Thursday, November 20, 2008
After the Sand and Sorrow showing, which went quite well I'd say, two people wanted to be added to the list serve. I don't know how to do this so I am going to put there emails here and maybe someone can add them.
P.S. Thanks everyone baked for tonight people loved everything!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
The "What is Genocide?" group is presenting first on Friday (4/11/08). They have a slideshow with images from past genocides, a hand out, a poster with more photos, and they plan on showing a short movie clip from Hotel Rwanda. Their presentation will also include an genocide web and one student will present the definition of genocide.
Half of the "History and Current Situation" group will present on this Friday also. This will include a poster and map activity showing the students where Sudan and Darfur are. Through a powerpoint, some students will also present on the history of the conflict. They also have a poster with a timeline of important events. The following Friday the rest of the group will present--this will include current events and more photos, both through a powerpoint.
On Friday, 4/11/08, the "What Can You Do?" group will pass out a survey that they want to the middle school and 9th graders to complete and bring back the following Friday (4/19/08). On this Friday, this group will make their presentation.
We are going into class on Wednesday to finalize all details of the presentations.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Day 1: Introduction to Darfur, film Voices from Darfur
Day 2: What is genocide?
Day 3: History of Darfur and Sudan
Day 4: Women and girls- rape as a tool of war
Day 5: Refugees and IDPs
Day 6: U.S., U.N., and international response
Day 7: What you can do
Cait, Aurora, Audrey, and I taught on days 1 and 2. This Thursday (day 2) we handed out a one page information sheet explaining the history of the term genocide and the UNCG. We asked students to circle and underline any key phrases or words that stood out to them. We then led a class discussion. We also brought a world map to class and had students indicate on the map where past genocides have occurred. We told the students to limit the genocides to genocides that have occurred after the UNCG. The students were shocked by the number of genocides that occurred in the second half the 20th century.
Yesterday, Cait, Sondi, Maher, and I discussed the history of Darfur and Sudan with the class (day 3). First, we gave the students a short quiz on Darfur and Sudan. We then divided up into three groups and had the students exchange quizzes. We went over the answers to the quiz. The students then discussed the History of Darfur and Sudan Worksheet.
Monday we will be focusing on rape and women's rights.
Here are some video clips from the last two weeks:Video-Students were asked to tell either a family member or friend about the genocide in Darfur
Friday, March 28, 2008
Here is a brief description of the presentations:
What is genocide?
- Genocide web
- Definition of genocide
- Slide show
- Hotel Rwanda clip
History of Darfur/Current Situation/International Response
- Power point presentation
- Poster board: maps
What you can do?
- Survey (to be distributed by middle school students, collected on the second day of presentations, analyzed by Mrs. Bailey's class, and then sent to local newspapers/TV stations)
- Poster listing 6 things a middle school student can to help end the genocide
- Pamphlet with basic facts about Darfur, relevant resources, and ways to take action
- Middletown Press op-ed letter template
Next week the other two groups will present. The rest of the class is supposed to offer advice and ask questions while observing the presentations. We are now communicating over email with our students, so we can offer them feedback during the week and answer any questions.
The Darfur refugee from Voices from Darfur is going to speaking at Middletown High School on May 7th!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The group work went very well. The students began to take the class more seriously once they realized these presentations were actually going to happen. They spoke about the challenges each presentation would face trying to capture the attention of the middle school students. After each member of the four groups was assigned a specific task to have completed by next week, we reassembled as a class. We asked the students to raise their hand and offer Darfur-related facts that they believed the middle school students should be aware of. This next Friday we will continue to work on the presentations, review the props/visuals that the students created, and have at least two of the groups stand up in front of the class and present the information they have collected.
Lastly, two students from the "What you can do" group designed a Darfur survey, which they already began to distribute. They are going to continue to distribute the survey and analyze the data. Once the students are finished analyzing the data, Rebecca offered to do a basic statistical analysis of it as well!
This week we have our first class with Mr. Marszalek's students!!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The "What you can do" described two ideas they came up. One of the students, Alexa, is contacting different local news stations in an attempt to bring a reporter to MHS's campus during the Voices from Darfur assembly and during the WW class visitations. Another student, John, is designing a s survey about the current situation in Darfur with the help of a fellow student. They plan to distribute this survey to the entire school. Once they analyze the data they will send the results to local newspapers, radio stations, and t.v. stations as evidence that there needs to be more media coverage of the current situation in Darfur. The "History" and "Current Situation/International Response" groups spoke about the conditions in refugee camps and IDP camps. One student brought up the civil war between the North and the South. He also expressed his desire to organize a food drive to help the refugees and IDPs. The "What is genocide" group talked about the difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide and also related the situation in Darfur to the genocide in Rwanda.
