S: a decade of change wcaty co-op course

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GRADES 7 & 8
Instructor: Sharon Daly

Course Synopsis

This class, designed for grades 7-8, is an exploration of the historical events and social issues of the 1940’s through the study of literature and analysis of primary source documents. This course will delve into the important societal issues of the times, and examine the changes that were happening in the world and their effect on ordinary people. Course readings will include novels, short stories, poetry, essays, editorials and historical documents. Throughout the course, students will engage with the material through written assignments, small group work, online discussions, communicating with guest speakers, web research, and a final project. The underlying theme of individual, governmental and societal responsibility will be explored in depth, and students will make connections between issues of the 1940’s and today.

Course Benchmarks
#30 This student identified the social norms and pressures that influence the personal decision making process

#36 The student showed tolerance and an awareness of his/her audience when communicating with a variety of people.

#42 By verifying the accuracy and completeness of researched information, this student communicated clearly thought-out responses and devised logical answers to problems presented.

#52 This student expounded on historical evidence to theorize about philosophic ideas like freedom, liberty, and law.

#57 By identifying key agents of change, this student “contemplated” how human systems have developed over time

#80 This students showed enthusiasm and leadership when responding to both the instructor and fellow students, worked well as part of a group/team, shared responsibility, and contributed positively to the group.

Required Books/Readings

The Book Thief, by Markus Zuzak

Flags of our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima ; abridged Young Adult version adapted by Michael French. Authors: James Bradley and Ron Powers

The Silenced, by James DeVita

Selections from College of William and Mary Literature Packet

Primary Source Documents Online
Optional Reading List:

Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Hiroshima, by John Hersey

Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl

(There are so many books covering this decade I couldn’t possibly list them all!)
Written Assignments

  • .Questions/ essays based on assigned readings

  • Thoughtful written responses to online questions/posts/peers

  • Persuasive writing

  • Creative writing-journal entries, poetry

Guiding Question: What factors influence our beliefs and actions related to responsibility both on a personal and societal level? How do these change over time based on personal and historical narratives?

Week 1-Introduction to the Decade of the 1940’s

Essential Questions:

To whom or what are we responsible?

How do our values influence our circle of responsibility?

  • Online Introductions

  • Weekly Thought Provoker (Benchmark 80)

  • Website Exploration on Decade of 1940’s

  • Begin Reading The Book Thief

  • Written essay assigned: The Categories of Responsibility (Benchmark # 30)

Week 2-Freedoms Denied

Essential Questions:

How did public reaction to the Nazi book burnings illustrate the different categories of responsibility?

How does government censorship and limitations on human rights affect personal identity and responsibility?

What is your personal belief regarding censorship?

  • Weekly Thought provoker (Benchmark 30, 80)

  • Continue Reading The Book Thief

  • Online questions from Book-Student Choice (Benchmark 42)

  • Primary Source Document Analysis- Book Burnings/Banned Books (Benchmark 42)

  • Continue website explorations of the decade

1st Face-to Face-

  • Group Ice Breaker

  • Online Expectations/Evaluations will be discussed

  • Concept of Responsibility and Change: small group/large group activity

  • Essay due (Benchmark 30)

  • Group discussions for the Book Thief (Benchmark 80)

  • Discussion of project –Select an area of interest from the 1940’s and design a project relating information about your topic to the notion of personal/collective responsibility. Due at last FTF

  • Newspaper exploration past and present (Benchmark 80, 42)

  • Quotes from a decade (Benchmark 52)

Week 3-Cultural and Historical factors shaping identity and notions of responsibility

Essential Questions:

What role does media/art play in shaping our ideas of identity and responsibility?

How do historical events influence aspects of personal identity and responsibility?

  • Weekly thought provoker (Benchmark 52, 36. 80)

  • Finish reading Book Thief

  • Online questions/answers/analysis of The Book Thief (Benchmark 30,42)

  • Online primary source document readings/analysis of Poster Art (Benchmark #42)

  • Video segments online-change and responsibility(Benchmark 30. 42)

  • Essay on Circles of Responsibility due

Week 4- Prejudice and Racism

Essential Questions:

What factors shape prejudices?

How is racism a product of both personal and institutional beliefs and policies?

What is the role of personal/group responsibility in contributing to historical narratives?

  • Weekly thought provoker (Benchmark 30, 36)

  • Begin reading Flags of our Fathers

  • Assign group projects on the experiences of African-Americans, Japanese-Americans and Women in the decade of the 1940’s. (Benchmark 42, 80)

Week 5- How Scienctific Discoveries Shape Society

Essential Questions:

What roles and responsibilities do scientists have in shaping society and government policy?

How does the notion of personal responsibility effect scientific decision making?

What impact can scientific discoveries have on societies and governments that lead to critical decisions and policy making?

  • Weekly thought provoker(Benchmark 30, 80)

  • Continue Reading Flags of Our Fathers

  • Questions from Flags of Our Fathers (Benchmark 36, 80)

  • Online Primary Source Document Readings: Einstein and the Bomb, Nuclear Weapons, 1948 Declaration of Human Rights (Benchmark 57)

2nd Face-to-Face-

    • Book Discussion- Flags of Our Fathers

    • Small group activity- Dr. Seuss (Benchmark 30. 80)

    • Video clips-The Political Dr. Seuss

    • Snapshot Activity (Benchmark 30)

    • Group Projects Due

    • Freeze Frame group activity (Benchmark 80)

    • Guest speaker!

Week 6- Collective Responsibility

Essential Questions:

Who pays the price for society’s wrongs?

What is the role of collective responsibility?

What beliefs about redress and reparation shape identity?

    • Weekly thought provoker

    • Assign Essay on Correcting Past Wrongs (Benchmark 42, 52)

    • Reading: Let the Dead Bury the Dead

    • Finish Reading Flags of Our Fathers

    • Creative Letter (Benchmark 36, 30)

    • questions from book (Benchmark 30, 52)

Week 7- As a nation, to whom are we Responsible?

Essential Questions:

What role does the U.S. have in the world?

What changes in policy and the historical narrative have resulted from these ideas of national responsibility?

What impact does global responsibility have on individual citizens?

    • Weekly thought provoker (Benchmark 30. 57. 52, 80)

    • Begin Reading The Silenced

    • Questions from book

    • Online exploration-The Cold War (Benchmark 42)

Week 8- The Role of Responsibility in Resistance

Essential Questions:

Why do some people feel a personal responsibility to address cultural, governmental and societal wrongs?

Why are they willing to risk all?

What effect can an individual or small group have in shaping political, cultural, and historical events or outcomes?

    • Weekly thought provoker (Benchmark 30. 52)

    • Finish The Silenced

    • Online questions and posts from book (Benchmark 36, 80)

    • Website Explorations: Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Primary Source Documents (Benchmark 43, 57)

    • Berlin Crisis- Website Exploration Primary Source Document Benchmark 52)

    • Essay due on Collective Apologies (Benchmark 30, 36, 42)

Week 9- Wrapping up the Decade

Essential Questions:

How have your ideas about responsibility changed as a result of studying the Decade of the 1940’s?

What have you learned about your own personal identity as it relates to the idea of responsibility?

What impact might future events have in continuing to shape your responsibilities and personal identity?
3rd Face-to-Face

  • Presentation of final projects (Benchmark 30, 42,57)

  • Words added to lexicon-1940’s and current decade (small groups)

  • Book Discussion-The Silenced (Benchmark 36, 42, 80)

  • Current events-connecting the decades (Benchmark 57)

  • guest speaker!

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