History Lessons

I normally teach in a computer lab all day.  7th graders are working on writing skills and 8th graders are exploring options for high school and beyond.  But I have one class, the last period of the day, that doesn’t meet in a lab.  We have 5 classes scheduled that period, but only 4 computer labs.  So I meet with these kids in another teacher’s room halfway across campus.

Since I can’t do the same lessons with them I am doing with everyone else, I decided I would transform the class to a speech and debate class complete with research and lots and lots of practice.  Because of the perfect storm of events (seeing The Great Debaters, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Black History Month in February), I chose our first topic of discussion as racism and the quest for civil rights.

Yes, yes, I know nearly every child in my school is white and way too young to remember the 60’s.  All the more reason to have a lively debate on multi-culturalism and the continuing quest for equality in our country.

I am using several video clips from Discovery streaming.  They have brought back memories of my own childhood.  My entire elementary school life was spent at an all-white school in Indiana.  It wasn’t until 7th grade that I began attending with students of color.  At that time, it was just the luck of where you lived.  We didn’t do bussing.

Today is an exciting time.  Although I am not endorsing any one political candidate (even to my daughters!), it is exciting to see such a diverse field of well-deserving, viable candidates for the office of President.  It has pushed the subject of race back to the forefront in many circles, and I am glad to see that acceptance is winning the day.


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One Comment;

  1. Susan said:

    How daring of you to open with such an emotionally charged topic! And with middle-schoolers, no doubt. I think it would be interesting if you could link up with another (more diverse) middle school group and see what their take is on it. Just a thought.

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