Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mrs. Bailey's Class: Week 3

Cait, Gitsy, Erica, and I went to Mrs. Bailey's class yesterday. We began by asking the students to share their family members' or friends' responses once they told them about the genocide occurring in Darfur (last week's homework assignment). Three or four students raised their hands and shared moving stories. Most of the students told their parents and were surprised to discover that their parents knew very little about Darfur or genocide for that matter. One girl, Stacy, could not understand why the media coverage of Darfur was so sparse. She said her mom watches the news every morning with her cup of coffee, yet she had no idea that a genocide was occurring across the world.

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...

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