Teaching & Discussing September 11, 2001 with TED

Looking for new ways to have discussions that matter surrounding 9/11?

Check out these TED Talks as ways to spark discussion or as text for Socratic Seminar, mini-seminars, whole class discussion, etc.  Don’t forget you could put these in EdPuzzle and add questions.

  • First, Aicha el-Wafi + Phyllis Rodriguez: The mothers who found forgiveness, friendship – a TED Talk from two mothers, one of a victim of the 9/11 attacks and one of a convicted conspirator in the attacks.  Simply the nature of this relationship – and the nature of grieving, remembrance, suffering – can spark a discussion different from the typical 9/11 discussions we have each year.  We don’t often think about the victims’ mothers and I’d venture to guess that we never think about the conspirators’ mothers.  Here, there is humanity amidst and beyond terrorism.  How does this/can this change how we think about 9/11 13 years later?  Why, in the aftermath of terrorism, should we embrace getting to know people from other countries, cultures, and religions?
  • Second, Zak Ebrahim: Zak Ebrahim: I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace – a TED Talk from the son of a terrorist (one involved in the 1993 World Trade Center attack that killed 6 and injured many more).  Although his father was involved in a different terrorist attack than the one we’re remembering on Thursday, Ebrahim’s talk is still relevant and poignant.  Consider discussing some of Ebrahim’s points about learning to hate (rather than hate being innate to a person or religion) about choosing peace . . . about not following in a father’s footsteps.   Now, 13 years since the attacks, some children of victims and terrorists are adults.  What is the personal, rather than national or international effect of these attacks?  Where does terrorism come from?  How do we choose peace?  There’s wonderful fodder for discussion here:
  • Third, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Inside a school for suicide bombers – a TED Talk from a woman who completed a documentary, Children of the Taliban and spent time inside a school training children to be a part of their organization.  This is a terrifying TED Talk that begs many questions: What is the relationship between poverty and terrorism? (Interesting connection to our own military recruiting strategies) Why does the Taliban target children from poor families? What is the power of education? How do we fight this level of strategic indoctrination?  What is the danger of ignorance? Of relying on others for information?  This would be great paired with either 1 (the mothers) or 2 (the terrorist son) to discuss why we should reach out and know others and/or how we change (if we can) our path [can the young boys in this school change their “fate” the way Zak Ebrahim did?]

As always, if you need anything, want help planning or another brain to throw ideas around with, let me know!

The Power of The Educated Woman: Extremists’ Greatest Fear; Ideas for bringing the Nigerian Abductions to the Classroom

You have to read Leonard Pitt’s take on the terrorist kidnapping of Nigerian girls: Extermist Islam is Scared of Little Girls, and the Women They’ll Become. It’s a great article that begins to hit the bigger issues invested in the (somewhat) recent kidnapping of Nigerian girls.

It works great with:

Socratic Seminar: This would make a great Socratic Seminar text – I think it would elicit a fascinating (and necessary) discussion about the importance of being educated, staying educated, and finding “truth” in a world that would (arguably) prefer us to remain ignorant, so that it may have power over us. Power feeds on ignorance.

And/or we could explore any of these other issues at stake:

Power of Education: This would be great paired with other readings on the power of education (Frederick Douglass comes to mind) and its ability to combat ignorance and challenge the norms of a social and political structure. He mentions Malala, so this excerpt from her memoir might be a nice addition.

Women’s Rights: It fits in with historic arguments about women’s rights – Mary Wollstonecraft, Abigail Adams, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Cady Stanton – another example of why women’s rights are withheld and must be fought for.

Global Awareness: This would work great with a group of current-event texts about the kidnapping of the Nigerian women, and perhaps some visuals from the “Bring Back Our Girls” support campaign that celebrities are championing.

Slacker Poster, Time for Poetry Catch-Up, NPM Days 17-25

As I’m sure you’ve noticed (or not . . .visitor numbers are low :)), I neglected NPM postings during Spring Break.

First, in honor of a belated birthday, that of Billy Shakes:

Sonnet 55

Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room,
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

And now . . . let’s play catch-up:

1. From the Poetry Foundation (and Target, apparently), a Teacher’s Poetry Guide for Black History Month.  It deals in three main subjects: Love and Compassion, Heritage and History, and On Being Black.  It includes poems and activities for students: Poetry Foundation Black History Month.

You could use this as it is or extend the subjects out to other poems and poets – other poets writing about identity, heritage, and compassion.

2. Hit some global issues with an article by the New York Times, “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry” or this longer look at Afghan Women’s Poetry in this poetry foundation article (with poems).

3. Have students explore annotated poetry (click yellow text to see pop-up annotations) or annotate poetry themselves at Rap Genius’s poetry genius.

4. Check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Lesson Plans that combine music with the social, literary, and political going-ons of its time.  Selections include Langston Hughes and the Blues, Popular Music and the Civil Rights Movement, Music and Protest, Vietnam War, Cold War, etc . . .  (remember – music as poetry totally works!),   This is one of my favorite resources.

5. A video from EduTopia about Empowering Authentic Voice through Spoken Word Poetry  that looks at one student working with YouthSpeaks and learning how to use her life as her primary text.  Great to open a discussion about poetry, why we write it and perform it and how we find ideas for our poems.  Would work as an introduction to spoken word poetry or poetry in general.

6. YouthSpeaks’s Brave New Voices (featured on HBO) includes videos (watch here) of students’ performances at the finals.  It is nice for students to see what other teens are writing about and how they are performing.

7. The National Writing Project’s long list of resources (many are articles, but the ideas may spark something!) for Teaching, Reading, and Writing Poetry.