Week Two: Resources to Use Now

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There’s a lot going on right now.

As Trump’s first 100 days continue, we will be doing our best to provide resources and materials that can be immediately useful. If there’s something in particular you’d like to see, please let us know.

For today, some background reading and lesson plans.

From EdSurge, a piece about how Social Studies and Civics teachers in particular are scrambling to keep up with the first weeks of the new administration. We recommend clicking through; the article mentions several tech tools that help students understand how the US government functions–or, has functioned up until now.

One of those teachers is Sabrina Brooks, a seventh grade humanities teacher at San Francisco Friends School, who began her class yesterday by having students read and discuss material in Nicholas Kristof’s editorial, “President Trump, meet my family.”

Brooks didn’t have Kristof’s editorial etched into her lesson plans until this weekend, when protests around the country unfolded in response to the travel ban. But it fit with the unit she has been teaching on decision-making in times of injustice. The unit, as Brooks describes, looks at “history of immigration policy marginalization of at risk groups, the factors that led to Hitler’s rise, and the behavior of people who were bystanders and upstanders in these contexts.”

From The New York Times, a lesson plan appropriate for high school and college students, “Analyzing Trump’s Immigration Ban: A Lesson Plan.” The lesson relies mainly on articles but does incorporate video elements that could be skipped if students do not have easy access to tech in the classroom.

Mr. Trump’s executive order fits into a larger pattern of U.S. history. In 1882, Congress excluded Chinese immigrants from entering the U.S. Later it prohibited almost all Japanese immigrants. And still later it gave preference to immigrants from Northern and Western Europe, making it difficult for people from other parts of the world to immigrate to the U.S. But the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed all of that. It did away with the national origins quota and banned discrimination based on where a person was from.

However, with Mr. Trump’s pronouncement on Jan. 27, the U.S. once again excludes immigrants based on national origin from countries like Iraq, Yemen and Sudan.

This activity invites students to analyze Mr. Trump’s stated purpose for his executive order (as explained within Section 1 of the text), then consider three pieces in The Times that question its effectiveness, legality and interpretation of American values.

The lesson plan also includes a list of other lesson plans from The Times’ Learning Network that educators may find helpful.

The Times directs readers, finally, to a post over at Facing Today: “3 Ways to Address the Latest News on Immigration With Your Students.” The post is an excellent starting point for any investigation into these issues and policies. The material here is organized around three main points:

  1. Affirm the right to education and respect for all students…
  2. Use the ‘universe of obligation’ to consider how we define our responsibilities towards others…
  3. Put debates about immigration and refugees into historical context.

An added bonus is, strangely enough, the comments section. Teachers who are currently figuring out how to deal with these issues in their own classrooms are weighing in.

More as we have it.

Trump’s First 100 Days

What He Wants to Do and What He Can Do, with Lesson Plan

From KQED Public Media, here’s a about the Trump administration’s policy goals for its first 100 days  in office, plus a pre-written lesson plan.

The site covers nine topic areas: Health Care, Women’s Rights, Gun Control, Criminal Justice, Energy/Environment, Higher Ed, Economy/Trade, National Security, and Immigration.

For each area, it provides background information (what is the current state of affairs?), a data chart or table, and links to additional resources, including the administration’s published plans, more extensive data, and secondary material from outlets like the Union of Concerned Scientists and The New York Times.

It’s a really cool site you can take in lots of directions!


♣ The Resources ♣

Green, Matthew. (2017, Jan). Trump’s First 100 Days: What He Wants to Do and What He Can Do (with Lesson Plan). KQED’s The Lowdown. Retrieved from https://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown.

Robertson, Rachel. (2017, Jan). Lesson Plan: Trump’s First 100 Days. KQED’s The Lowdown. Retrieved from https://ww2.kqed.org/lowdown.

The Music of Social Movements

A Lesson Plan With Music Links

Music and song offer a unique way to bind people together. From the National Endowment for the Humanities, here’s a lesson plan geared to high school students about the songs of the civil rights movement.

The Freedom Riders and the Popular Music of the Civil Rights Movement includes preparation instructions, suggested activities, and an outline for assessment.Here’s the blurb for the lesson plan:

The participants of the civil rights movement recognized the power of song and performance and utilized this form of cultural communication in their quest for equal justice under law… Through collaborative activities and presentations, students will find the meaning behind the music and compare and contrast the major figures, documents, and events of the day to better understand the political and cultural messages.

