Showing posts with the label context

What I Teach the Week Before Thanksgiving

  The weeks before a break always seem like the longest.  The kids are restless, I'm restless, and we all understand that all we're really doing is biding our time until that last bell before break.   Thanksgiving is a different type of beast altogether though.  My district gives an entire week, the first real break since school started, and we know that right around the corner is Christmas.  It is hard to focus, let alone get 150 students to focus.  But one thing I've learned in all my years of teaching is that the best catalyst for engaging students is to tell them they don't know something that they think they know.    Enter my week before Thanksgiving unit.  Each day is about dismissing the beliefs that they think they have about Thanksgiving.  They look at encyclopedia entries, primary source documents, secondary source documents, speeches, and even listen to a podcast to get the right story, the truer story, surrounding Thanksgiving... and not just from the perspe

Analysis Overview

When it comes to evaluating students at the beginning of the year, I find that analysis is one of those topics that get swept under the rug. We assume that by high school, students have already learned these skills, and yet we find out, year after year, that that is not the case for some of them. This lesson I created adresses some of those issues. Analysis Overview PreTest, Overview, Close Read, Annotations Things You Will Need to Teach This Lesson: ·        Instructions ·        Analysis Overview PowerPoint ·        Analysis PreTest Handout (Included in PDF file) ·        Analysis PreTest Answer Key (Included in PDF file) ·        The Story of an Hour Handout (Included in PDF file) ·        The Story of an Hour Answer Key (Included in PDF file) Before the Lesson: ·        Please review the lesson plan and PowerPoint.  Delete anything that isn’t applicable to you.  Add things that are.  Make this lesson your own. ·        Print the student handouts for each student. Lesson: Activity

Teaching Collectivism and Individualism for Anthem by Ayn Rand

The two philosophies of collectivism and individualism are heavy throughout Anthem by Ayn Rand. When I decided to teach this book, I researched both ideas and knew that if I wanted the kids to understand these heavy concepts, I was going to have to simplify and condense. And what better way to simplify and condense then pictures!? As the kids came in, I had this picture of V from V from Vendetta on the board: Those that have already seen the movie knew the reference, and it got the wheels turning. I then showed the kids several pictures of people doing things alone. With some discussion they were able to grasp the theme that I was going for. I switched over to several pictures of people doing things in groups. This one was easier to get at because they could already see the patterns we were making. Then I gave them the definitions for individualism and collectivism. They wrote them down in their notebooks. We discussed a little and by the end they understood that the basic tena

4 TED Talks to Use While Teaching Things Fall Apart

Here we go again... 1.  “What makes a good life?  Lessons from the longest study on happiness” by Robert Waldinger Okonkwo is obviously an unhappy man.  Turns out the key to happiness is the relationships we build.  I guess someone should tell Okonkwo that... 2.  “How movies teach manhood” by Colin Stokes I love the ideas presented in this talk.  I think the messages that we're sending to our kids through film aren't always inspiring.  Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in censorship.  However, when society has a test to determine how female inclusive a film is and most films fail it, there's a problem. 3.  “The Five Major World Religions” by John Bellaimey Many of my students don't know anything about religion outside of their own.  This video was, for many of them, an introduction to other religions.  I connected it to the book through the theme of imperialism. 4.  “How Africa can use its traditional knowledge to make pro

Using "Race: The Power of Illusion" to Dispel Racial Ideas in Preparation for Desiree's Baby

Every year I teach Desiree's Baby.  It's my favorite short story to teach students; the look of shock on their faces at the end... it's awesome. The first year I taught it, I was shocked at how little the kids knew about race.  A lot of my students know what race FEELS like: they know what it feels like when someone underestimates them because of the color of their skin, they know what it feels like to see people praise a person who villainizes them, they know what it feels like to grow up having a different experience than the ones they see in the shows they watch.  But a lot of them don't KNOW race: the history, the science, the misconceptions. Enter my favorite Webquest thanks to PBS! Race: The Power of Illusion is an interactive website that explains almost everything you could ever want to know about the idea of race.  And it was just what I needed to get my point across in as little time as possible. I needed the students to understand that race is j

Groovy Greeks: An Overview of the Ancient Greeks for Context

I love reading A Midsummer Night's Dream  with my kids.  Over the years I've realized that a lot of them do not have the context to understand the first scene of the play.  I discovered the animated show Horrible Histories  while searching for a quick way to give them that context in a way that they'd actually pay attention.  To make sure that they did while watching, I created a guided questioning handout.  I also realized that the video wasn't going to be enough.  So I found an article on CommonLit that dissects the class system.  Because students need to understand Hermia's plight and why the mechanicals are the comedic relief (I use a subsequent lesson to drive this idea home), the assessment is two paragraphs where they have to use both resources to explain what life was like for women and the working class.   The lesson plan is below.  If you're interested in the handout I use, you can find it in my TPT store here . Groovy Greeks Introduct