Before my trip to Ghana, I created an action-focused global unit on the slave narrative. The unit, The Slave Narrative: Recognizing Global Perspectives and Taking Action, took place over the course of four weeks in my 11th grade American literature last winter. You can read more about the unit, and my class’ action project to “end slavery the sweet way” in a Spring 2014 article published in The Carondelettter (pages 12-13).
When I returned from Ghana, I decided vamp up the unit. Additions include using SKYPE to discuss a slave narrative with a classroom in Ghana and having students create short movies on that focus on a single aspect of modern slavery.
You can see the unit, “before” and “after” here: The Slave Narrative: Recognizing Global Perspectives and Taking Action. Changes have been highlighted and additions are in red.
For a more detailed look at the changes I made, take a look at the five lessons below. All lessons focus on investigating the world, communicating for a global audience, and synthesizing multiple perspectives.
Lesson 1: INVESTIGATING THE WORLD: ASKING QUESTIONS
Objective: Prepare for SKYPE session about Harriet Jacobs’ narrative (chapter 21 of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl) with Wesley Girls School in Ghana. Like Carondelet, Wesley Girls is a woman-centered school, which makes it an ideal and interesting partner for global conversation about an influential text by a woman.
(a) After reading the Harriet Jacobs text, I will ask students to draft a list of questions they have about the text, and/or questions they would like to ask of Jacobs.
(b) Students will share list of questions with each other.
(c) Discuss: What would they like to ask students in Ghana about the text? Why? Student will draft brainstorm list of text-inspired questions for Ghanaian students. Questions will be printed and shared with students before in-class SKYPE session the next day.
Lesson 2: COMMUNICATING FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE: SKYPING WITH WESLEY GIRLS SCHOOL
Objective: Students will engage multiple perspectives in text-based dialogue.
(a) Teachers at both schools will introduce class to each other. Will briefly outline rationale and goals and “rules” for conversation. Students at both schools will have Jacobs’ text in front of them 30-minute conversation will be moderated by teachers. Students will indicate they would like to speak by raising their hands.
(b) After Skype conversation, students will reflect in writing on the experience. Their reflection will include (1) questions they wished they had asked (2) new questions they have and (3) an idea for a future Skype conversation with the same class.
Lesson 3: SYNTHESIZING MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES: MAPPING OUT INFORMATION SHORT FILM ON SLAVERY
Objective: Students will synthesize knowledge of modern slavery and choose one element of it to highlight and explore in a short film.
(a) DISCUSS: In groups of three or four, students will synthesize what they have learned through conversation. I will ask them to create a list of the five most interesting and important things that they learned.
(b) EVALUATE: Students will choose the most important thing they learned about slavery.
(c) WRITE: As a group, they will write about what stories they have read/watched that illuminate their “most important” idea.
Lesson 4: COMMUNICATING FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE: CREATING AN EFFECTIVE FILM
Objective: Students will identify elements of effective global communication and create a global communication rubric.
(a) WATCH: As inspiration for our short films, I will show students a three short “films” including a recent Apple “film.”
(b) REFLECT AND DISCUSS: What was engaging about the film? How did the filmmaker communicate an idea in just 1.5 minutes? What images were powerful? Why? What about music? Would you need to speak/understand English to “get” this commercial? Why or why not?
(c) CREATE: As a class we will create a rubric for the short films. I will infuse ideas inspired by the Asia Society’s rubric on communicating for a global audience.
Lesson 5: COMMUNICATING FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE: EVALUATING FILM
Objective: Students will consider multiple perspectives and evaluate each other’s films using a global communication rubric.
(a) Before students share films on YouTube and with Wesley Girls School, they will evaluate each others’ films using the rubric they created.
(b) During and after the viewing of each group’s films, the students will use the rubric to evaluate the film and give each other feedback.
(c) Rubrics will be immediate shared with filmmakers, who will discuss possible edits before putting their films on YouTube.