Where I'm From Lesson

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Jason Peterson 2/22 Where Im From Lesson Time: One 50-minute period class Setting: Senior elective: Literature from Around the World. 25 students: 10 White, 8 African American, 6 Latino/a, 1 Asian. Gender: 10 male, 15 female. Five of the Latino/a students speak Spanish but they are bilingual and are not classified as English Language Learners. One student has ADHD. All students are of varied ability, but as this is an elective, students are in this class because they want to be and are genuinely interested in the content. It is a class designed for a college track student. Theory Into Practice Background: This lesson was heavily influenced by Burkes thoughts on teaching and learning. Based on research from the National Research Council, Burke describes three ways we should teach our students: 1) Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works [based on previous experiences and past learning]. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that are taught, or they may learn them for purposes of a test but revert to their preconceptions outside the classroom. (3-4) 2) To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must a) have a deep foundation of factual knowledge, b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application. (4) 3) A metacognitive approach to instruction can help students take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them. (4) Burkes first point had the biggest impact on my development of this lesson. For this lesson we start digging deeper into analysis and evaluation of Rushdies messages in Midnights Children. Burkes thoughts on teaching and learning inspired me to really focus the lesson around our students own ideas and perceptions. Because the focus of the content of this lesson centers on place and home, I figured I could seamlessly accomplish this. His words encouraged and supported me in making this lesson reflective and genuine for my students, in hopes that they will actual gain understandings that will stick with them throughout their lives. I created a conceptual framework for this lesson by framing the activity around a single passage from the novel and some guiding questions. Lastly, I hope to encourage my students to take ownership of their learning in this lesson by giving them a reason to care about the content. It will be helpful if our students read the chapter Jamila Singer for this lesson. However, because I framed the lesson with clearly specified goals, I think students could benefit from the lesson regardless. Their engagement is more critical to this lesson than any other lesson so far, because I am asking them to question, evaluate, and formulate their own opinions. These higher-

order thinking skills demand more focus and genuine engagement. Lastly, the lesson connects to the next lesson very closely, as we will be carrying over these thinking skills into an investigation and analysis of war. Objectives: -Students will show the ability to make interpretations of a text through discussion about the meaning of place in Midnights Children and other texts. -Students will show the ability to make evaluations of perspectives expressed in a text through the application of literary techniques in their own writing. Materials: -Midnights Children -Cannery Row -Internet and Youtube access -George Ella Lyon handout -Notebooks (for students to write poems) Preparations: Other than collecting my materials, my only preparation is making sure that I have access to the Internet, as well as YouTube, in my classroom. Procedures: 1. Midnights Children place discussion (10 minutes) -Direct students to the paragraph on page 355: Saleems parents said: We all must become new people; in the land of the pure, purity became our ideal. But Saleem was forever tainted with Bombayness, his head was full of all sorts of religions apart from Allahs (like Indias first Muslims, the mercantile Moplas of Malabar, I had lived in a country whose deities rivaled the numbers of people, so that, in unconscious revolt against the claustrophobic throng of deities, my family had espoused the ethic of business, not faith); and his body was to show a marked preference for the impure. Mopla-like, I was doomed to be a misfit; but, in the end, purity found me out, and even I, Saleem, was cleansed of my misdeeds. Discuss with the class Saleems connection to Pakistan. If Pakistan is a devout Muslim country the land of the purehow does Saleems desire for impurity connect him to the city? If struggling to answer, remind them where he spent his time in Pakistan (brothels). What is Rushdie trying to communicate about Pakistan through this? Make sure the students have an

understanding of the hypocrisy Rushdie is illustrating through Saleem. Who else in this chapter is connected with Pakistan through one of Rushdies modes (Jamila Singer)? Help students understand that Jamila represents the other side of Pakistan, the pure faade. Discuss how this complicates our view of place and the people in it. How often do we stereotype people from a particular place? Are people from that place inherently different than everyone else? (10 minutes) 2. Compare and Contrast (15 minutes) -Put excerpt from Cannery Row on the overhead projector: Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and the scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honkey tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flop houses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches, by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men, and he would have meant the same thing. (5) -Even though this poem describes a different place with totally different characteristics, how is the description similar to Rushdies description of Pakistan? What unifying perspective lies beneath both description? Point the students to the contradictoriness of the description of the city in the second sentence and of the people in the last two sentences. -Play sound byte from Mos Defs Brooklyn from 2:08-3:32 (http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=GCuTYVulOzY). Put lyrics on overhead projector. Yo sometimes I sit back, reflect on the place that I live at Unlike any place I ever been at The home of big gats, deep dish hammer rim caps Have a mishap, push ya wig back Where you go to get the fresh trim at Four on the jake got the Timb rack Blue collars metro carding it Thugs mobbin it, form partnership Increase armorment, street pharmacist Deep consequence, when you seek sleek ornaments You get caught, rode the white horse and can't get off Big dogs that trick off just get sent off They shoebox stash is all they seeds gotta live off It's real yo but still yo, it's love here And it's felt by anybody that come here Out of towners take the train, plane and bus here Must be something that they really want here One year as a resident, deeper sentiment

