In a few weeks, I am sitting down with my Social Studies department to discuss the Common Core standards for History/Social Studies and identify lessons and activities that meet them. The idea of this meeting really excites me because I love hearing what my colleagues are doing in the classroom. We rarely find the time to sit together and discuss ideas (which is partially why I love #sschat because it’s a group of educators working to develop and meet the needs of our students who are growing up in a rapidly adapting environment).
As I was trying to find lessons that aligned, I came across one about bias that I really enjoyed and with tweaking could be a really great lesson.
Here is the standard that I am going to address:
WHST.11-12.1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
After learning about the 19th century definitions of liberal, conservative, and radical I had students take a look at one of the following events (Charles X of France trying to establish an absolute government, Paris mobs overthrowing the monarchy of Louis Phillippe, and the reign of Napoleon III) and rewrite the section of the textbook in an extremely biased way for each of the three newly-developed political philosophies. In groups, students then shared their interpretations with the class.
The purpose of the activity was to critique the events by using different lenses. And while it was successful and students had a decent understanding of the difference between the three political philosophies, it is an incomplete activity! A lost opportunity.
This should have been an introduction to a larger activity in which students created webpages (or newspapers) to examine primary documents and assess their bias. We could have had competing websites with students covering the events, speeches, and actions from their particular perspective.
This would have also covered the below standard!
RH.11-12.6. Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
This could have, almost organically, led to an amazing discussion about today’s media and how as individuals we must challenge ourselves to listen to many points of view until we formulate an opinion.
But alas, I did not do that. I did not see it then. Which is why, I am glad that I am taking this time to reflect upon my past lessons. Next time, I will do better. And I will work to hard accomplish the two standards mentioned above with my classes this year.
I think it was Socrates who (may have) said, “An unexamined lesson isn’t worth reteaching.” Wise words, Great One. You really captured the sentiment of this blog post.For more on my Connecting Lessons to Common Core series click the links below: Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Nationalistic Travel Brochures Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Imperialism and Star Wars Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Extra Extra! Primary Documents to News Articles! Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Assignment Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Personal Journals during the French Revolution Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Your Own Personal Latin American Revolution Connecting Lessons to Common Core: Enlightenment – Declaration of Independence Connecting Lessons to Common Core: A Missed Opportunity (Political Philosophies ~ Conservative, Liberal, Radical)