Greetings Students for Mr. B's US History, Utah Studies, & Sports Marketing Classes!
This is my second year at Rocky Mountain Middle School and I am really excited to get going for the 2020-21 school year!
E-mail is the best way to contact me (I check this every working day, multiple times a day): firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find course descriptions (aka, "Course Disclosure/Syllabus"), Canvas course links, & instructions on how parents can become Canvas observers (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) on the left side navigation of this page.
Most of my 25 year pre-teaching career has been for corporations (backcountry.com & Zions Bank), but my passion for history and teaching has never left, and I started my dream career of teaching history in 2019. I have four awesome kids, an amazing wife, two dogs, and I love to spend time with ALL of them as much as possible (preferably outdoors). Backpacking, ice hockey (huge fan of all team sports), and just about anything outdoors is what I love to do (even better when the family and/or dogs are involved!). Brevity is not my strength so I'll leave it at that for my personal bio, but if you want to know anything please just ask! My name is pronounced Bleak like Steak (so you pronounce it like Blake, but it is spelled Bleak, & don't forget that you pronounce Steak like Stake not Steek like Bleek, and Break like Brake not Breek; this surname tangent is simply an effort to prove that my name can be pronounced Bleak like Steak or Break....got it?). Students can call me Mr. Bleak (pronounced like Steak or Break, re-read this sentence if you're confused), or Mr. B if that's easier! :-)
These two, "Thinking Like a Historian" documents posted below are key concepts to teaching not only historians how to analyze and think, but are helpful to anyone in any field. For example, if one can analyze multiple complex sources, figure out the bias in those sources (among other things), synthesize it all, and then be able to explain what one discovered in a concise, understandable, and informative fashion one will be successful.
Skills that well taught historians have not only help them in history classes, these analytical abilities, and writing skills will help them in high school, college, and in their careers and lives.
Learning to ask who, what, why, when, where, and how to begin any analysis is beautifully simplistic and powerful. Starting with these tools to analyze an issue, problem, or topic will always add clarity and understanding to complex issues full of nuance.
I am really into mindfulness, which is present moment attention without judgement. Students that can be in the present, and focused on the task at hand (which could be relaxing, reading, writing, playing etc.) will lead happier and more productive lives. Our class will regularly start with about 5 minutes of mindfulness drills.
1. Be in the present, be on time, and be prepared.
2. Respect yourself & respect others.
3. Enjoy your time here.
4. Culture is EVERYTHING (Be part of forming a positive one in our class, in our school, in your homes, and in your community).
I do not believe in having rules I will not enforce consistently & equitably, and having negative rules is a culture killer. That being said, PHONES need to be in your pocket, or in your backpack during lessons with the ringer and buzzer silenced (even better just turn it off and save your battery). There will be times to use your phone for lessons, and we will work with our iPads often; but it is disrespectful to your future selves for me to allow you to be on your phone–or not being present & actively engaged with what we are doing as a class–& I will not hesitate to take it (this includes headphones or anything else that is a distraction from learning).
This list serves as a simple roadmap for me to live a better life, enjoy:
SIMPLE RULES TO FOLLOW FOR AN EXCELLENT LIFE
- STRIVE for Excellence & Perfection (Don’t Be Surprised if You end up Not Being Perfect)
- Return Everything You Borrow
- Better to Aim High & Miss Your Mark, than it is to Aim Low & Hit Your Target
- Live BENEATH Your Means
- Stop Blaming Other People
- Admit It When You Make a Mistake
- Do Something Nice & Try Not to Get Caught
- LISTEN MORE; TALK LESS (Before You Act or Speak, LISTEN!)
- Every Day Get at Least 30 Minutes of Exercise (just take a walk for 30 minutes at worst)
- BE ON TIME & DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES (try to be 5-15 minutes early for everything)
- Give Clothes Not Worn, & Stuff Not Used to Charity
- Understand What Your TRUE NEEDS Are, You Will Notice That Wants Are Different
- THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE LESS YOU NEED (think about it)
- Do Not Argue, Do Not Waste Your Time With Fussing & Fighting
- GET ORGANIZED
- Be Kind to Unkind People
- Let Someone Cut Ahead of You In Line (remember this when you start driving)
- Take Time to be Alone, and Connect with Nature (the wilderness is in your backyard, go!!!)
- Cultivate Good Manners
- BE HUMBLE
- Realize & Accept that Life Is Not Fair, & Do Not Let that Stop You
- Leave Everything Better than You Found It (The Backpacker's Creed)
- Know When to Be Quiet & DO NOT PRESS SEND (let it simmer for 24-48 hours)
- Go an Entire Day without Criticizing Anyone
- TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU LOVE, STOP TALKING ABOUT WHAT YOU HATE
- Learn From the Past & Plan for the Future
- LIVE IN THE PRESENT, ENJOY YOUR TIME HERE ON THIS EARTH
- Wondering Why You Are Not Happy Makes You Sad, DO STUFF & HELP OTHERS
- Do Not Sweat the Small Stuff, Most of the Stuff You Worry About is Small Stuff BTW
- Before You React, THINK (What do you really want in this life?)
- Before You Spend, EARN
- Before You Criticize, WAIT
- Before You Want Forgiveness, Forgive
- BEFORE YOU QUIT, TRY!!!
- Trust Everybody, but Cut the Cards
- ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING (so have a good one)…….
….Life is 10% What Happens to You, & 90% How You React To It
*(~):}*If you made it this far give yourself a firm pat on the back....you earned it, CONGRATS & EXCELSIOR!*(~):}*