We finished class with a 4 minute movie created by New England high school students called Projections. Their homework assignment for next week is to read an article by Enough's policy advisor Colin Jensen. They are also collecting more information for their WW presentations.
Hope everyone is enjoying their spring break! This week we are going to Mrs. Bailey's class on Thursday instead of Friday because of Good Friday---if anyone wants to join us!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
We then divided the class into four groups and reviewed a worksheet we had them fill out the week before. The worksheet contained basic factual questions about the genocide. This activity was followed by a discussion about the UNCG definition of genocide. The students were asked to use examples from last week's film Voices from Darfur to support their arguments that genocide was and is occurring in Sudan. With fifteen minutes left in class, we switched topics and began to discuss their presentations. Each group was assigned a different topic with specific focus questions. The topics are: the history of the genocide in Darfur, the concept of genocide, the current situation on the ground in Darfur and the international response, and the role of students in the movement to end the genocide. Each group's homework assignment was to answer their group's focus questions.
This class did not go as well as we hoped; however, it was a good learning experience. We could tell that some of the kids in each group were not engaged and we might have introduced the concept of the presentations too soon. We found some great curriculum guides online and plan to consult them heavily this week (especially since we are on spring break and have some more time on our hands).
After Mrs. Bailey's class, Cait and I returned to MHS and gave a short ten minute presentation to Mr. Marszalek's Contemporary Issues class. We introduced our project and asked the students if they had ever heard of Darfur before. One girl said she knew their were a lot of refugees in Darfur because she watched a special on MTV. We will start visiting this class in roughly two and half weeks. Gitsy and I will be meeting with Mr. Marszalek this upcoming week and we will provide him with a hard copy of our curriculum guide.
One last exciting piece of news: we were able to organize a Voices from Darfur assembly at MHS. A darfur refugee is going to come speak about the current situation in Darfur and his experience living in Darfur. Eleven MHS social studies classes have been invited!!
Until next week...
Saturday, March 1, 2008
We were all tentative to argue our opinions but Mrs. Bailey was not. She raised her hand to disagree with both of the boys. We suggested that we watch the film first and then continue to discuss the issue afterward.
We showed the film “Voices on Darfur,” a powerful fourteen minute long film with first-hand accounts by victims of the atrocities that they survived. It was great to watch the student’s faces as they watched the film—they were filled with emotions of sadness, surprise and anger. For many, this was the first time that they had seen visuals of what is occurring in Darfur.
We began discussing the film and fielding questions as one large group. With only ten minutes left in class, we broke into four different groups to further discuss the film. This proved to be really beneficial. Many of the more quiet students in class spoke up in the small groups and asked many questions. The two students that had argued in agreement with China changed their standpoint on the issue. One student commented that he “just [thought] that it was so dumb” that China continued to buy oil from Sudan if they knew what was going on.
We discussed what particular images and scenes stood out to them in the film and why. The film also placed on emphasis on activism and we discussed what they thought that they could do to help end the conflict and the violence. One group focused a lot on the map of the handout that we had given them, asking many questions about the surrounding countries’ involvement and questioning why these countries were not doing more to end the violence. The definition of genocide was not discussed at length.
We gave them a homework assignment of talking to at least one person about the situation in Darfur—asking them if they knew about it, discussing what they knew etc—and to be prepared to report back to us next class.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The hearing at the state capitol for the Genocide Education bill is this Friday, Feb. 29 at noon. It is extremely important that anyone who is in favor of mandating genocide education in Connecticut secondary schools attends this hearing. Currently the Connecticut legislators sponsoring this bill are advocating for a bill that only recommends genocide education be provided rather than mandating it.
This is a great opportunity and it requires very little effort! We could also film it and include the footage in our own documentary.
The CT: TAG field organizer's email Nell Okie (email@example.com) or me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Let's get a bunch of Wes students on board!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
ENOUGH, STAND, GI-Net and Save Darfur's monthly activist call is going to be held on Feb 28th at 7:00 pm. Summary of people who are going to be speaking as part of the call:
Omer Ismail, will join the call to talk about the latest turmoil and the political situation in Chad.
Save Darfur Coalition Media Relations Director Allyn Brooks-LaSure will discuss recent Save Darfur Coalition-sponsored journalist trips to Chad.
STAND and GI-Net recently launched The Executive Legacy. Scott Warren will outline the four-part policy framework President Bush must follow in order to end the genocide and help bring peace to Sudan.
Coby Rudolph, National Outreach Coordinator at the Save Darfur Coalition will give an update on upcoming grassroots campaigns.
