far Lower Than Expected. web 23 Jan. 2012 <>. 

How Important is Cultural Diversity at school your school. web 23 Jan. 21012 < 

Racial Disparity in School Suspensions. web 23 Jan.2012 <

Milestones in African American Education. web 23 Jan. 2012 <>

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Mi grupo y yo hicimos un PSA sobre la importancia del agua limpia.
      Mediante la creación de la PSA, la cosa más importante que aprendí fue que el agua la suciedad duele más que sólo las personas.
      Me gusta mi grupo PSA, ya que escuchaba a mis ideas.
      Si yo pudiera hacer de nuevo el proyecto, que cambiaría el tiempo que tomó para que empecemos.
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The 26th amendment - StudentCam Benchmark

Created by:
Ali Ahmed
William Marsh
Tim Mamrol

My group chose this topic because it was the most relevant topic we found. As young men, the voting age is massively significant to us, especially because we will all be 18 by the next presidential election. I liked the freedom we were given in completing this project, and I also especially like working in video and digital media. I found the most difficult aspect of this project to be finding people to interview. My parents (Earl Marsh and B Hibbs) agreed to be interviewed eagerly, but Ali and I spent at least two hours asking people to answer a few questions and found all of three people that were willing to speak to us, out of dozens. I was fascinated and horrified by the Kent State shootings in response to student protest of the Vietnam war and the draft. As someone who will be going to college this fall, while not of the same era as this horrible event, it was startling to think that someone of my age had been killed by his own country for protests. 

I think that the project would have been better if we got more interviews and better stock footage to use for voice overs. I was a bit disappointed by how bland some of the images we had to use for our voice overs. I ran into issues with this project with organizing group mates and formatting the video. When changing the format of the video into flv (the preferred format), the audio consistently cut out in the same spot in three different sets of encoded video. I changed the settings around to the same settings used for the full time digital video class, but the audio still cut out. I think that our script and the interviews were done very well. If this project were to be repeated, I would try to distribute the work more evenly. I feel that I did a large amount of the work, with a decent amount of help from one of my group mates, while the other was largely uninvolved. I learned that the voting age had not always been 18, but perhaps more importantly I learned how valuable a draft can be. While I do not want to be drafted, or have the draft reinstated, the draft can be held responsible for a huge change in the politics of the nation. By forcibly taking mother's sons away from her, to be sent halfway across the world to fight in a brutal, controversial war, the draft really made people in the U.S care about the politics of the nation and the world. While I don't like the idea of the draft, I must say it is an incredible source of motivation for the youth of America, something that is seldom seen in the voting environment.
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Inflation Valuation - StudentCam Entry

Learn about how one small clause in the constitution affects every decision we make!

As one who has always been interested in economics, I have always understood the importance of inflation and the valuation of the US Dollar on our purchasing power. As a result, I decided to study congress' ability to value money as found in the constitution. My interest in this topic certainly allowed me to enjoy both the research and filming of the project. However, the most difficult portion was certainly getting stock footage of various people doing random acts, as many people often feel uncomfortable with being filmed.

One of the most interesting things that I discovered through my benchmark was that there was an "eagle" in addition to the standard dollar. This was primarily interesting since the eagle no longer exists in our economy, nor do many of them still remain. I would've liked to who an eagle in my project; however, I had not found any. My project could've mostly been improved by focusing a little more on how it directly affects myself; I spent much of the time focused on how it affects everyone in their daily lives. Despite this, I think that this project was certainly done very well, as it explained a topic in a way that was both easy to understand itself and its implications. Overall, in addition to learning some tricks for documentaries, this project taught me much about the economic system that affects our daily lives.
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Q2 Benchmark - Freedom of Religion

This was LaMaya's, Tyler's, & my project for our Q2 Benchmark. The provision we decided to focus on was the freedom of religion in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Click to watch the video below.
TLC - Freedom of Religion
Benchmark Reflection:

  • Why did you choose this topic?
    My group members and I wanted to choose a topic that was personal to us, original in such a way that it was not cliché and share our opinions and ideas openly on.
  • What did you like about this project? What was most challenging?
    I liked that we didn't necessarily have to stay in one section of the Constitution, we were able to choose what part in the Constitution we wanted to. I found myself most successful being able to speak freely on my ideas and opinions on this topic as did my teammates. The most challenging thing though, in this project was figuring out how to fit the C-SPAN footage in, in such a way that everything transitioned smoothly.