The lesson also includes lots of resources. You can link to Freedom Sounds from Smithsonian Folkways (also available here),  where you can play featured songs for free — including Fannie Lou Hamer singing This Little Light of Mine and Paul Robeson singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

For your own enrichment, you might also look at the background essay, The Sixties and Protest Music by Kerry Candaele, provided by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

We’ll follow up this week with more examples of music as a binding and healing community resource.

(Image of Fannie Lou Hamer by Adair733. Used under Creative Commons License CC BY-ND 2.0)


The Resources

Candaele, K. (2012, Summer). The Sixties and Protest Music. History Now 32. Retrieved from http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-now.

National Endowment for the Humanities. (2011). EDSITEment ‘Created Equal’ Project. Retrieved from https://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan.

Rosemann, S.V. (2016). Freedom Sounds from Smithsonian Folkways. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved from http://www.folkways.si.edu.

Morning Reading: Vetting the News

Learning to assess sources has always been critical. In the age of the internet, it became even more important. And today? Absolutely imperative.

Here’s some material that we’ve found that can help both students and educators develop this vital skill.

From Common Sense Media, a guide directed at parents and guardians that also includes a list of tips for older kids.

Older kids especially might enjoy learning tricks to spot fake news. Here are a few things to watch for:

  • Look for unusual URLs, including those that end with “lo” or “.com.co” — these are often trying to appear like legitimate news sites, but they aren’t.
  • Look for signs of low quality, such as words in all caps, headlines with glaring grammatical errors, bold claims with no sources, and sensationalist images (women in bikinis are popular clickbait on fake news sites). These are clues that you should be skeptical of the source.
  • Check a site’s “About Us” section. Find out who supports the site or who is associated with it. If this information doesn’t exist — and if the site requires that you register before you can learn anything about its backers — you have to wonder why they aren’t being transparent.
  • Check Snopes, Wikipedia, and Google before trusting or sharing news that seems too good (or bad) to be true.
  • Consider whether other credible, mainstream news outlets are reporting the same news. If they’re not, it doesn’t mean it’s not true, but it does mean you should dig deeper.
  • Check your emotions. Clickbait and fake news strive for extreme reactions. If the news you’re reading makes you really angry or super smug, it could be a sign that you’re being played. Check multiple sources before trusting.

From NPR, Steve Inskeep presents A Finder’s Guide to Facts. This article is appropriate for high school and above, and it presents a thesis ready for analysis and debate (emphasis ours):

Are we really in a post-truth era? Somebody on the Internet said so. Many people,actually…

But let’s properly define the problem. History and experience tell me it’s not a post-truth era: Facts have always been hard to separate from falsehoods, and political partisans have always made it harder. It’s better to call this a post-trust era.

There’s also a thorough list of questions for readers to ask themselves when approaching a source, including “Does the news source appear to employ editors?” and “Did the writer engage with anyone who disagrees?” And there’s room for student discussion here, too: for example, does every issue deserve to have both sides presented? Should we dismiss sources without editors immediately, or just proceed with additional caution?

 

Messages of Solidarity

Marching for hope and fellowship

A little more on Saturday’s marches: Invariably, each person marches for his/her/their own reasons. That’s okay; we don’t have to, and won’t, agree on every issue.

We were struck by the hopeful note many marchers struck at the San José, California march, with lots of statements of core values and of fellowship. Here are a few we loved:

(All pictures by Eva for .smallstones.)

The signs say:

  • Love is greater than fear.
  • Strong Together.
  • I’m marching for dignity and civil rights. No exceptions.
  • Respect existence or expect resistance.
  • Love, not hate, makes America great.
  • We all belong here. We will defend each other.
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent.
  • There is nothing more urgent than freedom.
  • Peace, not prejudice (in Arabic, Russian and English). Listen. Respect. Friendship. Equality.

Women’s March 2017

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photo via A Mighty girl

The Women’s March on Washington and Sister Marches both nationally and worldwide blew away expectations, with millions total coming out to march.

Here are some of the first resources we’ve found that can help contextualize, celebrate, and spark conversation about this historic event.

A Mighty Girl has an exhaustive collection of reader-submitted photos of marchers, focusing on girls.

Blogger Angry Asian Man has a reader-submitted collection called When Angry Asian America showed up to march.

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photo via Angry Asian Man

The Tab has a feature story on three girls from Chicago who raised $2,000 to join the Women’s March DC.

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photo via The Tab

The girls told us they want to respond to Trump’s victory politically – starting this week

Aisat: The day after the election, my robotics class all decided to spend the session talking about what had happened. We all said ‘This is our country, we have to take it back. We’ve started a GoFundMe to go to the Million Woman March in Washington. Five of us are going – we’ve raised $2000.

Up next: what to do next, and how to help students continue to create change.