If you'd like to sign up, here is the link. http://www2.americanprogress.org/t/84/signUp.jsp?key=1749
Friday, February 22, 2008
Check these sites out when you have time and think of ways to expose the high school students to them (keep in mind the classrooms aren't outfitted with computers/projectors):
Drumbeat for Darfur
What I Stand for: Civilian Protection in Darfur
The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)- Refugee interview clip
Darfur by Darfurians
I also just ordered The Devil Came on Horseback. We can show some clips in the classrooms and hold a screening on campus. We are looking for audio or visual media that includes first hand accounts or testimonies given by Darfurians, aid workers, journalists, etc. for our classroom visits. Please post anything you deem relevant!!
- Screen Refugees International's On Our Watch: A Documentary about Genocide in Darfur (11 minutes) or Save Darfur's Voices from Darfur (14 min- I just received it in the mail, pretty graphic but probably the best film out of our choices)
- Divide class up into 4 or 5 small groups and assign each group a different genocide definition to discuss. We will provide them with a series of questions such as: What words stand out to you? What is missing from the definition? Is the definition too inclusive? etc.
- Divide the class into two teams and hold a debate about an ambiguous genocide. One team will have to site reasons why it is a genocide and one team will have to argue why it is not.
- Make a genocide web/cluster map as a class or in small groups.
- Announce our blog's website and ask them to post on it as part of homework assignments.
Today, Alex, Cait, Sondi, Emily, Gitsy, and I met to discuss the next lesson plan for Mrs. Bailey's class, which will focus on the causes of the genocide in Darfur. Alex had extracted common causes from three case studies: Chechnya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.
- Weak political society with rigidly entrenched identities
- regime declining in power (nationalist rhetoric)
- competition for scarce resources
- exogenous factors (Cold War, colonial powers)
- disillusionment of civil society
- post-conflict instability
The fact sheets for Cambodia , Darfur (Kaitlyn), Armenia (Gitsy), and Bangladesh (Emily) will be turned in by Sunday to Sondi who will assemble them into a packet to be distributed to the classes we work with (maps will be included with each piece). As for the lesson plan on causes, the most recent plan is to present the causes leading up to the genocide in Darfur and then assign each student a cause. The student's homework assignment will be to think of a specific intervention tactic that would have offered an alternative to the violence and destruction that ensued.
The next curriculum meeting will be: Sunday, Feb. 24 @ 6pm in the CSS Lounge (4th floor PAC)--anyone interested is welcome!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I got an email yesterday from the Program and Events Coordinator at the Admission's office about the Greater Middletown CROP Hunger Walk that is scheduled for April 27th at 1:30 pm on the South Green in Middletown. Neighbors will be walking together to take a stand against hunger in different parts of the world. The objective is to raise awareness and funds for humanitarian assistance. The walk will be supporting 11 community centers in IDP camps in Darfur. You can find more information on the group organizing it here - http://www.churchworldservice.org/CROP/index.html.
Stephanie said that it would be wonderful if members of STAND could take part. She has more information for us and collection envelopes if people are interested.
It sounds like a really good way to build awareness about Darfur in Middletown and meet with people who we might be able to collaborate with in the future. So it is just something to think about till next Monday and if you are interested, feel free to leave a quick comment saying that you are and I will touch base with Stephanie and get more detailed info to bring to next week's meeting. Thanks!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Afterwards, we met with another interested MHS teacher who has connections at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. He was very excited about our project. When we expressed concerns about the logistical aspects of this campaign (bringing the MHS students to individual WW classes) he said that he definitely supports that idea and he will work on our behalf to make it possible!!
On another note, Gitsy will be posting a news update, but in the meantime you should check out Bush's BBC interview Bush Defends US Record on Darfur.
See you all on Monday @ 1Opm in USDAN meeting room 110. Don't forget about the Invisible Children call-in at noon on Monday and the screening about the conflict in northern Uganda at 6pm inPAC 001 (brought to you by the Invisible Children 2008 National Tour).
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Yesterday, I met with a second teacher at Woodrow Wilson. She was incredibly enthusiastic and eager to work with us. She was particularly excited about having the high school students attend her classes and work with her students. Tomorrow Josh, Cait, Gitsy, and I are conducting our first presentation at Middletown High School. We will be giving a short introduction to the genocide in Darfur, WESTAND, the AID grant, and we will end with a short video clip about Darfur.
We have a lot going on this semester: Invisible Children (2/18), Northern Uganda Lobby Day (2/24-2/26), April Music Festival, T-shirt fund raising project, call-ins, Genocide Education Campaign, and much more!
Let's keep up the good work!