  • Describe the most interesting fact or event that you investigated.
    The most interesting fact that I have investigated was how before the Constitution there was quite a bit of persecution for people's beliefs but the same people who came to this country because they were being persecuted in Europe for their religion, did the same thing once they got here. It seems to me that history repeats itself if we let it without a doubt.

  • How could this project be improved?
    I think we could have have switched the camera maybe more than what we did. I also think this could have been improved by ways of having clearer C-SPAN footage, but that was just poor video quality on their part.
  • Where did you run into trouble with the project?
    We ran into trouble when trying to convert the video into an FLV file but finally my computer cooperated with me and I was able to upload the video.

  • What went well with this project?
    My group members and I worked really well with this project everyone was able to agree on one thing and really got what we needed to do done. The music, the transitions and the overall look of this project was great and I am proud of the finished product.

  • If you had it to do over, what would you change about your decisions or your process?
    If I had to do this process over again, I would try to record everyone's parts in the same place to keep some type of constant there or at least the background is close to what the other person has. Also I would have added in a skit or something showing what it would be like without that provision in the Constitution.

  • What did you learn?
    I learned just how necessary it is to have the freedom of religion and how strongly some feel about it in terms of them having an opposition to people believing differently than they do. I also learned more about my team members and how they feel about religion, I actually did not know that they sort of felt the same as I do about having the freedom of religion.
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reflexión, español 3, Q2BM, Brown

Escribe una relfexión personal en español sobre el PSA en tu blog usando este formato: 
  • Mi grupo y yo hicimos un PSA sobre basura.
  • Por crear el PSA, la cosa más importante que aprendí fue afecta el ambiente muy mal porque destruye nuestra imagen como ciudad.
  • Me gusta el PSA de mi group porque muy útil y la comprensión.
  • Si pudiera hacer el proyecto otra vez, yo cambiaría probablemente el tema porque me lo va a querer explorar un poco más.
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Charity Water

The product in which I created an advertisement for is charity water. It isn’t necessarily a product but a foundation that brings 3rd world developing countries clean water. The message portrayed in my advisement is that everything counts. The slightest amount of money can even make a difference. For example the picture located in the center says, " $20 dollars can give on person clean water". Which isn’t much. When creating this advertisement I didn’t have a specific intended audience I fell as though this add could catch anyone’s attention and would make people stop and look. So I would say my audience would be all different types of people in any age range. I think creating a print add is effective because people can walk by and see it and they really don’t even have to stop. Also my advertisement has bright color that stand out, its visually appealing. If I were to complete this Benchmark again I would do a hand drawn print add because I feel as though I created a great advertisement but it could have been more creative. 



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Español PSA/Relfexión

  • Mi grupo y yo hicimos un PSA sobre, el contaminación en la cuidad.
  • Por crear el PSA, la cosa más importante que aprendí fue, es importante ese personas aprender por de cuidad y qué es pasa. 
  • Me gusta el PSA de mi group porque, mi amigas y yo nos divertimos. 
  • Si pudiera hacer el proyecto otra vez, yo cambiaría, nada porque el proyecto era bien y simple. 
  • Please include the link to the PSA that has been posted by a group member on their own blog. 
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M.Scuderi-Q2 Benchmark: The 10th Amendment, Education, & "US"

For our second quarter American Government project, my group (Julia Boyer and Natalie Sanchez) and I focused on the importance of the 10th Amendment of our Constitution and education. The 10th Amendment simply states that any powers not given to the Federal Government are for the States and if not the States, the people. Over the course of several weeks, we researched about our topic, specifically pertaining to education, and we gathered multiple sources and presented what we found most important and interesting in our video, which is based around the standards of the C-Span Student Cam competition requirements. The video itself is eight minutes and we wish we could have made it longer with all the material that we collected consisting of interviews, footage, and self reflective narration. We hope that you enjoy this video and learn a lot from it, especially the importance of the 10th Amendment to "US". 


