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 Course readings will include novels, short stories, poetry, essays, editorials and historical documents.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.
#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.
(There are so many books covering this decade I couldn’t possibly list them all!)
.Questions/ essays based on assigned readings
Thoughtful written responses to online questions/posts/peers
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
To whom or what are we responsible?
How do our values influence our circle of responsibility?
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
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
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)