Shoutout "Go Brooklyn!", they representin it Sittin on they front stoop sippin Guinesses Usin native dialect in they sentences From the treeline blocks to the tenaments To the Mom & Pop local shop menaces Travel all around the world in great distances And ain't a place that I know that bear resemblance That's why we it The Planet -How does Mos Defs rap project a different image of humanity than the other two excerpts? Does is it give more or less power to the idea of place? Are there any similarities between it and the others? 1. Where Im From poems (25 minutes) -Introduce students to Where Im From poems. Give them a handout of George Ella Lyons poem as an example: I am from clothespins, from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride. I am from the dirt under the back porch. (Black, glistening, it tasted like beets.) I am from the forsythia bush the Dutch elm whose long-gone limbs I remember as if they were my own. I'm from fudge and eyeglasses, from Imogene and Alafair. I'm from the know-it-alls and the pass-it-ons, from Perk up! and Pipe down! I'm from He restoreth my soul with a cottonball lamb and ten verses I can say myself. I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch, fried corn and strong coffee. From the finger my grandfather lost to the auger, the eye my father shut to keep his sight. Under my bed was a dress box spilling old pictures, a sift of lost faces

to drift beneath my dreams. I am from those moments-snapped before I budded -leaf-fall from the family tree. -Instruct student to write their own Where Im From poems. Explain to them that meter and rhyme are not important for this exercise. Tell them that the most important thing is that their poems should reflect their personal view on place. Has the place where you grew shaped you in anyway? If so, in what ways? If not, why not? This should not necessarily be explained explicitly in the poem. Students should try to reflect this perspective implicitly. They should also write a paragraph beneath the poem explaining how the poem reflects their view and how it is similar or different from Rushdies view. If students dont finish their poems, they need to finish them at home and bring them to class tomorrow. -Dismiss Class Discussion Ideas: -What does Rushdies portrayal of Saleem and Jamila Singer in Jamila Singer say about Rushdies view of Pakistan? -What does this view of Pakistan relate about Rushdies overall view of humanity and the impact place? -How are the descriptions of place in both the excerpt from Cannery Row and Brooklyn similar and different from Rushdies description of Pakistan? -What is your perspective on place? Can place truly shape/change people or are any effects/changes superficial? Bilingual/ESL Accommodations: In this lesson, I have incorporated sociocultural identity support, a Faltis and Coulter commitment in practice I have yet to include (39). I hope I support my students sociocultural identities every day through my sensitivity and awareness of their cultures; however, this is the first lesson I have planned that requires my students to draw on their sociocultural identities to accomplish goals and provides a space to contribute to the overall sociocultural identity of the class. This is especially important for the success of bilingual students and language learners (40). I will also allow my bilingual students to write their poems in Spanish first and then translate them into English. Redd and Webb found that students who study school subjects in their native language before being taught in a second language quickly catch up withor surpassstudents who begin their studies in a second language (102). Special Education Accommodations: In general, I have my two behavioral systems in place for our student with ADHDpositive reinforcements and self-regulation (see: Modes of Connection Lesson for more details). This specific lesson requires a lot of seatwork with minimal movement. I will allow our student with ADHD to get up occasionally, but he needs to be doing tasks that are not distracting to the class. He can sharpen his pencil or throw something

away, in order to feel more at ease. However, I will also use positive consequences to help him control and self-regulate his activity. If he meets behavior goals, he will be allowed to help me with chores at the end of class. As for his attention, I feel the diversity of texts used, including socially relevant ones, will be pretty effective at keeping his engagement. Assessment: Because I have limited time, I rolled my assessments for both objectives into a single one. I will already have a general impression of the classs ability to make literary interpretations through the class discussion. Furthermore, when the students discuss their own perspectives (reflected in their own poems) to Rushdies perspective in Jamila Singer, I should be able to assess their understanding of what Rushdie was trying to accomplish. As for their ability to evaluate Rushdies message in this chapter of Midnights Children, I can do that through the view they express in their poems and their explanation of it (in case their poem is cryptic). Extension Ideas: Students understandings of modes of connection were carried over into this lesson as they interpreted the connections between Saleem and Pakistan and Jamila and Pakistan. However, the main point of this lesson is to analyze the actual messages Rushdie produces about the places and events in Midnights Childrenspecifically about Pakistan. I will carry this aim over to my next lesson plan as we analyze Rushdies portrayal of the Indo-Pakistani War. Also, students understandings and feelings about place will factor in to our discussion in that lesson, since it will be involve an analysis of role of countries and its citizens in war. Source of Activity: The Where Im From poem activity was taken from my CI 403 class. I really liked the activity and thought it was more than fitting for this lesson. Mos Defs Brooklyn and the opening paragraph to Cannery Row were also both critical to shaping this lesson. When I knew I wanted to do a lesson on place, I immediately thought of both of those texts. By comparing them to the Midnights Children passage, they helped me flesh out what I wanted my students to understand about what Rushdie was doing in the chapter discussed. Resources and References: Burke, Jim. The English Teachers Companion. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2008. Faltis, Christian and Coulter, Cathy. Teaching English Learners and Immigrant Students in Secondary Schools. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2008. Lyon, George Ella. Where Im From. George Ella Lyon: Writer Teacher. 9 December 2011. Steinbeck, John. Cannery Row. New York, New York: Penguin Groups, 1994. Mos Def Brooklyn. 13 February 2008. YouTube. 9 December 2011. Content Standards:

2.B.5a Analyze and express an interpretation of a literary work. 2.B.4a Critique ideas and impressions generated by oral, visual, written and electronic materials.