*If you are having trouble viewing the video, go here. If the link to the video is not working, go here instead.

Project Self Reflection:

When I thought about the topics that I could choose from for this particular project, I first thought about the 2nd Amendment (the right to Bear arms), freedom of speech (the first amendment), and freedom of religion. However, when I reviewed these topics, I realized that the 2nd Amendment doesn't really apply to me at this time, freedom of speech is probably overrated as a topic, and religion would have been very simple and hard to put together at the same time for me. I chose to work with the 10th Amendment and education because it is a topic that directly relates to future students and my education as well. When I chose this topic, about the 10th Amendment, I focused on education and how it is changing and I really wanted to talk about how standard based learning and what is changing about schools is important to me.

The thing I liked most about this project was the fact that it was so open and that I didn't have to research the 10th Amendment alone, but rather I was able to extend my topic to a certain proportion of the 10th Amendment (education and the powers of the states). I found that editing the of the video the most challenging because my group and I had so much great material that we wanted to include and we were limited to only eight minutes of footage max. The hardest part of the editing process is cutting down certain things to the right size to try and fit what we ruled out as most important and most effective in delivering the message of why the 10th Amendment and education is important to us. Personally, the most interesting thing that we research and learned about was the No Child Left Behind Act and how it has in fact impacted our school and standard based learning. Mr. Sherif gave us a really outstanding interview that brought up some really great points. 

I believe that this project can be improved by more space for students to speak, including me. I sacrificed my position for more C-Span footage and ideas of other students and school officials and staff members in order to make the video no more than eight minutes long. This project could also improve by having more time to fit the things that we wanted to and I think that my group and I could have added more depth to each component of this project if we had more time. Some things that went really well with this project were primarily that materials and sources that we were able to collect and present in the video. My group and I collected a great number of rich resources that have proven very effective in out video. These sources were effective in delivering a clear message because they all coincidentally fell into place on the same topics very easily, thankfully. 

If we had the opportunity to do this project again, I would definitely cut out all the parts about financial crisis in our schools in order to preserve more space for ore effective footage that directly related to our topic. Another thing that I would have done was cut down some of the interviews with students and some of the C-Span footage with Obama speaking as well as the narration by Julia, which took nearly a whole minute in our footage. From the process and research that we conducted as a group, I learned a lot of material. I never truly knew what No Child Left Behind was until I researched it in this project and I never knew much about the standards that are pushed on the States by the Federal Government that if not accepted by the states, the Federal Government would cut funding. I never realized how much the Federal Government has schools in checkmate with finances and so we would have to adopt the standards imposed in order to remain functional financially. 

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Quarter 2 Benchmark: 10th Ammendment

For our second quarter benchmark, Natalie, Matt and I focused on the 10th amendment and how it relates to education. 
To view our work cited page, click here.

When picking the topic for our project, our group decided to find a topic that was easy so we didn't have as much to research and more time to get footage and make our project great. The 10th amendment and education stood out to us. All in all, I thought this project went well with the American Government class and making a documentary about something interesting made the project engaging. The hard part was working with the C-SPAN footage; while they provided us with a lot of material, I wish that I could have had access to the entire archive of footage. It was also difficult fitting our topic into the over-arching question: How does this amendment affect our lives? Trying to fit education into such a broad amendment was hard enough! But what we learned about our topic made the hard work worth while. 

The best information we received was from Gillian Cohen-Boyer, a member of the Dept of Education and a professor of education. She was eager to share her perspective on education reform with us but her interview via email was very challenging and slowed down our project enormously. Her answers, though thorough and full of good bits, arrived the night before the project was due in long, detailed paragraphs. Despite the setback, our group managed to produce a reasonably good documentary. I only wish we had edited so the story came through more clearly. But my education has increased during this project and that's all that matters! I now see the complex relationship between federal and state governments; it's, at times, icy and stand-offish-full of "blackmail" and polite requests with undertones of authority and warning. I also see how, as a student, I have little say in how I am taught due to the tug of war between federal, state and local governments. It's a terrifying and mesmerizing process.   
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